AskDefine | Define headband

Dictionary Definition

headband n : a band worn around or over the head; "the earphones were held in place by a headband"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a strip of fabric worn around the head
  2. a strip of fabric attached to the top of the spine of a book; used as decoration and reinforcement

Extensive Definition

A headband is a clothing accessory worn in the hair or around the forehead, usually to hold hair away from the face or eyes. Headbands generally consist of a loop of elastic material or a horseshoe-shaped piece of flexible plastic or metal. They come in assorted shapes and sizes and are used for both practical and fashion purposes.
Horseshoe-shaped headbands are sometimes called Alice bands after the headbands that Alice is often depicted wearing in Through the Looking Glass.


Headbands were once almost universally an item of female clothing, but have recently become popular for men in some countries, due to a fashion for long hair. Alice bands for men have been worn by David Beckham and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
During the 1980s, headbands were associated with rock and roll music, particularly with Bruce Springsteen, Olivia Newton-John, and Mark Knopfler.
In Japanese culture, hachimaki headbands may symbolise determination or devotion.

Practical uses

Sweat absorption

Headbands, or sweatbands, are worn around the forehead during physical activity to absorb sweat and keep it from reaching the eyes. Sweatbands are often made of a continuous loop of terrycloth, as it is a particularly absorbent fabric. Folded bandanas, usually knotted behind the head, also serve this purpose. These headbands are usually used for sports.
The sweatband was invented by Carl M. Tipograph. He holds the patent for the sweatband in both Canada and the United States. He realized the importance of providing an effective way to remove sweat from the head.
The sweatband gained a large part of its popularity during the 70's and 80's, when aerobics classes gained popularity. They, in large part, fell out of the "fashionable" catergory when the grunge era rose. However in the mid to late 2000's some aspects of the post hardcore subculture began to wear these again.

Cold protection

Some specialized headbands are designed to be worn covering the ears, in order to protect them from cold temperatures and snow. These tend to be broader and of heavier fabric.

Head protection

The car headband is a conceptual protective headband for car occupants being investigated by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR), University of Adelaide, Australia.

Managing hair

Headbands are regularly worn by sportsmen and women to keep hair out of their eyes, but there are also musicians who are known to wear it. In sports, famous users include David Beckham and Ronnie O'Sullivan; in music, Little Steven and Guns N'Roses lead singer Axl Rose have made headbands their personal trademark.

External links

headband in German: Stirnband
headband in French: Bandeau (coiffure)
headband in Japanese: ヘアバンド
headband in Portuguese: Testeira
headband in Simple English: Headband
headband in Swedish: Hårband
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