Who knew? Did you know?? Decent, cheap head coverings are now a reality thanks to Chinese mega-marketplace AliExpress – and a few weeks ago, I decided to get in on the action.
As an ultra-scientific experiment, I bought four “pre-tied” tichels, which is what I usually like to wear around the house, to see what kind of quality they’re selling. Down below, I’ve shown you the ones I bought and how they stacked up against what they looked like on the models.
(In case you’re not familiar with them, a pre-tied tichel has elastic at the back and tails that hang down, so you just pull on the cap and tie the back, without having to fuss with a big triangle or other shape of fabric…)
I’ve been buying tichels (mitpachot, or scarf-type headcoverings) online from a few different places, but it’s always a hassle – it costs way too much to begin with, and then you have to add the cost of shipping. I have also bought a couple here in Israel, but mostly, I buy them online like everything else. I really don’t like shopping in person, especially here.
Usually when we order from AliExpress, we then sit back and get ready for at least a month and usually more like two months of waiting. But one of the nice things about buying tichels, apparently, is that they can squeeze into a cheap mailer envelope, and thus arrive practically instantly in comparison – well, two weeks for the fastest of the tichels.
And of course, the biggest and bestest part of all is the price – generally between $4 and $6 per tichel.
So I bet you’re all curious now - how do they look???
Here are the 4 that I ordered – the pics on the left are what the listing showed on the website, and the ones on the right are how they actually looked on me when they got here. I’m also including the listing titles, because even though these exact ones probably won’t be available if you go browsing on there, you can get a sense of the keywords to look for (because “tichel” doesn’t always work):
The Tichels – in the order they arrived
Listing Title on AliExpress
New Women Head Scarf Chemo Hat Turban Pre Tied Headwear Bandana Tichel For Cancer Ladies Turbante-in Hair Accessories from Women
(weirdly, this navy blue colour is known as “chocolate” in the listing)
Tails nowhere near as long as shown in the image. Fabric not as lustrous, and the cap portion is a little big and pouffy. But I like the pattern very much.
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This was the biggest disappointment – so to speak, because it’s actually not big at all, and that’s part of the problem. Even though the fabric is stretchy, the cap is practically too small to get on my head, and forget about putting any kind of padding underneath. The tails are also significantly less generous than in the picture, but that seems to be universally true.
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This one was an experiment – it’s a lot frillier than what I usually wear. The fabric is actually pretty close to the picture; it’s my camera’s fault it doesn’t look like it. Maybe not my favourite new tichel, and it’s kind of more piratic than my usual style, but it’s surprisingly comfortable. This is the only one of the lot that feels at all cottony.
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This fourth and last is probably my favourite of the lot. A nice basic black tichel with quite a bit of bling that seems to frame my face nicely. Like the others, the tails are just barely long enough to tie. It’s very light and comfy.
To answer the question up above – should YOU buy tichels online at AliExpress? Maybe yes, if you hate shopping in person as much as I do and want to play around with a bunch of different looks for not very much money.
But if you do, be sure to follow these tips and lessons learned from my experiment (and various AliExpress experiments over the years):
- Don’t expect cotton! No matter how cottony it looks in the picture, you’re probably going to get some kind of acrylic.
- Don’t expect to get what is shown in the picture. Often, every seller has the same picture, probably taken of an original product that they’re copying. What you get is something totally different. Sad but true.
- Try different keywords until you find what you’re looking for. I’ve included lots of keywords in the table above to help you decide what to search for. Not surprisingly, the word “Muslim” came up a lot.
- Read reviews!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. I only buy products on AliExpress which have at least 20 five-star reviews.
- Check the reviews in particular for fit – whether it fits true to size, whether most people seemed to find the product too tight or too loose.
- Don’t spend a lot. I didn’t top $20 for these 4 tichels, and you should definitely dip your toe in the water before diving in, especially if you’ve never ordered from China before.
- Check shipping prices – not everything on AliExpress includes free shipping.
- And finally… be prepared to wait. I was pleasantly surprised that all these tichels arrived within 3-4 weeks of ordering, but that is not usually the case. They have a very long way to go to get to you, so sit tight and be patient.
Almost forgot to mention – about a million years ago, I wrote on here about my love of Buffs, simple cottony tubes that go in in about two seconds and don’t need tying. I still adore them, and it’s still my go-to head thing when I’m just hanging out around the house.
AND… you can buy them on AliExpress, too. Not the name-brand Buff ones, but if you search for various related terms, like “hip-hop tube bandana” then you’re sure to turn up a huge variety of them for next to nothing. I have ordered a few there and have not been disappointed, although some have been thicker fabric than others (I prefer them as thin as possible, and none of the knockoffs have yet approached the thinness of the original) and it can be hard to find basic black. (Not everybody wants to look totally hip-hop all the time…)
So that’s another cheap head covering option – fun and easy and wonderful! If you have any other awesome products you’ve bought at AliExpress, I’d love to hear about it – leave me a note in the Comments!