What is African Head Wraps?
African head wrap is a piece of fabric that is wrapped around the wearer’s head and tied and knotted in various elaborate designs. A small or large, usually patterned piece of cloth may be used as an African head wrap.
Nowadays, head wraps are normally around 60-inches long, or about the length of a regular scarf. Several women actually find a second use for their patterned pashmina scarves, using them as head wraps as well.
Brief History of the African Head Wrap
African head wraps are just about as old as most African cultures. Yet, they still maintain their relevance to African and African American women today.
Headscarves are believed to have originated in sub-Saharan Africa. They were pieces of handmade fabric patterned with several cultural colors and designs.
African head wraps held a cultural and fashionable significance, giving an impression about a lady’s age, social class, wealth or marital status, as well as serving as accessories for beautification.
The African-pride connotation of head warps remains, and several amazing styles have been incorporated by black women all around the world. African head wraps are now available in a wide range of fabrics, patterns, colors and sizes, and women can be found adorned in them to accessorize their outfits for both casual and special outings.
But today, head wraps are not only enjoyed by black women. Women of different races, nationalities and cultural heritages have also embraced the beauty and grace that come with being adorned in a African head wrap.
Traditional Names for the African Head wrap
The African head wrap is designated by several names in different African tongues. Some of these include “gele” in Yoruba, “iduku” in IsiZulu, “dhuku” in Shona, and “duku” in Chichewa.
Reasons for Wearing African Head Wraps
Aside being an emblem of heritage and a fashion accessory, African head wraps are very practical items of clothing as well. Some of their uses include:
- To protect the hair while sleeping: Silk or satin headscarves help women in place of bonnets to protect their hair from breakage while they sleep at night.
- To tame the hair in daytime: A large head wrap can help you check your tame your curls and serve as a form of protective styling when your hair isn’t done.
- For ceremonies: Africans are generally proud of their culture and normally put on traditional head wraps during ceremonies such as weddings.
- As a fashion accessory: Black women and women of other races enjoy head wraps as unique and fashionable pieces that convey a simple stylishness. Pre-tied head wraps provide ease of wearing while untied ones can be tied into various elegant styles.
- To celebrate the African heritage: The rising love for natural hair has grown hand-in-hand with the love for head wraps and their incorporation into the female African-pride look.
- To add a chic touch to church outfits: Rather than the conventional hat on Sundays, some ladies now prefer to adorn their heads with a decorated African head wrap.
How to Wear an African Head Wrap
You can wear an African head wrap regardless of whether you have long or short hair, bangs or braids. Want to tie an African head wrap yourself but don’t know how? There are tutorial videos and guides to help you tie various amazing styles.
Trendy African Head Wrap Styles
The most common head warp styles include the bow style, the front-knotted wrap, the twisted wraps, and the top bun. You can find several videos on YouTube to teach you how to tie these and several other beautiful African head wrap styles.
If doing it yourself proves too challenging, you could go with pre-tied head wraps and make your life that bit easier while still achieving the African elegance that headscarves give.
In terms of designs when selecting your head wraps, there’s a whole world of possibilities for you to choose from including:
- Floral patterned wraps
- Wraps depicting cultural patterns and symbols
- Solid colored wraps
- Wraps in Afrocentric colors like green, red, black and yellow.
African Head wraps constitute a highly notable and unmistakable aspect of African dressing. The African woman gracefully adorns her head with a colorful piece of cloth to exude the distinctive confidence, beauty and elegance that denotes the African turban.
Today, African head wraps have become something of a fashion statement for ladies of all ages around the world. These print scarves come in various sizes, textures and colors, but typically, you can tie several beautiful head wrap styles with a 72 x 22 inches (or thereabouts) wrap in ankara, kente, dashiki, kitenge or any other traditional African fabric.
Here are 38 head wraps in different prints, colors and fabrics you’ll be sure to love.
AFRICAN BLUE AND PINK HEAD WRAP
Blue and pink have never gone together more beautifully than on this handmade African wax print head wrap.
- PURE WHITE HEAD WRAP
This soft and immaculate African turban piece is pure white, making it a perfect match, whatever the occasion or attire.
- MULTICOLOR HEAD WRAP
Simply beautiful! This colorful piece is bold and versatile, including bright colors ranging from yellow to purple.
- BEYIN AFRICAN HEAD SCARF
Majoring in blue and splashed with orange, this is an amazing African touch to vitalize your outlook.
- REGAL GREEN AND YELLOW HEAD WRAP
Resonate with nature with this green head scarf that is intricately patterned in pale yellow.
- BOLD LOOK HEAD WRAP
This Malian-style print set in black with fair helpings of white and orange will make your look any day.
- TAKU TIGNON EWA HEAD SCARF
This multicolor Ghanaian print will remind of you what’s so special about the continent of Africa while completing your look with a splash of color.
- TAN AND PURPLE HEAD WRAP
Here is a fantastic combination of purple and tan designed to give you that royal African look you’re going for.
- AFRICAN PRINT ALASSANE HEAD WRAP
This gold-set head wrap takes you home with the maps of Africa scattered along with other motifs on its knit-like pattern.
