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How to Tie an African Headscarf

Updated April 17, 2017

An African headscarf, or head wrap, is a colourful, bold wrap that women place over the hair. Women wear them to help protect their head in hot climates, as a fashion accessory or as a religious statement. According to Patrick Smith in "History of the Scarf," the scarf dates to ancient Rome when men used them to wipe their face and brow, and early Chinese noblemen wore the scarf as a mark of rank. Today, Orthodox Jewish women and Muslims sometimes wear a headscarf to cover their hair as a part of their religion.

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  1. Brush back your hair away from your face. Place the headscarf in a central position over your hair, ensuring that the scarf falls over the tops of your ears. Position it far enough over your hair so it won't fall off. Leave a large part of the scarf hanging behind your head to hold your hair in when you wrap the scarf around your head. To shorten the scarf, fold it down the centre before placing it on your head.

  2. Gather your hair into the part of scarf that is hanging behind you. Hold the scarf at the bottom of the hair where it is loose. Gently twist the scarf around your hair without twisting your hair, which causes unnecessary tension -- and pain -- to your scalp. Continue twisting until you have entwined the length of the scarf around your hair. Leave a small portion of the scarf loose at the bottom to allow you to secure it after you have completed the wrapping process.

  3. Pull the twisted part of the scarf around to the back of your head and align it with your ears. Wrap the scarf around the base of your head as if you are placing your hair in a bun without wrapping it too tightly.

  4. Tuck the ends of the scarf underneath where the hair is wrapped to ensure the scarf stays in place, in the same manner as you wrap a towel around your head after you wash your hair. If desired, secure the scarf with a hairpin. Attach the pin underneath the wrapped hair to conceal it. If the wrap is pulled too tightly, allow more slack where you have tucked or pinned the scarf to your scalp.

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Things You'll Need

  • Headscarf
  • Hairpin
  • Hairbrush

About the Author

Carrie Ann Wilcox

Carrie Ann Wilcox began writing professionally in 2010. She has written for "UFO Matrix" magazine and worked as a freelance journalist for Beacon Radio. Wilcox holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, literary studies and journalism from the University of Worcester and a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism from Birmingham City University.

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