BMW has come up with a unique way to avoid helmet hair – style your hair like one of their helmets as these photos show!
However, their hilarious ad campaign for their helmets is not really a solution to what is a very serious problem for some people.
Helmet hair is that flat look you get with your hairstyle when you remove your helmet after a ride. If you are so vain that it stops you from riding, then good, we probably don’t want your type riding motorcycles anyway!
However, it is still a concern for some riders and pillions, male and female. I wouldn’t know. I have a close-cropped no-blade haircut and advanced balding. Even so, a buzz cut is still a problem for me as it can cause itching.
Coping with helmet hair
But this article is more about coping with that flat look you get when you remove your helmet. It’s a nuisance, but it is no great deterrent to riding.
Even Australian actress, model, TV presenter and Ducati fan Zoe Naylor rides a motorcycle despite what a helmet does to her hairstyle. “I have just given over to the fact that it is not going to be your finest hour after a long ride, so it’s more about comfort in the helmet,” she says. “So no clips and fancy dos.”
Sue Corrigan of the International Female Ride Day Brisbane group says she knocked helmet hair on the head by cutting her hair short. Riding was far more important than her long tresses. Many of the women riders I spoke to said the same thing. They simply opted for a shorter haircut. But there are ways for people with long locks to cope with helmet hair.
I spoke with several hairdressers and women riders and their first word of advice is for riders not to wear product in their hair as it makes it brittle and uncomfortable. It also tends to rub off inside your helmet, leaving a mess.
Pony tails and plaits have been suggested as a way of keeping your hair in order, but even they can have problems as the wind winds it around and tends to break off or damage the ends. Plait-wearing Annie Cassidy says she puts a bit of baby oil in her plaits to stop the damage. She also now wears two plaits rather than one central plait. Most women steer clear of using bobby pins, clasps or other hard objects to keep their hair in order, opting instead for soft materials and bands.
But the main suggestion is to wear some sort of scarf to keep long hair from flapping around in the breeze and becoming damaged and tangled. They are also suitable for shorter hairstyles because they prevent irritation and itching. There are many brands available.
Samantha Leggatt of Jadee Sporting Distributors recommends a scarf. “I wish I had a definite solution for you, I think I’d make a fortune but I can only tell you how I use our scarf. When riding the best solution for helmet hair, especially long hair, is to use the scarf as a full tube where you put it on like a hairband but then pull the tube all the way back so that the hair is through the tube. Women can then leave it as is or knot it at the end, it also doesn’t interfere with the helmet liner. I have short hair, so after the ride I wear it as a hairband to cover the effects of the wind. For longer hair I suggest that they use the scarf as a scrunchie or keep it on as a long hairband.”
Andy White of Andy Strapz has two products worth mentioning. There’s the Headliner that also makes your head feel more comfortable and keeps the helmet clean. The single-layer “skull cap” head cover is made from Smart Wool so it is warm in winter and cool in summer. There’s also the Buff which is made from polyester micro fibre to wick away sweat. You can wear it as a scarf, face mask, helmet liner, neck cooler, bandana or beanie.
IFRD rider Rosalie Cross says she has tried many brands, but likes a cheap hair tube that was made for the snow season and is available from Aldi for about $6. She bought a heap of them in different colours during an Aldi sale for just 50c each. “It makes me look like a nun, but when I pull it off, my hair looks just fine,” she says.
If you don’t like wearing a scarf, beanie or cap, there is an Australian invention called the Airhead by TwoWheel Cool. It’s a gel-like material in a star shape with dimples. It sits inside the top of your helmet and provides a small area of space so that your hair is not flattened. I bought one and it irritated my bald scalp. My wife also tried it and it irritated her scalp even though she has very thick hair. However, I know a couple of women who swear by them.
The final tip is to take a small comb with you to restore some order to your hair when you arrive at your destination. Rider Katie Bradley has long, flowing blonde hair and says all she needs to do when she takes her helmet off is slick down the fringe and “zhoosh” her hair with her fingers.
Now, just one more photo of those hilarious BMW helmet hair ads!