46 Different Types of Headbands for Women & Men

In this article, we’ll be looking at various types of headbands in terms of material and shape, how they evolved from Ancient competition rewards to fashion accessories, and help you decide what would best fit your style.

Types of headbands

The headband has been around for thousands of years. These hair accessories go all the way back to Ancient Greece where Olympic athletes were rewarded with laurel wreaths.

To this day, headbands are an essential item for people who are into sports, from fitness enthusiasts to professional athletes.

However, headbands have evolved into fashion accessories. They still serve their original purpose of keeping your hair in place, but they’re way more than that.

It all depends on the style and the fabric, but headbands can are perfectly suited for a casual occasion as well as for a formal one.

Types of Headbands for Women

Types of Headbands for Women

Adjustable Non-Slip Headbands

This is not your traditional plastic headband. Adjustable headbands are made from elastic materials to fit nicely around your head. At the same time, most models can be adjusted for length using bra-like straps.

They come in multi-packs so you can get them in a variety of colors. The non-slip material makes sure the headband stays in place even when you’re exercising at the gym.

They’re good for heavy-duty use and you can wash them any time you need without having to worry they will lose their shape or elasticity.

Alice Headbands

This type of headband takes its name after the famous Alice that went to Wonderland. Well, it won’t transport you to some magic realm, but it will make you look like a fairy tale princess. It’s a simple plastic band that comes in a typical horseshoe shape.

Alice headbands can be plain or have cute accessories, like hearts, butterflies, flowers, or bow ties. The trick is to wear something that goes well with your outfit, in both print and color.

A slim headband is very discreet and gives you a very chic air while keeping your locks from getting in your face.


Bowknot Headbands

A truly girly accessory, made out of a stretchy fabric. It’s perfect for a luxurious spa day, to keep the hair from getting into your face. You can also wear it at home when you’re pampering yourself with a facial.

On the other hand, the prints on these bowknot headbands are so cute you can wear one outside. If your dog wants to go for a walk, there’s no need to dress up, gather your hair in a bowknot headband and you’ll still look neat.


Casual Headbands

This type of headbands is designed for everyday use. It’s less of a fashion item and more of a useful accessory to have at hand when you need to pull your hair from your face.

It’s perfect for your beauty routine, but you can also wrap it around your head when you need to run an errand in a hurry and you don’t want to waste 15 minutes styling your hair.

Usually made of elastic fabrics, they feel comfortable and since they come in various colors you can easily match them with whatever you’re wearing.


Embellished Headbands

This type of headband is one of the most elegant you’ll find on the market, which makes it the perfect accessory for a night out in a gorgeous dress.

The plastic headband is covered in a variety of fabrics, from silk to velvet, but what matters most are the metallic or crystal decorations that go on top of it. An embellished headband with a couple of gold decorations is just perfect when you’re wearing an elegant dress in a single color.

When you want something to catch the eye, such a headband is just what you need. There are dozens of models available so choose one wisely.

Keep in mind you will also want to wear some jewelry so look for something that will match your favorite earrings.


Fabric Headbands

That’s your basic plastic headband with a colorful twist. If you’ve ever had problems wearing a plastic headband, you’ll love this model.

The plastic is covered in a soft material which makes it super comfortable to wear. On top of that, the colorful fabric gives the headband a bit of class, making it a fashionable accessory.

Buy a whole bunch of them, they’re really affordable, and since they come in various colors you can change the headband every day to match your outfit.


Faux Braid Headbands

If you’ve always envied Rapunzel for that mane of hers, a faux braid headband might be just what you need. Not all of us can have amazing braids and intricate hairstyles, that’s life.

Faux braid headbands are perfect for women with thin hair, but for the illusion to work you’ll need to buy one that matches your hair color as close as possible.

Wear it a bit to the top of your head and try to give it a natural look, like it’s your own braid wrapped around the head. Who’s to know it’s fake?


