Thin headband
Headbands can update any look.

Headbands are one of the simplest hair accessories, yet they are also one of the most versatile. From quick and easy styles to colorful accent pieces, these deceptively plain accessories are a useful and fun part of many hair dos.

Types of Headbands

These accessories come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, from thin, generic plastic to highly detailed, personalized bands, often with wire interiors to hold the proper shape. Types of headbands include:

  • Leather: Suede, vinyl, and real leather bands may be glued or hand-stitched.
  • Plastic: Bands may be straight-edged, rounded, or wavy, and may be a range of colors including glittery, pearl, or matte finishes.
  • Fabric: The fabric may coat a sturdy band or may be the band itself, perhaps including elastic for a customized fit. A rainbow of colors and patterns are available.
  • Toothed: Prongs or combs to hold hair in place may be on either plastic or leather bands.
  • Novelty: A variety of holiday and joke-themed bands are available, such as bunny ears, reindeer antlers, devil horns, arrows, light-up figures, and holiday colors.

Where to Buy

Sleek and elegant headband

Flexible fabric headbands and simple plastic headbands with minor or no embellishments are popular accessories at retailers such as:

More upscale and adorned headbands for formal events are available at:

  • Shopbop.com: High fashion, progressive, clothing and accessories that often spotlight emerging designers can be found here.
  • Juicy Couture: Cute, playful, vibrant designs in both fashion and accessories are available from this popular name.
  • J-Crew: Offers classic hair accessories, though this retailer's emphasis is truly clothes for the young urban professional.

Some of the more notable luxury headband and accessory designers are:

  • Eugenia Kim: A source of trendy hat and hair wear.
  • Ambre Babzoe: A highly progressive fashion and accessory designer.
  • Adia Kibur: This store offers bold contemporary hair and jewelry designs.
  • Deepa Gurnani: A New York-based high fashion hair accessory designer.
  • Tarina Tarantino: Best known for Tarina's cute, playful, and sparkly designs.

When it comes to luxury headbands you can expect to pay anywhere upwards of 60 dollars. These headbands are often adorned with lucite embellishments, ribbons, or Swarovksi crystals and they may even be fashioned from fine materials such as silk.

Styling Options

A simple headband does not mean that all associated hair styles must be simple. While the classic look is just pulling hair back with the band, consider these alternatives for a stunning look with this simple accessory:

  • Tuck the ends of the hair beneath the bottom of a fabric band for a flipped-under, flirty do.
  • Pull the band straight back, press it tight, and draw it slightly forward to give the front of the hair a pouf. This style works particularly well for individuals who do not have bangs.
  • Use a long piece of fabric or ribbon and let the ends dangle down your back for an elegant fashion accessory.
  • Experiment with alternative materials, such as braided leather belts, bandanas, sheer scarves, or thin chains for unique looks.
  • Tuck a hairpin, floral sprig, or other small decorative item beneath a headband for an instant new look.
  • Personalize an inexpensive, plain headband with glitter, rhinestones, paint, or beads for a customized look for special occasions such as birthdays, prom, or holidays.
Floral Headband

Making Your Own

If you can't find the right headband to suit your fashion and hair style needs, it is simple to make one yourself. If you want a wire-based band that fits snuggly around the upper part of the head, simply bend an appropriate length of wire to the right shape (bending it a bit smaller than head measurements will insure a firm grip). Be sure to smooth edges of the wire to prevent any sharp sections that could damage hair or cause injuries. Coat the wire with the desired paint, wrap it in ribbon, or glue accessories onto it to create a customized design. Craft stores often have headband kits available, typically in the bridal section, with sizes to fit young girls, teens, and women.

Other hand-made bands may be simple lengths of ribbon that can be wrapped around the head and tied underneath for a smooth, sleek look or tied above for a flirty, fun bow. Any thin strip of fabric can be used in this way: consider braiding coordinating fabrics together for a more detailed band, or using patterned fabrics for unique looks.

Choosing the Right Headbands

While bands are versatile for many different styles, not every variety is suitable for every wearer. For thick hair styles or long hair that has significant weight, thick, sturdy bands will be necessary for maximum hold. Curly hair may require a thicker band to keep it in place, and anyone who plans on vigorous activities should consider either a band that secures beneath the hair with a tie or clip, or one that has prongs to help keep it in place.

Headbands are made to be worn either at the highest point of the head or slightly forward, closer to the forehead. The appropriate size is one that can secure the hair firmly enough to hold the style but without slipping, pinching, or otherwise causing discomfort. Some wire-based and fabric styles can be adjusted for different sizes, while plastic bands are less adjustable and may break instead.

From fast and easy hair styles to sleek, classic dos, headbands are one of the simplest and most popular hair accessories available. They can be purchased at any discount store or fashion boutique, and even a plain band has numerous style possibilities to suit any occasion.

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