How to choose a head wrap

We present head wraps 101: the materials, the styles and the accessories, plus a video on how to tie a head wrap.

A head wrap offers a stylish, comfortable cover-up if you've lost your hair as a result of cancer treatment.

Why wear a head wrap?

Kirsten Prins is a volunteer with the charity Look Good Feel Better, which teaches people how to cope with the appearance-related side effects of cancer. She also owns and runs Wigs on Wheels in Melbourne.
 
She says head wear like a head wrap is primarily for comfort, warmth and protection and to give you options for different occasions.
 
“When women lose their hair it's about having options. There are certain days when you want something soft and comfy, something a bit dressier, something to match your outfit.”

How easy is it to tie a head wrap?

Prins runs workshops that teach you step-by-step how to tie a head wrap. She says it’s a matter of practice, and that some people pick it up more quickly than others.
 
“My advice is always to practise a couple of times at home in front of the mirror so you feel confident, in case you need to adjust it in public later on.
 
“Experiment in the privacy of your own home. Have a play so when you leave the house you’re confident in what you’re wearing, because confidence is key.”

Fabric options

In terms of fabric, Prins' advice is to choose something soft and comfortable: she says cotton is generally best.
 
“If there can be a little stretch in the cotton it helps the pliability and elasticity and helps to hold the head wear in place.
 
“Silk [scarves] can be problematic. However, lots of women have gorgeous silk scarves in their wardrobe already that they want to use, so we recommend a [cotton] sleeping cap underneath to [help] anchor the silk... Don’t wear silk on a bare scalp as it will slip off.”

Size and shape of fabric

Generally oblong scarfs work well but there are many different ways to tie a head wrap, so the length and shape of the scarf you choose really depends on the fabric and the look you are after. 

How do I keep it in place?

Prins says that for many women the head wrap falling or slipping off is a big concern.
 
“There are several little tricks you can use to keep a head wrap in place – a headband, wig nets or a base [such as a cotton sleeping cap] on first underneath, then applying the wrap or head scarf over the top.”

Enhancing your face shape

The way you tie your headscarf should suit and enhance your face shape. For instance, you can tie the wrap in different ways to lengthen the shape of your face, add height or reduce the look of a long forehead.

Bring your own style 

“A lot of women choose head wear to match what they’re wearing. Dress it up with fabric or brooches,” Prins suggests. 

“Some women want to stand out and make a statement, others want to be more understated. Figure out what works for you – colours, style and so forth – because only you are going to know what looks good on you.”

Weather proof your look

If you’ve lost your hair, head wraps can help keep your head warm in the winter and protect your head from the scorching summer heat.

Make sure the head wrap you choose is suitable for the weather and protects the scalp and back of the neck from the cold air, rain and sun. 

She also recommends wearing sunscreen on the scalp, back of neck and ears, to prevent sunburn.

Wear with confidence

Some people may feel self conscious wearing a head wrap as they “think others are looking at them”, says Prim, “but I try to get them to have that confidence [in their new look] – they need to own it before they get out into the big world”.
 
“If you choose to wear a head wrap try to have fun with it and let your personality come through. It’s just another accessory to wear – it’s an extension of your style.”
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