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How to Tie a Head Scarf

Magicians make colorful scarves disappear and reappear with crafty sleight of hand. Movie stars and celebrities wear designer scarves with great panache. Scarves are perhaps the most versatile and magical fashion accessory in a woman’s wardrobe. If you are suffering from hair loss, knowing how to tie a head scarf will likely be as important to you as making it disappear and reappear is to Merlin. Scarves are available in fabrics, colors, and patterns that are as varied as the farthest reaches of the imagination. You can tie square scarves, bandanas or rectangular scarves to create stylish fashion statements. Here are some of our favorite ways to tie a head scarf.


Selecting Head Scarves for Tying

Head scarves come in many sizes and shapes. Choosing a shape simply comes down to preference.  To determine your favorite look, it's helpful to browse these head scarves on the model and see which ones appeal to you. Here are some more tips:

Square Head Scarves are the easiest to work with and the most popular. They offer many styling options and are more manageable than oblong scarves for most women. For a cancer scarf or head covering, you are going to want to achieve full head coverage. To do so, you will need a scarf that is at least 28 X 28 inches. For those who prefer to have a generous amount of fabric hanging down their backs (giving the illusion of hair), we offer oversized square scarves.

Rectangular Head Scarves (also called oblongs or long scarves) are also a good option for women who like the look of extra fabric hanging down in the back, similar to a ponytail. The dimensions allow the wearer to tie the scarf to resemble a headwrap, giving a truly unique look. Oblong scarves take just a little more practice, but they offer additional styling options. You can achieve the looks you can get with a square head scarf, but the dimensions also allow you to create an intricate headwrap or turban more easily than a square scarf.

Square Scarves: How to Tie a Headscarf 

Square scarves are an ideal choice for beginners as they are the easiest to tie. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to tie a square head scarf.

1. Classic Style 

  • Fold scarf into a triangle
  • Place the folded edge of the triangle along your forehead
  • Take the two ends back to the nape of neck
  • Tie in a know above the triangle and continue to a square knot or a bow


2. Vintage

  • Fold scarf into a triangle
  • Place the folded edge of the triangle along your forehead
  • Cross the ends of the scarf under chin
  • Bring the ends to the back or side of neck
  • Tie ends in a square knot


3. Rosette

  • Fold scarf into a triangle
  • Place the folded edge of the scarf along your forehead
  • Position and gather all loose ends
  • Twist the ends together into a spiral
  • Wrap the spiral into a bun to form a rosette
  • Secure by tucking the loose ends into the folds


4. Turban

  • Fold scarf into a triangle
  • Place the folded edge of the scarf against the nape of the neck with the pointed triangle towards face
  • Bring the two long ends towards the front of the head and tie into a knot over the triangle
  • Take the two long ends and bring them to the back and tie in a knot again and tuck the ends up into the wrap
  • Now take the triangle in front and tuck it up into the knot and adjust as needed 


5. Hat Wrap (works best with a straw or brimmed sun hat)

  • Fold scarf into a triangle
  • Roll the folded edge towards the point of the triangle 
  • Lay the rolled edge across the crown of hat
  • Take the two ends of the scarf and pull them around sides of the hat’s crown
  • Tie them in a square knot or bow at the back or on the side 


6. Bows Away

  • Fold scarf into a triangle 
  • Center the folded edge at the nape of neck
  • Bring each side over the ears and up to the top of your head
  • Tie a bow with the long ends 
  • Tuck in the triangle and ends of the bow to the sides 


7. Square Wrap 

  • Fold scarf into a triangle
  • Place the folded edge of the triangle along forehead
  • Take the two ends back to the nape of neck
  • Tie in a single knot
  • Bring ends back up to forehead and tie a small square knot

Tying a Rectangular Head Scarf

Even if you are new to hair loss or covering your head, odds are good that you already have a rectangular scarf in your wardrobe, just waiting to be transformed into a one-of-a-kind head covering. While squares are easier for the beginner, rectangles allow you the most styling versatility. They can be worn alone or multiple scarves can be layered to create intricate and beautiful wraps. The generous amount of material allows the wearer to create many looks, from intricate head wraps and turbans to side ponies. With a little practice, tying a rectangular scarf can be as easy as tying your shoe laces.


