It really doesn’t matter what hair type you have, be it curly, kinky or straight, fine or thick, black, blonde, brown or henna red! Wearing a scarf on your head with any regularity can really take its toll on the health of your hair! I know some sisters complain of “hejab hair” where the hair which was fully, bouncy and soft before getting dressed for the day becomes dry, matted, flat and just yucky looking after walking in the door and whipping the scarf off after a long day at work or school or whatever. Others complain it makes their hair even more difficult to manage that “it stands straight up!”. Whatever it may be, really, after any length of time, you will indeed notice a change in your hair.
But, like…what to do?
I personally struggle with this and so does every other mohajabah sister I know! Who wants to look like a flat, matted mess once they are back at home!?
I dunno…but anyway, im hoping this post can start a dialogue amongst my readers with tips and tricks that they use to combat the “dreaded” hejab head.
On my end, here are a few things I’ve picked up over the years that Ive covered…also these problems aren’t unique to us. Christian and Conservative Jewish women who cover face similar problems along with women who for whatever reason always wear kerchifs because the front of the hair tends to break easily.
So here goes… Some tips/tricks Ive picked up over the years.
Seriously, this is something that Black sisters have known for ever…some fabrics just wreck your hair! Because sisters of African (or mixed) ancestry *tend* to have very dry, brittle hair-naturally, choice of fabrics can make or break you. Even if you dont have dry brittle hair or are not of African ancestry, it still matters!
Personally Ive found that pure silk is *the best* for your hair, it is natural, its soft, its smooth and it breaths…unfortunately one downside to silk is that it tends to move a lot when worn (this is why Turkish women are known for being pin-fiends with their hejabs, because they put in like 3-5 or more just their scarves stay intact! LOL). If your hair is really breaking, try wearing a silk scarf alone (if you can) or buying some cotton muslin fabric (the very thin, sheer, wide weave kind) and using that as an impromptu underscarf.
Also thin cotton scarves are good as well. I love the very light cotton scarves from Malaysia and the thin, Turkish Oya scarves, when the wind blows you can *feel* the wind reaching your scalp. Its even better if you wear it over a thin, muslin fabric wrapped as an underscarf.
The worst is polyester and ofcourse satins! I wear them…because they are convenient, don’t fade, dont wear quickly and are easy to wash…but really, they make your scalp sweaty , icky and yes…smelly! ugh!
2) This leads me to underscarves…in times when I have serious problems with dryness, breakage and other ravages I really do find that wearing a thin, open-weave muslin fabric (or even a Turkish oya scarf) as my underscarf works best…also just wearing a narrow headband-like the cheapo kinds, can find anywhere…CVS, Target, Walmart, whatever…like $3 bucks, come in a pack, as my underscarf helps too because it anchors my scarf at the front, around my hairline but then the rest of my head can…breath!!!
3) Keeping hair up 24/7, yes i’m guilty of this…I’m busy (like we all are!) and having a child or children makes this tendency even worse…who really comes home and has tons of time to lavish on their hair? uh, no one unless you have a maid and a nanny and God knows what else! Most of us keep our hair up 24/7…this is BAD!!! Ive found it necessary to keep hair loose at night while sleeping and after washing I try to let it *air dry* loose… Another good idea is unless your sebaceous glands are runnin’ wild…not washing hair daily can help to combat some dryness problems. Another bad idea is washing and then runnin’ out the door, putting a scarf over wet, pulled back hair! yuck…I wont even go there with how nasty and uncomfortable that feels and it can be quite unhealthy!
4) Hair products! Okay, I’m not big on putting a ton of stuff on my hair, but there are 2 hair products I do find which work for me and help to keep things looking decent, even with being up and covered all day.
A few hair serums/creams which I liek and work for me are…
Yeah, apparently Argan oil has become really trendy for hair and skin conditions, but I got into using Argan oil in Saudi and have continued using it here. One downside I found to Argan oil is it can feel heavy and greasy if you have thin hair. I like to use it as a weekly masque where I put it on and wrap my head up overnight and then rinse out in the morning.
For a more stay-in sort of daily (when I wash) serum, I like the Organix LIGHT Moroccan Argan oil. Its not pure Argan oil but it does have some in it and I like how its *not* greasy on the hair or scalp. I find it absorbs almost instantly into the hair and is weightless. Ive found it at Ulta and its not very expensive.
Another thing I like to use (although not as regularly-maybe 4 times a year) is Sedr…Iranian colorless henna. Its not real henna, but its from a similar shrub and has no color but its excellent at conditioning the hair and scalp. I dont know where to find it in the US as I buy mine when I am in Iran, but probably most Persian, Afghani and maybe general Middle eastern markets have it. I’m wary of using the commercial “colorless henna” which you can get at some places like Whole Foods cuz I really dont know if its really sedr…ya’know. I put it in as thought I am going to henna my hair (overnight) and I find the conditioning affects tend to last for atleast 1 month and for atleast another month after I can still feel/see a difference.
So now, I hope en’shallah my readers will share their tips/tricks about how to combat and handle the dreaded “hejab hair” problems which all of us who cover face.