10. AFRICAN PRINT RONJA HEAD WRAP
This double-sided print head wrap will attest to your originality with its red, white and brown colors and touches of gold.
11. AFRICAN PRINT YACINE HEAD WRAP
Achieve a golden look with whichever head scarf wrapping styles you tie with this gold-based, patterned African print head scarf.
- BLACK AND WHITE SAMACACA HEAD WRAP
Here’s a soft and lightweight, purely black and white head wrap to tie your creative head wrap styles with.
- TEAL AND BLACK ANKARA HEAD WRAP
This cool ankara piece with neatly hemmed edges will pair easily and beautifully with almost any outfit.
- BOLD KENTE HEAD WRAP
The unique kente pattern on this head wrap takes the more uncommon route of pinks and reds along with turquoise and yellow touches.
- BOLD RED
Rich red patterned with black and yellow is surely a bold and vibrant look to wear on your head.
- ROYAL BLUE AND GOLD HEAD WRAP
The coolness and simultaneous vibrancy of the blues on this wrap is almost unbelievable. Add gold to that and you have a royal African masterpiece.
- DUTO HEAD WRAP
This print sports a benign simplicity set in versatile shades that remind you of ancient Egypt.
- REUKA AFRICAN PRINT HEAD WRAP
The linear designs on this blue, white and black head wrap look amazing tied in whichever head wrap styles you favor.
- TURQUOISE FLOWER HEAD WRAP
Wear a bold and beautiful look with this turquoise, flowered African head wrap tied in various head scarf wrapping styles.
- YELLOW MULTI ANKARA SCARF
This African ankara wax head wrap is vibrant with its blend of bright colors set in a base of yellow with complex patterns.
- KENTE HEAD WRAP
This head scarf print exudes Ghanaian royalty with a rich kente blend of yellow, orange and green.
- OSUMARE AFRICAN PRINT WRAP
Hand-printed and 100% cotton, this Osumare double-sided wax print scarf looks great from all angles with themes of red, white, black yellow and green.
- NEEMA HEAD WRAP
Here’s a cool blue and yellow cotton wrap, with a touch of white and black, which can be styled and matched however you desire.
- YENDI AFRICA HEAD SCARF
The lovely colors and distinctive pattern of this Ankara scarf make it a winner for any occasion any time of the year.
- AFRICAN FABRIC SCARF
Lovers of green will appreciate this graceful African turban with tailored edges.
- ANKARA TURBAN
Dyed on both sides for convenient styling, this African turban scarf beautifully blends patterned shades of blue and green.
- AFRICAN FASHION WAX PRINT
Red, orange and green go better than you may think. This African head wrap brings a chic pattern to add to your wardrobe.
- PATCH WORK PATTERN AFRICAN WRAP
Here’s a simply delightful patchwork patterned print for unlimited head scarf wrapping styles.
- AFRICAN HEAD SCARF
A handmade gorgeously designed purple and green wrap like this one adds a vibrant African aura to any look.
- GOLDEN BROWN HEAD WRAP
Gold and brown beautifully tell the story of Africa on this playful, yet modest head wrap.
- AFRICAN CLOTHING SCARF
Getting a Nigerian handmade Ankara head wrap assures you of the kind of quality you’ll be putting on.
- NIGERIAN GELE BEAD HEAD TIE
Nigerians go over and beyond with their head wraps and thus red and blue turban set with pearly white beads is certainly a stunner.
- MALI AFRICAN PRINT HEAD WRAP
This piece beautifully blends traditional and contemporary influences with touches of black, white, gold, grey and bright green.
- ETHNIC HEAD WRAP
Blue and yellow hues make a stunning and vibrant combination that will definitely make a statement each time you wear this African turban.
- ANKARA WRAP FOR WOMEN
The delightful pattern of this scarf set in green, red and gold colors will give you the confidence befitting of an African woman in a head wrap.
- RED ANKARA HEAD WRAP
If you love red, this beautiful wrap, intricately patterned in black with touches of gold, will give you a bold and queenly look.
- AFRICAN PRINT MICHELIN HEAD WRAP
This colorful double-sided print head scarf is a valuable accessory to go with any head wrap style or ensemble you desire.
- TAFI AFRICA HEAD SCARF
The green, white and navy blue theme of this ankara head wrap stand out making it a great piece to pair with any outfit.
Tips for styling African head wraps
The African-inspired colors and patterns that wraps usually come in may sometimes eliminate the need to accessorize. To keep things even simpler, you may wear a head wrap in the same fabric or colors as your outfit.
While the simple head wrap look is great, accessorizing your outfit may prove to be the fun part of wearing a head wrap. Your jewelry and other accessories can help you complete that fabulous look. Try wearing a colorful African head wrap with a neutral top and jeans, and watch the wrap add a splash of color to your casual outfit.
Celebrate your African heritage
It’s safe to say that the current appreciation for African head wraps is more than just a passing trend – it’s here to stay. You can now purchase beautiful headscarves at almost all your favorite clothing outlets stores. So get yourself some colorful wraps and celebrate black beauty.