Where can I find boy-friendly headbands?

Updated Oct 12 2015
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
Not my kid, but totally the hairstyle he's currently rocking. Photo by jula julz, used under Creative Commons license.
After spending his entire life in a decidedly "I want to be like my dad" phase my almost four-year-old has recently entered into a "I want to be like my mom" phase. Part of this includes his new desire to have long hair — like, down his back long. Both his dad and I are totally cool with this, but it turns out the growing out of his hair is a total pain.

It's a stereotypical parent thing, but it's making me CRAZY that my son's hair is constantly in his eyes. We've started pulling it back with a hair band, but he's not the biggest fan of the style. I've seen TONS of really adorable soft, fabric headbands for girls.. but the designs usually include butterflies and rainbows. We're fans of butterflies and rainbows in this house, but my son has clearly stated that he wants something different for his hair. He wants patterns, but not those patterns.

So I ask you, parents of long-haired dudes: how did you style your son's hair while it was growing out, and do gender-neutral or a little more boy-esque headbands exist? — Anne

  1. Have you considered bandanas? I used them as headbands all the time when I was growing up. I lived with my dad and brother, so there really weren't girlie alternatives until I got a job where I could buy my own accessories. I stole my dad's biker bandanas!

  2. I second the bandanas since I still wear them regularly. However, if you have any sewing ability, you could easily make a headband out of any stretchy jersey knit material. I'm super lazy, so I would just measure my head, cut out the fabric and then sew it together, but I'm sure there are more advanced, prettier versions where you make a tube and hide the seam, etc. Since jersey knit doesn't fray, you don't have to worry about the seams that much.

  3. My first thought was bandanas, too. And if he doesn't like those patterns, why not take your son to the local fabric store and let him pick out the patterns he likes? Headbands are really easy to sew…just cut out a rectangle and hem it. Bandanas are just big squares that are hemmed.

  4. Those sorts of things take about five minutes to make if you have a sewing machine. You must have a doting grandparent, a crafty auntie/uncle, a friend or a neighbor who can help you out. Your son can even pick out his own fabric.
    No craftsters in your life? Than commission one from an etsy seller. Find someone who makes the sorts of fabric headbands you love, and write to them with your request. Heck, they'll probably be glad to have a chance to work with something other than rainbows and butterflies.

  5. Bandanas were my first thought as well but you could also use sporty sweatbands or those really thin elastic headbands that come in browns and blacks. I've seen guys with long hair wearing those before.

  6. My son has bangs, so I just get those trimmed every blue moon and it's all good. As for headbands, he loves the plastic thin ones from Ardenes. They also have normal solid coloured fabric ones. Also, if he's not opposed to it, he could simply bobby pin them to the side or something.

  7. I agree with bandannas, I swear by them. You can either roll them up or keep them folded diagonally. Also plain elastic headbands. You can find them in the grocery store, they're like bigger pony tail holders and you can usually find them in different colors.

  8. What about the "around the back of the head ones" that are a little sportier? I've seen a ton of those in black, brown, blue, etc. If you can only find them in adult sizes, a couple simple stitches with heavy-duty threat could shorten them.

  9. I don't sew, but I've made my own headbands with that hemming tape that you can iron. Buy stretchy fabric, cut to size, "hem" the sides with the iron, and voila! You can either make the closed loop kind this way, or maked the kind that ties up.

    • You can even make a headband out of a non-stretch fabric (Which gives you more choices of patterns) in one of three ways (That I can think of):
      *By just making a hemmed piece of fabric and tying it
      *By making a closed loop with a piece of elastic in the back.
      *By making a head-sized scrunchy (Which is just a tube of fabric with elastic inside.)

  10. I don't know if you were wanting to pay $15 🙂 But buff bandannas and headbands are amazing. There are two kinds — the narrow UV bands and the larger ones that can cover your whole head or your neck. They are the only ones that stay on my head. Here is the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Buff-UV-Headband/dp/B0035N273W/ref=pd_sim_a_3

    Although REI, Sahalie, and other places sell them as well. They are super comfortable, last a long time (if you don't leave them at the gym … 🙁 ). I don't know if they make a kids' size; they might, but if not, you could just stitch them up a little bit smaller by taking an inch or so in at the seam.

  11. My kid used his ears. He is a really pretty kid and the second he started growing his hair out, people started calling him she… so headbands would not have worked. He did wear bandanas sometimes but at school, he kept it tucked behind his ears. His teacher was adamant his hair not cover his eye(s) in any way, so that was our deal.

