Badminton Problems: Hair

I always talk about how awesome badminton is, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns over here. Playing badminton has brought a lot of problems to my life and I decided to share some of them.

One problem I’ve already talked about: tennis elbow. But the problem I want to talk about today is something maybe only half of the human race cares about but I think the ladies will feel me.

Hair. Specifically long hair.

I have thin hair that tends towards frizzy. Back in the day I had a lot of thin hair so I didn’t think anything of it. As you age, hair tends to get thinner, but after playing so much badminton I was becoming bald. I obviously wasn’t gonna stop playing badminton, but if I didn’t do something to my hair, quick, I was gonna end up looking like Jessica Tandy in Cocoon.

Great actresses, not a hair role model.

You want proof? This is more one year ago, winter, 2016

Hair before badminton. (I did nothing to my hair that day, and even wore a hat most of the day, and my hair looked so neat and orderly I took a horrid “dirty mirror selfie” to commemorate the day.)

This was me a few weeks ago:

I know you can’t see it clearly, but that’s the point. It was so stringy and thin and dry and damaged I kept it under a hat the whole time.

The problem has many causes:

Genetics. I have thin hair, prone to breakage.

Style: When playing badminton you need hair tied up and away from your face. This leads to tight ponytails tied together with elastic bands that easily break hair.

Sweat: Sweat is just salt water that soaks in your hair for hours. Salt weakens hair and makes it easier to break.

Sorry for the scary pic, but this is how my hair looks everyday after a badminton session.

Showers: Showering everyday is bad for your skin and hair, but due to playing everyday I really don’t have a choice. I must shower daily. You’re welcome humanity.

Add to that that I used a straightening iron almost everyday (to keep the frizz down) and you’ll see it’s a miracle that I have any hair left at all. But towards the last few months when I would put my hair up, the elastic tie had almost no hair to actually keep together.

I saw my hair sliding down this trap, but as a low maintenance girl, I had no idea what to do.

That’s why I called an expert. My friend India is a professionally-trained certified hairstylist and when I went to Shanghai this winter I  made an appointment. I’m not gonna lie, I was scared. I thought for sure the only thing she would say was “chop it off.”

But I like long hair. And India knew it.

“The problem with thin long hair is it looks stringy. Even if it is healthy the hair weighs itself down and separates and looks stringy.” That was definitely one of my problems.

So she came up with a solution. Cut it shorter, but long enough that it could go in a ponytail if needed. And layer it, to give it a fuller look.

She was a miracle worker!

My hair before. If I turned around and revealed some old lady skeleton face, I think you wouldn’t be so shocked. Thin, matted, stringy and showing way too much of my scalp.

My hair after! Full, shiny and like a normal human girl.

So I gave up some length, but got a lot of health back in return.

Now comes the hard part though, maintenance. She told me to use some different styling products from Aveda. Only problem is, Aveda isn’t sold in China. They don’t test on animals, and therefore it is illegal. (Yep, for something to be sold in China it must be tested on animals first. Crazy huh?)

I went to Thailand and was able to find one of the products she recommended but I’m hoping my mom can send me some other from America. I’m also using special “thin and weak” shampoo from Pantene (Though India said Pantene products aren’t good, but I really don’t have a choice. In China we don’t have any of the good brands.)

I like my new haircut! It took me awhile to warm up to it (I’m not good with changes to my hair) but it’s so much easier to wash and dry and everything. Now I use the hair dryer but I don’t use the straightener much, just a little for the especially frizzy bits. (The Aveda styling product I bought really does help.)

Me and my hair only two days after that picture of me and the Disney hat. Such a difference, eh?!

I now wear a headband instead of a ponytail and it keeps all the hair away from my face without breaking it. When summer comes, and I’ll begin the copious amounts of sweating again, I’ll put a little coconut oil in my hair before playing to protect it. The hair should absorb the coconut oil and not absorb the salt water. I’ve also heard that just wetting your hair before you sweat prevents the salt from absorbing. I also might try that.

I’m still learning and figuring out what to do, but I think I’m finally on the right track. It’s such a stupid leap in logic from “badminton player” to “hair care specialist” but now in my mind the two are intertwined. I now see why so many pro’s have short boy style haircuts. A lot less hassle for sure.

Are you a woman that plays badminton (or another sport) and have some tips for good hair? I know I only talked about my hair type: thin, but ladies with thick hair must have problems too, right? Let me know if you have any thoughts in the comments! (And if you have any tips for me.)



  1. Carol Anne Ances

    Inguess I know what will be in my next package…I’d better get busy…

  2. Holofanboi

    Hmm… so your hair damage became obvious approx 2 years after starting badminton seriously. My experience seem to echo yours coupled with deteriorating skin quality.

    Never had these problems with weightlifting for years, so i am gonna guess that due to how much we are breathing, badminton is actually quite stressful physically. Sure its fun as all heck, but im not liking what im seeing in the mirror these days (Hell even my wife is complaining now…) Perpetual muscle fatigue, exhaustion after games, skin and hair quality drop… just how much more does one need to sacrifice for badminton!? T___T

    1. Becky (Post author)

      I’d rather play lots of badminton and lose all my hair, then give up badminton for the sake of my hair! hahahah. But I do wish I could have both!

      1. abhi

        i love this reply rather give up hair n not badminton ,wow i am in the same boat .


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