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Why Do Orthodox Jews Wear Wigs?

June 7, 2024
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In the Jewish community, women always wear head coverings, like scarves, hats, and wigs. Some of the ladies wear this covering all the time, while others only wear it when entering a synagogue or at the time of praying. Women also wear these head coverings after marriage.

Some Jewish women started covering their heads with ‘Sheitel’ in the 18th century. Covering the head with wigs, hats, etc., is the sign of a married woman, and it is an indication to men that she is unavailable.

In this blog, we are going to discuss the Jewish tradition of head coverings or wigs for women.

What Is A Jewish Wig?

According to the Jewish people, ‘sheitel’ is also known as a wig. It is a ‘Yiddish’ word. Jewish women cover their hair with wigs, scarves, etc., after their wedding.

Why Do Jewish Women Wear Wigs After Their Wedding? 

Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair because it should only be seen by themselves and by their husbands. These women can wear wigs before marriage if their hair is thin or if they are experiencing hair loss. Jewish women can also hide bald spots caused by medical treatments by using head coverings.

What Are The Effects Of Wearing Sheitel (Wig)?

The effects of wearing wigs on Jewish women are listed below:

  • With the help of a wig, a woman covers all her hair as it helps maintain her attractive appearance.
  • Sheitel creates a psychological barrier between married women and strangers. It sends the signal that she is beautiful but unavailable.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Wearing Wig?

Here you will find some advantages and disadvantages of wearing wigs:

Advantages of Wearing Wig 

Here are several advantages of wearing wigs by Jewish women:

  • It takes less time to put on, your wig depends on your preference. In some cases, it can be as simple as putting on a hat or covering it with scarves.
  • With the help of a wig, you can cover your real hair. You can change your daily hairstyle. 
  • If women are going through hair loss and thinning problems, they can wear a wig.
  • You can also experiment with the wig, like coloring or cutting. This will enhance your looks.
  • Wearing a wig can protect your real hair and give your natural hair a chance to rest and recover from breakage, dullness, and thinning.

Disadvantages of Wearing Wigs

There are also some disadvantages to wearing wigs. They are as follows:

  • Wigs are itchy, tight, and uncomfortable as experienced by many women. If a wig does not fit properly, then people can face these problems.
  • Wigs are expensive because of the quality of material, length, and thickness of hair. All these factors can increase the cost of the wigs.
  • If people are wearing cheap wigs in a hot or humid area, their head gets overheated because of nonbreathable caps. Whereas high-quality wigs are breathable. 
  • Women who are suffering from hair loss or thinning problems can lose their natural hair faster if they wear wigs often. 

What Are The Common Reasons For Wearing Wigs?

The various reasons for wearing wigs by Jewish women are listed below:

  • Origin and Biblical Basis: The practice of wearing wigs by orthodox Jewish women originated from ancient times. According to Jewish religious law and Jewish theology, hair covering is a biblical requirement for women.
  • Sensuality and Modesty of Hair: Women’s hair is associated with beauty and sensuality. In the Jewish culture, a woman’s face is not allowed to be covered but they have to cover their head with the help of wigs or scarves, etc.
  • Practice and Cultural Significance: Jewish women wear wigs to double the layer by covering so that any damage can not cause their natural hair.
  • Personal Choice and Symbolism: Most women wear a hair covering as a sign of marriage and like to cover their hair outside their house. The decision to cover hair is a combination of legal, cultural, and personal factors. It shows the relationship between personal choice and their community identity.

Is Wig An Identity Of Jewish People?

Yes, it provides an identity to married women in the Jewish religion. Covering hair is a deep personal meaning in this practice. It is a symbol of commitment and faith in their culture. Women cover their hair with wigs so that they can move to focus on their beauty and devote themselves to spirituality.


Nowadays, many women refuse altogether, for the sake of propriety, to cover their head with a wig completely. Orthodox women cover their hair with a sheitel, scarf, bonnet beret, or a hairnet. 

Jewish Orthodox women do not show their hair in public after their marriage. The tradition of Jewish wigs continues to evolve with women finding new ways to express their devotion and connection to their faith.

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