Whether you're at the gym, walking around in the heat, or simply trying to cure a headache, using a cooling headband can provide relief. However, the best cooling headbands work differently to keep you cold, so you'll need to decide which method makes the most sense for you. Some headbands that are made with built-in cooling systems provide instant relief after being soaked and wrung dry, while others are constructed with breathable, moisture-wicking materials that keep you cool and sweat-free (those don't provide immediate relief, though).
Headbands made with built-in cooling systems can get chilly on demand, and they're usually activated by water. Don't worry, though: If you wring them out as instructed, they shouldn't drip when you wear them. While different brands use different cooling technologies (which are usually listed by the manufacturers), the process usually works the same way. When you wet the fabric, it becomes cold — and it stays cold for a certain amount of time. When the chilliness wears off, it needs to be dampened again. These usually need to remain damp in order to work, but there are options available that won't get your skin wet.
Headbands without water-activated cooling systems can be just as effective, though. Most of these are made with breathable, moisture-wicking fabric to provide ventilation while eliminating sweat, and some are also made with materials that protects against UV rays. Since these ones don't have to be soaked, they're a bit easier to use on the go (or when you can't access water for re-wetting). However, they can't provide immediate cooling like the others can.
Whether you're seeking instant relief or just trying to stay cool and dry, you'll also want to make sure your headband is comfortable and stays in place. Thankfully, the following picks are either stretchy or adjustable — so you shouldn't have any problems.
So go ahead and choose the best cooling headband for your needs. I've included lightweight, breathable options and versatile picks that'll get cold instantly.
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1. The Overall Best: A Lightweight Cooling Headband That Keeps You Dry
This lightweight cooling headband is specifically built to keep you cool on the go. The lining is made with cocona fabric, a coconut-derived material that absorbs water and resists UV radiation, along with polyester and spandex. It works by evaporating sweat on contact in order to keep your skin cool and dry. The adjustable strap and hook locks in to keep your hair in place as you move, and it comes in various patterns and colors to complement your gym wardrobe and workout style. Since the materials work together to keep you cool, you don't have to wet this one in order for it to work.
What fans write: "I do not know how I ever lived in Florida without one of these. Not on does it cool you but prevents sweat from running into my eyes. I just wet it when it starts drying out and the cooling begins again. Best product for staying cool I have ever owned!!"
2. This Stretchy Headband That Provides Instant Cooling Relief
This Arctic Cool headband takes cooling a step further by incorporating the brand's "HydroFreeze X Technology" into the fabric. Here's how it works: When the band gets wet, the material gets cold — and since the trapped water won't evaporate too quickly, it'll stay chilly for long periods of time (the exact duration isn't mentioned, though). However, reviewers claim that it stays in place all day long. The fabric also blocks 98% of UV rays, keeping you cool even on the sunniest days — and since it's made with polyester and spandex, it's stretchy and comfortably fitting. Choose from two colors: gray and white.
What fans write: "These are great. They stay in place all day and help keep me cool. I work in a glass factory so its hot year round and these help keep me cool."
3. A Budget-Friendly Cooling Headband That Can Be Worn As A Bandana
Even though these cooling headbands are advertised as bandanas, they can easily be used around your head for instant relief. Each one is made with a polyvinyl acetate lining. To work, the band needs to be soaked in water and shaken dry. Then, it'll remain cool to the touch for up to four hours. Once it warms up again, it just needs to be re-dampened. The band is available in many colors and designs, and they can each be tightened or loosened as needed. If you'd rather try one at first, you can opt for a single pack. However, this two-pack is currently the most affordable option on this list.
What fans write: "I work in very hot conditions and this is the best cooling headband available. I actually own the blue and the navy Western colors; I would definitely recommend this product."
4. This Cooling Headband You Can Wear Tons Of Different Ways
This multi-style cooling band can be used in various ways (12, to be exact). It works as a headband, a neck gaiter, a face wrap, and more. To make it cool, simply soak it in cold water, wring it out, and then put it on. The material should stay chilly for "hours," according to reviewers. When it needs to be cooled down again, you just have to repeat the process. It's that easy. The band comes in two colors: purple and teal.
What fans write: "This really does work! I wore this around my neck while unloading a truck and it reduced my sweating immensely. It kept me cool for over 4 hours! I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who overheats easily or sweats excessively."