Should you be using a swirlkous?

Models on runway at the adidas Originals x Kanye West YEEZY show
Models on runway at the adidas Originals x Kanye West YEEZY show

No idea what a swirlkous is?

Let me break it down for you: it's an old trick usually used by women of colour who don't have what we call gladde hare (straight hair), to keep their 'do looking good overnight.

It's made by taking an old pair of clean stockings, cutting off one of the legs, and then tying a knot on one end while keeping the other open to put your head in. Then you "swirl" your hair by brushing and wrapping your hair around your head, put the swirlkous on, and turn and tug it until your hair is in flat and neat for bed. You then wake up next morning, remove the swirlkous and brush your hair out so those locks can flow.

Also, it's not very sexy. I know my dad used to make jokes about not wanting my mom to wear one to bed because he didn't want to sleep with a women who "had three legs".

Men. Like with all things beauty they like the effect, but have no respect for the process.

A while back, Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp did this video showing women everywhere how exactly to do the swirlkous:

But the kous is not just a trend. It's an intrinsic part of my culture. I know many women who still use their kous to this day even if they can now afford to go to fancy salons.

Personally, I've always had an issue with the kous. In fact, I'm very much against it: It's ugly. It's tight. It's uncomfortable. And I've actually seen it do damage to not just my, but other women's hair too. Plus, if you've got a lot of hair like I do, it gets really, really hot under there.

And I'm afraid I'm just not about that "suffering for beauty" life.

But could I be wrong? Can a swirlkous be good for your hair?

I spoke to Tania Harding from Hair Freedom in Cape Town who says: "We wouldn't recommend it. We do find it makes the client's hair quite oily. It can also cause hair breakage if done too tightly."

But how do you keep your hair, and especially your blowout, looking flawless? "Use a silk scarf instead," Tania recommends.

Or, before you freak out about losing your beloved kous, check out these other suggestions too:

Stylecaster suggests "wrapping" your hair. Which is basically what you do before you put on your swirlkous, but you'll be securing it with bobby pins instead.

XoVain also has some styling tips on hair wrapping.

You could do this in conjunction with wearing a silk or satin cap like I do. I wear my hair curly, but it works well when I've blow-dried my hair too. Buy one at Clicks For R49.95

What to wear #satinbonnet #naturalhair

A photo posted by Cherylene Ayanda Felix (@cherylene_za) on

Or get a silk pillowcase. I recommend this if you've got straightened or naturally curly hair. Mine (yes, I have both a satin cap and a silk pillowcase) is amazing. My hair is less frizzy even when I don't wear my cap and my skin feels softer and less puffy when I wake in the morning. Plus, they're great if you have allergies. They're pricey, but it's an investment in your hair and skin.

Loving my silk pillowcase. It is definitely worth the purchase. #silkpillowcase #drybar #sephora

A photo posted by Danielle Yancey (@danielleyancey) on

Buy one from Takealot for R429

Do you still use a swirlkous? Or do you use one of the other methods in this article? Do you have a trick of your own? Send us an email and tell us about it.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
23% - 894 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 359 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
49% - 1932 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 54 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 703 votes