Growing up, I would get a weekly wash and set at my local Dominican hair salon. This typically involved sitting under a hair dryer for two hours with piping-hot plastic rollers as my hair took its shape. Then, I’d either proceed to have my curls fried to death with a blow dryer, or I’d get it wrapped in a “doobie.”
If you aren’t familiar, a doobie is created by wrapping your hair around your head in a circular pattern, then securing it with bobby pins. The purpose of this is to keep your hair bouncy and neat following a wash and set. Most women, like myself, still use the method as a protective style after a blowout. I’ve seen just about every black and Latina woman I know rock a doobie wrap growing up, and while it is a traditional styling technique, it has never had a very positive reputation.
I have always been told that I should never leave my house with my hair wrapped. Doing this would leave me categorized as “ghetto” or “unladylike.” I was also told that the protective style is only acceptable to wear while running errands (like laundry or groceries). But ideally, the general (and bullsh*t) rule has been to avoid wearing it in public or limit to wearing it to bed only. Men have even given their unsolicited opinions on whether or not women should be wearing doobie wraps to sleep.
But despite all the supposed restrictions that come with the style, I still do wear my doobie wrap to bed every night (I even posed with it here). I never thought I would see the style become a modernized trend, but I was wrong. More and more styles deemed unprofessional and inappropriate on women of color are now becoming fashionable trends when worn by white women, including the Kardashians.
Reality television’s first family is no stranger to appropriating black styles. (Case in point: Kylie Jenner’s multiple takes on cornrows and Khloé Kardashian’s bantu knots.) So I wasn’t surprised when, during my morning Snapchat scroll, Kim emerged rocking a style very similar to the much-maligned doobie wrap. Her hair, courtesy of Chris Appleton, was pulled into a deep middle-parted bun with bobby pins carefully placed along the sides of her head. The stylist shared an image of his “snatched” look and dubbed it “bobby pin do” on Instagram. Followers chimed in on the photo in awe of his “bobby pin headband,” with one follower even asking: “Is that the new thing? Leaving bobby pins in to show?”
The short answer to that follower’s question is no. No, it is not a “new” thing to leave bobby pins to show. Women of color have been “showing” bobby pins for decades.
Now while the doobie wrap involves all of your hair wrapped around your head, Kim’s look involves a bun, making it slightly different. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it almost exactly replicates the traditional style.
It felt oddly empowering to see a young black girl from the Caribbean giving zero f*cks by reclaiming a look with a bad rap while looking damn good doing it.
This isn’t the first time a notable brand or celebrity has rocked doobie wraps. A few months ago, Chanel styled models in its Haute Couture show in a look identical to the protective method. (Kim’s younger sister Kendall Jenner walked that runway sporting the style.)
In 2013, Rihanna showed up to the American Music Awards with her hair wrapped, and she looked incredible. She didn’t call her hair a bobby-pinned updo or a new style, but she wore it for what it was. She, too, faced criticism for wearing the style to an award show. But above all, it felt oddly empowering to see a young black girl from the Caribbean giving zero f*cks by reclaiming a look with a bad rap while looking damn good doing it.
When it comes to Kim, the issue is more than just a hairstyle. It’s an acknowledgment of culture. There have been many women who have come before Kim who pioneered this style, and these women have received their fair share of harsh judgment and criticism for wearing it. But it’s time for stylists, celebrities, and influencers to give credit where it is due. I would love to see the day people think my doobie wrap is “edgy” or “trendy,” and frankly, I could care less what people think. But until then, I’ll proudly wrap my hair before bed every night and wear my doobie loud and proud . . . whether you think it’s cute or not.