From the runway to music videos, TV shows to your Instagram feed, scrunchies have truly gone where no hair tie has gone before—including space missions and The Smithsonian Museum.
While the scrunchie really blew up in the late 80s and all throughout the 90s, worn by all the decades' icons, from Madonna to Sarah Jessica Parker and even Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen as the lovable Michelle on Full House, the hair accessory has made a roaring comeback over the past few years.
Even male celebrities have embraced the scrunchie, actor Jason Mamoa – probably the most famous to do it. The Aquaman star revealed his head-turning pink tuxedo that he wore to the 2019 Oscars was actually inspired by a pink scrunchie his hairdresser had give him. His most important accessory that night? A custom pink velvet scrunchie designed and made by Fendi that he wore on his wrist. He’s been famously photographed with scrunchies ever since.
While we could continue our Jason Mamoa lovefest, we digress.
From A-listers to your everyday beauty (we’re talking to you), when it comes to hair accessories, the scrunchie may just be a girl’s (or guy’s) best friend. In fact, the original scrunchie prototype was actually called Scunchie after the inventor’s dog.
The history of the scrunchie
It’s no wonder that the creative mind behind the ultimate hair accessory was a woman, Romy Revson. Revson, a singer and nightclub performer has been toying around with creating alternative hair ties that weren’t made of elastic or rubber bands. Her focus was to make something using fabric.
Despite her lack of sewing skills, she went out and bought a used $50 sewing machine and some fabric. It took Revson two weeks, but she finally nailed the very first scrunchie in 1986. It was black and gold, stitched together with blue thread. She said in an interview the original name was Scunchie after her dog who stared at her while she toyed around with her invention. It’s not clear when exactly the accessory was officially renamed to scrunchie, but while Revson eventually got a patent for her design in 1987, she never mass produced them herself. Instead, she sold it to the brand, scünci, who introduced the scrunchie to the masses.
Revson’s sewing machine and what is believed to be the world’s first official scrunchie are on display at the Smithsonian Museum along with another famous blue fabric scrunchie.
Around 14 years after Revson created the first scrunchie prototype, an American astronaut Col. Pamela Melroy donned a scrunchie on not one, but two missions to the International Space Station in 2000 and 2002. It is NASA policy for astronauts to keep their long hair in a ponytail or braids to prevent tangling with equipment among other safety considerations. According to the Smithsonian Museum,
“This guideline has affected only the women astronauts, as no male astronauts have had long hair. The scrunchie is thus an emblem of small but noticeable changes that occurred when women entered the workplace in space.”
Col. Melroy donated her space-travelling scrunchie to the museum in 2004.
Since Revson first sewed those stitches together, the scrunchie has evolved into more than just a trusted hair tie alternative. From the power ponytails to messy buns and the perfect sweat session hairstyle, the scrunchie is really made for anyone, and with so many new alternatives there is a scrunchie for everyone.
Are scrunchies better for hair?
While there may not be a specific scientific study on scrunchies being better for hair compared to regular hair ties, basic hair rules tell us, that they are. The problem with elastics or typical hair ties is how hair gets tangled or pulled when the hair tie is being removed. We’ve all experienced the pain of hair tie breakage and pulling before. It’s also not uncommon to find more shedding or breakage when hair is worn in ponytails for longer periods of times or while sleeping.
Although most scrunchies are also made with elastics, they are typically a wider, natural fibre braided elastic sewn between fabric – and that’s what makes it better for hair. Unlike the rubber band-like hair ties that pull and tug, the wider, flatter fabric of scrunchies cause little to no pull or tangle in the hair causing less breakage and less ponytail pain.
Depending on the fabric, scrunchies also cause less friction and breakage making them safe for longer wear and in some cases, safe for sleeping in too.
Hair Scrunchies for all hair types
Scrunchies have come a long way and are now made with everything from satin to velvet, patterned from plaid to polka dots, and embellished with everything from pearls to crystals, the days of the plain fabric scrunchie are gone.
