Zayn malik headband

I’ve tried excessively hard to find the positives in lockdown living. For starters, I’ve been doing way more exercise than I ever usually do in real life. I’ve also been cooking and playing the piano a lot more (two things I love and don’t have enough time for usually). I’m feeling much more relaxed and – in a perverse twist – productive as a consequence.

I’m also finding plenty of time to trial all those grooming products I’ve never gotten round to using (face masks in particular – my pores are nonexistent these days) and I’m spending lots more time with my partner, which, thankfully, is proving to be a positive rather than negative thing.

There are, however, a few downsides. The fact that we’re living through a deadly global pandemic for which we were fully unprepared aside, I’m also drinking more than usual – there’s something about being stuck indoors that brings out the Desperate Housewife in me – and my hair became completely unmanageable in a matter of weeks. It’s a fact that not only fills my head with follicular dread about the months to come, but one that, now I’ve taken to longer locks, has also left me at a loss about what to do with the damn mop.

I’m lucky: I have very thick hair that grows very fast. It’s hair, in short, that is great in the outside world, but not so much in lockdown land. Though I toyed with shaving it off (not an option with my oblong-cum-anvil head shape), cutting it myself (less than ideal for a dextrously challenged beanpole such as me) and just letting it grow out, the reality is that it’s itchy, it’s heavy, it gets in the way and it sometimes makes me look like the bastard lovechild of Worzel Gummidge and KD Lang (not a good thing).

The only solution I’ve found thus far is to wear a headband for a few hours first thing in the morning, straight from the shower. The restriction provided by the band – I’m currently using a John McEnroe-style sweatband – pulls the hair back as it dries, meaning that once your hair is fully dry it stays in place, no matter how unruly it is.

I’ve also come to quite like it, aesthetically speaking. Though perhaps not one for important Zoom meetings, a metal-toothed hairband à la Golden Balls can look roguish and retro, while a skiing snood has a soft snootiness to it and a classic Alice band – worn correctly, with monochrome basics – can look knowing and edgy.

One thing to note is that if you leave the band on for too long and pull your hair back too tightly, you’ll end up pulling out strands at the front of your hairline, which is never a good thing if you’re in your fourth decade and perpetually anxious about impending male pattern baldness, as I am.

So here, to help you get started on your route into follicular freedom, is my edit of the best head- and hairbands on the market right now.

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