Virtual Reality and Your Hair

The hair up there. It can be a minor annoyance or a big problem when trying to put on a VR headset depending on the length and style of your hair. If you’ve got short hair or no hair at all, this article isn’t for you, but it might help a friend, family member, or co-worker.

I don’t think hardware designers thought too much about how people have to deal with their hair when they are using virtual reality headsets. For many women and some men, headsets are almost impossible to put on with certain hairstyles.

While we’re still waiting for the headset designers to get a clue, we’ve reviewed the most significant problems you might face and provided a few solutions and suggestions on addressing them.

  1. Low on top — Hairstyles that are low on top with a wide variety of options for below the ears that work well with virtual reality headsets.
  1. Pigtails — Pigtails work for almost any hair length and are a good option for fly-away hair, especially during a lot of movement.

3. Pom-poms — A pom-pom hairstyle can keep the hair off the neck to help maintain cool and comfortable gameplay.

4. A headband — Sweat! It may be an issue if you move a lot or like to workout in VR. A headband works for most hairstyles and helps to keep sweat from dripping down onto your face and into your headset. This can also help keep hair off of the back of your neck.

5. Double top knots — Similar to pom-poms, these also keep the hair off of your neck for longer, more comfortable activity while you’re in the headset.

6. A bandana — If you are especially concerned about messing up your hair, a bandana or hair wrap is a great way to keep that ‘do in place. If the material is absorbent, this can double for moisture-wicking.

7. The trusty ponytail — A workout favorite, a ponytail is a quick way to keep your hair back while you’re in virtual reality. A high, side ponytail also works, so you can rock that 80s hairstyle!

8. A backward baseball hat — Control and balance. Some headsets have a counter-weight problem, and some are having success addressing this with a backward baseball cap worn under the headset.

9. A hairband — Using a hairband to pull back the hair is suitable for short, medium, or long combable hair. While this may not help with sweat, it’s still a good option.

These suggestions are just a start. We know this doesn’t cover every style or hair concern, and we’ll continue to keep our eye out for creative ideas for this common problem, such as the one designed as part of a research project described below.

Arwa Michelle Mboya, a VR programmer and graduate of the MIT Media Lab, wrote an excellent article about the particular challenges VR headsets present to Black hairstyles. She did a study using the Oculus Go, and according to Mboya, “The texture, size, and styling of Black hair was not suitable for the device, and the strap attachment piece kept pulling out at the joints from extensive stretching. I had four headsets for the study that participants used 25 times on average, and each headset “broke” approximately ten times during the study.” As a result, she designed a prototype head strap system for the Oculus Go that you can read about in her article The Oculus Go Wasn’t Designed for Black Hair.

CEO of NewPathVR. Working to bring wellness to those in need through immersive reality.

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