Flower Crown Wreath Headbands

What better way to accessorize a flowing summery dress than a flower crown wreath headband?  You can choose one in pastel colors, as you don’t want the effect to be overwhelming, but if the headband is accessorized with just one big rose, for instance, you can opt for one in strong bright colors.

This type of headband looks so very precious on young girls, but you can wear something like that even as an adult. The trick is to have it match the colors of your dress. If you don’t want people thinking you’re trying for a little girl effect, don’t go for a full wreath going around your head.

Try something with just a bunch of flowers hanging loosely on one side, to make it look like you’re wearing a real flower behind your ear.


Glitter or Sequins Headbands

You don’t need an exquisite hair-do if you have a glittery headband. Since we’re talking glitter and sequins, this is not your casual accessory. Such a headband is best suited for a party or a night spent clubbing.

You can turn any classic headband into an eye-catching accessory by covering it in sequins, but for a fun night, you’re probably better off with an adjustable headband with a non-slip lining.

You don’t want it to fall over your eyes when you’re on the dance floor. Another good thing, they can easily be matched with various outfits. A glitter headband goes just as well on a black dress or on a red one.


Knitted Winter Headbands

The perfect accessory for a really cold day. If you have a comfy knitted headband to keep your ears warm you won’t need anything else to cover your head.

Made out of wool or synthetic fibers, knitted headbands vary in width, but if you live in an area with long cold winters go for a wide one to cover a good part of your head. You can match the headband to the color of your sweater or create a subtle contrast.

Knitted headbands come in a single color or in a complex multicolor pattern, that can brighten even the bleakest winter day.


Laurel Headbands

A nod to the origins of headbands, back in Ancient Greece. You’ll want something more durable than real laurel leaves, so these modern headbands are made of metal. Since you’re going to all the trouble, go for a golden laurel headband to make you look like a goddess.

It’s a rather flashy accessory so make sure to wear it with a simple dress, like a loose tunic, to complete that retro look. For a special occasion, look for a laurel headband adorned with sparkling stones or hanging pendants.

Diamonds would sure be nice, but rather on the pricey side. Some fake precious stones will do just fine.


Multi Style Headband

The latest trend in headbands is the multi-style fashion accessory which can be worn in many different ways, depending on the occasion or your mood. This item is specially designed for the fashionista with a practical sense. Why spend money on ten different headbands, when you can have just one?

These multi-style headbands are usually made of a large piece of cloth with elastic fibers in it for a perfect fit. If you wear it with the knot on your forehead, why it’s absolutely perfect for an elegant look, but if you turn it the other way around it becomes a very casual headband, just right for a jogging session.


Plastic Headbands

The simple plastic headband is a timeless accessory because it’s extremely versatile. It’s something you need to keep your hair from going into your eyes when you’re busy studying and you can wear it just as well with a casual outfit when you have some errands to run.

Plastic headbands are comfortable to wear and they come in so many colors you can easily match them with your clothes. They’re so thin they’re hardly noticeable, but they do a great job keeping your hair in place.

Who knows who you might run into when you’re out walking the dog? With a simple headband, you’ll look nice no matter what!


Polka Dot Headband

If there is something that will never go out of fashion it’s the polka dot print. It’s fun, it’s cute and, in a headband, it’s the type of accessory you can wear even as a grown-up woman without looking like Minnie Mouse.

Not that there’s anything wrong with sweet old Minnie. Polka dots are fun, so such a headband is great for a day in the park or at the beach. Just pick a color that compliments your skin tone and, naturally, goes well with your outfit.


Ponytail Headband

This type of headband is designed especially for the outdoorsy woman that likes to go for a jog every morning. It’s also great for biking or a camping trip. Ponytail headbands are usually made of soft stretchy materials, to keep your ears warm.

They have a hole at the back just big enough to fit your ponytail through it. Such a headband does a great job at keeping your hair back when you’re running. Also, it will keep sweat from going into your eyes, which is great when you’re doing some serious training.


Ribbon Headband

Such a headband gives you a youthful look and you can wear one on various occasions, from a stroll in the park to a trip to the coffee shop with your friends.

