How To Style Your Hair With A Bandana In 2023

Very few fashion trends have had as interesting and colorful a history as bandanas. Originating in South Asia and finding renewed popularity during the American Revolution in the 1700s, bandanas have come a long way. Surprisingly, they've also stood for a lot more than a fashion statement — think World War II, LGBTQ+ rights, and political stances.

If the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter with her red and white polka-dotted headgear holding back her hair could you tell you something, it is that bandanas have made a strong impression. The caricature of Riveter was a symbol representing all the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II and probably still comes to mind for those creating bandana-inspired fashion pieces. 

A retro mainstay, bandanas may be a viable addition to the most popular hairstyle the year you were born as they're surely making a resurgence. And for good reason — they're easy to style and come in a variety of lovely colors and prints that can instantly elevate your look. They're perfect for those days when you don't want to spend hours in front of the mirror styling your hair too. Here are several unique and fun ways to style your hair with a bandana this year. 

Simple top-knot look

The top-knot look is effortless to achieve and probably the best route to take if you're a bandana novice. Just grab a bandana print you think will complement your attire and start by gently brushing out your hair. Once you're done, fold the bandana and fasten it around your head with the knot at the front, adjusting the cloth headband at a comfortable angle — it can be higher or slightly lower on your forehead. You can style the knot with a cute bow or simply twist the material over in the middle.

Going retro with a bandana

If you love all things old-timey, this is a perfect way to style your hair with a bandana. Retro styles are still elegant and relevant even today. Plus, tying it around like a kerchief, using a triangle fold, keeps your hair back and can give extra coverage for your ears and head when the weather is a bit colder. Silk bandanas also have a way of adding flair to a simple jeans and t-shirt ensemble. Go for a paisley print to stay in line with the retro vibe. 

Biker-style bandana

This classic biker-style look using a bandana is perfect for those times when you want to hit the beach but don't want your hair to get all tousled. If you pick a floral print, you can even turn this tough fashion statement into an elegant one. This style goes well with long hair, medium length, or even very short hair. All you've got to do is fold the 20-by-20-inch square cloth in half and tie it around your head at the crown. At the back, tuck the ends in for a cleaner look or let them hang. Adjust how high or low you want the front of the bandana to rest on your forehead before you head out for a day in the sun. 

Bandanas for bangs

Just like handkerchief tops aren't going anywhere, bangs aren't either. If you have them, you're by far the most advantageous when it comes to wearing a bandana. There are so many different ways to style a bandana with your fringe for a cute and edgy look. This one is pretty straightforward. Either comb out your hair and wear it down, or style your hair in an updo, before fastening the scarf around your head. Don't forget to give some love to your bangs in the process. After all, you're showing them off with this look. 

Full-coverage bandana look

Having a bad hair day? Want your headgear to be the center of attention in your ensemble? Either way, this fully-covered bandana look is perfect. If you have really short hair, you're going to find styling this effortless. The trick really is choosing the star of the show — your scarf of choice because that's mostly what anyone will see. Fold the bandana in a triangle and wrap it with the wide side at the back of your head, and tie the outside ends in the middle at the top of your head. Wear this with a large top knot or bow. If you've got long locks, tease out some hair strands.  

The bandana updo for curly hair

Have you got naturally thick and curly hair? This bandana style is well-suited for you. It's a no-fuss look that requires a hair tie to put your hair up in a high ponytail and a bandana of choice to wrap around your head. The bandana updo is perfect for those days when you don't want your locks getting in the way of what you're doing — a productive day at work, babysitting kids, or even painting. This hairstyle is perfect for keeping your hair off your neck in the summer.

The messy-bun bandana look

Who doesn't love a good messy hairstyle courtesy of a bandana? For those times when you want to give the illusion that you hopped right out of bed and out the door, combine your favorite scarf and some simple styling tips to arrive at this gorgeous look. Start by putting your locks up in a messy bun before wrapping the cloth around your head. You can either fold the bandana into a thin strip and wrap it around or style it folded in half. If you've got fine hair, a bun is one of the best hairstyles to add volume to thinning hair.

Ponytail bandana

A bandana-and-ponytail combo is another one for those days when you want to put the least amount of thought into a scarf-related hair look. If you've got long locks, simply tie them in a loose ponytail first. Then, wrap the bandana around the hair tie for an effortlessly chic look. If you think the scarf alone will hold your tresses in place, lose the hair band. After all, who wants pesky elastic bands pulling off your precious strands when you don't need them?

Classic headband wrap

Speaking of elastic, when was the last time you regretted wearing a tight elastic headband to keep your hair out of your face? Well, with this classic bandana look, you won't have to anymore. Simply style your bandana the way you'd style your favorite headband, or fold it and wrap it around your head and hair, and you're good to go. You'll keep the hair out of your face without pulling on your locks. Unless, of course, you want to show off your freshly-styled bangs with this look.

Bun with wraparound bandana

Do you love wearing your hair in a bun? We get it. It's easy and keeps your hair in place without a fuss. Why not complement the look with a bandana? If you've got particularly short hair and still want to style it this way, try a low bun that gathers up your tresses and wrap the cloth around it. Tie a bow or leave the ends flowing for a more glamorous look. It's hard to go wrong with this style. 

The wispy look

Sometimes you're halfway between wanting bangs but feeling apprehensive about the decision. This is when wispy locks come in handy. Simply comb out your long tresses as you would normally and tie the scarf around your head first. Tease out sizeable chunks of your hair to the front and you've got some long strands framing your face. Plus, it's a versatile look because the bandana can be worn rolled up like a headband or folded in half. If this won't motivate you to try a fringe, nothing will.