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Monday, August 8, 2011
Get the hair out of eyes and focus on the prize

By Jamie Sorcher

You don't see U.S. national champion figure skater Rachael Flatt's hair distracting her during a double axle, or auto racing driver Danica Patrick's tresses flying in her face as she's taking 100 mph turns. While some athletes simply go the G.I. Jane route and lop off their locks (yes, we're talking to you, Abby Wambach), many athletes opt to keep their hair pulled back, tied up or stuffed under a hat and out of the way. Here are five smart ways you can follow their lead and tame your mane:

Mane pain: You're a flop artist

Solution: Prewrap.com, $3 a roll (solids); $5 a roll (prints), prewrap.com

Traditionally used by athletes before they put on athletic tape, pre-wrap, it turns out, is good for something else. You can create hair tiebacks and headbands with this foamy, stretchy material. It's become somewhat of a cult item on the soccer circuit due to the strict regulations on hair accessories. The material, which holds up in the rain, can also be put through the washer and dryer, and can even be used by swimmers. You can get 25 headbands out of one roll. This fall, a zebra print and a teal leopard pattern join the roster. If you become totally addicted to it (and, really, why wouldn't you?), go for the pre-wrap obsession pack, which nets you 20 rolls for $35.

Mane pain: A sweaty brow

Solution: Under Armour Protego headband, $14.99, Underarmour.com

No matter how much your forehead faucet is leaking, the "Heat Gear" technology in this headband will wick away the moisture so the salty drops don't obscure your vision as you drive to the net, hoop, or goal. The comfy fabric adheres to your hair without pulling. Choose a style: thin, thick or twisted -- whatever suits your sport and personality.

Mane pain: Bangs in your face

Solution: Scunci (say it like SCOON-SEE) Evolution headwraps and hair ties, $2.99/package, Scunci.com

Perfect for swimming, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and other beach sports, these No-Slip headwraps -- now in a new style with scalloped edges --and fashionable ponytail holders keep hair off your sticky face. Made from a soft, stretchy gel material, the headwraps and holders are sweat-proof and waterproof.

Mane pain: Too short for a ponytail

Solution: Lululemon Speedy Run Hat, $32, Lululemon.com

This lightweight lid keeps those pesky hairs -- the ones that are too short to tie back -- out of your face. It also is key when it comes to protecting you from the elements, including the sun's sizzle. The quick drying fabric, wicks sweat away from your head so your body can cool itself more efficiently. We also love the small zipper pocket, which is perfect for stashing a house or car key as you head out for a run. The reflective brim makes it a good choice for night runs, too.

Mane pain: Easily damaged hair

Solution: Sweaty Bands, $15 to $18, Sweatybands.com

The "official headband" of the AVP Professional Beach Volleyball Tour, Sweaty Bands are a fave among pro beach volleyball players as well as WTA Tennis Players, Olympians and World Cup soccer stars, and others. The magic comes from a velvet lining that secures your hair without any pulling or breakage.