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Lauren Kelly
Updated on July 24, 2021

A head scarf is a universal accessory that has been a staple in wardrobes for decades. Scarves add a pop of color to any outfit and can be styled in many different ways: as a neck scarf, a belt, on your purse, and, of course, to create beautiful head scarf styles.

Here are 9 splendid ideas with easy explanations on how to tie a headscarf and add a classic charm to your style.

How to Wear a Head Scarf

The origins of scarf styles date back to ancient Egypt and Rome, but they did not become a fashion sign until the 19th century. Today, head scarves hold their vintage charm reminiscent of the old Hollywood days when stars like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe wore silk scarves draped around their hair.

Since the retro vibe is all the rage now, with a major comeback of curtain bangs and bouffant hairstyles, head scarf styles are going to be huge this year too. In fact, many fashion magazines have already named hair scarves among the hottest trends of the year.

Silk scarves look great when paired with vintage hairstyles and pin up curls, but they are also the perfect accessory to add to any modern hairstyle. Plus, who has time to create pin up curls or finger waves just because they want to wear a scarf in their hair?

Here are 9 great ways to style head scarves that can be worn with any hair type or texture. The best part, they are easy to do!

Different Ways to Tie a Head Scarf

1. Simple Ponytail with a Scarf Tie

The easiest and quickest way to rock your head scarf is in a ponytail. While a low ponytail is a classic style here, you can also tie a scarf around a high ponytail! It’s the perfect accessory to a casual or dressy outfit. You can pull this look off with straight hair or add some loose curls to add volume.

To get the look, fold your scarf in half diagonally to make a triangle. Then, fold in the point of the triangle so that you have a straight edge. From the opposite side, begin rolling the scarf in until you have a long, even band.

Steps to Fold a Scarf for a Hairstyle

Put the center of the folded scarf under your ponytail and lift two ends, wrapping them once around the base of the ponytail (or a bun, for a change). Tie the head scarf in a knot with two loose ends hanging down or create a bow to finish the look.

Ponytail with a Hair Scarf

2. Head Scarf Headband

Sometimes known as the “Minnie Mouse” headband when worn with a bow, this easy way of tying your scarf is sure to complete any outfit! It looks great with your hair up or down! For this look, you can also use a smaller square head scarf or bandana. Fold your scarf, then slide it under your hair and tie a knot on the top of your head with the ends sticking out to resemble a bow.

Headband Hairstyle with a Scarf Bow

If you want to tie a bigger scarf, fold it as explained above. Then flip your hair forward and place your scarf centered at the nape of your neck. Grab loose ends, bring them forward while flipping your hair back to add volume, and tie them at the top of your head. Let the ends fall loose or conceal them by tucking into the sides.

Headband Hairstyle with a Scarf Knot on Top

You can also wear your scarf as a simple headband by draping the band over the top of your head evenly with the ends hanging down. Tie a scarf at the back of your head under your hair and let the ends hang loose.

Head Scarf Tied Under the Hair

3. Half Up “Topsy Tail”

If you don’t want to commit to wearing your hair up or down, try half and half! This style looks great whether your hair is straight, wavy, or curly and is a fun way to wear a scarf in summer.

Topsy Tail with a Head Scarf

Start by parting your hair and preparing it for a half-up, half-down look. Gather hair into a loose ponytail, make a small hole between the elastics and the scalp with your fingers, and flip the ponytail up and through it. Once you have created the twist, you can add your scarf as a bow or knot with the ends hanging loose.

Half-Up Half-Down Hairstyle with a Scarf

4. Half Up French Braid with a Head Scarf

This hairstyle has something whimsical about it! It’s a fun way to wear your hair half-up, half-down, and a bow or knotted scarf looks great when mixed in!

Half-Up French Braid Hairstyle with a Scarf

To create this look, fold your scarf into a band. Divide your hair starting at the top into three sections to create a French braid. Braid your hair halfway and secure with a ponytail holder.

Loop your scarf under your ponytail holder at the center, so it’s firmly in place. Tie a knot or create a bow and let the ends hang loosely. Don’t forget to top it off with a little hairspray to hold everything in place!

Hairstyle with Scarf Ends Left to Hang Loosely

5. Bandana Cover

If you want to make a fashion statement while also protecting your hair from windy or rainy weather, this is the style for you. In fact, this is one of the most common ways to style a vintage silk scarf!

You can wear a headscarf as a half head wrap with your hair down or in a low bun. It can be worn with straight hair, or you can add a few loose curls to add more volume.

Vintage Hairstyle with a Scarf

To create this hair scarf style, fold your scarf in half diagonally to make a triangle. Hold at the corners and gently drape the scarf around your head with the point of the triangle aiming down your back. Tie the scarf at the back of your head.

Scarf Put on Hair in an Updo

Leave some hair or bangs in front with your hair flowing down your back, or cover it (if worn up or in a low bun) to create a complete head wrap. If you have a long scarf, you can tie the access fabric in the back into a second knot and tuck the ends under the scarf to hide them. If you like the scarf to hang more loosely, you can secure it in place with bobby pins.

Full Head Wrap with a Silk Scarf

6. Traditional Braid with a Scarf

Can’t commit to wearing your hair fully up or down, or don’t like hair in your face? This is the look for you! It’s the simplest way to switch up a traditional braid and looks stunning with a mermaid braid.

Braid your hair as you normally would and stop about 5 inches before reaching the tips. Tie a small ponytail holder and place your folded scarf at the center, so it’s tightly in place. Then tie your scarf to create a bow or a knot.

Braid with a Scarf at the End

7. Hair Scarf Braided into a Braid

Give your traditional or French braid a total makeover! Braid in a silk scarf to add a pop of color and volume.

Braided-In Hair Scarf

To get this look, fold your scarf and divide hair into three sections for braiding. Then tie your folded scarf once around the middle section of your hair. Add two ends to two side strands. Begin to braid your hair as you usually would and secure the end of the braid with a hair tie.

How to Braid Scarf into the Hair

8. Tying a Headwrap

Unlike square, silk or chiffon scarves, a headwrap is a large, rectangular, often cotton piece of fabric that is used to create African headwrap styles. Tying one will allow achieving a wider line of fabric on your head. What is more, cotton can be twisted into fun elements at the top of your forehead.

To pull off this look, bend the scarf to make it narrower and place it centered at the back of your head. Thus, bring two ends forward, twists them, and bring them to the back again, moving each end in the opposite direction now. Tuck the sticking ends under the fabric. You can modify the look by twisting and coiling two ends together above your forehead.

Head Wrap Style for Black Women


9. Turban with a Bow

Turban is one of the most popular head scarf wrapping styles for black women. One excellent way to style it is with a large bow at the front. Other classic variants are to cover the head with the scarf, bringing ends either to the front or to the back of your head, then twisting two ends of the scarf together and wrapping them around the top or low bun respectively. Follow a step-by-step tutorial to the preferred headwrap style and get ready to pull off a head-turning look.

Full Headwrap with a Bow


With a wide variety of designs and textures and endless styling options, it’s easy to see why so many women love having a silk scarf in their wardrobe. A scarf is a timeless trend that will always remain a classic accessory, and I hope you have learned a few great ways to style it in your hair! Follow @laurenkellynj for more hairstyle inspiration, styling tips and tricks, and product recommendations.

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