Headband Hell
December 5, 2013 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Trying to keep bad hair under control throughout the work day without looking like I'm 12. Help?

I have baby fine, short hair that refuses to behave in a windy, humid climate. It's par for the course for any socially acceptable hair state that I manage to achieve in the morning to be decimated in the time it takes me to exit my car and walk across the parking lot. Fixing and futzing with it after the fact makes it fall flat and limp, a state that worsens as the day progresses. Generally without a headband, my hair dies a slow death between 9am and 5pm.

I've run the product gauntlet and anything reasonably wind-resistant is too heavy for my hair. So far, I've been getting by with fabric headbands in various colours/patterns (usually fairly cheap). I find the hair stays in place, retains volume, and the touch-up is much easier. It looks much better than the alternative. Problem is, I'd like to look more like an adult at work if possible.

My workplace is more on the business casual end of things, but 1) is it ever socially acceptable to wear a headband in a professional environment? and 2) if so, may I have your suggestions for some more work-appropriate styles of headbands? Thank you in advance.
posted by gohabsgo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Can you explain what you mean? I'm envisioning that you have something like this, which I don't see how anyone could possibly have a problem with.

If what you do is something more along the lines of this, then I would think that muted colors and patterns (black, dark gray, herringbone) would look the most grown up.
posted by phunniemee at 12:27 PM on December 5, 2013

Best answer: 1) Yes, I think it is fine in business casual environments. I've done it and no one has looked at my funny, and I've seen other women do it is as well. Feel free to wear your headband!

2) Avoid anything too wide or too unstructured -- these look like athletic headbands and make me think you've been working out in it. Yuck! Also avoid bows, flowers, sequins, sparkles - anything super attention-getting and funky. Stick to solid colors and maybe subdued patterns, hard/structured headbands, not super thick.

Hope this helps!
posted by schroedingersgirl at 12:28 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sitting at my desk wearing a headband right now (and was not the only one doing so in this morning's staff meeting), so I certainly hope so. I lean toward thin plastic ones in black or tortoiseshell.
posted by rebekah at 12:30 PM on December 5, 2013

Response by poster: To answer phunnimee's question, I do something that's kind of between the two pictures (a bit more like the second) - and I think you guys are definitely right on colours. I am reforming my work look as I am prone to funky/quirky - would be great if I worked in an indie record store, but sadly I don't. :P

Maybe I should choose a nice scarf or piece of jewelry for a punch of colour instead of the headband?
posted by gohabsgo at 12:35 PM on December 5, 2013

Hell the last office I worked at had an entire department who wore matching headbands. And this wasn't a verging-on-casual kind of workplace, either.

If it's mostly wind that's an issue, and you aren't working outdoors, maybe consider tying a silk scarf over your head (a la vintage 50s convertible rider) when you commute and taking it off once you're indoors? It might preserve your hair enough that you could skip the headband.
posted by like_a_friend at 12:43 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

I do something that's kind of between the two pictures

I guess I don't see anything particularly scandalous about it, then. Are you sure this is a problem? I would be inclined to say that this is not a problem (i.e. not unprofessional in the context of your workplace) unless someone has said something. I tend toward the funky/quirky, too, but honestly from where I'm sitting, a brightly-colored headband seems pretty sedate.
posted by phunniemee at 12:45 PM on December 5, 2013

Best answer: I think that keeping the headbands sleek and neutral is a great idea if you're worried about looking professional.

I adore France Luxe for hair accessories - here's the home page for all their headbands.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:45 PM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Maybe I should choose a nice scarf or piece of jewelry for a punch of colour instead of the headband?

Probably safest, but I don't see any problem with a bright headband provided it is a solid color, hard/structured, and unembellished.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 12:46 PM on December 5, 2013

Best answer: Anthropologie has a lot of great headbands that are formal and fancy but still easy enough to be part of my go-to rushed morning routine. They are on the expensive side, but I sucked it up and bought a few on sale and don't regreat it.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 12:46 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm excited for this thread since I have the same hair woes except except both of those types of hair bands will not stay on my head or look ridiculous.

However, have you tried Bumble and a Bumble Does it all Spray? It's pretty much changed my hair routine. When you are done styling, spray liberally (I have baby fine hair and it's impossible to use too much), then spray 3 seconds worth into your palm, rub with your other palm and smooth whatever sections you want to stay straight/smooth/flyaways and you are DONE.
posted by floweredfish at 12:46 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

I would try to come up with a couple of solutions that don't all read as "headband". You may not want to be known as the Headband Lady... "Oh, you want to talk to Gohabsgo, you know, the one who always wears a headband." (I know this from experience being Cardigan Girl in my office).
posted by cecic at 1:10 PM on December 5, 2013

Can you learn to do a french braid or bun? Where product is concerned, my sister swears by John Frieda Frizz-Ease.
posted by pony707 at 1:22 PM on December 5, 2013

So, you didn't mention it, but do shorter styles not work for you? The right cut for short hair doesn't have to stay up in the same way. It does take more keeping it trimmed, of course.

I've had good luck putting up my babyfine hair with one large grabber clip in the back (the hinged kind, with teeth)and then using a lot of the little baby ones for the stray/wispy bits (I usually have to twist/roll strands if they're long and then clip them). Sometimes I leave little side pieces down and curl them. I use muted blacks or browns and they look professional enough, if a little "arty" but that's fine where I work.
posted by emjaybee at 2:21 PM on December 5, 2013

Best answer: I really like the "Sweaty Bands" available here and I think also on Amazon. In spite of the athletic sounding name, they are pretty and professional looking, and actually stay on my head and don't give me a headache like a lot of other types of headbands. I especially like the wider version, looks a little less like I'm headed to the gym.
posted by sarahparah at 4:22 PM on December 5, 2013

Have you considered cutting your hair very short? I don't have baby fine hair but I have crazy short hair. It's basically a more expensive boy's cut. I use a wax or putty to style it pretty flat to my head, which makes it pretty wind proof.
posted by Gor-ella at 5:53 PM on December 5, 2013

I have some old silk pocket handkerchiefs that I use as headbands. I twist then very tightly so they're not messy, then tie. Cotton works well, too, polyester will slide off my hair.
posted by theora55 at 9:18 PM on December 5, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, guys! I love the suggestions.
My hair is already really short, so I really didn't know what else to try - this has been a big help to me.
Will take your advice on the headbands and products metioned.

Have a great day!
posted by gohabsgo at 5:43 AM on December 6, 2013

Best answer: I concur on the thin, neutral headbands -- the ones in the Anthropologie link above are ideal. If that price point is too high for you, it looks like you can find similar styles on Etsy for less than a third of the price. See the Women's Headbands category and some specific examples: braided headband, stretchy metallic headband, beaded silver headband.
posted by ourobouros at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2013

Best answer: I like my headband from Eliza B. It's the only one I've found that doesn't give me a headache. They're very preppy, which may or may not be good for you, and I don't think they look like they belong on a girl.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:01 AM on December 6, 2013

Came here to recommend Sweaty Bands, so I'm seconding saraharah. I wear them for running and they're pretty much the only headband that stays on my head.
posted by Brittanie at 3:36 PM on December 6, 2013

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