My Favorite Workout Headbands for Curly Hair

If you catch me in a local gym or out for a neighborhood run, you will likely see me in a fashionable workout headband. It is a necessity for me as I work to balance hair and fitness. It took awhile for me to figure out the best solution. I can share tons about lost battles with bandanas, skinny headbands, and even scarves.

As an avid fitness lover and curly natural, I know how an intense workout can be the enemy of the perfect hair day. Shoot, I used to schedule my fitness sessions around my hair, trying to preserve styles as long as possible. This is because you can watch your favorite twist out or the perfect blow out revert in a matter of minutes after hours of laborious styling in your bathroom. Or watch your strands swell to transform a defined wash and go into an unplanned afro in the blink of an eye. Moisture and humidity from a strenuous workout can definitely wreak havoc on hair plans. I had to come up with a solution to preserve my curls as I continued on my fitness journey.

Being able to protect and save my hairstyle was key to me fitting my workouts into my hectic schedule. With little time between the gym and work, I would have little time to completely restyle my hair if it was ruined. I needed a way to simply revive my style and be on my way. This is when my love for workout headbands began.

My Top Picks for Workout Headbands

Now, I must say that workout headbands are my thing! You can find me rocking one of these beautiful accessories every time I step foot in the gym or outside for a morning run. They have been a game-changer for my health and fitness journey. I no longer have any excuse for not working out consistently and achieving my health goals. Workout headbands stop the sweat from rolling down your face where it can get into your eyes and nearly blind you as you gasp for air with every burpee.  The dri-wick material that many are made with simply wicks away any bit of moisture in its path.

The challenge became trying to find a headband that doesn’t slip off after a few jumping jacks and performs for the duration of the workout. This took a lot of trial and error but with time, I did find a few brands that completely delivered. Here are my top picks!

JUNK High Performance Headbands

JUNK is an Arkansas based company that centers its brand around empowering others. They offer a vast selection of workout headband styles in addition to socks and other accessories. If you have ever stepped foot in a CrossFit gym, I am sure that you have likely seen someone rocking this gear. It is a fun way to express your personality and sense of style. There are literally hundreds of styles to choose from, making shopping for one of these beauties an experience within itself. From state and city flags to college teams and floral designs, there is a little something for everyone.

African American woman running the AJC Peachtree Road Race wearing the JUNK Honor Workout Headband
AJC Peachtree Road Race wearing the JUNK Honor Headband

I am a type 4 natural with coarse curls that require large hair ties and big headbands. There are two styles that I have found work well with very thick and big curly hair: the Big Bang and the Big Bang Lite. Both of these headband styles are wide enough to hold your hair in place and shield even the curls in a high ponytail from the sweat on your face. The wide selection of colors and patterns makes coordinating your workout gear a breeze, and they do not slip. When I say they don’t slip, I mean that these two styles stay put until you are ready to take them off. A huge win in my book!


Gymwrap is a performance headband line created by the beautiful Nicole Ari Parker. First, let me say that she makes anything look amazing, but these workout headbands stand out on their own. My favorite performance accessory from this line is actually the triangle wrap from this line is actually the Full Triangle Gymwrap Pro. The full triangle is a larger piece of layered fabric with its patented VentTECH technology. It is great for wearing shorter curls down and out during exercise or a sleek low ponytail that remains in perfect shape once the sweat session is done.

African American woman wearing a black Gymwrap workout headband
Gymwrap with open tie in black.

The traditional Gymwrap is an open tie design that offers a custom fit. The fabric width is what I would describe as a medium width, but still wide enough to hold back the thickest of tresses. Unlike the JUNK brand, there aren’t as many colors and styles to choose from. However, Gymwrap continues to expand its selection day by day. I can assure that you will likely find the perfect color to match most of your workout gear. Also, there is minimal slip during an average workout session and a serious bonus is how well it lays down hair edges. The key to edge control is to wait until your hair had fully dried before you remove the wrap. Just between me and you, I use this wrap outside of the gym too!

CALIA Apparel

Carrie Underwood had the right idea when she created this soft, yet stunning brand. CALIA is a full athletic apparel line that includes headwear accessories. Their headwear collection includes the Reversible Print Wide Knit headband that is stylish and affordable. Another option is the Effortless Wide Headband. This one is somewhat boho chic and is wide enough to tame the wildest of curls. The only downside is that product availability is frequently limited. Most workout headband styles are only available in local Dick’s Sporting Goods stores and not available to order online. When you find one of these beauties on the shelves, you have to grab it while you can.

Model wearing CALIA by Carrie Underwood Women's Effortless Wide Workout Headband in Oatmeal Heather
Model wearing CALIA by Carrie Underwood Women’s Effortless Wide Headband in Oatmeal Heather

What should you look for in a workout headband?

  1. The most important thing to look for is moisture-wicking or vented fabric. This technology or design is really what makes all of the difference and separates one of these high-performance headbands from the old school terry cloth versions from the ’80s.
  2. Wide fabric width is another coveted attribute of the perfect workout headband for curly hair. Trust me. Your curls will simply laugh at the skinny little bands that you find in every store.
  3. Lastly, the perfect headband will definitely be cute. What? You thought I was going to forget the fact that people are looking more and more fashionable at the gym nowadays? It doesn’t hurt to look cute while you sweat.

There you have it. Now, the difficult task will be not buying one in every color. Enjoy!

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