9 Reasons Why I Like Covering My Hair


As a married Orthodox Jewish woman, I cover my hair. With either a wig, beret, or colorful scarf, I always have something on my head. It is a mitzvah for women to do so, as our hair is a source of beauty, which should be reserved for our husbands.

Now, before you stop reading because you think it is oppressive, I just want to point out some of the many benefits of this practice.

1. Hairspray and gel be gone! Yup, that’s right. I have significantly saved on my hair products since I first got married. No longer am I walking down the aisles of the local CVS trying to decide if I want my hair to smell like almond breeze (almonds pass gas?), or citrus flowers. I no longer worry about washing an abundance of sticky substances out of my hair—the same hair, I may proudly add, that back in the day never moved regardless of wind current. (I’m from Jersey—I know how to do hair.)

2. Options! Options! I have straight brown hair. The kind of hair that made me jealous when I would see my curly-haired friends. When I got engaged and I went to a sheital macher (a woman who makes wigs), I was stunned at the choices I now had. I could go blonde, red, auburn, or jet black. The possibilities were endless, and while in the end I stayed with my basic shade of brown, the brief moments I got to be a red head were some of the most humorous.

3. Channeling my inner artist. I can’t draw. I don’t know how to build anything unless there is a 10-page illustrated instruction book to help me. When I go shopping, I look for the outfits that the store puts out on display. If I like it, then I get the whole thing. No out-of-the-box thinking necessary. So, one place where I do get to be creative is when I wear headscarves. Colors abound, and perfect matches aren’t mandatory. The more colorful the better.

4. Bad hair days are a thing of the past. And yes, I don’t have to worry about bed head, an unfortunate haircut, or those days when my hair just won’t do what I want it to. Wigs are pretty obedient. And, if it isn’t, then I can just take a scarf and go.

5. It fills those awkward silences with women whom I don’t know. Ever go to a wedding where you don’t know a soul? So you find yourself smiling uncomfortably and fiddling with your silverware? Wigs are always a great topic of conversation. We all have our horror stories, our bargain finds, and various other stories to share. It’s a great ice breaker.

6. Shocking people. OK, so this is a bit sadistic, but I still remember the shock on the resident dermatologist’s face when she was doing her exam and wanted to check my scalp. I asked her to wait a second as I removed my hair. I still don’t think this poor woman knew what happened.

7. I outwit my DNA. Thick, gorgeous hair is unfortunately not in my genetic pool. No worries, no one ever buys a wig with a bald spot.

8. I can take the compliment sincerely. When someone compliments me on my hair, I can honestly say thank you. After all, I did pick it out. I have never understood the social nicety of thanking someone who comments on a specific feature. It’s not like you ordered it. You came out the way you did. And, if you had plastic surgery, well, there’s a doctor to thank for that. My wig. My choice.

9. I can pick out another sheital wearer a mile away. Well, maybe not a mile away, but pretty darn close. It’s especially helpful if I am in a place that I am unfamiliar with. What if I need to find a kosher restaurant? What if I want to know where the local Judaica store is? If there is another sheital sister, we will find each other—just a slight nod, like, hey, we’re in this together.

So, yes, there are those naysayers out there who believe this is oppressive, keeping us women down. But, I heartily disagree. Ever since I started covering my hair, I am no longer a prisoner to bed head or my unfortunate DNA. My expressions of creativity are boundless.

Read More:

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Mayim Bialik: There’s No Reason You Shouldn’t Get Screened for Jewish Genetic Diseases

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The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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