Hair Loss Issues: The How-to’s of African Head Wraps
Embrace the beauty and cultural heritage of head wraps and forget all about your hair loss problems!
Actually, the origin of head wraps has nothing to do with hair loss, but rather, in many countries head wraps are worn for social reasons and simply to protect the scalp and hair from environmental hazards of a hot and dry climate. Traditional African head wraps are bright and expressive, usually denoting different regions or social status and many women will choose to wear a head wr ap this way, hair loss or not, mostly to express cultural ties and heritage. The traditional African head wrap is meant to cover and secure a long set of braids or locks, and thus begins from a long rectangular piece of fabric that can be found at any fabric store in any pattern desired or special-ordered in certain traditional patterns like West African Kente Scarves.
As a solution for hair loss issues, obviously head wraps are ideal, especially if you’ve been wrapping hair up before you had any hair loss issues. But when it comes to Traction Alopecia or any other temporary hair loss, a head wrap of some kind can be just the ticket to letting your condition heal while having some fun with fashion.
African Head Wraps Up-Do’s & Don’ts
If you are wearing a head wrap to hide or heal hair loss or to simply rest your hair from dreadlocks or braids, or are in between styles, or you are just having a horrendous hair day, you still need to follow some healthy hair and scalp do’s and don’ts:
- DON’T twist the wrap so tightly that any longer hair gets twisted, pulled, and damaged because you can exacerbate your condition and put more stress on hair follicles instead of resting them.
- DON’T wrap hair when it is wet because you’ll be trapping moisture in which can lead to fungus and bacteria growth and infections, especially if your hair loss condition involves any type of scalp infection.
- DO let hair out at night so scalp can breathe. If you want to keep hair or extensions from getting tangled, try a very loose, thick, large braid to hold hair in place GENTLY.
- DO use a head wrap to protect hair from sun-overexposure if you have follicles and scars healing from Traction Alopecia, CCCA, or any transplant surgeries because sun exposure can cause scarring, as well as the pain and peeling of a sunburn on the already-sensitive scalp areas.
- DO practice with many different scarf fabrics, shapes, and techniques to find the one that suits your hair or hair loss needs perfectly – not every style is right for everybody and there are so many different ways of tying a scarf or head wrap that are easy to learn, with a little practice.
- DO attend traditional African Heritage Festivals and Expos and search out traditional purveyors of traditional African fabrics and hair stylists. These women can teach you head wrap techniques in a snap!
- DO check out YouTube and search “head wraps” and “scarf tying” to find step-by-step videos that teach some tying techniques in person, which can be easier to learn for some.
- DO check out some websites that show some beautiful examples and more step-by-step directions for tying a scarf or a head wrap in many ornate and beautiful ways: www.texeresilk.com, www.headcovers.com.
- DO Check out other types of head wraps if you just don’t want to tie it yourself – some come pre-tied or with hair as well, on www.chaopelo.com.
The Traditional African Head Wrap Technique
The very basic, easiest way to tie a traditional African head wrap comes from African hairstyle, braiding and cultural instructor, Nicole Lasher, and can be seen in step-by-step illustrations.
- Step 1: Shake out the entire rectangle in front of you so you can see the length of fabric you will be working with.
- Step 2: Begin by grasping the two short sides of the scarf, flip them over your head and slip them underneath your hair at the nape and bring them up around your forehead like a headband and tie in a small secure knot.
- Step3: Bring up one of the long sides from behind you and tuck it underneath the top knot, then bring up the other long side and tuck that underneath the knot.
- Step 4: Gently twist the slack that is left and bring it up around the top, lifting up any hair that is inside.
- Step 5: Keep wrapping it around creating a band at the hairline to your own desired shape. Wrap a little tighter for more of an up-do look or looser for a more relaxed, draped look. How you wear it is your choice: either wrap until you get to the end and tuck it in wherever it ends or you can tuck or pin some in and leave a little out to drape down the side or back.
As a solution for hair loss issues, obviously head wraps are ideal, especially if you’ve been wrapping your hair up before you had any hair loss issues. But when it comes to Traction Alopecia or any other temporary hair loss, a head wrap of some kind can be just the ticket to letting your condition heal while having some fun with fashion.
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