The Dos and Don’ts of Hijab Hair Care

It doesn’t matter if you have been wearing the hijab (head scarf) for a week, a year or even 20 years, you most likely have already experienced ‘hijab hair’ or you most certainly will in the future if you aren’t careful.

What is ‘hijab hair’?

Hijab hair is only similar to helmet hair or hat hair in that the hijab will leave your hair flat after a long day of wear. In addition to flat hair, however, many ladies also complain about other hair complications related to ‘hijab hair,” which includes: dry or brittle hair, breakage, frizzy hair, receding hairlines, and the inability to grow their hair. The follow is a few dos and don’ts for my fellow hijabi sisters to ensure your hair continues to grow and stays healthy, beautiful and manageable.

Don’t neglect yourself/Do take care of your overall health

While writing this blog, I decided to visit my hair stylist of 20+ years. She has always said to me that my hair reflects my overall health. With this in mind, I am reminded great healthy hair starts from the inside out. I too was worried about some of the above complaints; specifically, my hair gets really dry from making wu’du (ablution before prayer). I was concerned that making wu’du several times per day and then wearing my hair covered would dry it out and cause it to become frizzy and break. I’m happy to report that my hair has grown quite a bit since I started wearing hijab again. My stylist actually said she thinks the hijab is helping and the last time she saw my hair this healthy was before I stopped covering it. Sub’hanAllah! Please read on to see what I have been doing to get those comments from my stylist.

  1. Drink an adequate amount of water daily to keep your skin, hair, and overall body well hydrated.
  2. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals
  3. Take a multivitamin if you are lacking sufficient vitamins and minerals and need help supplementing
  4. Avoid artificial, process, and junk foods
  5. Get adequate sleep each night

Don’t be inconsistent/Do prioritize consistent healthy hair and hijab habits

When I was in high school I was always told that I was lucky I didn’t have to do my hair everyday. My classmates assumed that because I didn’t show my hair in public I didn’t take care of it either. As most of my hijabi sisters know, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Muslim ladies are like any other women, we want to be attractive and part of our physical beauty is our hair.

  1. Wash your hair every three days up to once per week depending on ethnicity and hair type (I wash mine once per week). Keep in mind the hijab protects the hair from a lot of the harmful UV rays as well as environmental pollutants so you may not need to wash your hair as often as if you didn’t wear hijab (use your best judgment, nobody knows your hair better than you). Be sure to condition often and avoid shampooing too often.
  1. Gently comb or brush your hair often to keep it from becoming tangled and knotted. Also, allow you hair to air dry or blow-dry it on low heat settings. Make sure to have your hair trimmed by a professional or you can self-trim if you are confident enough to do so. The amount you trim will vary from person to person, but typically you want trim any split or damaged ends.
  1. Keep your hair moist and well hydrated. If you live in a dry environment or naturally have dry hair make sure you moisturize often (use oil, hair serum or whatever works for you personally) If possible, allow time for your hair to absorb the added moisture before putting your hijab on.
  1. Wear protective styles under your hijab. For example, many ladies wear a ponytail, or bun under their hijabs because it is easy, it keeps the hair neat under the hijab and it’s easy to add an under scarf. While these styles aren’t necessary no-nos, I have found that the key to avoiding hair breakage is to switch up the styles from time to time. Instead of placing your ponytail in the same place each time, move the ponytail higher or lower on the head. Also try braiding your hair from time to time (two-braids works amazing well for me). When you do style a ponytail or a bun, make sure to keep it loose so you aren’t unnecessarily pulling your hair and causing stress on the hair shafts and scalp.
  1. Make sure to ALWAYS dry your hair before putting you hijab on. This is important because wet and damp hair is very sensitive. If you find from time to time you have to run out the door in an emergency, I would suggest wearing a satin scarf on the hair and AVOID putting hair in a ponytail or bun in this case. Just wrap it in the satin under scarf and then wrap your hijab over it loosely to allow the hair to breathe.
  1. Make sure you are using cloth or satin under scarves (depending on preference and hair type). Anything that is too tight, rubber or plastic will likely pull on the front edges of your hair and cause discomfort and/or breakage.

Don’t hold your hair hostage/Do allow your hair freedom

Once you are home, if possible, remove your hijab immediately and undo your hairstyle to allow your hair to breathe. If your hair is flat and matted from wearing the scarf all day, then use your fingertips to re-volumize your hair and massage your scalp. For ladies with dry hair, this is an opportune time to lightly re-moisturize your hair. If it is your preference to keep your hair up while cooking and cleaning, make sure to style it in a loose manner to avoid stress on the hair. For the sisters who wrap their hair up at night, consider investing in satin pillowcases so you can wear your hair out at night. Try braiding hair loosely and avoid putting rubber bands and other abrasive hair ties in your hair.

