Wearing Hats With Natural Hair for Minimal Damage

March 12, 2014
Wearing a Hat

I don’t know about you, but I love a good hat!  I have a bin of them under my bed.  Yep, a bin.  And when I was relaxed I wore them all the time.  And of course they were easy to wear with a big chop and short natural hair, or even braids and kinky twists; but as my hair got thicker and bigger, and huge [er! lol], it became more and more difficult to just put a hat on.  It was a fight with the ‘fro, and my mass of voluminous thick curly-kinks usually won out over a cute and stylish hat.  And let’s not even talk about the damaging effects of the knit caps (which just happen to be my favorite hats) on our natural hair – too much rubbing against that fabric can really do a number on our hair.  And it isn’t a melodious number!  But in time I learned how to wear a hat, and how to wear my favorite kinds of hats without the damage.  Here are some tips on wearing hats with natural hair…

Wearing Hats with Natural Hair

What I know, now, is that it is quite possible to rock a hat, or many hats, if you take proper measures to (1) tie your hair down so the hat fits, and (2) protect your hair from harsh-hat damage.

Peek-A-Boo Beanie

No, this is not an official term to describe the satin-bonnet-under-the-beanie look, but it is quite appropriate.  The beanie is probably my absolute favorite type of hat out there.  I have them in many colors, and the slouchier the better!  But oh, the knit fabric can wreak all levels of havoc on natural hair.

beanie hats

Well here is how I solve that problem:

I pull all my hair back into my satin cap…   satin cap underneath beanie

and then put the beanie hat over it…   beanie

So it doesn’t slide off, I use a couple of bobby pins to fasten the hat to my hair.  Voila!

Here is the disclaimer to this style (you knew there had to be one!):  Even though you have on a satin cap underneath, there is no satin right at the edges.  So the very edges, unless you take care to pin the beanie hat on top of the edge surrounding the satin cap, are still touching your actual natural hair.  Be careful about the rubbing and diminishing of your edges.

Fashionably Fedora

They’re coming back, and I have no complaints.  I love the tom-boyish look of a fedora, especially when worn with a masculine-chic outfit.  Because the fedora doesn’t come all the way down like a beanie, you can’t really pop on a satin cap underneath.  Okay, let me rephrase: don’t pop on a satin cap underneath!  The good thing about a fedora is that the fabric is not entirely damaging to our natural hair, and you’re not going to be wearing it for long periods of time.

Either way, my favorite way to feature a fedora is to pull my hair back in a cute low bun-do.  You could easily pull it back into a bun or ponytail, but what fun is that?  And how else could you model a hair comb, pin, or barette?  Like this:

I like to twist my hair back into a low bun because I can grab all the hair better than when I just grab and pull…

hat hair

Then I can slip the fedora over my hair and go…   fedora

You can also get a satin wrap-scarf   stay on satin   and tie the very top of your hair.

And Let the Church Say Amen

So about those church hats!

derby hat

Yep.  So funny story behind this hat – it isn’t actually a church hat.  I was invited to an awards dinner and the theme was derby; which meant the ladies had to come wearing a large and obnoxious derby hat.  The bigger the better.  So a few of us decided we would make our own hats.  After all, the stores couldn’t possibly make them as crazy as we wanted them to look!  Or if they did,… um, have you seen the prices of some of those church-lady hats?!

This is it…   derby hat

With these hats, the fabric underneath is more “cottony” than the material of the fedora, so I found it even more necessary to wear the satin wrap cap (above) over the top part of my head.

(…and scarves, too!)

hair scarf (my hair was too straight from a 2-week-old blow out and kept slipping…)

In my mind going natural meant that I couldn’t do many of the things I had done with relaxed hair.  Wearing hats was one of them.  I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of ‘rocking the ‘do’ when I cut mine all off, so I wasn’t as confident as I should have been; and certainly not confident enough to rock my favorite beanie with the front of my very short, curly hair showing int he front.  That is how I like to wear mine.  So I opted to wear head scarves, instead, and rocked some awesome fabric wraps.  The same applies here, though: you have to keep an eye on the fabric of those wraps so you aren’t doing more damage by wearing them.

You know what looks extra sweet is a wrap underneath a hat!  Trust me, try it!

Some other styles that work great underneath hats:

  • twists – you can tie those suckers right down.
  • braids – especially cornrows…
  • even twist outs and blow outs look great underneath fedoras and church hats if you want a bit of the natural ‘do showing.
  • if your hair is still shorter, try leaving out the front bang area for a unique and textured hat-look.

Being natural doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with accessories, and hats are no exception!

Do you wear hats?  How do you wear them?

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