Headbands top the list of polarizing hair accessories. They can either make you feel totally put together or conjure up memories from primary school you’d really rather forget. If you know how to wear a headband and which will work best for your hair and style, you can make your own fashion statement. Headbands aren’t just for keeping your hair out of your face anymore. They can add a new dimension to your style.

A headband is a super versatile accessory that can instantly elevate your outfit. There are so many different styles and ways to wear one, and we’ve included our favorites below. 

Whether you’re wearing your headband with your hair down or pairing it with an updo, braid, or ponytail, we’ve got you covered.

The first rule to making a headband work for you is to stay far away from perfectly groomed hair. In fact, most look better on tresses that are a little messy. The second rule? Expand your definition of a headband. 

Headbands for women today are more classy than cutesy. Still, before we try this comeback hair accessory, we consulted the pros to find out how to style six of the most popular headband styles.

Ways to Wear a Headband for Women

The Thin Headband 

Simple and sweet! A thin headband can look sporty or classy, depending on the material and hairstyle you choose.

Consider a piece-y pixie styled in an edgy manner with gel. Firm gels work best, especially if the hair dries naturally. Pop the headband in, and you’re good to go with a spritz of your favorite hairspray.

A thin band pairs well with a simple updo, or it can add a bit of flair to textured hair styled down.

Smooth out any baby hairs or flyaways with a toothbrush or clear mascara before you put the headband on.

how to wear a headband

The Winter Headband 

Utilitarian yet chic. A knit winter headband with a bow is a fashion-forward alternative to earmuffs or a hat.

When wearing a headband like this, it’s best not to part your hair but rather brush it back before putting it on. If you want

I would suggest using a light hairspray rather than any styling gel or pomade to keep the hair in place because you don’t want any product to rub off on the fabric of the headband.

If more volume is the goal, use a large barrel curling iron to create soft waves. Use your fingers to gently comb through the waves and finish with hairspray spray once you put on the headband. If you’re curious about how to pair this winter headband with a different winter outfit, read this post.

how to wear a headband

Wearing Hairband with Hair Down

When wearing a headband with your hair down, virtually any style will work. You can opt for a traditional horseshoe-style headband made of plastic or metal or a stretchy fabric headband, and you can choose a thin headband for a delicate look or a wide headband for a bolder look. 

To ensure that your hair looks neat when you place the headband, you should brush it beforehand. Brush your hair all the way down to the ends so it’s smooth and entirely free of tangles.

After you’ve removed any tangles from your hair, you can choose to add a part or not before you put the headband on. If you don’t want a part, comb your back and away from your face. If you want a part, choose a side and carefully comb your hair over to that side.

Once your hair is neatly combed and parted as you want, slide the headband over your hair. Position it so it rests approximately ½ inch (1.27 cm) from your hairline, and adjust your hair as you like, such as pulling it over your ears or pushing it behind them.

The Fashion Headband 

This one is for all the glam gals out there! A bejeweled or embellished headband is the perfect fashion-meets-function accessory to top off your tresses.

Keep the fringe in the front of the headband for a flirty feel.

Try a low-lying ponytail gently pulled back to the nape of the neck. “Use a soft gel to create texture and secure with bobby pins behind the ear.

Have a pixie cut like Taylor Swift? Try a sleek, straight look as you can. Use a serum or a soft gel for a classic, retro style. This trendy headband is a great complement to any pair of cargo pants.

The Knot Headband

Versatility at its finest. A knotted headband in a sleek material looks refined yet sassy all at the same time. The knot headband can be used with any hairstyle — up or down.

This is a great look to wear with a middle part to make a fancy, sophisticated statement. The part gives some youth, while the sleek exterior offers refinement.

