Not everyone will be able to relate to this article. Those that will, however, will find it useful at the very least. If you’ve never rolled, or even trained technique with long hair, you have no idea how much of a struggle it can be. It is not just about being a nuisance, three’s also the issue of damaged hair, which is almost a given in grappling. That said, there are ways to deal with your BJJ hair, and the good news is, you won’t be bound to just one hairstyle.
BJJ hair is a messy thing. So far, the women and men I have met who have long hair all share the same issue – dealing with it while grappling. Some, in all honesty, claim to have never had trouble with it and seem to be able to ignore it. For the majority, though, it can be really annoying, getting loose, getting in the way of vision and, in the way of, well, everything. It does depend on the length of hair and the type of hair you have, but some universal principles still apply to everyone that has long hair.
The BJJ Hair Conundrum
So what’s the deal with all this BJJ hair trouble? Unless you grow your hair out, you’ll never find out. However, for some people, having long hair is simply a must, and with BJJ held in the same high regard, there has to be a middle ground where the two can function together.
Some of the issues people with long hair face in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu include that hair getting everywhere. First of all, it gets in the eyes which not only makes grappling difficult, but it may even end up causing infections in sensitive people. Then, there’s the hair getting caught all the time with unintentional grips, forearms under knees or other body parts. It is painful, uncomfortable and definitely does affect the rhythm of the roll, given that whoever is caught won’t be abet to focus on anything else.
Speaking of BJJ hair issues, hair pulling is another one you’ve probably faced if you have long hair. People will end up pulling on your hair, in most cases unintentionally, and it is going to keep annoying you. On the same subject, no ponytail has proven strong enough to keep your hair in place during grappling training. They keep falling apart, and sometimes, end up slapping people in the fact, which, when sweaty is not really an experience many look forward to. Not to mention “shedding” hair pins all over the mats.
The good news is, that all these BJJ hair issues are not difficult to deal with, as long as you figure out a hairstyle that will allow you to train, and stick to a few proven ways of keeping your hair healthy in the meantime.
Tried And tested Hairstyles For Training And Competition
First, let’s take a look at how we can approach dealing with hair. In those terms, hair length is the deciding factor. If your hair is too short to put up, then you should just make peace with the fact it will be everywhere. Until such a time s you cut it short, or it grows long enough to put up and pin, you’ll have to deal with BJJ hair.
First up, when it comes to getting your hair up, really do try and tie it as high as possible. Ponytails tied lower become uncomfortable when you spend time playing off your back, which is inevitable in Jiu-Jitsu. Moreover, having a ponytail/bun tied higher leaves enough room for people to sneak arms through, instead of getting tangled and pulling/pinning your hair every time they attempt it. While we’re talking about simple ways to tie your hair, make sure you’re not using anything that has metal in it, given that it may injure your training partners.
Hairstyles that are useful for both training and competing usually involve braids and tighter hairstyles than just having a ponytail up. In most cases, they involve braids, and starting from braiding your ponytail in a single braid, to cornrows, they are practical and do solve most BJJ issues. In terms of simplicity, doing pigtails which you then braid is an option easy to pull off by yourself and helps keep your hair secure. French-style braids on both sides are usually a hairstyle of choice for competition, but may not be easy to pull off for every class.
These are just several ideas you can use to ease your BJ hair troubles when it comes to dealing with long hair. If you have other options that you find useful, we’d be glad to hear them!
Taking Care Of Long Hair In BJJ
Apart from keeping your hair in pace (up to a certain point), keeping your hair healthy is another thing you need to consider. Most people with long hair usually do have their maintenance routines anyway, but BJJ does introduce a different kind of problem to the mix. Depending on your hair, there are several key pointers to focus on:
Keeping your hair clean is the most obvious and redundant piece of advice, but still… keep your hair clean by showering after every training session. You get to remove debris, massage the scalp, and provide moisture for your hair and a bunch of other things that are crucial for dealing with BJJ hair.
In terms of shampoo, if you have long hair, you probably already have your favorite, but going natural is always a good idea when your hair is going to withstand the abuse of Jiu-Jitsu. A conditioner of choice will also come in more than handy. In that sense, if you’re unsure, or have specific hair, talk to your hairdresser to get recommendations.
When it comes to using hair tools, like blow dryers, flat irons, and the likes, you should also be picky. With the blow drier, it is more of a case of not burning your hair rather than anything else. Flat irons though, come in very close contact and you should opt for a better quality one if you use it regularly.
Also, do think about investing in a hair care kit and a few supplements. You can go with coconut oil for the most natural version, or mess around with different hair serums. You could even go as far as turning towards your nutrition to improve hair health, but I do think that is a bit over the top.
BJJ hair issues will never be completely solved. In a sport where pressure and grinding can deform ears, it is foolish to think you can figure out a hairstyle so secure that everything will stay in place. During rolling/competing. However, you can look out for your hair, and you can optimize your experience by using hairstyles that have been proven to alleviate long hair problems. Or, you could be radical and cut your hair short, but somehow, I doubt you consider that an option if you’re reading this article.