Set Your Hair Straight By Rolling A Doobie

This old-school pinning technique helps smooth hair and maintain long hair styles.
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Publish date:
October 2, 2013
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How-To, straightening, doobies, videos, tutorial

A doobie is more than a hair-setting technique throughout the Caribbean. It's a tradition. The technique and purpose vary from person to person depending on hair texture and desired outcome, but one thing's for sure: most girls in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are quite familiar with it.

Being part of the second generation, I have a more detached relationship with the doobie. I grew up in the dry California climate, where humidity isn't a constant threat to heat-styled hair, so I never relied on it much.

At this point you're probably wondering, "What the hell is a doobie?!" Simply put, it's a way of wrapping and pinning the hair around one's head for the purpose of straightening it. The pinning and wrapping technique is always the same, but the outcomes will vary based on your hair type.

Check out this lil video I made showing exactly how to do it. My model has very thick Asian hair--she'd probably never actually need to use this technique, but the point of this video is merely to give a bare bones tutorial of how it's done.

Here are some options:

  • Start with damp-dry hair, pin it in a doobie, sleep on it with a head scarf, and wake up with more or less straight hair--think, a natural, not flat-ironed straight--that you can quickly touch up with heat tools.
  • Use hot rollers. After you take them out, brush the hair, and pin it into a doobie for an hour or so while you finish getting ready, to get rid of overly bouncy curls, in exchange for a blown out loose wave.
  • For curlier, coarser textures, you can blowdry your hair straight with a round brush. While the hair is still hot, pin it into a doobie, and let the hair set while you do your makeup/finish getting ready. This is a way to lock in the straightness, especially say, in a hot bathroom, or on a humid day.

If you happen to have a bonnet drier (I guess you could technically use a regular drier), you can start with more damp hair, pin it into a doobie, and then dry the hair that way. This would be a method of blowdrying your hair straight without using a round brush and avoiding all that potential breakage.

Once you've achieved your desired style, you can also sleep with your hair in a doobie and a head scarf to ensure it doesn't get roughed up throughout the night. This precaution would be especially useful to someone with more coarse-textured hair that resists staying straight and tame.

Remember, the doobie is a tradition of Afro-Caribbean origin, for women to achieve smooth, straight hair and maintain it that way for as long as possible. It isn't just a DIY alternative method to hair-straightening: for many women, it is their preferred method of hairstyling. I've never been to New York, but I've heard that the Dominican salons there put in WORK with the doobie, and leave you looking superfly for rather cheap.

Beware, though: according to my cousins and aunts, going out in public with a doobie is a NO-NO. It's considered to be distasteful and (not my words) a little trashy. I've done it before. I've even gone to work with my hair in a doobie.