We spend most of our days, evenings, and nights in hijab. Usually, we end up wrapping hijab over uncombed hair and tight buns. Result? Flat, lifeless, dehydrated, frizzy, and brittle hair, and worst-case scenario, a receding hairline. It’s never too late to change and update your hair care regimen. In this blog, (which seems a long one, but trust me, it covers everything!) you’ll find a complete guide starting from the basics until after you remove your hijab. Also, you will find some helpful links and references throughout.
Let’s begin our journey towards well nourished, strong, shiny, and healthy hair. All you need to do is:
Formulate your Hair Care Regimen:
This is no doubt the first lesson for good hair! Formulating a routine will let you pamper your hair with proper products and scheduling without over doing it (or never doing it at all!) A hair care routine will definitely save your time and your hair in the long run. It usually depends upon how you wish to divide your “ME TIME” over the week or weekend.
Your hair care routine will include how frequently you want to wash your hair, or use a hair mask like probably once a week, or how frequently you’ll oil your hair and etc. This will make your hair so much better over the long run.
So, formulate a hair care regimen and sincerely follow it! Let me guide you as to how to do it.
- Hair Wash and Care Routine:
Washing - shampooing or only rinsing your hair is the first step. But first,(1) Assess your hair type and use hair care products accordingly.
Why does it even matter right? Because every single person has different hair, whether it’s how they look – wavy, curly or straight, or how they feel – oily, dry or frizzy, which results in literally hundreds of hair type combinations. In order to follow and be consistent with a routine, it is important that you know your hair type and which products work best for you. Trichology, the study of scalp and hair, have tidied it into categories, whereby you’ll find that certain products can be better used for certain hair types. That in itself is a separate topic for a blog! You can find A Complete Guide for Assessing Your Hair Type #Hijabi Edition here.
But just to brief up, you need to find out, what your hair is and what is needs the most, is it wavy, curly, or straight and which subtype it falls under, how much is its retention property, among others. Assessing your hair type not only help you in choosing the right products, but it can also help you finding the right treatments for your hair.
(2) Wash your hair according to your hair type.
Once you know your hair type and the products you need for your hair, it will get much easier for you to understand how frequent you need to wash your hair. If you have straight hair, you can either wash two to three times a week, whereas for wavy hair, two times in week is fine. For curly hair, alternate between once a week and twice a week or better off, take 4-to-5-day gap between each wash. Washing everyday will make your scalp very dry which may result in itching or dandruff. Also, it will rip off your scalp of its natural oils.
When it comes to just rinsing your hair, you can rinse your hair just once in between shampooing. As just rinsing a lot may make it greasy for oily hair, and brittle for dry hair.
Answer the questions below and find your hair wash frequency:
One thing to keep in mind, be it any hair type, is the water temperature. Hot showers however tempting it might sound, will do much worse on your hair. Lukewarm water or even cool water is always perfect for any weather.
(3) Conditioning and conditioning!
Never underestimate the conditioning, I repeat never! Always condition your hair after using a shampoo, or you can even use a conditioner even when you are simply rinsing without a shampoo. Shampoos these days are formulated in a way that they go in hand with conditioners to provide you the right hair washing experience. You leave the conditioning, and you end up with unmanageable hair.
Also, leave-in conditioners are a great alternative to not washing your hair regularly. You can use them after using a regular conditioner as well. They allow your scalp soak moisture and make your hair more manageable even on the second day of your hair wash.
(4) Use proper care while Styling.
You can style up hair as you would love too, just never miss these two pre-styling tips: one, always use some styling oil or a formula and prep your hair, and never style your hair or use any heating tool (other than blow dry of course!) on wet hair. It is a big no-no. At least towel dry your hair until damp.
(5) Take Regular Hair Cuts.
Go for a new hair cut or even a regular trim for healthy hair. Yes, you hear it right, trimming the hair on a routinely basis is essential for good and healthy growth of the hair. Trims are best to get of split ends and promote healthy growth.
For healthy and not too damaged hair, a trim or cut every three months is recommended. For damaged or hair which develop many slip ends, the seven-week rule is recommended – that is, get a hair trim every seven weeks.
(6) Apply Hair Masks.
After using so many chemicals on your hair, it’s time to pamper them with natural hair masks! Keep one day in at least two weeks where you can pamper your hair by applying a homemade hair mask made up of all-natural ingredients. You can find many recipes for DIY Natural Hair Masks here.
- Pre-Hijab Hijab Routine
This routine should be a part of your everyday or every time you are going wear a hijab.(1) Make sure your hair is well dried.
This is a thumb rule: always ensure that your hair is properly dried before wearing a hijab, dried of water as well as of sweat. This will prevent damage to the roots of your hair. Since your hair will be wrapped up for the rest of the day and won’t get a chance to properly dry under the hijab, you will end up the flat and limp ‘hijab hair’.
The best approach to hair drying is leaving them open to air dry. However, if you’re in a rush, or the weather is too cold to air dry, you can always blow dry your hair. Use a cool setting and if not, use it sparingly.
(2) Tie your hair – securely but loosely.
Drying comes before tying as tying wet hair, also result in damage to the roots. Being a hijabi you would want to keep your hair tied securely throughout the day as nothing irritates more than those escaping strands.
But why ‘how to tie’ your hair is such a big deal? The reason is that many women complain of receding hair line after years of wearing hijab. This is caused due to tying your hair very tightly, which (along with receding hair line) also causes strain on the roots and also result in headaches. Though it might be shown in many tutorials to tie your hair tightly into a bun or ponytail, it is definitely a bad idea. Also, tying your hair the same way everyday results in hair breakage.