It is made with a simple plastic headband covered with a soft silky ribbon and the beauty of it is they’re available in every color you might think of.

For a great look match the color of the ribbon with that of your T-shirt. They look nice even if you don’t have really long hair and they keep the strands from getting into your eyes.


Satin Headband

Nothing like satin for an elegant look. Satin headbands come in a variety of colors and the natural shine of the fabric gives your hairstyle a polished look.

Satin headbands can safely be worn for a formal occasion, as they’re quite classy. You can wear one for a business meeting, but it’s also perfect for a night at the restaurant.

Don’t worry if you cannot find something that matches the color of your dress exactly. If it’s a shade lighter or darker it will look perfect. Satin headbands are wide enough to keep your hair in place and some models are lined with a non-slip strip of suede.


Scarf Headband

A timeless accessory you can totally wear at all ages. Scarf headbands are perfect for the sporty young woman, as well as for the mature elegant lady. A nice print will stand out and cover the gray hair and give you a youthful look.

Just like real scarves, these headbands come in single colors or in various dazzling prints. Just make sure your scarf headband doesn’t clash with your outfit.

A colorful print on your headband should be worn with a simple unicolor dress or top. Add to that a pair of low-key dangling earrings and the general effect will be awesome.


Toothed Headbands

One of the most basic designs for headbands that know how to deal with unruly hair. Toothed headbands can be made of plastic or metal, with the teeth longer or shorter.

If you have a full head of hair you’ll probably want a headband with long prongs to keep it in place. The great thing about toothed hairbands is that the prongs give your hair a wavy look effortlessly.

Great for everyday wear, for going to school or shopping. You’ll look neat even if you barely had time to comb your hair in the morning.


Turban Headband

Turban headbands give you a refined look even on a bad hair day. Such an accessory not only holds the hair back but also covers a great part of it, so they’re just perfect when the roots start to show and you cannot make it to your stylist.

Turban headbands come in many fabrics, but most contain some spandex so they fit nicely over your head. You can adjust the width of the headband by pulling on the material to achieve the desired look.

You can wear a turban headband for a casual outing, to give you a stylish look without letting it seem like you’re trying too hard.

The focal point of the turban, the knot, is traditionally worn on top of your head, but for a swanky look, you can pull it to one side or even hide it on the back of your head.


Velvet Headband

Who doesn’t like velvet? A velvet headband gives you a classic and stylish look and, no, you don’t have to be dressed in velvet to wear one.

You can totally wear a velvet headband with a low-key outfit, even with jeans and a simple T-shirt. Such a noble fabric draws the eye to your face, so it will help you stand out.

Go for a color that compliments your hair color and skin tone, or you can try to match it with the color of your eyes for greater effect. You can leave your locks hanging loosely or gather your hair in a ponytail.


Wedding Headband

The wedding headband is a must for a bride. No matter how much time and money you spend at a hair salon, you still need a delicate headband on your head, if only to support your veil.

You don’t want something too colorful to clash with your white dress. You can go for a floral wreath, something to match your bouquet, or you can choose one covered in precious stones.

Just make sure it sparkles, because you want all the eyes trained on you on this magical day. And yes, it also helps keep your hair looking perfect. Picture perfect!


Woven Headband

A woven headband is not necessarily made to hold back your hair since it is rather thin. It’s more of a fashion accessory, meant to bring a touch of color. You can choose between multicolor or unicolor woven headbands.

They’re usually made of various fabrics, but you might also find some made of thin strips of leather braided together.

Once you get into the habit of wearing such a headband, you’ll want to buy a whole bunch of them in various colors to go with different outfits. Best worn with a simple hairstyle, like your locks hanging loose.



Types of Headbands for Men

Types of headbands for men

Arabic Headband

This type of headband is traditionally worn by Muslim men. Such headwear is usually meant to cover all of the hair. Also, the traditional colors are white or black, sometimes with a red pattern.

The fabrics used for such turban-style headwear range from simple cotton fiber to silk or expensive cashmere.

