Do Headbands Stretch Over Time? (Explained)

A great headband should do two main things. They should hold your hair back while also staying in place. Since most headbands are made with elastic and fabric, a big concern is stretching them out.

 So, do headbands actually stretch out over time?

Yes, a headband will stretch out the more you wear it and how long you wear it. This is because the fabric is meant to be flexible and stretchy enough to pull over your head and tight enough to grip your head.

 Constantly pulling the headband over your head day in and day out will stress the elastic over time and make it too loose to wear.

Here’s How to Keep Your Headband from Over-Stretching:

Most headbands are made from elastic materials that recover their shape. However, you can extend the life of your headband. Store headbands in a cool, dry place when you’re not wearing them. Avoid stretching headbands too tightly, and invest in headbands made from high-quality materials.

Can New Headbands Be Too Tight?

Having a headband stretch out is something that you can expect to happen after a long time of wearing the same headband. 

Another concern is that a brand new headband will be far too tight. Most headbands come in a “universal” size to fit most head sizes and shapes.

Some will still feel too small because headband brands want their product to last you for a long time. To make the headband wearable for a long time, the initial shape of the headband will be far smaller so that there is room for it to stretch and grow.

While a new headband that is way too tight will certainly stay in place all day long, it can also lead to some serious discomfort. Most notably, a headband that is too tight will lead to a compression headache, where the air and blood flow to your head is compressed by the tight elastic. 

How Should a Brand New Headband Fit?

A brand new headband should be tight enough so it won’t slip to the back of your head even when you’re active.

Next, it should be loose enough to feel comfortable. There is a fine line between a headband with the perfect amount of stretch to be flexible but enough grip to not move.

To know if the brand new headband is the right fit, put it on and look out for a couple of signs. 

First, it is way too tight if you find it harder to move your neck around while wearing the headband. On the other side, if you find that the new headband keeps slipping down over your eyes, it is way too loose.

Wearing a headband that is too tight is like a domino effect on your health. Your neck and shoulders may start feeling sore at the end of the day and are usually followed by a pounding headache. So, while a brand new headband should conform perfectly to your head, there is a chance that it will be too tight.

Do Headbands Need to Be Broken In?

If you have a larger head and have difficulty finding a perfectly comfortable headband, you should absolutely break it in.

Luckily for you, stretching out a headband is pretty easy and can be done quickly so that you can wear your headband sooner than you think. This is because elastic is meant to be able to handle some stretch. This means you can easily break in the headband and make it slightly looser without worrying about losing its shape.

The way that I like to break in my headbands is to stretch them over my knee. Once it is tight around my knee, I stretch out my leg and pull on one side of the headband gently. 

You want to loosen up the elastic so that it isn’t as tight while also not breaking the headband. A good rule of thumb is to pull gently until you hear the slightest creak. If you pull hard enough to hear the elastic ripping, ease up a little bit.

While breaking in a headband is a good idea, remember that you are essentially damaging it. 

More specifically, if you stretch out your headband, it will not last as long as it was meant to; you may have to repurchase a brand new headband sooner than you think. However, it is more important that you can wear that headband comfortably.

Can You Tighten Old Headbands?

To tighten a headband back up, you will have to be pretty thrifty with a thread and needle. Luckily, elastic headbands already have a visible seam that will act as a guideline for you while tightening the headband.

First, you want to know just how much fabric you need to tighten up before you start stitching. This way, you don’t make the headband too tight. Start by putting the headband on and pinching a section of slack. 

Move your head around a little bit while you are holding the slack to make sure it feels comfortable on your head and neck.

Next, you want to use sewing pins to pin the slack of the headband in place. This is your last chance to double-check that the headband’s tension is exactly how you want it to be. Just make sure that you pin the slack on the existing seam.

 Use a similar colored thread to the headband to create a seamless look, and sew a quick stitch on the seam to pin back that extra slack fabric. After you finish, you can trim off the excess fabric and go about your day.

When Should You Replace Your Headbands?

If you wear the same headband every time you go for a run or hit the gym, you want to replace them often. 

This is because while headbands are washable, you have to imagine how much dirt, grime, and sweat are building up.

A good rule is to replace your headband whenever it is too loose to repair and is starting to show signs of damage and age. There are obvious signs that it is time to give your old headband the boot if you see staining, discoloration, or even tears in the fabric. 

At that point, it is only a matter of time before the headband will be completely useless. More generally, it would be best if you replaced your old headbands every two months.

Can You Re-Use Headbands for Other Things?

One way to re-use an old headband is to ut it into strips and repurpose it as hairbands. I love doing this because the fabric that headbands are made out of is designed to not catch or tangle your hair.

So, using the fabric as quick and easy hair ties will give your headbands new life and be gentle enough to wear in a ponytail.

Another thing I love to do with old headbands is to turn them into fire starters for a fire pit. All you need to do is cut the headband down into little strips and keep them in a box by your fireplace. 

You can soak the cloth in either rubbing alcohol or lighter fluid and toss them into the wood in your fireplace. This helps to get your fires started without having to worry about burning your hands by holding a match up to a piece of wood.

Just remember to follow all the proper fire safety rules and don’t burn anything made of harmful materials or chemicals (like plastic, acrylic, etc).

The options really are endless when it comes to ways to repurpose a headband. As long as you are being creative, innovative, and safe, there is no reason why you can’t take those old loose headbands and turn them into something new!

Reference Links:

How To Make Headbands Not Hurt

Stretching Headbands? 

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