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Durag: Good Fit for Peasants to Kings

For as long as anyone can remember the durag have been around. Men and women have found a number of benefits concerning this simple material. People of various hair types have found good reasons to keep one around. Its usefulness and practicality make them a favourite. The path along durag longevity has had its success and bumps in the road. Let’s take a closer look at what happened to durag.


Due to its simplicity, finding the inventor of the durag is not really possible. Credit for the value is much better assigned to a particular people. In America during the nineteenth century the protective headpiece was worn by slaves working on plantations. After the abolition of slavery in 1865, durag continued to provide hair protection for female laborers for many years to come.

Rise of a Fashion Statement


Between 1920 through the mid 1930’s an intellectual, social and artistic explosion took place in New York City. This explosion was nothing other than the Harlem Renaissance. This was an auspicious period where going out and looking your very best was a must. To help achieve their style goals people opted to rely on the trusty durag, which was now being used as an effective hairstyle preserver.

Durag wearing rapper known as GZA

Going forward the American Civil Rights Struggle (1954-1968) brought rise to the Black Power Movement. Some members of these groups wore a durag while working in their target communities. These members were distinguished in the eyes of the youth who now wanted to emulate these men who covered their heads throughout the day. Resulting from this communal experience was acceptance that the durag was not only practical but a  polarizing fashion statement as well. Almost seamlessly the hype extended into the Hip-Hop world and unto professional athletes. The proliferation of the durag as a fashion statement peaked in the early 2000’s yet still continues to be a overnight hairstyle preserver for many today.

Durag Uses

From its earliest roots a durag was a simple article of clothing that made up a slave’s work clothes.  It was Invaluable for protecting your hair from rough wind and scorching summer heat on the open plantation fields.

The durag is the most widely used hairstyle preserver available to you today. Commonly it is used for those times in between hairstyles. The times when your hair is sorely in need of a touch up but you can’t take care of it right away.  Wrapping your hair will go a long way in this matter. Whether you wear dreadlocks, like some cornrows or even have relaxers in your hair, it really doesn’t matter. A handy piece of cloth will help protect both your hair and ego when in between appointments.waves-created-with-Durag

Perfect waves created with the aid of a simple durag

Creating Perfect Waves

From the Harlem Renaissance period the durag was a crucial component required to achieve the perfect waves in hair. Amazing waves that really shine are created by continuously brushing the hair in the same direction. Eventually a unique wave pattern will emerge. Once the wave pattern is established continue brushing according to that unique pattern. The last step is to secure a durag onto your head. The purpose is to compress your waves and preserve it nicely until your ready to unveil them.

Moisture In – Dust Out

Keeping your hair clean can be a struggle marked by frustration. Dust particles are almost impossible to stay clear of and far too many of us understand the amount of lint that can get trapped in your hair overnight. Wearing a durag does a great job of solving your hair cleanliness issues. Behaving like a force field, it keeps particles out and protects your hairstyle. So well does this protect your hair it’s no wonder why people started wearing them literally twenty four hours a day.

Baldness Protection

Durag are also great for preventing baldness due to constant rubbing. If you need to wear a helmet on a regular basis such as a motorcyclist, then hair loss prevention should interest you. Wearing a one beneath a helmet will offer your hair the protective buffer it needs. By doing this you will be greatly reducing the risk of balding due to constant friction. On the flip side, durag are great for covering up bald areas of your hair already missing.

Save Some Money

For the smart saver consumer, protecting your hair will save you money. That’s right, you can save money by covering your fresh hairstyles every night. Follow this simple tip to extend your fresh look beyond the norm. The longer you can maintain the cleanliness and neatness of your hairstyle the less frequent you will need to go in for maintenance. These savings can literally equate to hundreds of dollars annually for some consumers.

Durag Selection Based on Hair Porosity

With the number of different products on the market selecting the right durag for your hair can be a challenge. What’s key is selecting the right material that won’t remove the moisture from your hair. Please do not be confused with the removing of hair products from your hair. Here we want to focus on not removing moisture from the hair by selecting the correct materials for your hair.

There are three types of durag being manufactured and sold. They are cotton, polyester, and satin. To determine the best choice for your hair a simple porosity test can be done at home. Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Knowing whether your hair porosity is low or high will help you decide on the best buy for you.

Porosity describes your hairs ability to absorb moisture

Instructions: Porosity Test

To complete the test drop hair that’s been shed as a result of combining into a glass of water. If it floats, your hair is low porosity. If your hair sinks slowly, it has normal porosity, and if it sinks immediately, your hair is high porosity.

If your water test determined that your hair is low porosity then you can chose to use any of the three durag materials (cotton/polyester/satin). A polyester one is a good choice for low porosity hair because its better quality than the cotton and the benefits of the higher priced satin one is minimal for your low porosity hair type.

If your water test determined that your hair is high porosity then a good quality satin durag is a wise option for you.  Avoid the cotton and polyester versions for best results. Satin kinds are composed of an unknown blend of silk, nylon and polyester. Very few on the market are truly one hundred percent silk as advertised. Keep this in mind when you choose to buy.

Durag Dismissed From Professional Sports

In 2001 the NFL banned active players from wearing durag. Banning this item seemed to target African American players who make up the vast majority of the league. The NFL’s motivation behind the move is apparently to improve the image of the NFL brand. A brand that has been unfairly criticized for routinely employing so called “thugs”. Many players were disappointed with the NFL’s decision to ban what is considered a personal item. The product had been used by many players to help prevent hair loss. In a career built around wearing a muggy helmet all the time, lack protection is a real concern to maintaining hair health. allen-iverson-wearing-durag-with-fitted-cap

Allen Iverson wearing Durag with fitted cap

The NBA followed suit in 2005 banning all their players from wearing durag. Then NBA superstar Allen Iverson, who is notorious for wearing his own beneath his baseball styled caps, said “They’re targeting my generation–the hip-hop generation.” Iverson’s comment highlights the complexities of the fallout when upstanding African American males are stereotyped as would be criminals simply for wearing some material on your head.

Durag is the preferred choice for peasants or Kings | Menelik II Emperor of Ethiopia

Durag Are Here to Stay

Whether you agree with the NFL or NBA regarding their durag ban, one thing is for sure, this product is not going anywhere anytime soon.  Individuals who abandoned them as a fashion statement still use them at home overnight for hair protection and comfort.  Even those without any hair at all have found a friend in one. Let this be a reminder that its very hard to get rid of a thing that has good use, no matter how simple the design.

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