How Do Footballer's Hair Stay In Place? - Deep Dive

How Does Footballers’ Hair Stay In Place? All You Need To Know

When we watch football, it’s not just the skills and goals that catch our eye but also the immaculate hair of footballers and the styles they make with them.

Since footballers are just as relevant as the sport itself, many people (fans and spectators) have taken a likeness to the looks and lifestyles of players. One aspect that is a talking point in soccer is the hair of soccer players.

This article delves into the intriguing aspect of a footballer’s appearance: his hairstyle. Moreso, it will also cover how footballers keep their hair in place during games.

Key Takeaways

Methods Of Keeping Hair In PlaceWhat are the ways a footballer’s hair is kept in place when they play?
Product PowerFootballers rely on a range of hair products like gels, sprays, and pomades.
Hairstyle TypesDifferent types of hairstyles in football
Pre-match Hair PreparationRituals and techniques to style hair and maintain it during games.
Professional TouchMany players have a dedicated team of stylists for hair maintenance.
Style and SubstanceHair styling is not just about looking good but also maintaining an image.
Iconic ExamplesExplore how hairstyles become a part of a footballer’s signature look.

Methods Footballers Employ To Keep Their Hair In Place

Methods Footballer's Employ  To Keep Their Hair In Place

To keep their hair in place, footballers typically use pomade, gel, or wax. Players would most likely use designer-branded, high-priced hair gel. This gives them a natural appearance that can hold shape even during a football game.

Also, they use some styling methods, such as braiding, to get a desirable and proficient look and feel.

1. Braiding

Braiding, which is the interlocking (weaving) of two or more strands of hair, is an effective method footballers use to style their hair in place.

It is particularly common for players with long hair, but it is also occasionally rocked by players who have little but sufficient hair length. Moreover, braids are good for keeping hair strands from blocking the face.

Nevertheless, there are many styles braids can be made into (French braids, Dutch braids, Fishtail braids, Cornrows) and they can also be used with other hair styling options such as headbands.

Some players who have been spotted rocking braids in include;

  • David Beckham
  • Erling Haaland
  • Marouane Fellaini
  • Andy Carroll
  • Neymar
Keeps hair in placePromotes hair loss and breaking
They last for a good period of timeStrain is put on the scalp
Have a neat look on football playersCan cause sores and inflammations

2. Hair Styling Products

Hair Styling Products

Hair products are a frequent use for footballers. They maintain the footballer’s hair texture, feel, and appearance, hair allowing them to play without the need to worry about their hair.

Aside from the fact that they are a popular option soccer players employ to hold their hair in place, they are used by both long and short-haired players.

Some of the well-used hair products include:

  • Hair spray
  • Gels
  • Pomade
  • Conditioners and hair oils
Firm and lasting thicknessMay cause scalp irritation and itching
Reduces hair lossOver-styling can lead to hair loss
It is light on the headThey can get ruined by sweat and moisture
Fast and easy to apply
Enhances hair shine and growth

3. Headbands

Headbands are another efficient way to hold hair in place especially when they are worn the right way and using the right material of headbands.

For soccer, it is advised that a footballer’s hair is not packed with rubber headbands as they are vulnerable to moisture and put tension on the hair, especially the forehead strands.

Using bands that are made from non-slippery water-absorbent fabric is best for soccer players.

Some renowned soccer players who wore headbands include;

  • Ronaldinho
  • Antoine Griezmann
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Luka Modric
Good for absorbing moisture (sweat)Headaches from pressure due to band tightness
Protects against the weather (sunny or rainy)Using the wrong band materials can cause hair breakage and loss
They are comfortable

Hair Accessories Regulations

When dealing with longer hairstyles, players frequently use hairbands, which must be quite strong to avoid snapping halfway through.

In addition to hairbands which are a common accessory, there are game rules that prohibit football players from wearing certain accessories.

The types of forbidden hair accessories are the ones that are hard or sharp in the hair. This is because of the harm they can cause to the players wearing them especially if they fall on them.

Furthermore, it means hard and sharp accessories such as plastic or metal hair clips and hard hair bands are not permitted.

This leaves soft elastic hair bands or headbands are options for men and women footballers with long hair.

Moreso, It is also forbidden to wear any hair accessories that can improve or aid in heading the ball.

Footballers And Haircuts

Haircuts are more than a fashion statement, they are a form of expression for soccer players as well as part of their brand and image.

There are so many individual personalities in football. For this reason, players want to stand up and express their peculiarity. Therefore a good way to express themselves is through the variety of styles which can be done with their hair.

Also, when it comes to players’ brand image, hairstyles are known to give a lot of impression. This is similar to how we have the “noodle hair Ronaldo” and the “Top dyed and full big beard Messi” which were iconic styles unique to these players.

how often do footballers get a haircut?

