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How to Swirl … A Guide for Hair

By Michel’le Donnelly

Centuries ago, before the idea of the GHD had even entered anyone’s imagination; the Coloured South African woman had mastered the art of straightening hair. How did she do this you ask? Well, with a comb and a stocking, more accurately, a ‘swirl kous’.

Quick history lesson. The ‘swirl kous’ was founded in 1898 by a coloured mother who, after spending 3 hours rolling her young daughters hair, was not ready for it to get all tangled up again. She thought of all the ways she could get her daughters hair to stay bouncy and neat. She wrapped it in a towel, bu that just kept falling off, she thought of making her daughter sleep standing up, but she worried it may be seen as cruel. Finally, she took a pair of stockings, cut out a piece of the leg and foot and combed her daughters hair round and round, then placed the stocking over it. The next day, her daughter’s hair was bouncy and neat and her efforts became a passed on tradition that is still used today.

Ask any coloured woman about a swirl kous and she’ll stress the importance of making sure everyone has one. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this was a uniquely coloured woman hack, but dear WOC’s this is one hack you all have to get in on.

So, here is a step-by-step guide to swirling your hair because, yes there is a technique and if you fuck it up you’re fucking up your chances of that good hair.

You’ll need:
1x comb
1x pair of stockings
1x scissors

Take your pair of stockings and cut it into a ‘swirl kous’.

Take your comb and part your hair on one side.

Swirl all your hair to one side of your head.

Take the ‘swirl kous’ and swirl it 4 times around your head, or until secure.

And there you go, here’s to more swirl kouse peeple.

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