Hair restraints keep hair from contacting exposed food, clean and sanitized equipment, utensils and linens or unwrapped single-service articles, which prevents contamination. Foodservice establishments require their employees to wear hair coverings for the health and safety of their customers.

The type of hair net used depends on the type of job and requirements. The most popular options include meshed hair nets that look invisible and match hair colors, disposable hair nets for food handling, bouffant caps, mob caps, peaked head covers, anti-microbial hair nets, latex and latex-free elastic hair nets and more. The material and packaging can also make a difference. Some hairnets are bulk-packed to reduce storage space and others are vacuum-packed for a more compact product that allows for easier handling in the warehouse.

Food handlers can also choose to wear a ponytail or bun that is secured with a clip, pin or band. This method of hair coverage keeps hair out of food but it does not completely cover the hair and can still allow dislodged strands to fall into the food. For this reason, it is recommended that people with longer hair also use a beard net or baseball cap to protect their facial hair. These types of hair restraints are typically a nylon or polyester mesh and are made with breathable materials for comfortable wear and easy cleaning. They are available in a variety of sizes to fit most beard and face shapes. In addition, beard covers come with an elastic sizing to ensure the right fit for all types of faces and beards.