For regular folks (like you and me), getting a haircut is typically done monthly or twice a month (max average). This is an exception for when you have a special occasion that might warrant another visit to the barbershop.

However, footballers are not regular folks, as they have large fanbases and onlookers that follow every aspect of their lives. For this reason, they aspire to look their best 24/7.

This means getting haircuts multiple times a month or as many times as needed to maintain their style and clean look, especially before games.

Moreso, footballers are also known to go to extreme lengths to get a haircut. A typical example is Neymar who flew his personal barber 6,500km to Qatar, during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In addition, former BVB09 teammates, Jadon Sancho, and Manuel Akanji breached COVID-19 lockdown rules in order to simply get a fresh trim before a Bundesliga match.

Common Types of Hairstyles

Types of Hairstyles

1. Short Hair

The majority of football players have short hair. Whether it’s completely shaved or faded on the sides with a bit more on top. Gini Wijnaldum, Kylian Mbappe, Eden Hazard, and Sergio Ramos are examples of these players.

These players are unlikely to require much product in their hair, but those with a bit more on top. They would most likely use a small amount of hair gel or wax to achieve the desired styled look that would last throughout the game.

2. Slicked Back

Numerous players opt for a fade haircut combined with a slicked-back style on top. This hairstyle has been spotted on footballers such as Olivier Giroud, Jack Grealish, and Dani Ceballos, and sometimes by Cristiano Ronaldo.

In women’s football, Megan Rapinoe is known for her distinct quiff-style, short haircut on top.

Achieving and maintaining the slicked-back appearance requires considerable effort, especially to ensure it stays in place during a match.

At times, these players have resorted to using hair bands to manage their hair, though they are often seen playing without any hair accessories.

Typically, styling this look involves blow-drying the hair and then applying a strong-hold pomade or wax to maintain the slicked-back effect.

3. Long Hair

Long hair is also common among players in both men’s and women’s games. It’s unusual to see these players without some kind of hair accessory to keep their hair under control; otherwise, it becomes a distraction and a disadvantage to the player.

Some players, such as Andy Carroll, US women’s player Alex Morgan, and the retired England goalkeeper David Seaman, tied their hair in a long ponytail.

4. Long hair bun

This keeps hair out of the way, but at a certain length, it can still flutter around and distract players. Other players with long or slightly shorter hair prefer a tighter bun on top of the head.

Gareth Bale, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Lloris Karius are examples of these players. These players tie their hair at the top of their heads with elastic hair bands to keep it in place.

The’man-bun’ became a popular haircut in recent years, with many players sporting it. It is frequently combined with the trendy fade haircut, in which the sides are shaved while the hair on top remains long and tied up.

Women Footballer’s Hairstyles

The women’s game has a unique hairstyle in that most players have long hair. Pre-wrapped headbands are one example. Pre-wrap is a thin, foam-like material used as a barrier between the skin and athletic tape by trainers and physical therapists.

Its slightly tacky texture allows it to double as a no-slip headband, as demonstrated by several players during the World Cup. It can be worn as a thick wrap or rolled up into a thin band. Colors are frequently used in accordance with the team’s colors, but they can also be personalized.

Many female football players sport braids. Braids have been seen in the men’s game, but they are more uncommon. A braid is when the hair is tightly tied and intertwined, resulting in one or two long braided ponytails.

This keeps your hair out of your way and is less irritating and flicky than long ponytails. It is an excellent option for players with extremely long hair.

Pre-match Hair Preparations ANd Rituals

Before stepping on the field, soccer players perform a number of hair rituals to their hair to ensure their hair stays in place throughout their game.

These rituals go from applying their special hair product to the process, steps, procedures, and the right amount of hair product to use in order to achieve their required hairstyle.

In addition, the type of ritual adopted may vary based on the expected type of weather conditions that are expected.

Hairstylist In Ensuring Footballer’s Hair Conditioning

Hairstylists also play vital roles in the determination of how a footballer’s hair comes out during matches.

Most times, soccer players do not have a dedicated stylist who is always responsible for carrying out all essential styling before matches. Therefore, they tend to change stylists from time to time.

Regardless, just as players move to look their best in every match, their stylists are there, ready to meet their hair requirements.

They are one of the reasons players come out also looking good and freshly cut during most games.

Hairstylist of Renowned Soccer Players

Hairstylist of Renowned Soccer Players

Not many players have a dedicated stylist that they use. Some that have are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo’s former hairstylist (who is now late) Ricardo Marques Ferreira styled him for years while Messi’s stylist Dani has been known to travel with him for his games.

Aside from these dedicated hair stylists, there are a whole more that work with footballers. Here are a list of barbers and some of the renowned soccer players they have in their books.

