How to Wear a Helmet Over Curly Hair

How to Wear a Helmet Over Curly Hair

Over the last year, I’ve fallen in love with riding my bike. It started as a carbon-neutral way to get to work, but now I enjoy doing it for fun as well, though I’m still building up strength and stamina. One other important thing I’ve learned this year, is how to wear my helmet over my curls and still show up at work with a poppin’ wash-n-go. Let me show you how.

Contents:

Cycling is a privilege

First, let me acknowledge that cycling is a privilege. Environmentalists sometimes push cycling as a free environmentally-friendly alternative to driving that people should do. In reality, riding your bike is a great way to get around without releasing many greenhouse gases if you have the means and ability to do so. The truth is biking requires the you to (1) own and maintain the equipment (bike and helmet, plus good-to-haves like a lock and lights), (2) possess the physical ability and strength to power a bike, and (3) in many cases, have extra time on your hands. Not to mention that riding a bike is one of those things that’s “classy when you’re rich but trashy if you’re poor.” Being able to ride a bike instead of driving is a privilege.

Text over image of fern leaves. Text reads "cycling is a privilege. Cycling is not something all environmentalists must do. It is a privilege for those with teh means and ability. There's a silouette drawing of a bike.

Story time: me + cycling

Like a lot of kids, I learned how to ride a bike when I was little. My dad has long been a cycling fan and regularly goes on 3-hour long weekend morning rides. For me, it’s been something I could do for a long time, but it wasn’t until last year (2019) when it became something I did regularly. A lot of the credit goes to my best friend’s mom for sparking the idea that I could bike to my office. I wouldn’t really have known that it was a doable ride if she hadn’t off-handedly mentioned that I could bike it when I told her the office was about 5 miles from my house. Credit also goes to my dad for bringing a lot of know-how and being supportive of the choice. Selfie from my first time biking to work. I'm outside the building in front of a sign that says the company name, which is blurred and replaced with the words

Last year, I worked up from always driving to work, to cycling 3 days a week, which felt awesome. I eventually had to slow down when the days got shorter in the fall and I found myself having to leave the office at 4pm in order to make it home before sunset. My office is pretty relaxed about what hours I work, but it was not a good look leaving that early 😂 

Before coronavirus hit, I was just getting back into the swing of things after a long break after the winter holidays. Now, I’ve been working from home for 6 months and I ride much less often than I’d like. I miss the powerful, bad*ss feeling of getting myself to and from work. Before we plunge back into winter darkness, I’m hoping I can carve out a couple days each week to get in a ride like I used to.

Wearing a helmet with curls

So, where do your curls go when you’re wearing a helmet?? There are two options here:

  1. Hair in a protective style, like braids or twists
  2. Curls down

You can wear a helmet with either option. Let me show you how.

Protective style

If your curls are in a protective style, it’s probably obvious that wearing a helmet is pretty simple. You can just plop the helmet right on if you want. If you want to be a little more careful, I recommend wearing a satin bonnet or scarf under the helmet. I like to use an old, stretched out bonnet that I don’t really wear anymore. I just set it on my head, tie back the excess, and secure the helmet on top. Easy peasy.

Curls down

If your curls are down, loose, in a wash-n-go type situation, things are a little trickier. Luckily, someone with more curl experience than I do has our back. I highly recommend this video from Beverly of Hello Curls Salon: https://youtu.be/BeGnMzo2nRs

Though she has much looser curls, the same basic technique works for my 3C curls. The key is for the helmet to touch as few curls as possible and not move around. This will ensure your curls stay intact and not too frizzy.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by leaning back and making sure all your curls fall behind you. This helps the helmet touch as few curls as possible.
  2. Place the helmet straight down onto your head and secure.
  3. After your ride, lean back and remove the helmet straight off. Try not to sweep it off.

Check out my photos and video below for more help.

Before putting on my helmet, I lean my head back so my curls fall behind my shoulders.
I place the helmet straight onto my head so it needs as little adjusting as possible once placed.

Conclusion

That’s it! I hope this helps open up transportation options if you thought cycling wasn’t something curly-haired people can do! I know when I first started cycling to the office, I thought I could only do it on days when my hair was braided. Once I figured out this method for biking with my curls down, it made it that much easier to make it a regular habit!

Hit me up in the comments below or on Instagram @naturallynaturalblog to let me know how it goes for you!

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