Here are a five basic styles to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Long Tail Bow

  • Fold scarf lengthwise (only if your scarf is wide).
  • Place the center of the scarf along your hairline with equal lengths on either side
  • Tie the ends into a knot
  • Tie the knot into a bow
  • Adjust loose ends and style as desired
  • The bow may be worn to the side or to the back

2. Twisted Crown

  • Center the scarf on forehead
  • Tie the two long ends in the back 
  • Bring the ends forward over shoulders 
  • Tightly twist the sides
  • Continue to twist as you wrap around the crown of your head
  • Tuck the ends under the beginning portion of the twist


3. Side Scarf Pony

  • Center the scarf on forehead
  • Bring the sides to the nape of neck like a low ponytail
  • Tie the knot at the nape of neck
  • Bring scarf ends over shoulder and loosely twist them
  • Bring each twist to the top of your head
  • Find where you want your pony to be and tie a square knot
  • Wrap the twists around each other two or three times
  • Tuck the short end up into the knot 
  • Fluff out the long end left 


4. My Little Pony (requires an elastic hair tie)

  • Center the scarf on forehead
  • Bring the sides over the ears and to nape of neck like a low ponytail
  • Pull half of the scarf through the hair tie and twist the tie
  • Bunch and pull a little more of the scarf through the hair tie


5. Rosette Bun

  • Hold the scarf horizontally
  • Center the scarf on one side of your head over the ear
  • Tightly twist the sides about one quarter of the way down
  • Coil the twist around itself to create a bun
  • Keep twisting and coiling around the bun until you get to the end of scarf
  • Tuck in the ends


6. Middle of Everywhere

  • Center the scarf at the nape of neck
  • Bring the ends forward to front of forehead 
  • Tightly twist the ends together
  • Bring the twist back down the center of your head
  • Tuck the ends up into the scarf at the nape of neck

Here is our infographic on how to tie a head scarf. If you want even more options, keep reading below!

 (To share this infographic on your blog or site click here for the embed code).

Recommended Scarf Accessories

Scarf Pads:


scarf pad is a full cap made from soft organic cotton terry cloth that can be worn under a scarf or headwear. A scarf pad provides fullness and volume to the top of the head, giving the illusion of hair underneath. This is especially important for cancer patients or women with total hair loss to provide a flattering appearance.

The scarf pad prevents your scarves from slipping on your head when you tie them. This makes your scarves much easier to tie on the head. Because it absorbs and wicks away sweat, the scarf pad also allows you to wash your head scarves less often.

Hats with Hair Hairpieces:


To finish off your look, choose a hairpiece to accompany your head scarf. Hairpieces are a great option for hair loss and cancer patients. A hairpiece can be as simple as bangs that are worn under your scarf. Bangs are a great option for warmer climates or situation where you don't want to cover your entire head with hair.

Our  Instant Hair Headband allows you to instantly attach bangs or other hairpieces and wear them underneath a variety of scarves and hats. The headband has a sewn in "hook & loop" or "scratch" fastener to easily attach hair.

You can wear various "hats with hair" hairpieces underneath your headscarves. They come in several styles and colors. You can choose a color that matches your own hair or have fun and go with an entirely new color. Many of our cancer patients choose to buy our "hats with hair" hairpieces instead of a wig.

Scarf Grippers:

Our unique creation, scarf grippers are a headband made of a lightweight gripable fabric that can be worn under a head scarf. The addition of this simple headband will keep the scarf from slipping on your head when you tie it. They are great for silk or other fabrics that tend to slide or move more easily.


Additional Accessories:

Headscarves can be accessorized in order to accomplish a new look. You can dress up a scarf with a broach or clip. Or give it a new fun look with a flower pin or a headband. You can also use a claw clip to attach the scarf at the back to create a quick easy way to put on your scarf without having to tie it. Scrunchies are used to simplify scarf tying. Many of our head scarves come with a free coordinating scrunchie. For cancer patients on the go, our scrunchies make tying a scarf very easy.

Tying Pre Tied Head Scarves

Untied scarves allow you the most styling versatility. When you are done with chemo treatments and no longer need a head scarf, your untied scarves can be used to accessorize in many other ways. However, some women like the look of a scarf but don't like tying scarves. We have created a number of options to make tying your scarf much easier. Some of these scarves come completely pre tied, while others require only a small knot to secure them.

Triangle Shaped Scarves

The triangle shape is a scarf that we developed for our customers. It is similar to a square head scarf but is the easiest of all untied scarves to tie. Our Padded Carol Head Scarf is one example. 

When you begin tying square head scarves, you must fold the square in half to create a triangle. By designing the scarf in a triangular shape, we have eliminated this step. The triangular shape creates two tails that are easily tied in the back. The disadvantage to triangle shaped scarves is that they offer fewer tying options.

