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  • Writer's pictureJess D

How to Protect Your Hair While Doing Jiu-Jitsu: 3 Ways to Keep Your Crown Healthy

Updated: Jul 1

When training jiu-jitsu, your hair will ultimately get messy. But here are some ways to protect your hair while training.

girl putting braided hair in ponytail

When it comes to being a girl in jiu-jitsu, there’s one thing that you can guarantee: that your hair will get messed up. From the amount of time and effort that we put into our hair with cutting, braiding, color, highlights, and more hair activities to just maintaining the health of our hair, we want to make sure that our hair is protected as much as possible. We don’t have to give up on jiu-jitsu or other martial arts to make that happen. That being said, here are three ways to protect your hair while doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


Why You Should Protect Your Hair While Training Jiu-jitsu


messy after BJJ training hair

I’ve already written about the types of hairstyles I use when training Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but I’ve never talked about protective styling.  When you do any kind of protective style or cover your hair, you’re protecting your hair from mopping against the floor and getting all the sweat and germs from your other teammates.  Also, when we grapple our hair will get stuck in other people’s fingers, under their knees, and more especially if we don’t tie it up properly. Sometimes that constant wear and tear can end up in tension headaches and even hair loss.


 In addition, if you’re like me and you use oils, butters, and gels in your hair, you don’t want all your product to be on the mat for others to step on or slip in.


The methods listed in this article will give you a couple of options to protect your hair based on your personal preference.



3 Ways to Protect Your Hair in Jiu-Jitsu



Multi-elastics and Ponytails

Head and Hair Coverings


Braid Styles for Training Jiu-Jitsu

brown highlighted braid with brown straight hair in background

I think that braids are the most popular method of styling your hair for training jiu-jitsu. I can’t count the number of times my friends have asked me to braid their hair before training or a competition. I don’t know if it was because of the stereotypes of black people being able to do hair, but the joke’s on them because I can only do French braids. Depending on how tight you braid your hair and the style of the braid, your braids can last a whole training session and won’t get too messed up after a roll.  Some popular braid styles in jiu-jitsu include cornrows, French braids, and braided pigtails.


Training jiu-jitsu with braid extensions:


black girl with goddess braids facing away with hair displayed

 For my ladies who like to do braid extensions with box braids, knotless braids, Senegalese twists, and more, a word of caution: Braid extensions are a great way to protect your hair but depending on the type of braiding hair and the thickness of your natural hair, these types of braids might be more of a hindrance than a help.  Your hair might constantly come out of the ponytails or buns that you make, and they will get stuck under your body when you train (it’s annoying to always stop a roll to fix your hair… For me there are times when I’ve had to fix my hair and my belt and it’s just so frustrating). My suggestion is that you opt for shorter braid extensions (i.e. mid-back length instead of waist-length braids) and make sure the hair you’re using is a bit softer so then you can manipulate it into a tighter bun or ponytail better.



Styling your Hair with Multi-elastics and Ponytails for Training Jiu-Jitsu

multi-colored hair elastics

If you cannot braid, don’t worry there are options for you. You can do similar braid-like styles but use elastic bands or ponytail styles.  I haven’t done this in a while with my hair but one of my favorite styles was “cornrows” with rubber bands.  I have also created French braids with mini scrunches/ponytails.  If you do decide to go this route, make sure that you are prepping the rubber bands/elastics with oil, so they don’t rip your hair out and your scrunchies don’t have a metal part on them.  Here are a couple of my favorite brands:



All these ponytail elastics won’t snag at your hair and get caught in the binding piece.





Head and Hair Coverings to Protect Your Hair During Jiu-Jitsu Training

woman working out with hijab

If you want to forgo all this braiding and messing in your hair, covering your hair is always an option.  This is also great if you just got your hair done or just did your hair and still want to train.  I have a friend who would be always sporting a swim cap on her hair because she was experiencing tension in her hairline from training.


There are multiple options on the higher quality side like YGN (  YGN has a whole line of headwraps and headbands that are great for protecting your hair from sweat and from being dragged along the floor. You can also consider wearing a sports hijab while training if you want to completely cover your hair. I know brands like Adidas and Gymshark have specific sports hijabs that are made of sweat-resistant material.  


Swim Caps for Training Jiu-jitsu

blue swim cap

If you want to go the not-so-pricey route, consider a cloth swim cap when you train.  I love swim caps because they make sure my hair stays within the cap while I train and if you have a product in your hair, then the product won’t get on the mat. I have a friend who would be always sporting a swim cap on her hair because she was experiencing tension in her hairline from training. Here are the caps I’ve used in the past for my natural hair:





Beautiful Hair While Training Jiu-Jitsu

 There is always the struggle of maintaining your hair while doing jiu-jitsu, but it doesn’t have to be a true struggle. There are many ways to protect your hair while training that will help maintain your hair health and hygiene.


In what ways do you protect your hair in jiu-jitsu? Share in the comments or tell me on Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj






1 Comment

Apr 04

I use a Grapple Happy cap and hair band every single time I roll. I don't have to wash my hair after every roll, it protects against cauliflower ear, and I am not constantly adjusting anything or ever get my hair caught on anything. I admit, it's not flattering, but the benefits are huge and I don't roll without them.

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