How Long Can You Keep Rubber Bands in Your Hair?

How Long Can You Keep Rubber Bands in Your Hair?

Whether your hair is always getting in your face or you’re feeling hot and want to tie it up, you might want to reach for a rubber band to tie it up.

You might feel clever at the office when you grab a rubber band for your hair once you realize you have no other alternative to twist your locks out of the way, but it’s not the best decision you can make for your hair.

Oh! And it’s a common misconception that rubber bands will help grow your hair.

Certain types of hair get even more caught up than others, though arguably, rubber bands aren’t good for any hair type. Some people use the smaller rubber bands to tie off small braids or dreads.

Both are cute styles until it’s time to take those rubber bands out.

How Long Can You Keep Rubber Bands in Your Hair?

Rubber bands are bad for your hair and you should take them out after 1 to 2 days to avoid further damage. A common misconception is that rubber bands help your hair grow faster because they stretch the roots, promoting hair growth.

However, studies have shown that  there is a strong connection between traction alopecia and certain hairstyles held for a long amount of time.

Traction alopecia is a medical condition that happens when the hair gets pulled. Rubber bands can cause this because they put pressure on your roots and scalp if the rubber band is too tight or worn for too long.

As far as damage go, they aren’t extremely noticeable right away. Over time, however, you’ll notice that your hair is out of its usual routine and style and your ponytails and buns won’t look as neat as they used to.

Although rubber bands can cause damage over time, most women don’t wear them long enough to experience any of these problems. Most will wear them for about one to two days before taking them out, allowing their hair to rest.

If you do decide that you want to keep the rubber band in all day, though, then go right ahead. It won’t cause your hair damage as long as it’s not too tight and is kept in place for a short amount of time.

If you want to know why rubber bands can be devastating for your hair and how to work with them effectively without destroying your precious strands, keep reading!

Are Rubber Bands Bad for Your Hair?

Rubber bands are not inherently bad for your hair. However, they tend to pull the roots a bit and this can cause a form of damage in some people. Although it does depend on how tight the rubber band is and only after long term use would there be any big issues caused by wearing them.

However if you do find that you do get any hair breakage or damage due to them when you wear them, then it’s best to stop wearing the band which caused the issue. Wearing rubber bands in your hair can lead to breakage and damage, but they don’t directly overpower.

The key thing is making sure that you do not wear them for long periods of time! They’re fine to wear for just a day or two, but if you start wearing them for weeks on end then that’s when the damage can occur.

Why Rubber Bands are Bad for Your Hair

Horror stories abound from those who have used rubber bands in their hair for dreads and braids.

Mostly, these revolve around missing some of them deep within the locks and finding them so deeply embedded in the hair that there was no other alternative than to cut off some length from the hair.

For ethnic hair, it can be particularly challenging to remove rubber bands. They really get stuck in there because ethnic hair has a thicker shaft, tends to be curly, and is more coarse than other hair types.

If you’re going to go for styles like these, it’s best to use something else to secure them. Something that won’t become stuck in your hair and cause endless damage.

While textured hair definitely has a more difficult time when tied up with rubber bands, every hair type will suffer when bound with them.

The rubber is notorious for pulling at your strands, tangling hair up with it, and leaving you stuck. When you take them out, they snap strands or even pull out whole hairs. It’s just not worth the agony.

Uh-oh. Do you have rubber bands in your hair now? We don’t mean to scare you but if you want to avoid damage to your hair or chopping it shorter than you’d like, you should get those things out of your hair.

Keep reading on how to do that in the safest ways possible.  

How to Get Rubber Bands Out of Hair

If you’ve left rubber bands in your hair and you’re reading this now, please don’t panic. We’ll help you get them out safely, though you should probably vow right now to never use them again.

We’ll give you some tips on what you can use instead at the end so read on!

 – Cut your rubber bands out

Perhaps the easiest way to deal with rubber bands in your hair is to cut them out with scissors. As long as you keep a steady hand, you’ll be able to cut the rubber bands without losing strands or even sections of hair.

Likely, the rubber bands in your hair are wrapped several times around the section. The best way to remove it is to cut the outer layer first rather then trying to go for broke and cutting the entire band off in one go.

Make that initial cut, then gently unwind the rubber band to the best of your ability.

Only use the tip of the scissors, or consider using small grooming scissors for cuticles to avoid accidentally cutting your hair.

For this to go well, you must be precise. Don’t rush it. If you have rubber bands in a place you can’t reach or see well on your head, enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member, preferably one with very steady hands.

– You can roll them down

If the thought of snipping those rubber bands out of your hair frightens you, then don’t worry. There are other ways to get those bad boys out of your hair. You can roll them down with care instead.

Just like with scissors, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to removing rubber bands from your hair by rolling them down. You don’t want to damage or break off your strands so don’t rip it out.

Instead, slowly and gradually roll each rubber band down your hair. This takes a great deal of patience as it takes longer than using scissors, but if you rip it, you’ll regret it.

Unless you want to chop off all your hair, take the time to do it the right way. Then once you get them all out of your hair, never use them to style it again!

– Soak your rubber bands in oil

You can also choose to work smarter not harder when it comes to removing your rubber bands from your hair.

