As I approach my six month hijabiversary (Yay, me!), I reflect on the journey I have been on since I woke up on Monday, February 29th and decided that getting ready for work that morning wouldn’t involve straightening my hair because I would be putting a scarf over it – thus deciding to commit to hijab, forever (inshaAllah). It has been a whirlwind experience to say the least.
To my fellow new hijabi, let me remind you that you should be so proud of yourself for making this commitment. And I’ll also tell you that this will simultaneously be one of the most challenging and one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in life.
What I’ve learned through trial and error in the last six months is that there are unwritten rules that can successfully transition you into an effortlessly fabulous hijabi in your own right. And I’m here to impart some of the wisdom no one gave me when I first became hijabi.
1. Pins are now your life.
Safety pins. Elephant pins. One-sided pins. You will need a variety of types and sizes. And not just to hold your scarves together. You’ll need pins to keep your scarf’s placement on your outfit otherwise there will be a lot of unnecessary adjusting and struggles with knowing whether there is full coverage happening everywhere it needs to take place!
You’ll also need to keep spare pins in your purse, car, desk at work, etc. Basically, everywhere you’ll be wearing your hijab, you’ll need to make sure you always have extra pins in case of a wardrobe malfunction.
2. Hair spray is your best friend.
Just because you’re hijabi now, doesn’t mean you can stop buying hair products. If you’re like me and your head can’t take the pressure from a headband or thicker head piece/bonnet style cap to wear under your hijab, you’re going to need to spray the top and sides of your hair to hold it down, otherwise you’re going to get strays creeping through – especially as your bun loosens up throughout the day.
*Bonus tip: if you spray the top, inside of your scarf, it will stick to your hair and stay put.
3. Add (at least) 10 minutes to your morning routine.
I hope you didn’t think that not doing your hair anymore was going to cut down the time it takes to get ready in the morning. The reality is that I’ve actually had to add 10 minutes or more thanks to the extra layers of clothing, making sure everything is covered the way I want it to be, and pinning my scarf down so that it requires minimal adjusting throughout the day.
4. Practice different styles and don’t let anyone tell you how to wear your hijab.
Two pieces. One long scarf. Square scarf. Headband + long scarf. Turban. Infinity scarf. With all the possible combinations, why limit yourself? Figure out what YOU like and then do you, boo boo.
5. When you find the perfect scarf (or long-sleeved tunic or maxi dress) – buy it in every color!
Not kidding. Hijab-friendly clothes are hard to come by. You will regret it when you end up loving it only to go back to that same store and find that they’re all sold out.
6. An emergency scarf is like your car’s spare tire.
I wore this beautiful emerald green, floral infinity scarf to work last week and it kept slipping forward and backward on my head despite strategic pin placement. Luckily, I sensed this scarf might give me trouble before I left in the morning, so I grabbed my trusty standard black scarf before I ran out the door–and it was definitely a good thing I did! I will be sure to keep one of those bad boys with me at all times moving forward.
7. You will need proper hijab storage.
You’re going to accumulate scarves. Even if you tell yourself you’re going to be a minimalist–just having the basics is a lot of scarves! So, you’ll need appropriate storage. Originally, I started out with scarves I wore around my neck which were hung up on a special scarf hanger. But as my collection grew, I needed a new way to access them. So I bought an over-the-door shoe hanger that I use to store the scarves I wear more regularly ($7 on Amazon, has 24 pockets, and I put 2 scarves in each = WIN!). And then all the others are rolled up nice and tight in a bin in my closet. I’m a neat freak so this one is important to me.
8. Always have your “hijab story” elevator speech ready.
Along with all the congratulations and positive sentiments you’ll get from others, you’re going to get a lot of questions about becoming hijabi. What prompted you to put it on? Why now? How does it feel? You’ll need to be ready to tell a 30 second, 1 minute, 5 minute, and 20 minute version of what led you to hijab, depending on the audience.
Just last week I spent an hour at the entrance of Target with a friend from college talking about my ever-so-eventful hijab story. Don’t underestimate the power and inspiration your story will carry with others. Mine has given several people goosebumps – just sayin’.
9. Know your new selfie angles.
You’re going to want to replace the pre-hijab pictures you took down from social media, so practice your new selfie game. It’s not likely that your old, tried and true methods will work because your face shape and shadows are different with hijab than when you take pictures sans hijab.
Also, your eyebrows are now even more so a focal point of your face, so you’re going to want them to be on fleek at all times. If you need some brow inspiration or are looking for a tutorial – check out our beauty blogger, Sada’s post – here.
10. Find a good seamstress and have her on speed dial.
If it wasn’t hard enough to shop for hijabi clothes already, what with almost every dress or skirt having slits, long sleeve tops being sheer, and non-sheer tops being half or three-quarter sleeved, it’s going to be rare that you will be able to buy evening wear for outings and weddings that won’t need some type of alterations. Develop a positive relationship with a good seamstress because it will be the difference between looking drab or chic at important events.
And my warning to you, grasshopper (just kidding, I’m not a sensei, I’m still a grasshopper too): Because you’ll always be on the lookout for the perfect scarf, and that search never seems to end, rest assured that you will NEVER be able to pass the scarf aisle/section of a store again!
My final piece of advice to you is this: Ease your way into it. Seriously. Go easy on yourself. I spent the first few weeks of hijab frantic and in a panic because I didn’t feel like any of the clothes I previously owned were hijab-friendly (even though a lot of them actually were). The reality is this: God knows your heart and your intention. Take your time and you’ll get into your own groove and find a place where you’re comfortable in due time. It’s not going to happen or be perfect all at once.
Welcome to the club. It’s an amazing one to be a part of!