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How to Tame Frizzy Hair With an Algerian Styling Trick

In this mini series we explore the rich beauty customs of the Middle East. Here we look to the qardoon in Algeria.


Photo: Djinane AlSuwayeh
Model wearing a white Roland Mouret top from Symphony and a Maria Black necklace from Boutique1.

In the rural villages of Algeria, it is rare to come across a young girl who isn’t sporting a thick piece of fabric wrapped down her lengths. This strip of cloth, referred to as a qardoon, is used as a heatless way to relax unruly curls and tame unmanageable frizz. Born out of pure necessity—straighteners used to be virtually non-existent in North African farm villages up until a few years ago—the reusable fabrics were purchased in nearby stores and often came in vivid colors and patterns. Crafty women tear a piece of fabric out of an old, unwanted dress and cut it into a long, thin strip; curls are brushed out and secured into a low ponytail, and the hair is wrapped tightly with the qardoon, to be unraveled the next day for tamer, more manageable strands. Additionally, the method is said to prevent tangles and even make hair thicker.

Although electronic hair straighteners are a lot more accessible today, the qardoon still acts as the ultimate go-to for keeping hair out of the way and preventing tangles. Additionally, it’s a great heatless alternative for banishing frizz when blow drying isn’t an option. It has even become a source of fashionable hair inspiration: for its Fall 2016 Ready-to-Wear show in New York, Suno sent their models down the catwalk sporting a grown-up take on the qardoon, in the form of head-turning black, velvet hair wraps. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian West recently debuted a similar statement hairstyle crafted by celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton to a friend’s wedding. Consider your last-minute evening ponytail sorted.

Here, we trace the history of the batoola in Oman. 

Model: Karina, The AgenC
Makeup & Hair: Anne Sophie, The AgenC
Stylist: Linda Bruun
Photographer: Djinane AlSuwayeh

Opener: Image courtesy of Djinane AlSuwayeh
Model wearing a Christian Dior blouse. 

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