Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tips for Tying a Headscarf (on a small, bald head)

When I knew my hair was going to fall out, I bought a wig.  I love my wig and I've had lots of complements on my 'new hair cut', but I don't like to wear it in the house, or when I want to get cosy at chemo sessions, or when I exercise and get sweaty.

So I bought a turban for these occasions but I hate it: it makes me feel like a sick person.  I had more luck with a cute peaked cap that is great for wearing to walk in the park but it feels odd to wear it inside.
So there was only one option left... learn to tie a headscarf.  

I've never been good with scarves. Some women seem to be able to effortlessly drape them over themselves and look instantly chic.  When I wear a scarf it looks odd or bulky or it comes unwound and drives me mad all the time, so I didn't think I'd be any better at figuring out a headscarf, even though I have a selection of lovely scarves to choose from.

First step when you don't know how to do something: Google it.

Googling How to Tie a Headscarf revealed some great step by step guides, some with videos to show you how to make sense of the instructions.  But the vast majority seem to rely on tying the ends of the scarf back over the front of the head to create a bow or a knot or a twist on top - this looks great on other people but totally swamps my smallish head.  I end up looking more as if the headscarf is wearing me than the other way around.

The only style that looked good on my little head required an infinity (loop) scarf.  It's really easy - you just put it over your head like a hood then twist the rest until only a small loop remains.  Then you can coil the twist up into a bun and put the loop around it to keep it in place.  It makes a cute, twenties-style skull cap with a bun behind or to the side - not too overpowering on a small head.

But the problem was that I only had one infinity scarf and loads of other scarves that I would like to wear.  So I experimented to find some other ways to create a similarly tight, streamlined look.

The trick with rectangular scarves seems to be in the way you fold it first.  If I just put a regular scarf over my head like a hood and tie it back it makes me look like a hippy (that might look cute on a twenty-something but on a forty-something... not so much).  

So I here's what I do with a reasonably short, wide rectangular scarf; fold it in half lengthways then put it over my head so that it falls over my face.  I tie the ends loosely together at the back of my head, then fold the flap over my face up over the scarf on my forehead,  to create another layer.  Then I tighten the knot at the back of my head (this step is important or I end up looking  like a shepherd.  Not a good look this close to Nativity plays).  This pulls the skull cap tight just as with the infinity scarf and then I wear the knot either at the back of the head or at the side.

Most of my scarves are too long for this though, and I'm left with long dangling ends down my back.  With these scarves I follow the same process but keep one of the ends very short.  Then, when I have tied it tightly, I drape the long end round my neck like a regular scarf.  So long as I keep the skull cap tight, it doesn't look too much as if I have just converted to Islam and it's super cosy on days when the central heating doesn't heat anything like enough to chase away those chemo chills...

I think the trick is, experiment with the scarves you have.  Try folding them in different ways, especially ones with different patterns on each side or down the length of the scarf.  Try draping the ends round your neck or twisting them up in a bun.  If your hair hasn't fallen out yet and you're struggling, don't worry.  It's much easier when you have a bald head to work on!

Happy headscarfing!

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