Professional Hair – With a Helmet!

There’s a woman with a consistently professional-looking bob cut who works in the same building I do. She rides a recumbent bicycle to work, and for the past year I have been wondering how her hair looks so polished when I know she always wears a helmet. I was too intimidated by her important job to ask about her hairstyling secrets… until last month.

She divulged her secret, which I am happy to share with anyone on the internet who is listening: use a hot air brush.

John Frieda Hot Air Brush

There are lots of different brands and products out there. This one is meant to be an example, not a brand or product endorsement.

She described a round brush that blows hot air through it, and I knew exactly what she was talking about, because I recall struggling with a very cheap version and a very long mane in high school. But that’s a different story.

Her commuting strategy involves carrying a change of clothes, shoes, make-up and said styling tool with her every time she bike commutes. She has a huge pannier for the recumbent that facilitates this. Upon arrival, she just turns on the hot air brush in the bathroom and uses it on any sweaty, flat spots in her flawless crown of hair.

I suspect this might work best for those with mid-length or shortish straight hair – probably not a good solution for the lady with more than a foot of curls. This is just one of many tricks clever bike commuters use.

I’ve noticed that around this time of year, style magazines begin publishing helpful hints to keep winter hats from flattening 80’s worthy blowouts. They vary in effectiveness and effort required, but tend to translate well for helmet-wearing. My favorite strategy for my long, wavy hair came from such a source: flip your hair so that the part falls on the opposite side right before you put on the hat or helmet (or both!) Upon arrival, fix your hair so the part falls normally. Result? Hair flatter than no helmet, but not as flat as if I hadn’t flipped. No product required.

You could also use a travel-sized blowdryer with a diffuser or volumizing mousse. Let’s Go Ride a Bike recently published a how-to on dry shampoo, which I can’t wait to try. Looking professionally put-together after bicycling may take a bit of creativity and varies a bit for cut and type of hair, but there are lots of products out there that can aid in the endeavor, especially if you’ve got the room in your panniers or office for a few helpful beauty gadgets and products.



3 comments on “Professional Hair – With a Helmet!

  1. Maybe you should wear a helmet too.

    • I ALWAYS wear a helmet – and I don’t see anything in my post that implied otherwise. However, I’m much more interested in other aspects of bike commuting style than in getting into the helmet/no helmet debate, since many other people have already hashed that out.

  2. I have long (past shoulder) thick, wavy hair. I just started bike commuting this summer! I find that biking with my hair still wet, and in a braid or two works well. I just take the braids out and style it in a few different ways once I’m at the office. Today, I turned two braids into one side braid, though you could also use a clip to twist it up, or a pony tail holder and a couple of bobby pins to make a bun, or do a french braid (tail out or tucked in). It cuts down on frizz (helmet + braid) and you still have some flexibility since your hair is more uniformly damp upon arrival (my commute is 6+ miles – my head sweats quite a bit en route). Happy riding!

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