To avoid all these problems, you should put on a loose bun, or a loose ponytail, or the best of all – braid your hair loosely and let the scrunchies do the work of providing that perfect shape under the hijab. The velvet scrunchies are also a lot gentler on hair than those big claws! You can always alternate between these options and see your hair booming with life even after a long hijab day!
(3) Use an Undercap.
Using an undercap is really a good idea as it helps to keep everything together under a hijab. The undercap will not only keep the hair in place, but also prevent the baby hair from coming out along the forehead. If you get headaches from wearing tube undercaps, tie-back ones are the best alternatives.
One thing to make sure is that you regularly change and wash your undercaps. This tip might seem obvious, but it is very important to use a clean and fresh undercap for the health of your hair. As you wear your undercap all day long every day, dust and dandruff build up underneath as it is always in contact with the hair and using the same undercap for long can be very unhealthy and also result in fungal infections.
(4) Choose the best material Hijabs and Undercaps.
Follow the latest hijab trends, try new varieties and new styles, all while keeping in mind the fabric/material of the hijab as well as the undercap that you are choosing. Always choose a material that is comfortable as well as appropriate for the weather at the time. In sunny and humid climate, choose hijabs made of lightweight and breathable fabrics and likewise, choose heavier fabrics in cold weather. Today, you will find hijabs available in variety of fabrics like cotton, chiffon, bubble chiffon, velvet, silk, jersey, modal, viscose, among others. Always read the product descriptions when choosing a fabric. You’ll find an awesome fabric guide at Tehzeeb, to give you a better idea of the fabric that you wish to buy.
Accordingly, you can style them like you choose and combine them with undercaps. For an undercap, breathable, sweat free, lightweight, soft, and comfortable fabric should be chosen as they are the ones that are always close to the hair and scalp.(5) Use Hijab Pins.
You might be wondering, what in world hijab pins has to do with hair care? Well, continue reading to find out. You might have used a hijab pin for so long that the pin stalk might have gotten rusted. That not only damages the fabric, but it also causes infection in scalp if it comes in contact with the scalp. To prevent this, always throw away rusted pins.
Another thing is, when using straight hijab pins, use with care because if you prick your scalp over and over, that might cause a small scar unknown to you. It starts getting worse after you comb your hair, and the scar gets scrapped! To avoid this, either use magnetic pins, or long length straight pins that give you more leverage to tuck the pin end properly while styling your hijab.
- Post-Hijab Routine:
Once you remove your hijab, that doesn’t end your journey here! You just have to follow a few points before you can sign out for the day.(1) Detangle or Brush your hair.
Once you are home, remove your hijab and detangle or brush it once at least before you do anything else. This ensures that there’s no sweat build up as well as ensures that your hair don’t fall limp and lifeless. Brushing your hair will distribute the natural oils from your scalp evenly until the ends. Plus, combing your hair promotes circulation and the result is a healthy scalp!
(2) Let your hair breathe!
After brushing your hair nicely, don’t tie them back! Let them breathe. If you live with non-mahram and you wish to cover your hair, I will say use the softest and breathable materials like Cotton Crinkle and just wrap it around, making it just one single layer over the head and not more, or better, wear some Instant Hijabs and make sure to allow your hair to breathe.
If possible, on the weekends, try spending some time in open spaces, surrounded by sunlight and plants. You don’t have to go bare head under the sky, but you can make use of patios and other seating close to nature. The affect it will have on your hair is remarkable. You can take up gardening, so that you can spend some time out in the sun, or even better, make a cup of chai or coffee and lounge around for a while. Not only these activities are stressbuster and therapeutic, but these will also have positive effects on your skin as well as hair.
(3) Most Important: Oiling!
Oil is one the most important part in a hair care routine. Letting oil stay in your hair overnight is very beneficial and thus it was better to mention it in the post-hijab routine. Once you’re done assessing your hair type, you’ll know the frequency of oiling that your hair needs.
Oiling also helps prevent dandruff. As dandruff is attracted to an overly dry or sweaty scalp. Go through a trial-and-error process to find the right oils for your hair type as some oils might leave your hair dry and bristle while some make it too greasy. The right oil for your hair type will ensure your scalp is soothed and moisture and give your hair a natural shine.
(4) Tie your hair when you sleep and sleep on a Silk or Satin pillow.
One of the silliest mistakes we do, is being lazy for one single thing after a day full of working hard non-stop, and that is, tying up your hair before sleeping. Sleeping with hair open might feel the easiest thing to do, but it will worsen hair fall.
Tie a loose ponytail or a loose braid is the best idea. A braid will ensure minimal tangles and you wake up with cute light curls as a bonus. If you prefer a bun, you can make a high loose bun on the top of your head, using a gentle band or bow, such that it won’t interfere your sleep. Side buns and back buns might cause discomfort. And whatever style you choose, none of them should be tight, nor should you use any tight elastic bands. According to hair experts, tight style or bands may put undue stress on hair shafts and pull the hair strands that will lead to weaker roots and in turn, hair fall.
One another recommendation that I would like to make is about using Silk pillows. Our traditional cotton pillowcases tend to soak up the oils secreted by our sebaceous glands. So, to compensate that, our glands secrete more oil. This will make your hair dry and frizzy, and more prone to breakage and damage. Also, silk pillows are not only good for your hair, but also for your skin. Using silk can improve skin and hair hydration, prevent fine lines, wrinkles and breakouts, and result in smoother, frizz-free hair every morning.
A cheaper alternative is a Satin pillow. And if you really wish to invest in yourself, use a natural silk pillow.
Now all you need is a pen and paper, and you are all set to formulate your hair care routine! Let me know in comments if you have any questions, how far are you with your routine, need any hijab recommendations as well as the results!