We’ve all been there, it’s late at night and all you want to do is make a beeline to your bed. But before you can begin the eight-hour cuddle session with your sheets, there’s one thing nearly every black woman must do: Remove her makeup? No. Brush her teeth? We’ll worry about that in the morning. Hygiene can wait but frizzy edges and a dried-out do cannot. Before we lay our heads to rest, we dig into our drawers, medicine cabinets, mattress crevices or wherever that secret spot may be to retrieve perhaps the No. 1 black girl beauty item, the satin scarf.

Like a favorite pair of jeans, every black girl has her go-to scarf. We know the types: the hand-me-down from grandma, the knock-off designer brand from the local hair store, the bonnet for the natural sistahs, and the mini-me, 1 foot by 1 foot piece of fabric that barely covers your head, only ties in the front and will most likely be laying next to you in morning. And then there’s old-faithful, tattered and torn but strong and mighty, locking in just the right amount of grease and oil sheen from the last wear.

Yes the satin scarf, or what I affectionately refer to as the “urban turban,” is perhaps the greatest love and the biggest annoyance of my life.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my hair and all of its personalities, but whether relaxed, natural, chopped, twisted, or dreaded, maintaining an A-plus coif can sometimes be a hassle and dare I say, an inconvenience. No matter if I’m at the gym, airport or a “late night early morning,” the issue of when and where to throw on my scarf always seems to arise more often than I’d like.

But let me explain.

I travel a lot for my job and often face the issue of whether or not to brave a dry, cloth seat cushion for the next five hours or whip out my satin savior and power through the airport as Aunt Jemima 2.0. And then there’s the gym. We’ve all seen the sistah sprinting on the treadmill with a scarf on her head (ladies why we do this I do not understand. I tried it and after an hour in the gym I unwrapped my hair only to find it a matted, tangled and damp mess).

As much as I love my scarf, and Lord knows I do, there’s only so many times I can explain black hair care 101 to a white college roommate, or explain to a beau, part-time lover or whoever Mr. Right Now may be, why my scarf and I are a two-for-one deal that will not be sold separately (as a natural newbie I must say it’s even worse when you have to breakout the grandma bonnet). But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s not even talk about road trips, bathtubs, convertible rides, and the list goes on.

But I digress.

If it seems like my scarf issues are based solely on other people’s perceptions then you’re probably right. I’ll be the first to admit that deep down I have an inner fear that by sporting my urban wrap I run the risk of being “that girl.” You know, the woman out and about at 2 p.m. running her weekend errands with a green and gold scarf on her head just daring you to say something to her. And because there’s the unspoken black woman’s law, which plainly states that no sistah shall ever insult another sistah’s wrap, at least not in public, we don’t. We stare, we sigh, we shake our heads and as much as we may not want to admit it, on some level we relate. Maybe she’s in the middle of getting a new weave, maybe she has a big date later that night and her hair needs a few more hours of satin slumber, or maybe it’s just that kind of day where the motto is “I don’t give a…”

But don’t let the rant fool you. Like I said, I love my hair and wouldn’t trade one coarse follicle for the world. However I do believe that every now and then it’s healthy and okay for us as black women to take a moment and collectively lament about the daily nuisances that come with being a colored girl — and today this is mine.

Ladies, is my rant in vain or can you relate? Speak on it!

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  • Nakia

    I just love this…it tickled me to death and I just love my sistahs! The struggle is real on this one. When I visit my fam in New Orleans, they all walk around in the humid weather with scarves on until they reach their air conditioned destination and it is fully accepted and understood. I just couldn’t…and then my natural but pressed hair was back to a ‘fro within 30 minutes and I had to big them up. My biggest thing is when traveling. Folks don’t get it but I care not. I must show up fly…my velvet travel pillow will not have the chance to do me in! When it comes to men, mine are always black and have mamas/sisters/aunts/exes…they know what it is! I do not whip out it until we’re well in though…I employ my silk pillow case for some occasions and wear the scarf ONLY when actually sleeping.

  • thepeoplesflowers

    Lol.. to the commenter who slapped their scarf. I nearly chof on my slushy lauging.

    I totally get being embarrassment of one day having a bf wearing a scatf. I guy i had been seeing ripped me apart and continously ragged on me for wearing a scraf. He was self hating insecure black dude who did even consider himself to be black.

    No i wear wigs while i grow my already long natural hair in braids. Fuck any self hating closed minded dude who cant love mw regardless.

  • Chantell Monique

    One night, my Hispanic boo thang texted to come over–it was late and I was taking down my kinky twists. Technically it wasn’t a big deal, I hadn’t gotten that far but this would mean I’d have to tie my hair up to hide the puffs of free hair I had taken down. Knowing he’d never been with a black woman before me, he wouldn’t be used to this, I came right out with the real.

    “Can I come over?” he texted.

    “Yeah, but I hope I don’t ruin the fantasy for you; my hair is wrapped up and I have no make-up on,” I replied.

    “That’s perfect..”

    I could do anything but smile.

    Drake said it best “Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on
    That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong.”

    More power to the head-scarf!

    • Mz. Manning

      I had to smile because that verse in Drake’s song is my motto. When my hair is pulled back no make-up on is when I feel the prettiest.

  • ImJustSaying

    I just wish we would embrace the headwrap techniques of our ancestors and current sistas showing us how it’s done. You can keep your hair protected while not looking like aunt Jemima. I believe Clutch did an article on it, Also Chescalocs on You tube does great vids. All I’m saying is there are ways to keep our hair wrapped without looking crazy. Self included we need to do better.