Even if you’re not a Muslim, you might want an Arabic headband when you’re visiting an Islamic country to show respect for local traditions, and to be protected from the blazing sun.


Bandana Headbands

This is by far the most popular type of headband. If you want to look like a rock star, a colorful bandana can help you stand out in a crowd.

The bandana is a versatile accessory. You can wear one folded into a triangle to cover most of your hair, but you can also fold into a thin strip, just wide enough to keep your hair in place.

The fabrics used for bandanas come in a wide array of prints and the trick is to choose one that sends a message.

You can totally wear one decorated with peace signs or one with skulls and knives when you’re striving for a bad boy biker look.


Boho Headband

What sets Boho headbands apart is the print. This type of headband is all about prints, which are always colorful. When you wear a Boho headband it often becomes the focal point of your outfit.

Nobody will notice you’re wearing your regular jeans you’ve had for five years because everybody will be looking at the headband. Since they’re rather wide, they’re extremely useful on a bad hair day, but they’re also a fashion statement.

Yes, you’re man enough to wear a brightly colored print some might find a tad feminine. If anything, it subtly underscores your confident masculinity.


Christmas Headband

When you want to get into the Christmas spirit, try a special festive headband. You don’t need to look for a headband with reindeer antlers, that might be a bit much for a grown-up man.

Try, instead, a fashionable fabric headband with a festive print. Something in red and green, preferably.

If you’re feeling particularly jolly, look for a Santa and sleds print, but a design barely suggestive of traditional Christmas decorations might be more subtle. Sure, you want to get into the Christmas spirit, but you’re no longer 10 after all.


Denim Headbands

Denim headbands are extremely popular since the fabric goes well with jeans and a casual T-shirt. The fabric is stretchy, for a one-size-fits-all headband that won’t slip. You can wear one for a casual outing, a mountain hike, or when you go out with your friends to kick the ball.

No more than 2-3 inches wide, a denim headband does a great job keeping your hair in place. Also, such headbands are usually lined with an absorbent material to keep the sweat from getting into your eyes.

Dreadlocks Headband

This type of headband is wider than classical models and is specially designed for men wearing dreadlocks or those of you blessed with thick hair.

Dreadlocks are cool, but you don’t want them getting into your eyes when you’re exercising or doing some sort of strenuous physical activity. Wrap the headband around your head and your long hair will be swept away from your face.

Dreadlocks headbands are made of stretchy materials as they need to fit snugly around your head. They come in various colors with geometrical prints or tribal patterns.


Festive Headbands

Let the party begin. Christmas is just once a year and you’re entitled to have some fun. You might be a serious deadline-oriented employee 364 days a year, but for the office Christmas party, you are allowed to go crazy.

Your festive headband in vivid greens and reds will surely liven up the party. You can go for a plastic headband decorated with reindeer antlers or you can go for the Santa’s helper look with big pointy ears or a funny hat. If you’re going for the reindeer look don’t forget the red nose!


Fitness Headbands

Fitness headbands are an essential accessory if your the sort of guy that goes to the gym three times a week. Such headbands are very practical as they’re great at wicking the sweat off your forehead. They’re made of soft materials and the spandex fibers give them a tight fit around your head.

Since they’re meant to be practical rather than fashionable, fitness headbands usually come in a single color, most often white or black. You can wear a fitness headband on the forehead or a bit upper, to pull back your hair.


Floral Headband

A man wearing a floral headband? Why not? Why should it be only women that are allowed to show their sensitive nature with a nice floral print? If you’re a real man, you can totally pull it off.

Wearing a floral headband lets you show you also enjoy the beauty, you’re a sensitive man and you don’t really care what anybody might have to say about your types of clothing styles.

When you choose a print you can opt for a bright-colored and quite feminine print or you can go with more muted colors making the floral pattern a bit more masculine. Your choice!


Karate Headband

When you’re doing karate, the headband serves more than one purpose. Obviously, it’s very useful to wear one, if only to absorb sweat and keep your hair from getting into your face.

