Answers to the Questions You’re Too Afraid to Ask About the Headscarf

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 6:45pm

You might have seen some girls who wrap a piece of cloth around their heads. The cloth (called hijab or tudung or kerudung) covers some parts of their bodies – hair, ears and sometimes neck. One might wonder what else they keep beneath the cloth (spoiler alert: hair ties). During the colder months, the cloth might be mistaken as a winter headgear. During the warmer months, you might wonder if it ever gets too bothersome to put on extra layers when it is scorching outside. But that cloth is not just some article of headwear that Muslim girls put on their heads as a ritual of faith. A lot of thought goes into this element of a girl’s outfit. Below are five answers to your questions about the headscarf that you are likely afraid to ask:

 

  1. The headscarf is made to stay on the head using pins. Much like a marathon runner pinning on a race bib, the girl uses several pins to make sure her headscarf does not slide to the back or front of the head throughout the day. To prevent sliding, some girls opt for a bonnet-like cloth underneath the main headscarf which creates friction between her hair and the cloth.

  2. There are many ways to style the headscarf. Some girls wrap the cloth around their heads. Some tie the cloth. Some slip on the cloth like a snood. Special styles are reserved for special occasions. Each girl has her own signature style that frames her face the best or is the easiest to put on for late mornings.

  3. There is such a thing as a “bad headscarf day.” Prevent from genuinely giving constructive fashion criticism to the girl when you notice her headscarf is “unusually distorted.” She probably has spent 20 minutes (15 minutes longer than she’s hoped for) trying to fix the uneven bumps of the cloth.

  4. The headscarf can be made of many different materials – cotton, jersey, silk, chiffon. Each girl has her own material preference for its pros and cons. Cotton scarves use less pins to create volume but do not look flowy. Chiffon scarves are flowy and elegant but lay flat on the head. Certain occasions warrant a different material than normal days in order to distinguish a look from an everyday one. For the comfiest headwear during long haul flights, just use a hoodie – no pins needed.

  5. Contrary to popular assumption, there is no weapon under the scarf. Girls braid or tie their hair into a ponytail or a hair bun to keep the hair from sticking out through the scarf. Some put on hair ‘scrunchies’ to create a more voluminous look. Perhaps the most ridiculous thing a girl can ‘hide’ under her scarf is half of a pair of socks.

 

Hopefully these answers give you enough insights to understand that donning a headscarf is not solely the question of to do or to not do, but also a matter of what material, what color, what style and which pins. The headscarf comes with its own wonders, quirks and oddities just like any other type of clothing.