Tips For Banishing Annoying Hat Hair

Whether trekking through sub-zero temperatures or catching a tan under the blistering summer sun, a hat is a handy accessory. From baseball caps and vizors to beanies and berets, there are countless hat options to choose from, depending on your preference. Plus, throwing a hat on is one of the best options when you just don't feel like doing your hair. An accessory that can save you time and complete an outfit? A total keeper. 


But what about those days when you accessorize your look with a hat and want to take it off later? We have two annoying words for you: hat hair. "Hat hair typically flattens your hair and creates a crease or cowlick," celebrity hairstylist Jana Rago told Prose. "This is usually a result of the oils that are on your roots and in that concentrated area. The oils keep your hair matted down even more when you wear a hat — the tighter the rim of the hat, the worse the crease will be."

Rago tells Prose that you should reach for a "looser and softer" hat to avoid intense creases. Sometimes, though, that tight baseball cap or head-hugging beanie looks the best with your outfit. Rest assured, there are ways you can prevent and avoid hat hair so you can remove that hat with confidence, knowing your locks won't look a total mess — and even if they do, we've got the lowdown on how to fix it.


Avoiding hat hair starts in the shower

Many tend to reach for a hat when their hair is dirty to cover up those greasy, flat roots. But if you plan on taking your hat off, chances are you aren't looking to cover up any unwashed roots (otherwise, why would you want to take the hat off?). Therefore, we recommend paying particular attention to your hair products in the shower so your shampoo and conditioner aren't contributing to future hat hair. Beauty retailer Kiehls says having voluminous hair before you put the hat on will help your roots look livelier when you remove the cap. So, you'll want to reach for hair products that promote lift and volume.


When selecting your volumizing hair products, Krysta Biancone, Santa Barbara-based hairstylist and co-founder of Amari Salon and Spa, told She Finds that you should reach for shampoos and conditioners that contain keratin, collagen, and biotin. "For conditioners, look for ones that contain proteins like silk or wheat germ oil," she said. "These will help nourish the strands of your hair while adding extra volume. Lastly, use a volumizing mousse or spray after you blow dry for an extra boost of lift and texture."

Choose a hat-safe hairstyle

Before you put your hat on, you may want to style your hair in a way that will look its best when you take the hat off. And fortunately, according to Hair La Vie, it doesn't matter if your hair is short, long, curly, or pin-straight — any hair type and texture can be styled to reveal stunning results when your hat is removed. We recommend over-compensating with voluminous hair before putting the hat on so that even when it flattens, your roots aren't completely lifeless. Or, you could go the opposite route, slicking your hair down in a pin-straight style. A hat can't flatten hair that's already flat! 


You'll absolutely want to take advantage of this hairstyling hack @jesstalkshair posted on TikTok. Before putting your hat on, you'll want to part your hair in the opposite direction you usually would. So, if you part your hair on the right, you'll part it on the left, and vice versa. If you have a middle part, any side part will do. By doing this, your roots are actually gaining volume, since the hat is forcing your hair in the opposite direction you typically have it. When you remove the hat and flip your hair to its normal part, it will be propped up and voluminous.

Wear a silk wrap or scarf under your hat to protect your hair

If you sleep on a silk pillowcase or with a silk bonnet, you know the benefits silk has on your strands. And if you aren't using silk on your hair during bedtime, you're missing out! According to head wrap and hair accessory company Headcovers Unlimited, there are numerous benefits of using silky head accessories. Not only does silk protect your hair against bacteria and antigens, but it promotes healthy growth, safeguards curls, keeps frizz at bay, and protects your skin.


So, it's no secret that wearing silk under your hat may protect your hair from any unsightly creasing and oily build-up. There are numerous ways to wrap a silk scarf on your hair under your hat, but L'Oréal Paris recommends wearing it "like a bandana." Feel free to leave the scarf's ends peeking underneath, especially if it coordinates with the look. Or reach for a silk wrap with no loose ends to prevent it from showing under the hat. 

Don't skip the hairspray

Hairspray is your best friend before — and after — you wear a hat. Spritzing hairspray on your 'do before placing the hat on will keep the strands in place, but you don't want to stop there! You'll want to lock in your post-hat style with hairspray, too. Plus, certain hats can create static, and hairspray is great for combating that. We recommend bringing a travel-size hairspray with you on the go, so you have it on hand after you remove your hat. According to hair salon Jean Louise David, spraying hairspray on a comb and running it through your locks will keep those "rebellious hairs in line."


It's also important to note that you should reach for a light or flexible hold hairspray that won't make your hair crunchy and stiff under your hat. If you use a strong hold hairspray, your hair won't be very malleable after you remove your hat, making restyling difficult (via All Things Hair). A light or flexible hold hairspray is your best bet at keeping the style in place while giving you room to fix as necessary after removing your hat.

Dry shampoo = flat hair's hero

It's no secret that wearing a hat is a one-way ticket to flat hair central. But, of course, one product always saves the dull look: dry shampoo. Since hats give your roots a safe place to produce excess oil, combating it with a dry shampoo is a great option. "A nourishing dry shampoo can work wonders for revitalizing your hair, especially one with a volumizing agent," celebrity hairstylist Felix Fischer told Today. "Simply use it before you put on your hat and buy a travel-size version to spritz throughout the day."


Once you remove your hat, your roots will certainly require a pick-me-up. However, if powdery dry shampoo products aren't your thing, or you don't have any on hand, Mane Addicts advocates for a texturizing spray, which will provide volume and lift "from root to tip." Remove the hat, flip your hair upside-down, shake your head, run your fingers through your strands, and get to spraying. You may want to run a wide-tooth comb through your roots after spraying to work the product in as well.

If all else fails, throw your hair up

We're not ones to give up; we know you aren't either. But if your hair is past the point of no return after you remove that hat, then throwing it up in a loose messy bun may be your best bet. There are endless #MessyBun tutorials on TikTok, with the hashtag collecting 1.5 billion views. The perfect hairstyle for crimped, creased, and unwashed hair, the messy bun always has your back. Plus, it's super easy and quick to achieve — no sprays, serums, or brushing required.


Or, if your hair is exceptionally oily and greasy, you may want to go the polished route and slick your hair in a "model-off-duty" bun seen on runway models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. According to Adore Beauty, who calls the look a "secret disguise for gross, greasy hair," a chic, slicked-back bun works well on super dirty locks. So, instead of fighting that hat hair, your best bet may be to disguise the look even more. Or leave the hat on! Nobody will know your hair needs a wash either way (your secret is safe with us).