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How to Tie a Hair Scarf

How to Tie a Hair Scarf

See outfit details in my Porto Portugal guide here!

Happy Monday! (One more day closer to summer! Am I the only one measuring weeks by their proximity to warmer weather these days?)

I hope you’re having a good week so far–I got home from Oregon on Friday just in time for a GLORIOUS 80-degree Saturday here in Chicago! As the weather warms up, one of my favorite accessories to wear is a hair scarf, and I am always asked how I tie them. I thought it was about time to refresh this post that was originally published a few years back.

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of silk scarves–I wear them around my neck all the time and I think they add so much personality to any outfit. (Related: How to Tie a French Style Scarf, and How to Tie a Bandana).

When I went to Italy a few summers ago, it was SO HOT and sticky that I needed a way to keep my hair off my face but also look cute and stylish at the same time–and–voila! I watched a quick Youtube video and my love for the hair scarf was born. The hair scarf is probably my #1 traveling hair hack. You don’t need to style your hair (or wash it, for that matter!) when you know how to tie a hair scarf properly. (Bonus, this method of tying a hair scarf is also an easy way to hide flyaways!)

Keep reading for my super easy Q + A and scarf styling tutorial!

How to tie a hair scarf – Common questions:

What size scarf do you need for a hair scarf?

I get this question A LOT. Here’s the answer: You want something big enough to wrap around your head twice–the scarf I’m using here (very old, but this one comes in so many cute patterns and is the same size!) is about 27″ and it’s BARELY long enough. I’d say anywhere from 27″+ is good depending on the size of your head. (Use your best judgment here.) It’s TOTALLY fine if it’s longer than that–the ends will just hang down in the back, which I think is so cute too! If you have a larger head, you may want to try a 35″ scarf, like this one!

Additionally, if you have one that is smaller than that, and can only wrap around your head once, that’s okay too! It will just look more like a wider headband tied at the base of your neck vs. having the “knot” look at the top like you see here. Both are cute!

How do you keep it from slipping off? 

I don’t ever have that problem, but I don’t tie it that far back on my head–it’s still pretty far forward. This is the key to ensuring it won’t sleep–if it’s too far back, it won’t stay in place. Additionally, giving your hair a spritz with hair spray and/or texturizer or dry shampoo beforehand will also help it stick. If you’d like to pin it with bobby pins at the sides, you certainly can do that too!

Does the shape of the scarf matter? 

Yes and no–most of my scarves are square, but if you had a long scarf then that would totally work–I find that square is the most common shape though! Remember, the square needs to be about 27″-35″ long to go around your head twice and get this look. If it’s shorter, follow steps 1-2 below, and instead of wrapping it twice, just wrap it once, placing the middle of the scarf on your forehead and tying it in the back.

More favorite hair-tying scarves:

My easy hair scarf-tying tutorial video:

Watch my video on Instagram if you’d like a video tutorial!

Also, see my step-by-step hair scarf-tying tutorial below!

Step 1:

Fold the square scarf in half so it forms a triangle.

My easy hair scarf tying tutorial
How to Tie a Hair Scarf tutorial

Step 2:

Roll the scarf “hot dog” style, from the long end to the point.

Roll the scarf "hot dog" style, from the long end to the point. 

Roll the scarf "hot dog" style, from the long end to the point. 

Step 3:

Wrap the scarf around the back of your head, so the two ends are in the front. Twist the ends around one another once, and wrap the ends around the back of your head.

Wrap scarf around the back of your head

Tying a scarf on your head

Step 4:

Tie the scarf in the back–into a secure knot.

Tie the scarf in the back–into a secure knot. 

Tie the scarf in the back–into a secure knot. 

Step 5:

Push the scarf back slightly away from your forehead–it’s totally up to you, but I like mine where about an inch of my hair is showing in the front. (See below!)

Note: You want to TIE the scarf before your hairline starts though so that when you push it back, your hair is smooth in the front. If you tie it where you eventually want it placed, it’s hard to get your hair smooth in the front without messing it up! Also keep in mind, the further back your scarf is, the more likely it is to slip off. You’ll want to play around to get the placement right. Practice makes perfect!

Different Ways To Wear A Scarf In Your Hair

In addition to disguising unwashed hair and just looking super cute, a head scarf is a great way to keep your hair out of your face in hot weather and keep it warm in cold weather—and if you have long hair, it can help prevent breakage by keeping your hair up off your neck as well!

Here’s how:

  1. You can use your scarf as a hair accessory! You can tie it around the back into a ponytail to create a unique look.
  2. If you’re looking for something more subtle, try wearing your scarf at the nape of your neck and tying it like a bandana. This is great for those who don’t want anything too bulky on their heads but still want some extra warmth while they run errands or even work outside during the fall and winter months.
  3. For short hair, try to tie your headscarf around the back (headband style, with the knot in the back vs. the front, like I’m showing here–with the ends hanging down the back of your neck) Let your bangs hang down in front of your face for an adorable bohemian look that adds a lot of personality to any outfit!

Push the scarf back slightly away from your forehead

Outfit: Wearing these favorite jean shorts (full review here) and button-down is old (as this post is several years old) but I love ABLE’s white button-down for a very similar look–plus you can save an extra 25% for their mothers day sale with code JESSMOM25. (I reviewed it over here!) 

You’re done! Not only do you look adorable, but you just bought yourself like, TWO more good hair days without needing to wash it just yet! 😉