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"Durag" redirects here. For the village in Poland, see Durąg. For the village in Iran, see Durag, Iran.

A do-rag (also known variously as a doo-rag, dew-rag, du-rag or durag), is a piece of cloth used to cover the top of one's head. Sometimes made of nylon material and having a "skullcap" fit it may also be referred to as a "wavecap". According to the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term derives from 'do as in hairdo.[1][2]


The Ethiopian nobleman Ras Mengesha Yohannes, son of Emperor Yohannes IV, wearing a do-rag.

The earliest use of do-rags in history are found in 19th century Ethiopia, particularly among soldiers. The most famous historical user of the head covering was Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II. He sometimes wore do-rags with a hat or crown, as minted on Ethiopian state coins.[3][4] During the slavery period in the United States, African American women wore scarves that were later to become the do-rags of the 1930s to the 1960s. Do-rags were also used by African American men to hold chemically processed hair-dos in place while they slept. Originally they were most commonly made from women's stockings; these were called stocking caps, not do-rags. Now, many are made from polyester. Do-rags re-emerged as a fashion trend among urban youth in the 1990s and 2000s, first among African Americans, who used them to maintain their new hair styles. Do-rags are worn in a variety of colours, with black being the most common. Do-rags are regularly used to create and maintain waves and cornrowed hairstyles. They usually have long ties on either side that are wrapped around the head to secure the do-rag by tying behind the back. However, the old do-rags were not tied behind the head but on the front of the head.

In April 2000, the American National Football League banned its players from wearing do-rags and bandanas underneath their helmets. The ban did not apply to players who wore them for medical reasons.[5]

Over the years motorcyclists have begun to wear do-rags, especially in states with motorcycle helmet laws, to prevent "Helmet Hair" or "Helmet Head". There was also the practical value of the do-rag preventing sweat and scalp oils (especially if the biker is bald) from causing an unpleasant smelling helmet, or wearing a do-rag without a helmet to prevent sunburn. Constructed a little differently with ties and a tail, they come in many different styles and colors. Enthusiasts of mixed martial arts (MMA) have also begun to wear them as part of their workout gear.

See also[edit]