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I know for many people the headscarf of a Muslim woman brings curiosity. Today I decided to give in on my secrets of what goes under the headscarf during a long haul flight and some tips for Muslim women on how they can take care of their hijab (headscarf) during flights.
Every woman has their own style, actually, you can tell where a woman is from by the way she styles her headscarf, Middle Eastern women have different headscarf styles than Turkish women for example.
Depending on my mood I will style my headscarf, or wear a hat or a turban. Almost always though I will pass security in an airport with my hijab on as it just saves me the question “Ma’am please remove your hat too”. Plus my passport photo is with a scarf on now so I don’t get funny looks anymore. Before I use to cover but hadn’t updated my passport so I took longer at security check with officers checking me out for 5 minutes to make sure I am not some illegal immigrant. I have actually been interviewed in Istanbul by two different officers who asked me to speak Bulgarian and Greek.
I can definitely tell you that wearing a headscarf for 14 hours a day can be very hard work and the best feeling in the world is when you are actually at home and you remove it.
But what happens though when you travel and you have a long haul flight that you have to pull through?
The dry air of the plane can take a toll on your hair and your head, I for one get headaches and feel really uncomfortable. Below are the things I do that make my journey more comfortable during a long haul flight.
I will usually wash my hair before a flight and hydrate it with a mask in order to prepare it for the dry air and the longitude during my flight. This helps hair feel good and you will know that you will not exhaust them with all the travel, covering and dry air.
I personally prefer to fly long haul flights during the night if possible. I will always check if the flight is a night flight because this way I will be able to get some sleep and relax as well without having to worry about my hair showing. During night flights, most people are sleeping and as they dim the lights I always loosen my scarf so I can let my hair breathe more. Because our hair is tied up most of the time it can start hurting so it is good to loosen it up.
Get a hoodie
Before I go to sleep I always remove my hair band and leave my hair to lose under my hijab. This way I don’t feel that my hair is stretched and hurt after hours of being tied tight in a ponytail. I leave it loose and free under my scarf so I can feel relaxed. I will also recommend a top with a hoody this way you can have your hair relaxed and there are fewer chances of it showing while you move around. As most of the people are already sleeping and the lights are off not many people will notice it. If you feel uncomfortable feeling that your hair might show a little you can also wear a headband to keep the front of your hair intact.
Have a second hijab and a fresh top
OK, I know the majority of us might not travel in business or first class where we can have a flat bed and a shower but I like to feel fresh after I arrive at my destination. It doesn’t matter If I will head to sleep or a day of exploring I prefer to feel that I am fresh and ready for a day ahead of me. I like to wear a new hijab and a new top. Economy is not known for the most comfortable sleeping place and your scarf and clothes become wrinkly therefore not so “fresh”. What I do is that just before landing I will go and change in the restroom into a new top, brush my teeth and wear a new hijab that is wrinkle free and clean. When I travel I prefer clothes and scarves that don’t need much ironing and are easy to care for. They are perfect for being in your hand luggage.
Drink a lot of water
This is a general rule but very important. You need to keep your body fully hydrated when you travel, drink as much water as possible and always have a bottle with you. This way you will also avoid a headache associated with flying, I am very prone to these headaches and I try to hydrate as much as possible.
Choose a window seat
I love window seats for several reasons. First, you can get some great views and photos, second you can sleep and rest against the window and third it makes a great safe place for you to relax your hijab.
Have a self-care pack
I always have in my bag a face cream, toothpaste and toothbrush, a lip balm and antibacterial wipes and gel. The dirtiest places can be found on planes and you don’t want me to tell you where. Well ok, it is actually your tray. Once I am seated I will take out my wipes and wipe the whole place in front on me. just in case. Also, if I am to pray during a flight I will wash my face so I use the cream and the lip balm. It always helps and it makes you feel much better and fresh. Yes it is not always comfortable fighting in a small bathroom, but hey it does the job.
So here you have it, this is my survival kit for long haul flights. It really saves me from going crazy and driving my husband crazy on an a 13+ hour flight.
If you have any other tricks please mention them below, I am always on the look out of making my next economy flight more comfortable. The ‘get a business flight’ answer doesn’t work unless you are offering me free miles for it. 😉
p.s. Don’t forget you can download your travel checklist from here, for an even more comfortable travel journey