Headwrap : A Compact Guide
Headwraps: Then & Now
Headwraps originated in Africa and are a traditional form of attire for African women. There, headwraps are called dukus or geles depending on the country. The style of the headwrap worn by an African woman offers insight into her social and economic status.
The headwrap was given a whole new meaning in the United States. During slavery times, headwraps were used to ostracize and oppress African American slaves. Black slave women were forced to wear headwraps (thought to make them less attractive) to deter white men from pursuing them.
In addition, to denote a separation of class, white slave masters commanded black slaves to wear head wraps. This enabled slave masters to further distance themselves, aesthetically and socially, from black people.
Over time, Black people have taken the headwrap back and rewritten the rules entirely. Today, we use headwraps to cover up our heads on bad-hair-days, we pair them with our favorite outfits as stylish fashion pieces, and most importantly, we wear them as overt statements of pride in our black heritage.
Main Things to Know about Head Wraps
1. Tying head wraps too tight can be problematic. Be careful not to tie your wrap too tight, as this can cause problems like hair loss and headaches.
2. There are countless ways to tie headwraps. People have made videos showing how they like to tie their wraps (more on that later). You can follow their examples, or you can come up with your own wrap style.
3. Fabrics matter. Silk wraps are best for protecting your hair, but this fabric is often too soft and flimsy for styling. Cotton and polyester wraps are best for styling, though the material could potentially be damaging to your hair. Remedy this by wearing a silk scarf or bonnet under your cotton/polyester for max protection and styling versatility.
Pros and Cons of Headwraps
- A cool way to express individuality.
- Come in a variety of styles and colors.
- Good for covering up undone hair.
- They keep your head warm in the winter.
- Some deem headwraps inappropriate for public wear.
- If tied too tightly, wearer might experience headaches or hair loss.
- They can make you feel hot in the summer.
How to Tie Head Wraps
When it comes to tying your head wrap, you have so many options. The best way to learn how to tie a headwrap is to watch videos of others tying theirs.
Here are some helpful resources that feature videos and gifs of women tying their head wraps.
Where to Get Head Wraps
If you want to see and feel your head wraps in person before you buy them, you can find them at your local beauty supply store (Sally Beauty, Ulta Beauty). They are also sold at department stores (Walmart, Target). You can also get them online at Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. Walmart, Target, Sally Beauty, and Ulta also sell headwraps online.