Black Hair 101: How To Dry Wrap

Because wrapping it up is the best gift you can give your tresses.

Recently, after a night out, I slept over a girlfriend’s house because I didn’t want to take the subway so late all the way back to Brooklyn by my lonesome.

We were both getting ready to turn in and I asked her if she had a silk scarf or even a bandanna since I wasn’t prepared with my travel head tie. She asked me why I needed one and I nonchalantly said to wrap my hair. She looked dazed and confused as if she didn't know what I was talking about. We may have a lot in common, but our hair isn’t one of them.

Since she was so baffled and curious, I let her watch as I tied my hair up for the night. It’s funny, after all these years of friendship, I have walked her through braids, natural hair, twists, weaves, wigs, etc., but I never thought to explain why I dry wrap every night. She was amazed at what I needed to do to take care of my hair and to preserve a hairstyle. It's Black Girl Hair 101.

Commonly done on dry hair at night, black women wrap their hair as a means of protection while sleeping.

Whether you’re a Naturalista, have a relaxer, or are a weave wearer, dry wrapping allows the hair to be secure and tangle-free while catching some Zs--preventing hair from falling out and rubbing, tugging, and snagging in sleep, which can result in damage to the hair cuticles. It also helps elongate the life span of your extensions, weaves, or wig units, since there’s less wear and tear.

This specific technique of dry hair wrapping is for those with sleek styles. Come the morning, hair is polished and fresh with a nice smooth bend. You can unravel, brush, and go without the hardships of styling and without the damage of heat. It’s very simple to learn, and with the right flick of the wrist it can be mastered in no time.

Here's a step-by-step on how to dry wrap your hair with simply a hairbrush and a few jumbo bobby pins.

Step 1

Brush all hair forward.

Step 2

Pulling hair away from the parting area, brush hair around the forehead. I prefer to brush my hair in the direction of my hairstyle. If you prefer a little more bump in your bangs, brushing in the opposite direction of where your bang swings will provide more volume when hair is taken down in the morning.

Step 3

Continue to brush hair in a circular motion, capturing the strands as you go. An easy technique is to brush with your dominant hand, while holding what is already wrapped down with your other hand. To prevent the hair from falling out, expand your fingers to hold in place what is already wrapped down as you go. Do this until you have made a full 360 around your head.

This should be the result: from the left side, the back, the right side, and the front.

To keep the wrap in place, secure with bobby pins around the perimeter of the head: to the left side, the back, the right side, and the front.

Tie a silk headscarf around the head so the wrap stays in place.

And that’s all there is to it. So easy--and in the morning all you need to do is unravel and go girl!

  • Who wraps their hair before bed?
  • Who is like me and wears their hair wrap for days at a time?
  • Would you pull a Rihanna and wear this style to a fancy event or to a party?