History Of African Head wraps

History Of African Head wraps

Headwraps To The Rescue

Headwraps! Sigh. What can I say?  They are lifesavers, for me anyway.  There have been so many days that I have covered my natural hair with a headwrap. This is because my hair may have been unpresentable and having bad hair days are not in the cards for me.  It is amazing when all you have to do is wake up in the morning and throw a headwrap on and keep it moving.  They have been around for centuries and I hope they never go out of style.  Which leaves me the next thought to be what is the history of African head wraps.

History Of African Head wraps

Headwraps originated in Africa and are traditionally worn by African women.  In Africa, headwraps are known as dukus or geles depending on the country.  During slavery in the U.S. headwraps were worn by black women as a badge of enslavement by white slave masters.  The wrap was used to help distinguish between blacks who had power from those who held no power at all.  Black slave women were also forced to wear headwraps.  Slave masters thought it made them less attractive.  As a result, it deterred white men from pursuing them.

African Headwraps And Marital Status

Headwraps were also used to tell if a woman was married, widowed, young or old.  Members of the Yoruba tie the gele to indicate to others if she is married or single.  If she has an end that leans to the left she is single, if it leans to the right she is married.  Headwraps also signify respect in some African cultures.  In the Zulu culture a woman must cover her head when she is in the presence of her husbands parents.  This too shows a sign of respect.  It is also unfortunate that slave masters forced blacks to wear headwraps to deter other slave masters and distance themselves socially from blacks slaves.

Headwraps Becoming Fashionable

Over the past few years black women have changed the way others view headwraps.  The narrative has been changed completely.  As of today we pair headwraps with our favorite outfits and switch up the colors daily.  Headwraps display the pride that we take in our culture today.  They can come in many different types of materials.  Some companies choose to make them using linen, silk, cotton etc.  Headwraps have really become a major fashion accessory. If worn properly can enhance any outfit and you’ll receive endless compliments.  In addition, there are so many variations that can be done using a headwrap.  They can be worn in a high bun, low bun and even be made in the shape of a bow.  The best part is you can get creative as you like.

Keeps Natural Hair Healthy

One additional perk that I love about headwraps are that they can keep your hair healthy(especially natural hair). Sometimes I like to throw on my headwrap after I have washed, conditioned and moisturized my hair with whipped shea buttercocoa butter and coconut oil (to give me hair a rest from styling) Whoa! that sounds like a lot huh?! I like to think of my headwrap as a protective style.  Honestly, I could go two weeks wearing my headwrap and feel no shame.  The main idea is to make sure you do not neglect your natural hair while it is wrapped.  Paying close attention to how your hair responds to being covered for significants amounts of time is essential.

I love that there are different prints and styles of headwraps to choose from.  The African prints are what I like best.  When I wear my Kente wrap I get compliments thoroughout the day and feel all afrocentric (all smiles).

Tips When Wearing Your Wrap

Here are a few hair care tips in order to keep your natural hair growing healthy while wearing your headwrap.

– Never tie the headwrap too tight.  This can cause hair loss and headaches.

– Silk wraps are best for protecting your natural hair.  The material will not damage your hair and keep the moisture in your hair strands much longer.

– Braid or twist your hair underneath to avoid tangles.

– Lastly, enjoy rocking your headwrap and coming up with your own unique wrapping styles.