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Headbands Are Back: How to Style Your Fave Schoolyard Accessory as an Adult

An embellished headband. A thin, beaded headband in an updo. A headband with bangs in an updo. A beautiful headband in cascading curls.
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Modern-day grammar school style.

Back in our grammar school days there was no hair accessory quite as versatile as the headband. Whether it was embellished and bedazzled for our oh-so-special events or stretchy and sporty for after-school fun, headbands were undoubtedly a hair styling go-to during our younger years. But, these stylish hair accessories don't need to be reserved for grade school nostalgia. If the runways are telling us anything, it's that headbands are making a comeback. We chatted with New York City stylist and L'Oréal Professionnel Ambassador Pepper Pastor to get expert tips on styling our favorite schoolyard accessory as adults.

Size Matters

"With headbands, the biggest thing is you have to gauge is its size," Pastor says, explaining that the size you choose should correlate with how thick and how long your hair is. She says that girls with a thick head of hair should opt for wider headbands since tiny styles may not say put. On the flipside, finer hair types should steer clear of the large, heavy styles and instead try delicate, thin bands.

Rule of Thumb

When it comes to width, Pastor recommends going by the rule of thumb, especially for styles that rest behind your ears. "You don't want headbands that fit behind your ears to be wider than your thumb or they will be uncomfortable," she warns. Fabric headbands, on the other hand can be a little bit larger, but no wider than your wrist.

If you have bangs-or you're growing them out-you have two options when it comes to headbands. "If you're growing out your fringe, headbands are genius," Pastor says, as they allow you to hide your bangs until they've reached a desired length. "If you love your bangs wear a narrow, thin headband and keep your fringe out."

It's Okay to Embellish

One of the greatest attributes of headbands are how different they are all. They can quickly turn your gym updo into a stylish sporty look or add a little something special to cascading curls. Pastor loves tortoiseshell and gold glitters. She also says that silver headbands look equally amazing on light and dark hair-where the lighter tone offers more of a contrast.

Stay Put

Pastor says the trick to getting headbands to stay is to use a product with some grip before you style. "Using a product first gives the headband a little bit of something to hold on to," she explains. She recommends using a styling mousse or dry shampoo at the roots and following up with a spritz of hairspray to tame any flyaways.

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