Pre Tied Scarves

Pre tied scarves are a great option for those desiring a quick, easy look. They give the appearance of a square scarf that has been tied by hand, with less hassle. Some ready tied headscarves require no tying at all, and others simply require tying a simple knot or a bow in the back to secure the cap in place. These are excellent for individuals going through cancer or chemotherapy treatments or who simply aren't good at tying a scarf. Pre tied scarves are also a great option for women who are suffering from arthritis or surgery or women who are experiencing fatigue or fine motor difficulties. They can be slipped on quickly and come in a variety of styles, colors and patterns. Pre tied scarves are the perfect choice for women on the go.

Tips When Selecting Head Scarves for Tying


Selecting Prints: Scarves come in countless colors and patterns. You can find scarves in solids, stripes, paisleys, nature scenes and just about anything else you can imagine. Pay attention to the patterns you choose. What looks good on a clothing rack may not be suitable once it is tied on the head. All of our scarves are selected in patterns and in scale with what will look right when worn on the head and close to your face. Our designs are created to fall in place in a flattering way when tied.


Solid Scarves: Solids are versatile and can be combined or braided together when tied to create truly unique looks. Another benefit of solid scarves is that you can decorate, paint or embellish them to create your own look.


Scarf Fabrics

Headscarves are available in several fabric choices. All of these fabric options are available in a variety of colors and patterns. Here are the pros and cons to various fabrics.

Head Scarf Fabrics



Breathable and durable, silk drapes beautifully and it feels soft and luxurious on the head. Because it is made of natural fibers, it breathes and absorbs perspiration at the same time. The bows tied on silk scarves are especially pretty. Silk can be worn in all seasons, depending upon the weight of the fabric. It can be more delicate than other fabrics so must be handled with care


Cool, comfortable, lightweight, durable, breathable, does not slip, absorbs perspiration. Appropriate for all seasons. Sometimes cotton can be too thick for tying on the head. The cotton scarves we offer are made of a lighter weight cotton that drapes easily. Does not dry as fast as synthetic fabrics.


Easy wash and wear. Low slippage, durable. Dressier look than cotton. Lightweight, dries quickly. Fabric drapes easily. Not a good choice for cold weather and some may not be as soft as other options

Viscose and Rayon

Offers a nice drape and feel. Typically very soft. Most are machine washable, but check washing instructions. Does not wick away moisture like some other fabrics.

Wool and Cashmere

Lighter weight wool scarves are a great choice for cool weather. Wool resists moisture and is a natural, breathable fiber. Be careful not to select scarves that are too thick because they will be too bulky when worn on the head

There are also fabrics called "Plated Fabrics." "Plated" refers to garments with one fabric (e.g., cotton) on the outside face, backed with another fabric type (e.g., polyester) against the skin. This approach is designed to offer the best attributes of both fabrics. Many of our scarves and headcoverings are created with all cotton liners for a comfortable feel.

Hand Made Head Scarves

Woodblock Printed Scarves: Woodblock scarves are created by an ancient technique of printing on fabric. This technique dates back to 220 AD. A design is drawn and then a carver carves a block of wood based on that design. This wood is then dipped in ink and used to print on the fabric. The process gives every scarf some variation and thus a “one-of-a-kind” scarf is created. As a result, the purchaser of a woodblock scarf literally gets a unique work of art. These scarves come in many different styles, sizes, colors and fabrics. Because each scarf is made by hand, there will be natural variations in print and color that add to the character of the scarf. To learn more about how wood block head scarves are made, click here.


Tie Dyed Scarves: Many of our scarves are tye died by hand, creating fabulous works of wearable art. Because each scarf is made by hand, variations in color and pattern are inherent to the design and add to the character of the scarf.

How to Tie a Bandana 

Fold the bandana diagonally slightly less than halfway across. The closer the tip of the bandana is to the corner, the smaller the bandana will be when tied.

Turn the bandana over. With the folded side facing down, place the bandana across your forehead. Take the two tips on either side of the face and pull them towards the back of the head.

Cross the ties over each other and tie a simple knot. Double knot to secure bandana.

More Ways to Tie a Scarf

In addition being great headcoverings, square head scarves can be tied in many fun ways to accessorize your look. This makes square scarves even more versatile. Get creative! Some popular ways to tie a headscarf are: 

As hair accessories, such as headbands and scrunchies

Tied on a purse to add a touch of color

Around the neck as a neckerchief or necklace

Worn as a wrap or komono

Watch our tutorial for 10 fashionable ways to style a scarf:

Scarves are a wonderful accessory that allow you to cover your head in style. These versatile head coverings can be tied in many different ways, achieving almost limitless options. With so many headscarf options and so many different ways of tying them, there truly is something for everyone.

©2014-2020, Headcovers Unlimited, Inc. All Rights Reserved.We encourage and welcome direct links to this page, but please do not redistribute, copy, alter or create derivative works from our content without express written permission. 

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