Durag History Week


The last week in September is the unofficial #DuragHistoryWeek (yes, it’s a Twitter thing). And this is how it was instituted:

And that’s usually how Black Twitter works. (What is Black Twitter, you ask? The answer to that will take another post, but for our purposes, it is a sub-Twitter culture, consisting mainly of African-Americans.)

Firstly, let me define the durag. A durag (du-rag, do-rag; all other spellings are too tedious to list) is:

A piece of cloth used to cover the top of one’s head. Sometimes made of nylon material and having a “skullcap” fit it may also be referred to as a “wavecap”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term derives from ‘do as in hairdo. —

(Durag is in the Oxford dictionary? Word?)


This is an instrumental part of black hair care that you may not know about unless you’re running through the 6 with your woes. Basically, a durag is for those times when you’re in-between haircuts (your fade may be looking like a uniform distribution by this time), have braids or in-between relaxers; it’s for hairstyle preservation. Those they preserve are usually waves and cornrowed hairstyles.


Back in the day (slavery and Reconstruction), black labourers and slaves used durags to hold their hair in place. By the time the Harlem Renaissance rolled around in the 1920s, the durag was used to hold chemically processed hair-dos in place while sleeping. Originally they were most commonly made from women’s stockings (these were called stocking caps, not durags); now, many are made from polyester. They usually have long ties on either side that are wrapped around the head to secure its placement.

After the Black Power Movement of the 1960s durags emerged as a fashion item. Around 1990s this fashion item appeared among urban youth who used them to maintain their new hair styles.


Afro hair has the characteristic of keeping its shape, more so than any other type of hair. As such, there are many afro hairstyles specifically created to manipulate the hair’s natural curl pattern. This last piece of info created a great segway to introduce you to the 360 waves hairstyle–or waves–as it’s colloquially known:

A short haircut is the classic hairstyle that has been worn by African American men for many generations. In past years we have discovered that constantly brushing short hair cuts resulted in attractive wave patterns around the hair that we called Brush Waves. Pomades were used to further develop this style. To assist with perfecting this style a nylon head scarf that we call the Doo-Rag was created to help hold and mold the style.

Today the term for this wave hairstyle is the 360 Waves. When the hair is cut very short and brushed often a natural looking pattern of waves form around the perimeter of the head pretty much in a 360 degree angle. This is why they are called 360 Waves. —-Ken the Barber

In this vid, Rashad mentions “wolfing” (sounds like wuffing), where you evade a haircut as long as possible while constantly brushing your hair. Doing this will make the waves more defined.

Intense, eh? Black people are notoriously fastidious about our hair. Did you notice that dude talked about the “day method”, which is the method you use if you don’t have time to brush your hair ALL DAY? I mean, that’s a bit extra, even for me.


And thus marks the end of this fashion acknowledgement of the durag and its place in the history of style. #NeverForget

You have to know the rules to break the rules

Sources:, Clutch Magazine, Hair Finder