HairstylistPlayers They Have Styled
Elias TorresNicolas Otamendi, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Sergio Aguero
Ricardo Marques FerreiraCristiano Ronaldo
Daniel JohnsonWayne Rooney, Mario Balotelli, Gareth Bale
Luis Andres RiveraLionel Messi
DaniLionel Messi
Adee PhalenDavid Beckham
Ahmed AlsanawiJack Grealish, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba
Sheldon EdwardsErling Haaland (Haaland’s braided hairstyle)

How Important have Hairstyles become in Football?

Players’ personalities are more visible on the field these days, as evidenced by how they build their own brands and image outside of the game for commercial opportunities.

Hairstyles are one-way players do this, and one example is Paul Pogba, who frequently wears new hairstyles on the field, including leopard prints, stars, and even the word ‘Pogboom’ shaved into the side of his head.

However, Pogba is not the only player whose hair draws attention, and it is common for players to style their hair right before running out onto the field.

Iconic Footballer Hairstyles 

Football has seen some bizarre and wonderful hairstyles over the years. Some footballers have had haircuts that are so distinctive that they are known for that style, and they may even be credited with inventing and popularizing certain hairstyles.

Iconic footballer hairstyles

1. Ronaldo (O Fenomeno)

The original Brazilian Ronaldo is one of the best examples. Ronaldo is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players of all time. He was a lethal and clinical striker who could make defenders look foolish with his lightning pace and stepovers.

Many would argue that the defenders he left behind were only slightly more foolish than Ronaldo’s own hair.

He was famous for having a small, almost round patch of hair in the front of his head, but the rest of his head was completely shaved.

It wasn’t a popular style, and no one has imitated it since, but it’s fair to say that Ronaldo’s talent compensated for his lack of fashion sense.

2. Rodrigo Palacio

Another player with an unusual haircut was Rodrigo Palacio. Palacio appears to have a regular short, shaved look from the front, but from the back, you can see his off-center rat tail that hangs down his back.

Perhaps inspired by Ewan McGregor and the Star Wars Padawan look that Jedi in training wore before being sworn in as a Knight? In any case, the Argentine striker got to play with Messi.

3. Roberto Baggio

“The divine ponytail” was a nickname given to Roberto Baggio. He had curly hair that was cut short on top but left long in the back, which he tied up in a long ponytail. Essentially, it was a curly mullet hairstyle tied in a ponytail.

There may have been more people calling it a ridiculous style on many other players, but Baggio was one of the best and classiest players to ever play the game, so the iconic style became celebrated and loved to look at, and in fairness, he probably pulled it off.

4. Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe, as previously stated, is currently sporting a short quiff, but she also experiments with various styles and colors. Rapinoe is one of the most outgoing and eccentric players in the women’s game, and her hairstyles have ranged from bleached, spiky hair to bright pink and purple hair.

5. David Beckham

David Beckham had a remarkable career in football while playing and even after retirement. Even with all the League titles, championships, and national recognition, one part of Beckham’s career that stood out was his hairstyles.

Beckham wore a variety of hairstyles during his youth days. These hairstyles move from Mohawks to braids, ponytails, buzz cuts, mullets, fringes, and more.

Beckham’s Mohawk

Beckham wore a variety of mohawk styles; however, there is one that stands out among them all. This is known as Beckham’s mohawk.

The iconic and probably most popular haircut shook the soccer world and quickly made him recognized as a fashion trendsetter.

The look that he rocked in 2001 featured a completely shaved head with a long line of hair running through the center of his hair. This style became so popular that schools at the time had to ban students from wearing it.

Buzz Cut

In 2000, Beckham showcased his baldhead look popularly known as the Buzz Cut, to the soccer community. This was shocking as Beckham moved from his flashy variety to a more minimalistic and mature look.

It is also with this hairstyle that Beckham scored his iconic freekick against Greece in October 2001.


In 2003, Beckham did cornrow braids and they stand as one of his most iconic looks. Year after rocking the look, he confessed that they were painful at the time he had them made.

According to an article from The Sun, it was voted as the most iconic hairstyle in football history, beating Ruud Gullit’s dreadlocks and Brazilian Ronaldo’s shaved head.


In the world of football, haircuts are much more than a routine grooming choice. They’re a form of self-expression, a key element of a player’s brand, and a reflection of the cultural zeitgeist.

As the sport continues to captivate audiences worldwide, the hairstyles of its stars will remain a topic of fascination and inspiration.

Today, footballers have access to some of the best barbers and hair products, allowing them to maintain their desired image throughout the 90-minute game, and with increased media attention and TV cameras everywhere, you can’t blame them for being slightly more vain than in previous years!


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