One of the biggest changes from the original scrunchies from the 80s and 90s is the different sizes scrunchies now come in. From mini to oversized, scrunchie brands and entrepreneurial designers have taken the hair accessory to new levels. It only makes sense as they’re worn everywhere from the office to Zoom calls, the gym and the grocery store.
Whether you already have your favorite, or you’re like us, and always open to finding more, here are scrunchies for all hair types and some tips on how to wear them.
You know that awkward shape you get just below the crown of your head when taking out a ponytail that’s been worn for a few hours? Yes, the dreaded ponytail bump. Velvet can help with that. Apart from being trendy and festive when the season’s right, velvet minimizes creases and ponytail bumps as the fabric does not create a tight, damaging hold.
As velvet is so hair friendly, it’s great for all hair types. This blush velvet scrunchie set comes with 5 mauve and millennial pink-esque hues, they’re neutral enough for all hair colors, while not being boring.
We also love that this set’s colors create an ombré effect, perfect for a bubble ponytail hairstyle. Why wear one scrunchie when you can wear 5? Especially when they’re perfectly color coordinated.
Satin scarves and bonnets are known to help prevent frizz especially for curly and coily Type 3 and Type 4 hair. It’s also one of the reasons satin scrunchies have blown up. Another bonus? Wearing a satin scrunchie in wet hair won’t absorb the moisture from your hair. Satin scrunchies can also be worn safely while sleeping as long as your hair isn’t tied too tight.
There’s also something super sassy and sophisticated about satin, it’s all around hair-safe quality make it another great choice for all hair types. While it can be worn for almost any occasion, let us offer up a sweet and sassy look for a date night. A half up half down look with some loose curls tied together with a satin scrunchie will certainly vamp up your look.
scünci may have been the scrunchie’s first official big brand but Slip Scrunchies have dominated the scrunchie market with rave reviews, best-selling scrunchie sets and beauty awards. The downside might just be the price tag as they are on the higher end. Slip Scrunchies are made with their own trademarked fabric to help prevent breakage, while still being durable and soft on hair.
This Mega Set comes with 7 of Slip’s scrunchies in different sizes and is great value for scrunchie lovers who also want to protect their hair.
Scrunchies with tails
Also known as the scarf scrunchie, we like to think of this as the grown scrunchie. Women have long styled their hair with scarves and it adds an air of sophistication with a touch of nonchalance. We love the scrunchie with tails or scarf scrunchie for our grown ladies, or for an event that calls for some embellishment in the back. Style a srunchie with tails in a low ponytail for a great 9 to 5 look.
This 8-piece silk and satin scarf scrunchie set comes in a variety of patterns to help mix and match with any outfit.
Best silk scrunchies
By now you know the benefits of silk pillowcases and sheets. They help to prevent creases and wrinkles on skin. Silk also prevents friction and breakage for your hair. Another great thing about silk sheets is they help to keep you cool which is great for anyone who gets the night sweats (we’ve all been there). In scrunchies, silk, similar to satin, create a smooth surface for your hair with no rubbing or pulling, helping to prevent frizz and breakage. Needless to say, silk scrunchies can also be worn safely while you snooze.
This LilySilk scrunchie pack has 4 scrunchies (2 large and 2 mini) that are made with 100% Mulberry Silk that will be gentle on hair while providing great hold.
Best scrunchies for thick hair
Scrunchies overall are great for thick hair. As most are made with a flat, braided elastic and the rouching of the fabric makes them easier to wrap around the hair for a stronger hold without the damage. To switch things up, an oversized scrunchie would especially look great wrapped in a messy bun, thick power pony like this one or a low bun.
Check out these hand-made oversized scrunchies by XXL and co that come in a variety of colors and fabrics that will surely turn heads.
These oversized organza scrunchies are also great for thick hair girls and make a great addition to fancy up an outfit.
Best scrunchies for thin hair
Scrunchies offer a stylish hair accessory without weighing on hair, which is especially important for thin hair girls. Scrunchies also don’t have to be your basic, shape. For our thin hair girls, we love the Sleepover Mini Satin Scrunchie Set. Made smaller than your average scrunchie, but with bow/ bunny ear details, these satin scrunchies will hold up your thin hair without the damage of a typical ponytail all while adding little oomph with the bow details.
