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Natural Hair Protective Style: Scarf it up!

Updated on August 7, 2014

Protective styling for natural hair comes with a diversity that makes it possible for every hair type to find out what works best for them individually. I am currently in a phase where I am searching for the perfect combination of protective styles that will work towards me obtaining maximum growth. That has always been my goal but unfortunately I have not always done what I can to reach that goal.

For the past few months I have been in this “Afro” phase where I wear my hair out as large as possible. It was fun to wear my hair out but in return I ended up getting single knots all over the place. I also ended up with horribly dry damaged ends because of the heat I was using to achieve these big styles. I knew better but it was fun! Now I am back on my journey towards healthy hair growth.

My Hair in an Afro
My Hair in an Afro

I love scarves! I see them everywhere in almost any store I set foot in. It's becoming popular in the hair world to place these scarves on your head. This of course makes a great protective style because scarves wrap your hair up in a tight cocoon which provides protection from outside elements. Protection is key in hair growth so I jumped at this trend!


Here's a little history for ya!

There are so many types of scarves and they have many different patterns and designs. The most common materials used to make scarves are silk, satin, fleece, pashmina and cashmere.

The Silk Worm



Silk is a great type of material to use to protect the hair at night while sleeping. It allows the hair to move freely without producing to much friction. Too much friction will eventually lead to the wearing down of hair.

Silk is a natural protein produced by certain insects to create cocoons. Nature is awesome right! The best type of silk comes from a special worm called the Mulberry Silkworm or Bombyx mori.

Silk is so shiny because of it's triangular prism molecular structure which reflects light at many angles. This makes it look so luxurious!

Silk fabric first originated in China and was reserved for royalty!


China is Where the Silkworm Originates!


Pashmina is a fine cashmere wool. Scarves that are made with pashmina originate from India. The wool comes from a special sheep that is called Changthangi or Pashmina. This sheep is endemic to the northern area of India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Himalayas.

Pashmina Scarves


These beautiful scarves are hand spun and woven in many colors. Even though pashmina is a type of cashmere, it's fibers are much finer in diameter and lighter when worn.

Ethnic head wraps

In many cultures scarves are used to wrap the head every day. A common type of head wrap is the turban. Turbans come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. They are used in many cultures for a variety of reasons and worn by both men and women.

The Turban Fashion Trend


Most people link turbans with the middle east but today turbans are popular ways to add style to everyday life. Girls like to dress them up with different outfits, wearing make up and earrings. You can even go to the hair isle at many stores and find turban hats to wear in many different colors.

Geles are interesting head wraps worn by African women as a way to complement their colorful dresses. They are very interesting to look at when tied.

African Geles


Styling Options

As I stated before, using scarves as hats or hair wraps makes a great protective style.

I love to play around with scarves to find many different ways to wear them. YouTubers have been very helpful with that. =) There are an array of shapes and sizes of scarves that make styling them on the head fun. My favorite types of scarves are long rectangular scarves such as Indian Pashmina scarves.

Here are some of the ways I style my scarves on my head:

The Base

Before I use any fashionable scarf over my hair, I put a base scarf on. My base scarf is usually one of my satin night scarves. It looks like this...

This step is important for me because my satin scarf does not suck moisture out of my hair, and it does not break down my hair with friction. The whole point on using stylish scarves as a protective hair style is for the preservation of my hair.

Most scarves are made of wool or cotton and these fibers are not good for the hair. They suck out moisture and leave hair dry and brittle. My base scarf is the solution for this problem. It acts as a barrier to protect the hair underneath.

The Fun Bun

This style is cute and simple. What I do first is I place my hair in a bun. It doesn't matter if it's twisted in two strand twists or braided, I just put my hair in a bun. Next I place my base scarf on my head by wrapping it around my forehead and towards the back of my head to the bun.

Next I wrap the ends of the scarf around my bun to protect my hair. (Creating the bun with your hair is optional depending on the length of your hair and the style it's in.)

Next I take my decorative scarf, preferably a long rectangular scarf, and I place it on my head exactly as I did my base scarf. This time the bun gets bigger.

If you are not able to create a base bun with your hair, the scarf will be enough to create the bun without the need of your hair underneath.

The Bun Up

This style is pretty much identical to the first except the bun is on top near the forehead. This is a bold style and very cool. To do this, depending on the type of scarf you have, you'll need to put down a protective satin scarf for a base to protect your hair. Next you can apply your printed scarf and tie it in a bun on top of your head.

If your scarf has the little tassels on the ends you can just tuck those in when you're done wrapping or you can leave them out. It's your choice...just make sure the scarf is secure to your head. Sometimes I’ll use bobby pins to keep it in place.

The Twisted Wrap

This is a wrap style I made up just playing around. It's cool to just play around with different scarves to see what you can come up with. There is no right or wrong way to do it.

The Pirates Secret

With this style I decided to throw my twin sister in because she had her hair banded in cute pig tails. This style is great for dressing up two strand twists or individual braids. It reminds me of how pirates wear scarves on their heads.... Arrr matey! This style is a good way to give the illusion of longer hair and show off the cool patterns scarves can have.

The Bohemian Modern and the Wrapped Bohemian

These two styles were a product of me goofing around. The first one is a wrap that allows the scarf to drape the shoulders. This one is pretty can just play around with the scarf so that it fits your head and drapes on your shoulder just right.

The Bohemian Modern

Starts off just like the Pirate's Secret.
Starts off just like the Pirate's Secret.
Then one side of the scarf is draped over...
Then one side of the scarf is draped over... create the Bohemian Modern. create the Bohemian Modern.

The Wrapped Bohemian

The second one is similar to the twisted wrap but the foundation of this style originates from the bohemian modern, where half of the scarf is wrapped around the head and the other half drapes.

With the wrapped bohemian, the half that would normally drape is now twisted and wrapped around the head. (With the twisted wrap, both ends of the scarf is twisted and wrapped around the head simultaneously).

Bow Flare

Bows are not just for little girls, we can enjoy them too! This is a great style to put the skinny scarves to use. It's also great for those who want to try wearing scarves on their head but don't want their entire head covered. This is just a simple bow that can style up any protective hair style.

Make Your Choice!

Which Wrap Style is Your Favorite?

See results

These Youtubers are Scarving it Up!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article! I truly hope it has been helpful to you!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below! =)


*This Hub has been re-published*


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