Finally, if you are already experiencing some signs of hijab hair, fret not! Just start today with spending a few extra minutes pampering your hair and you will see in no time your hair is back to its former beautiful, lustrous self.

I hope these few tips help all of my sisters out there. Thank you to one of my readers for suggesting this topic, as it is very important. Please let me know if this was helpful or if you have any additional questions or tips to add. Please use the comments below; the more tips the better!

I am always open to suggested topics to write about. Please continue to be patient with me I have been in transition in my life and it has been a very busy time for me. I have many topics that I want to write about inshallah, so please check back soon!

Salaams and thank you for visiting!

What am I doing here … a bit about me

Hello everyone! Thank you for reading my first blog post. Before I dive into blogging I would like to give you a little background on me.

I am a woman who was born and raised in the United States. Not so interesting right?

Right!

I was also born and raised Muslim in the United States.

Still waiting for me to get to the good part, right? Ok, ok, I get it, that still isn’t very interesting considering there are millions of people in this country share this commonality with me.

Well, the reason I mentioned it in the first place is because when people see out and about in my daily life, I always have to clarify that I am both Muslim and from the United States. That means, my religion is Islam and my nationality is American.

Now that we have cleared that up, let me give you a glimpse of how the exchange usually goes:

Q. “What religion are you?” or “Are you Muslim?”

A. “I’m a Muslim, Islam is my religion” or “Yes, and I am Muslim.”

Q. “Where are you from?”

A. “Denver, CO.”

Q. “No, I mean where are you originally from or where are your parents from.”

A. “I was born in this country to American parents. My dad was born in California and raised in Ohio and my mom was born in New York.”

From there I usually end up telling the story of how my maternal grandmother converted to Islam when she was in her early 20s and how she then raised eight children, including my mother, as Muslims. I also dive into how my father converted/reverted to Islam when he was approximately 24 or 25 years old and has been a devout, practicing Muslim ever since. In case you care, my parents met in Ohio and got married and a few decades later here I am.

So I guess you can say I am a second generation Muslim in my family. Needless to say, I was raised with both an American identity and an Islamic one. Which brings us to the topic why I wanted to start a blog.

I was raised to be a devout Sunni Muslim despite my parents still working to figure things out and understand the religion themselves (I suppose this happens to all parents on some level) My father taught us to make Salah (pray) five times daily, which is obligatory for all Muslims once they reach the age of puberty. So I learned to make my prayers, in Arabic, at the age of five. I observed my parents fasting for the month of Ramadan every year until I was old enough to start fasting as well. Fasting is also obligatory for all Muslims after reaching puberty. My dad taught us how to read Arabic so that we could read the Qur’an. I was raised to understand the five pillars of Islam and the six articles of faith among many other Islam teachings and customs … Without getting into the weeds of the religion (we would be here all day), I will get to the topic at hand and the central focus of why I am writing a blog in the first place.

Growing up I was taught that I was required to wear a hijab (head scarf and loose modest clothing) once I reached the age of puberty. So when that day came, I obediently put on my hijab and it was no big deal, after all, I grew up seeing Muslim women cover their hair and bodies in public, at home and in the masjid (mosque) not to mention all of my friends were older than me and started covering a few years prior.

So this blog is about what I have leaned and experienced in the 20 years since I first put on my hijab. I have encountered many struggles with the hijab, all of which I will examine in my blogs/vlogs. To give you an idea: I abandoned the hijab for a while, I came back to it, I have lost “friends” over it, I am learning to navigate both corporate and social environment while observing it, and the list goes on. I promise to come back to these topics one at a time so that it is not so overwhelming.

The point of this blog is to tell my readers stories about what a hijab really is, and in doing so shine light on what it means to wear a hijab in America or in the world for that matter.

My goal is not to shame those who don’t wear it, but to express my love and appreciation of it, and, sometimes my frustration around the topic. I wish to reach the Muslimahs who want an outlet, or someone who understands their love affair or love-hate relationship with the hijab. I also want to reach the wannabe hijabis. Those ladies who want to do it, but haven’t found a way to tackle the subject for the hundreds of reasons I can think of but are very personal to each individual Muslimah. Finally I wish to reach the non-Muslim (male or female) who doesn’t understand the topic, but may have some interest in it. (It doesn’t hurt to understand something outside of your own realm and comfort zone, folks!)

If you have questions or would like me to write about a particular topic please leave me a comment and I will try my best to accommodate and answer all questions in a timely manner.

-Salaams (peace be with you)