On the other hand, you cannot really be a karate kid without a headband, preferably something in the traditional Hacimaki style. A karate headband should be wide enough to cover your forehead, going just above your eyebrows.

Since you’re mindful of tradition, go for a black or white headband, with perhaps some Japanese print on it, preferably characters that signify strength or bravery. That’s what karate is all about.


Knitted Headband

The knitted headband is just what you need on a cool windy day. It’s soft and comfortable, it keeps your ears warm, but it also gives you a macho look.

Yes, it might be freezing outside, but you want to show you’re strong enough and the cold doesn’t scare you. Only do yourself a favor and go for a wide headband, to cover a good part of your head. You don’t want to risk a cold, do you?

Look for something made with natural fibers for added warmth and match it with the color of your winter coat.


Native Headbands

This is a fashion accessory that recreates the patterns of traditional Native American headwear. A native headband is meant to be colorful and eye-catching.

The thin fabric strip is decorated with traditional Native American embroidered patterns, usually made with small but brightly colored beads.

However, the most important part of a native headband is the feathers. While native tribesmen are sometimes represented with just one beautiful feather in the headgear, today’s headbands usually have feathers all around.


Pirate Headband

You don’t have to have Johnny Depp’s eyes to wear a pirate headband. If you’re trying for a Jack Sparrow look, go for a colorful pirate headband which is basically a piece of cloth tied around your head with the tails hanging to the side of your head, just behind one ear.

Pirate headbands are great for costume parties, but also for casual outings when you want to make a powerful impression.

If you like to go boating or rafting, such an accessory will protect your forehead and a great part of your hair from the elements, because that’s why the pirates of old used to wear them.


Ribbed Headbands

A very modern variant of the classical knitted headband, the ribbed headband stands out with its unique ribbed pattern. Still knitted, but with a minimalist look, very well suited for the modern no-frills no-nonsense man.

Ribbed headbands are less wide than the regular knitted ones. Maybe they won’t keep you as warm, but they’re definitely stylish. You can choose from the various colors available something to match your winter coat or your favorite comfy sweater

Or you can look for a multi-pack to have more choice. Wearing the same headband every day can become boring. Not what you should be looking for when you want to get noticed.


Running Headband

You don’t need to be a professional athlete to wear a running headband. If you’re a fitness enthusiast and never miss a weekend running session, this type of headband is a blessing.

Running headbands are thin and light and manufacturers swear their aerodynamic shape will help you break your own speed record. The fabric is very absorbent, which makes it perfect for those sessions when you’re running up a sweat.

Also, it fits tightly around your forehead so it won’t ever slip over your eyes. Make sure to buy one that matches your running shorts or shoes.


Stretchable Headbands

Stretchable headbands are versatile hair accessories that can be worn during a training session, as well as for other types of physical activity. The stretchy fabric makes it comfortable to wear and it’s guaranteed not to give you a headache.

Choose the print that seems more suitable for the occasion. For a casual outing with friends, you can choose a colorful print, to give you a laid-back fun guy look.

Or, if you don’t want to stand out, choose a sensible unicolor headband. Such headbands can also be adjusted for width to cover more or less of your hair.


Tennis Headband

Simple in design, tennis headbands are less about fashion and more about comfort. When you go for a tennis match (or indeed any other sport), such a headband keeps your hair from getting in your eyes and, most importantly, keeps the sweat from getting into your eyes.

The fabric such headbands are made of is super absorbant, while soft and comfortable to wear. For a stylish look, you might want to get a pair of matching wristbands.

Even if you’re not a tennis ace, you can still look like a pro. White is the color pros usually wear, but you can also get a black or red tennis headband, whatever color goes better with your skin tone.


Thin Headbands

A classical accessory meant to keep your hair pulled back. A thin headband in a dark color might go unnoticed, but it does a great job at holding your hair back. It’s great when you have longish hair, but you’re going to an important meeting and you want to look like the sensible and reliable type.