Sometimes you just need to grease things up to get rubber bands out. Got rubber bands stuck deep in your curls? Using some kind of conditioner will really help.

A leave-in option is ideal because it will provide some slipping and sliding action while nourishing your hair. This is a fantastic idea if you have looser rubber bands that aren’t wound too terribly tight.

But what should you do if that rubber band has the death grip on your hair?

In that scenario, it’s best to choose an oil because it is even thicker and greasier. Anything in your kitchen will do the trick if you don’t have hair oils in your arsenal. Think olive oil or mayonnaise. Even butter will help!

While you likely don’t want to have a greasy head of hair, it is far better than losing length and losing hair. Besides, you can always wash it out and get it back to normal.

– Get some help

If even your best efforts are failing you, then it’s time to seek out assistance from someone else. Get over the embarrassment by reminding yourself that losing hair is far worse than having friends and family, or even your stylist, snicker at you or lecture you for using rubber bands.

As mentioned before, when you have them in a place you can’t reach, it really pays to enlist the help of someone else to ensure it’s removed properly.

With an extra set of hands, you can get through those rubber band tangles in half the time. Plus, you’ll have time to catch up while you untangle the mess from your hair. That will help you make the best of a bad situation.

How to stop using rubber bands

This is pretty simple. Just stop! Don’t do it! Rubber bands may seem like a smart solution when you have nothing else to use, but they will ruin your hair. If you are lucky enough to get them out with minimal damage, then you should quit while you’re ahead and never use them again.

It’s not worth it to have countless fly-away strands because you’ve torn them apart. It’s not worth it to get a short haircut (unless you were all on board with getting one anyway).

Real hair ties and scrunchies can be bought very cheaply. You can even buy them in bulk.

Stash them in your bathroom, nightstand drawer, your handbag, in your desk drawer at the office, in the car, in your gym bag, and every other place you can think so you’ll always have a proper way to tie up your hair.

If you have no other choice, perhaps stranded on a desert island somewhere that rubber bands have all sadly washed upon the shore, never put rubber bands near your roots.

Only tie it as close to the ends as possible to keep from ripping and wrecking your hair.

We suggest though that you plan ahead for any adventure and always keep soft and clean hair bands or scrunchies with you, though we have a little more advice on that too.

– Avoid hair ties with metal

Hair ties that have a metal piece on them are almost as bad as using rubber bands. Almost. The metal can rip and damage your hair too, especially if you yank it out of your hair.

You want something that runs in a smooth circle all the way around. The make them in hair ties or in hair bands made from super-soft elastic fabrics which look fashionable while keeping your hair tied up in style.

– Try hair clips

Hair clips are another crafty way to get your hair up and out of the way. They come in all sizes but are absolutely ideal to snap onto your handbag to clip your hair out of the way.

This is a good alternative if you don’t want a ponytail or to bind your hair. There’s another reason you may want to consider hair clips too.

If you frequently color your hair, particularly for those that bleach it, using hair clips is a smarter choice. Keep reading to find out why that is.

– Don’t tie your hair up too much

Hair can get worn and break off even when you’re not using rubber bands. Too much styling isn’t a good thing. Consider taking a break from your typical styles a few days a week to shake things up.

Those of you with dyed hair, particularly you blondes, need to be even more cautious. Tying up your hair with rubber bands will be devastating for it.

But even proper hair ties can cause damage to dry, brittle, over-processed hair. If that describes your hair, keep away from ties of all kinds, especially rubber bands, and rely on hair clips most of the time.

That’s not to say you can’t wear it in a ponytail, but frequent wear of bleached hair in this style will result in a chemical cut.

What’s chemical cut, you ask? This is what stylists call processed hair that gets “cut” by tying it up. If you have layers in your bleached hair that you didn’t cut, you have chemical cut.

The solution to this is to deeply condition your hair and avoid binding it up in ties (especially rubber bands!). If you find you must wear a ponytail, do so only on days after you’ve intensely conditioned to prevent the likelihood of breakage.

If you have chemical cut, you will have to nurse your hair back to proper health. Talk to your stylist about that and see how you can correct the problem to get your locks back in luscious shape.


In short, we advise you to never use rubber bands in your hair for any reason whatsoever. Doing so will only destroy your gorgeous hair. There are other safer alternatives you can use to create an up ‘do or style textured hair types.

Should you get rubber bands stuck in your hair, don’t panic. Try to be patient as you work through our methods for removing them.

You can cut them out or roll them out with care, or you can grease things up to slide them out. If you can’t get them out yourself, get another set of hands on your head to help you out.

Rubber bands may seem like a convenient choice to tie your hair up when you’re without a hair accessory, but the damage they do isn’t even worth it.

They’re not good for creating styles with any hair type either though they are especially troublesome for textured hair. Stay away from rubber bands and keep them in your office supply drawer to use on anything but hair!


My name is Hajer and welcome to my site. This is my little haven, my outlet, where I can express myself, and show you everything I've learned about makeup, skincare, hair tips, and so much more, as well as the different beauty mistakes I've made so that you can avoid them.

About Me


Attention: The information on only serves for learning, informational and entertainment purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. This site is owned and operated by Hajeur Mehrez, Hajeur Mehrez is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for websites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to