It would be careful not to use any styling products that are too heavy or greasy. Try a flexible-hold hairspray to help hold the hair in place before putting the headband on. Do not use styling products when the headband is on the head to protect the fabric.

how to wear a headband women

Decorating Ponytail or Braid with a Headband

When pairing a headband with a ponytail or braid, the look tends to be more casual. Look for a bohemian-inspired headband to coordinate with the more relaxed style, such as one that features artificial flowers or leaves. A woven or feathered headband also works well with a ponytail or braid. 

Once you’ve settled on a headband, pull your hair back into the ponytail or braid of your choice. Use a hair elastic or clip to secure your hair, and apply some flexible hold hairspray if you’re concerned it might come loose.

After you’ve finished putting your hair into a ponytail or a braid, place the headband in your hair and push it into place. 

You don’t necessarily need to position it ½ inch (1.27 cm) from your hairline as you would with your hair down. Depending on the placement of your pony or braid, you may want to push it further back in your hair. 

You may want to pull some hair strands free from the headband around your face for a softer look. You can also pull your bangs free if you prefer.

how to wear a headband women

The Soft Scarf

Classy meets cool. A scarf headband can be worn in many ways and has the added advantage of being super soft and comfy.

The scarf is perfect for wrapping hair, whether it’s dirty or clean, and creates a cute, bohemian vibe.

You can wear the scarf in many unique ways on the top of the head, creating a knot or bow, or tie the scarf underneath at the nape of the neck.

This style is great for long, thick, textured hair. Add a firm-holding gel or volume booster to the roots to add volume. Blow out hair, then separate it at the crown into three sections. 

Next, tease each section at the base of the hair, starting at the front of the crown. Next, use a boar bristle brush or comb to lightly smooth a section of the hair over the top of the teased section, creating a sleek, finished look. Follow with hairspray.

how to wear a headband women

The Hairstyle Extender  

A simple, thick headband can easily blend in when worn further back on the head or make a bolder statement when placed right at the hairline.

This is one of the oldest tricks for extending a blowout one more day. Start by taming flyaways with a styling cream. Use a dry shampoo through the crown to absorb any oil and add volume, then tease hair throughout the crown and gently push it back. 

Add your headband, pushing down into the root as you push the headband back into place to slick the hair back.

This is perfect for clients with extensions who love a voluminous style. Keeping the hair sleek to the scalp in front of the band allows for an expansive crown and hides any additional hairpieces for length. 

By wearing the headband closer to the front of your crown, you put the focus on your gorgeous eyes and skin.

Pairing it with an Updo

Choosing the right style is key when you’re wearing a headband with an updo. When you’re going casual, it’s best to choose a thin, delicate headband that won’t overwhelm your look with your hair all pulled up and back. If you’re wearing your updo to a formal event, pair it with an embellished headband that features pearls, rhinestones, crystals, or other beads for a more sophisticated look. 

After you’ve selected a headband, brush your hair and pull it up into your chosen updo. You can opt for a simple top knot bun, a fancy French twist, a sophisticated chignon, or whatever style you prefer. 

It’s often easier to do an updo if your hair has some texture. That’s why it’s best to start with hair that hasn’t been washed in a day. If you have washed your hair, use some dry shampoo or a texturizing spray to add texture.

Once your hair is pulled up into the updo, place your headband in your hair. As with a ponytail or braid, you don’t necessarily have to position it just behind your hairline. 

Depending on the design of your headband, you may want to push it forward to create a tiara effect or push it back further so the embellished details are closer to the updo itself. 

If you’re wearing a fabric or stretchy headband with your updo, you may use a few bobby pins to pin the band in place at the sides of your head or the nape of your neck to secure it.

It’s easy for strands of hair to slip loose from an updo, so it’s a good idea to use hairspray before you leave the house. Opt for a flexible hold spray so your hair won’t feel stiff or crunchy. 

Final Words 

From sporty styles to red-carpet-ready ribbons, these headband styling tips for women will elevate your fashion game. There is no need to ask the same question on how to wear a headband as this guide will answer the headband dilemma.