Since they’re rather thin, such headbands won’t be of much help when you have really thick hair. On the other hand, if you have thin hair you can use the headband to your advantage, pushing up the hair on your forehead to give it a bit of volume.

Tie back Headband

Very similar to bandanas, tie-back headbands are great when you want to convey a ninja warrior look. A tie-back headband is less wide than a bandana and it’s usually in a single color, preferably white or black.

The knot should be at the back of your head, with the tails hanging casually over your back. You can totally wear a tie-back headband for a day at the gym.

Keep it on even afterward, when you meet your girlfriend if you want to impress her. You can be the sweetest guy in the world, but such a headband makes you look like a fearless warrior.


Wide Headbands

This type of headband is perfect for guys with a full head of hair that requires a lot of combing and styling. When you don’t have time to deal with hard-to-tame hair, just wear a wide headband, that goes from the forehead to the top of your head.

Your unruly hair will be kept hidden under a stylish headband that gives you a refined look. Wide headbands are made from stretchable materials for a perfect fit, and they come in various colors.

If you’re heading into the office you’ll probably want a somber color, but for a casual outing, you can go wild with a bright red headband.


Wool Headband

If you’re simply not a beanie sort of guy, try a wool headband to keep you warm on a cold winter day. Wool headbands are great for showcasing your rugged masculinity while giving you a sweet boyish look.

And you won’t be embarrassed by showing off your red ears! Wool headbands are perfect for a stroll in the park with your girlfriend. For a polished look, try matching your wool headband with your mittens.

If you want to stand out, choose a complex knitting pattern, giving your headband a handmade look. This way your wool headband will make you look classy.


Wreath Headbands

Wreath headbands are sort of a fashion statement. You are a champion because in ancient times it was only the heroes and the greatest athletes that got to wear laurel headbands.

They’re not suitable for everyday use but will look simply great for a costume party. Preferably, let everyone know it’s a costume party as you don’t want to be the odd one out.

If you want to channel a classic look, pull your hair back with a golden wreath headband. They go just as well worn with a simple white tunic Julius Caesar might have worn or a loose shirt with a colorful print.


Yoga Headband

When you’re doing yoga, that unruly hair might prove a distraction. Not what you need when you’re channeling your inner spirit and want to spend a quiet 30 minutes deep in meditation.

Yoga headbands are wide enough to keep your hair in place no matter what pose you might be assuming.

The elastic fibers make it fit every head shape or size and the fabric has moisture-absorbing properties to wick the sweat off your forehead. The material is very resistant so you can wash it whenever needed and it won’t be ruined.


How many types of headbands are there?

There are dozens of types of headbands on the market. Some of them are definitely made for women and count like fashion accessories, but there are also many types of headbands that go well for men and women alike.

Fitness, yoga or running headbands can be worn by both men and women as they’re meant to be useful rather than fashionable.


What is the difference between a headband and a hairband?

A hairband is a half-circle band usually made of plastic whose function is to keep your hair from getting into your face. Headbands are made of various fabrics.

They serve to keep your hair in place, but they usually come in colorful prints which makes them a fashion accessory.


Do headbands damage your hair?

Headbands do not damage your hair if they fit comfortably on the head and they don’t pull on your hair. If anything, a headband protects your hair from too much sun or wind. Also, they’re great to wear when you’re having a bad hair day.


What fabric is best for headbands?

Sports headbands are made of super absorbent materials as they’re meant to keep the sweat from getting into your eyes.

The more fashionable headbands can be made of silk, velvet, or even wool, depending on the style or intended use. Natural fibers are always to be preferred as they allow your skin to breathe and prevent overheating.

Final Thoughts

Headbands remain more popular among women, but they are a growing trend among men as well. Sometimes it’s just a sensible way from keeping your locks out of your face, but more often than not they’re a fashion statement.

An exquisite print transforms the most basic headband into an eye-catching accessory that gives you a polished look. The trick is to choose something that goes well with your skin tone and, of course, with your outfit.