The way in which a woman – and a man whose hair is long – should wipe the head when doing wudoo’ is what is narrated in the hadeeth of al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh (may Allaah be pleased with her). Ahmad (26484) and Abu Dawood (128) narrated from her that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did wudoo’ in her house, and he wiped his entire head from the crown of the head, all the way to the back of the head, and he did not disturb or ruffle the hair. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
What is meant by the “crown of the head” is the top of the head, i.e., start wiping from top to bottom.
Al-‘Iraaqi said: What is meant is that he would start wiping from the top of the head to the bottom, and he did that on each side. End quote from ‘Awn al-Ma’bood.
Another well known way of wiping has also been narrated, which is to wipe the hair with both hands from front to back, then to bring the hands back to the place where one started.
But this method leads to ruffling the hair, and the preferred method for women is to wipe the head in the first manner, or to wipe from the front to the back of the head and not to bring the hands back again. This is another interpretation of the hadeeth of al-Rubayyi’. See the answer to question no. 45867.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (1/87): If the one who has hair fears that it may be ruffled if he brings his hands back over his head, then he may not do that. This was stated by Ahmad. It was said to him: How should the one who has hair down to his shoulders wipe (his head) during wudoo’? He wiped his head once and said: Like this, so as to avoid ruffling his hair, i.e., he should pass his hands to the back of his head and not bring them forward again.
If he wishes he may wipe his head, as it was narrated from al-Rubayyi’ that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did wudoo’ in her house, and he wiped his entire head from the parting on each side to the back, and he did not disturb or ruffle the hair. Narrated by Abu Dawood. Ahmad was asked: How should a woman wipe her hair? He said: Like this; and he put his hand in the middle of his head, then drew it forwards, then he lifted it and put it where he had started, then he drew it backwards. Whatever he wipes it after wiping what is obligatory is good enough. End quote.
And Allaah knows best.