What If Hat Hair Is Actually Kind of Great?

Like shows on the CW Network and cooked carrots, “hat hair” is one of those things I think we (society) frequently misjudge. Or rather, we underestimate its potential to surprise and delight when provided with the tools to thrive. Why is hair that gets squashed underneath a hat automatically categorized as undesirable? What if the hair in question is specifically arranged to flourish underneath a hat, squashed or not? It isn’t a preposterous thought given that hats are such a staple this time of year anyway (think of how much time your hair spends under one). To that end, I appointed myself hat hair’s knight in shining armor, ready to defend it — not with a sword, but simply with the confidence that it could actually be kind of great.

With the help of Suite Caroline stylist Malcolm Cuthbert, the heads of my fellow Man Repeller team members and the hats of MR Buffet, I’m proud to present four hat-friendly hairstyles you can deploy all winter long:

1. Easy Peasy Barrette Braid

A single braid down your back is somewhat of an obvious under-hat choice in that it comes replete with a smooth noggin surface, but a single braid down your back is also potentially a bit boring…especially if you revert to it every day come beanie season. That’s where barrettes come in! Treat them like the cinnamon you put in your oatmeal and don’t skimp — in fact, do the opposite: Sprinkle in a whole handful. The result isn’t simply hair that gets shoved under a hat but rather a festive tail (not unlike a mermaid’s) that complements said hat by virtue of where its accessories are located. If you want yours to have the je ne sais quoi appeal of a little purposeful messiness, Malcolm recommends administering some Goodtype No.2.

2. Party in the Front

Malcom braided in a few cornrows and left some of Emma’s hair loose in the front so they would peek out from the hat (a simultaneously spectacular and overlooked approach when it comes to hat hair, if you ask me). After all, when you’re planning to wear a hat and therefore operating under the assumption that most of your hair is going to be covered, why not focus on the stuff that’s actually visible? Do the most with your bangs! Go nuts with braids! The world — and the front of your head — is your oyster. As for the back, feel free to keep things simple with anything from a ponytail to a bun. Malcolm, being a hair expert, opted for a French twist, which look hard to create in theory but are actually pretty simple to execute. Here’s a great tutorial with gifs if you’re interested in attempting one yourself.

3. Beanie-Benevolent Bantu Knots

Bantu knots prevent tangling, shedding and breakage, which makes them a great protective hairstyle for hat-wearing season (they also happen to fit perfectly under a beanie, as demonstrated by Nora). Just separate your hair into sections and twist into several individual buns using hair elastics or bobby pins. Malcolm recommends applying a conditioning cream (like Reverie Milk) or gel (like Bumble and bumble Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil) to each section for optimal knot sleekness.

4. The Glam PB to Your Serious Hat’s J

Great hat hair doesn’t necessarily mean hair that is folded or tucked or scooped. Great hat hair can also be loose and wild, especially if you’re walking around outside and planning to keep the hat on, thus avoiding the pitfall of squashed hair at the scalp and instead reaping the benefits of luxurious tufting spillage. To create this look, Malcolm detangled and prepped my hair with a heat-protecting serum (Iles Haute Performance Finishing Serum, to be exact), then wrapped random sections around a 1-inch curling iron. He finished by separating the curls with his fingers.

So, have I effectively made a case for hat hair? Tell me in the comments, and shop the Goldilocks Beanie and Thinking Cap as seen above right over here.

Photos by Bridget Badore, Hair by Malcolm Cuthbert.

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