top of page

Why Hair Rubber Bands Break + Which Types Last Longer

Some rubber bands are made with a cheaper, thinner elastic, which may be the reason they keep breaking. Some people will use two, three (or more) rubber bands on top of each other to make them stronger. But, the bands may still end up breaking -- it just takes a little longer.

When looking for rubber bands, you want to make sure they are thick, soft and made with a natural high-quality rubber. Below are the four types of rubber mainly used for hair...

  • Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU)

  • Silicone

  • Polyurethane

  • Natural Rubber

TPU and silicone have the qualities of rubber and plastic. They look shiny, are typically thin and break easily. Polyurethane rubber has a more gummy texture. It too looks shiny and is supposed to last longer. All three are synthetic rubbers and are best for short-term styles.

Natural rubber (made from the sap of a rubber tree) is the best option for beads and braids in my personal opinion. They blend better with hair and are sturdy enough to hold the added weight. Just remember they are meant for one-time use only. Meaning, if you reuse the same band after it's been worn and weakened -- it may pop. This is our favorite rubber band brand because they've been around since the 90s, but these are a more popular brand on Amazon, and our readers love these and these.

If you're using a natural high quality material and your rubber bands are still breaking, you can try bigger rubber bands. There are 1" rubber bands, which are great for bigger braids and thicker hair. And there are ½" bands which are better for small to medium size braids and thinner hair. The ½" are more popular and are probably the ones you will find at your local beauty store. But depending on the style you are trying to achieve, they may not be big enough for the style you want. If you're not sure which size you need, try an assorted pack, because it has both.

Choosing the right rubber band size for your African American hair

It could also be that the rubber bands are too tight. Try loosening them. Not too loose that they won't hold your style. But loose enough that they are not under too much stress. You can do this by putting the rubber bands in, then taking out one loop, so that they are a little looser than how you usually install them. Another idea is to count how many times you pass the hair through the rubber band, and doing one less time.

The whole purpose of elastic materials are that they should be able to stretch. Some rubber bands are able to stretch twice their size. For example, a ½ inch rubber band should be able to stretch to 1 inch. But anything put under too much pressure will eventually break. They may not pop as soon as you put them in. But any indirect friction, like wearing a hood, dancing, moving your hair or your head too fast, could be that last straw that causes the band to break.

What Is The Difference Between A Rubber Band and A Polyband?

Polybands are made from polyurethane (a synthetic elastic) and rubber bands are made from a natural tree rubber.

Which Oil Breaks Rubber Bands?

Oil allegedly makes rubber age quicker. This means the oil causes rubber to break down over time. However, it's crucial to lubricate the hair with an oil or conditioner before applying rubber bands so that they do not damage or pull out the hair. If you need to reapply oil to the scalp, try to use tiny amounts and to avoid getting too much oil on the rubber bands.

That's it!

If you want to know how we keep our hair ties from breaking, we explain it here.

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

Why is mom obsessed with fall? Because it's gourd-geous!!

Autumn Blog Banner (Answer).png
I See Fall
It's Fall!
Pumpkin Day! (Step into Reading)
First Broom

Can you find the pumpkin that's different?

Odd One Out Fall Pumpkins and Gourds Cover
bottom of page