    Also, one touchy afternoon when a store clerked said "She" we had to have the talk and it went down like this. I said, You have choices here. No one is trying to hurt your feelings, they are just mistaken. Your choice is to cut your hair, or shake it off. Don't take someone's mistake into your heart or let it hurt you.

    He grew his hair from 3rd-8th grade. He could sit on it when he was done and it was the blondest hair ever. Right before he graduated, he shaved his head and sent it to locks of love. He looks like a man now. I cried during the cut.

  12. A lot of pro soccer players rock long hair and wear headbands during games to keep their manes under control. You might check out a sporting good store, they have them in a rainbow of colors so athletes can match their uniforms. The athletic ones will be made to stay in place during sports, so he wouldn't have to worry about having to fix it or adjust it all day.

  13. I used to buy ties from thrift stores and slip them over plastic headbands and then you can just sew the ends shut. More variety in patterns this way!

  14. So what about just awesome shoe laces or ribbons with a masculine print on them? You can safety pin them at the back of his head and cut them to length if he's worried about the bow, and they even have super awesome colorful safety pins now, so he can rock that as well. Otherwise, why not scour Etsy for someone who might make something to his liking?

    Also, when my husband had long hair, he just wore a hat. Forwards, backwards, etc. He was pretty cool (in the early 90's).

    • While hats seem like the ultimate solution, many schools have a no hat policy. Ever. Why, I haven't quite figured out (and I'm a high school teacher) but they're very firm on it.

      • Hats and even bandanas are prohibited in some schools because some of them are gang colors. If you haven't heard of that problem in the area you live you are very, very lucky.

  15. I would look at what European soccer players wear, like David Beckham, etc. They usually wear elastic black ones, or the like 2" thick black spandex-y ones. I've see a lot of guys wear those, and they look good.

    …is it weird that when I think of men and headbands…i think of soccer players?… hmmmm..

  16. This sounds like a fun craft project to me. I love patterned fabrics but can never find anything to do with them. One only needs so many cute, decorative pillows, after all.

    Is this an unserved niche? Should I be making non-girly patterned fabric headbands and putting them on Etsy?

    • You could always make 3 or 4, put them up, and see how quickly they sell. There are probably non-girly-girls who would appreciate them as well.

  17. I can sew anything you want, or teach you to. >Buy 4" of any stretch fabric that feels like a t-shirt. Usually these are 60" wide and a kids head is 21 or 22 or 23" so you get two out of your purchase. Place strip around kid's head and put in a safety pin where it feels comfortable and not tight, not slippery. Cut an inch longer. Sew this 4" seam. fold the raw edges in to make it the width that looks cool. NOW- if it is still slippery put a line of glue gun glue on the back-that will hold it in place. Try to match the pattern or just do straight lines on the edge because it may show through as a different texture. Wash and dry like anything.

  18. There are tonssss of DIY tutorials which use upcycled t-shirt material. Why not pick out a couple of cheap t-shirts in patterns he likes and make your own?

  19. My long hair friends through high school or college used the jersey from an old T-shirt sleeve. they just cut a strip out, it was already sewn in a circle and was about the right diameter. Also didn't look fussy. eventually it would stretch or break apart, and they'd just tie it back together in a knot. The good thing is that jersey doesn't fray, they still had a bit of that favorite t shirt with them and if it got lost, there was more shirt where it came from!

  20. I played sports quite a bit growing up. I know a lot of the girls had hair bands patterned with soccer balls, baseballs, etc. So if your kid is into sports, I know there are sports patterns out there. Maybe at Dicks, Rei, or even a girly place like Claire’s.
    And with all the funky trends out there where you can get pizza on anything you can imagine (also galaxies, cats, and tacos), I’m sure there are stores that must have those sorts of things. If you have a Five Below near you try there.
    In sports we also often wore multiple skinny headbands together, to get a stripe effect.
    Also, check out Junk Headbands (they have a website and I’ve seen them sold at Dicks) they seem to have some cool stuff. I think I even saw a dinosaur headband once.

  21. Hi there!

    I had the same problem, so I started an store 🙂 I'd be honored if you'd like to check it out
    boybandzandbabygear.com

    My goal has always been to provide "boyish" or unisex styles. Hope this helps!
    I'm also on etsy

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.