Best scrunchies for working out
Just like a good sports bra, or the perfect pair of leggings, the best scrunchies for working out have to be comfortable and durable. A tried and tested workout scrunchie is the Lululemon Uplifting Scrunchie not only will it keep your pony securely in place for your entire workout whether it’s Pilates or kickboxing, it's also quick-drying so you won’t have to worry about sweating it off. Apart from the typical workout ponytail, switch it up with braids
Bonus: tie your braid with mini scrunchies for a strong, sweat-proof hold.
Best scrunchies for fine hair
The biggest trouble with fine hair is its inability to hold styles like waves or curls. Fine hair can fall flat, even if the hair is curly. While there are a ton of tricks and tips to help add volume to fine hair and texture to fine hair, like hair extensions a few styling tricks can also help. For instance, if you wear your hair down a lot, switch up how you part your hair. By using a hairdryer (on lower heat) and a little hair spray to move hair to another side you can volumize hair at the new part.
Another easy trick? Use texturized accessories like Luxy Hair’s Dusk to Dawn Scrunchie Set. The chic frayed style of these scrunchies will add a little texture to your fine hair whether in a low ponytail, bun of half up half down style, these scrunchies are really made for your day or night looks.
Best scrunchies for man bun
While we understand not all gents will want to rock a Jason Mamoa pink velvet scrunchie, there are a ton of man bun scrunchies to choose from. For those looking for a simple, reliable scrunchie, we recommend these scünci comfortable classic scrunchies. They won’t pull or snag on your man bun but will still be strong enough to hold it together. For the more style adventurous, or Momoa-inspired, why not try a velvet or satin scrunchie to liven up your man bun? Patterns and loud colors optional.
Best scrunchies for curly hair
Best scrunchies for kinky, coily/natural hair
While a fabric that doesn’t damage the hair is important for kinky and coily hair, a strong hold scrunchie is just as important for natural hair. The Afro Puff Scrunchie was specifically made for natural kinky and coily hair to be gentle yet strong. Satin and silk scrunchies also work really well for kinky and natural hair as they will help to prevent frizz and breakage.
Best scrunchies to protect hair
When compared to your typical hair tie, scrunchies protect the hair better overall, but when it comes to the best scrunchies to protect hair – it’s in the name. Luxy Hair’s Snag-Free Satin Scrunchie set are made to protect your hair from snags, pulls and tangles. These satin scrunchies come in a set of 3 with refreshing pink hues that will make protecting your hair look just as good as it feels. Choose your favorite from Petal Pink, Fresh Coral or Luxy Pink. You’re welcome.
Other trending hair scrunchies
Other scrunchie trends to look for Faux leather scrunchies have started to pop up and make for an edgy yet chic look. In keeping with the nostalgia, tie dye and neon scrunchies are also super popular and offer pops of color to casual or natural outfits.
Similar to the scrunchie with tails, scrunchie with bunny ears have also made appearances. While they may look cute on your little sister, there’s no age limit on scrunchies!
Finally, is it more of a hair accessory, wrist accessory? Embellished scrunchies with gems, pearls or crystals are also trending and they make for a great addition to your arm candy when not worn in hair, but really, this goes for all scrunchies.
For hair wash days, microfibre towel scrunchies help to absorb water while being gentle on hair. These would also be great for a pool day or beach holiday!
What’s your scrunchie style?
The scrunchie is an all-around must-have for today’s woman. We are busy and have much better things to do than dig around the bottom of our purse or around the bathroom vanity for a spare hair tie. Scrunchies are so convenient, they easily slip on to the wrist when not in the hair – and their size and fabrics also make them easier to find in that dreaded black space at the bottom of all bags. The best part? Scrunchies are comfortable and versatile enough to be gentle on hair but strong enough to hold it all together form power ponytails to messy buns and everything in between.
If you haven’t embraced the scrunchie trend yet, what are you waiting for? In fashion, what’s old is new again, but with the scrunchie, it’s one hair trend we see sticking around for seasons to come.
Written by: Rosalyn Solomon