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What is Hat Hair?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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The term “hat hair” is used to describe the sometimes deleterious effects of hat wearing on hair, especially when hair has been arranged into a specific and delicate style. A related concept is helmet hair, which is the result of wearing a motorcycle, riding, or bicycle helmet. Although the helmet protects the skull of its wearer, it tends to flatten out the hair, sometimes creating a rather undesirable look.

Classic hat hair is flattened as a result of the pressure from the hat, and it may be uneven, depending on the style of hat involved. Hat hair is also often staticky, especially when a felt hat or knit cap is pulled off the head, generating a static charge which causes flyaway hairs. For people with medium length cuts, hat hair can cause the hair on the top of the head to be flattened, while the bottom of the cut flares out, accentuating the hat hair.

The messed up hair which is a result of hat wearing can be reduced by wearing a shorter hair cut and a lightweight hat. Short hair cuts tend to look good when they are mussed, so you can pass hat hair off as a deliberate style statement, while lighter hats will not create so much pressure, thereby reducing the flattening effect. Some people also combat the effect with specific styles, such as very tight ponytails which pull the hair firmly against the head, making it hard to tell that someone has been wearing a hat.

If you aren't willing to compromise your hairstyle or choice of hat, there are a few steps which can be taken to deal with hat hair after it has struck. If your hair is flattened, spritz it lightly with a volumizing spray and run your fingers through it, encouraging the hair to fluff up again. In the event of a static problem, squeeze some moisturizer on your hands and run them through your hair, encouraging the hair to smooth down.

Some people also like the look of untamed hat hair, which can be a bit wild and unpredictable. After all, runway models often have a similar look, which is achieved with the assistance of copious hair products and long hours at the hands of a stylist.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By beachgirl05 — On Aug 12, 2010

travel28- I agree with you that carrying a comb with you is essential to combating hat hair. I also have another solution to hat hair. I usually wear hats on hot summer days to keep the sun off my face. However, these hats often left my hair very sweaty and matted down. I have since started wearing visors instead of hats. Visors still keep the sun off my face, but they don't go all the way over the head. When I take off the visor, it has not affect my hairstyle.

By travel28 — On Aug 12, 2010

When I know I will be wearing a hat, I always carry a comb and a volumizing spray with me in my purse. When I take off the hat, I spray some volumzing spray on my hair and let it sit for a few seconds. I then take my comb and comb my hair in an upwards motion. This gives my hair lift and helps remove any trace of hat hair that I had.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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