How to wear a face mask over a hijab and stay fashionable: Muslim women’s hacks for wearing both at the same time
- If you’re a hijab-wearing woman, wearing a mask that’s normally fixed behind the ears can be a problem, but people are coming up with fashionable solutions
- One woman is making knitted mask extenders, and a company has created a fashionable face mask holder made from acrylic Plexiglas that is decorated with a bow
Wearing a face mask is, or has been, mandatory in most countries this year.
Whether single-use or made of cloth, most have one thing in common: they are designed to be fixed behind the ears. But if you’re a hijab-wearing woman, that can be a problem.
To address this, Muslim women across the world are sharing their solutions on how to wear a face mask when their ears are covered by a hijab, and a myriad of hacks have appeared online.
One YouTuber came up with a very simple solution: “All you really need are two straight pins and you’re going to tuck them into your hijab and you just slip the mask on there! Super easy hack – hope you guys enjoy!” she said.
In another video, one lady suggested breaking up an underwear and sock hanger to make a mask extender. Other quick fixes include cutting off the bottom strings of a surgical mask and tying the loose ends behind your head, while another (not-so-environmentally friendly) solution consists of using the string from a second mask to tie your mask around the hijab.
Cheaper, less fashionable hacks include using an elastic band to connect the two loops of the mask behind the head. On her channel, Hijabi Mommy PH suggests using a paper clip or a safety pin instead.
Nabeeha Fakih, the Britain-based founder of fashion brand The Urban Hijabee, has 64,000 followers on Instagram and almost 24,000 followers on YouTube. She posts snippets from her life as well as insights covering modest fashion (including hijab styling ideas) and lifestyle, and relationships videos featuring her husband.
Fakih feels that social media helps her spread the message that, contrary to the stereotypical image that most people have, wearing a hijab is a choice and not a sign of oppression.
Many of these women use mask extenders (also known as a mask strap or an ear-saver strap) – an accessory made of plastic or fabric with hooks or buttons. The earloops of a mask can be fixed onto the extender, which is placed on top of the hijab.
While the mask extender was not developed exclusively for hijab-wearing women (it was designed simply to offer a tighter or more comfortable wear), it is, today, one of the top choices for women who wear a hijab.
“I wear one every day,” says Wan Yasin who lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. When a countrywide lockdown was imposed in March, Yasin and her friends looked for surgical masks that tie behind the head – but they were difficult to come by as most were reserved for frontline workers.
“But I love to knit,” says Yasin. “So, I knitted a colourful mask extender and one day a friend came up to me to ask if I would knit one for her too.” Yasin has now earned 700 Malaysian ringgit (US$170) by selling them.
CTW Enterprise, a Malaysian corporate gift company, has also used the lockdown to launch a new product – the Arete fashion face mask holder, which is made from acrylic Plexiglas and is easy to snap off and remove. It has a bow on top and can be customised and engraved.
“Masks are very much associated with illness and the pandemic so we started looking for something that could brighten up the atmosphere and enable customers to appreciate fashion and be protected from the virus at the same time,” says business development manager Ashley Teoh.
There are ways to combine religious traditions and a sense of glamour without having to turn to a crystal-encrusted hijab. It might have taken a pandemic for the fashionable mask extender to get its global moment of glory but with any luck, the next big hijab accessory will not have evolved from a global health crisis.