As someone with curly hair, I know that taking care of it can be a lot of work. Not only does my mane require regular deep conditioning treatments and trims to keep it shiny and healthy, but I also have to be very careful about how I sleep on my curls. If I make one wrong move, I’m guaranteed to wake up with rough, frizzy hair.
How should you sleep with your hair?
To help out my fellow curly-haired friends—and those with any hair type, really—I chatted with a few top hairstylists across the country for their best tips on protecting your precious hair while you sleep.
Use a silk pillowcase
Some sheet fabrics can lead to breakage and damage, so consider using a silk pillowcase instead, says Allyson Carter, hairstylist and editor-in-chief at Hair Spies. “Silk is a material with smaller fibers that will leave your hair looking sleek and shiny in the morning,” she says. (Here’s how to prevent and fix bed head.)
Go to sleep with dry hair
It’s never a good idea to go to sleep with wet hair, so dry yours before you hit the sack. “It’s tricky and risky to sleep with wet hair,” says Dani Everson, hairstylist and owner of Clementine’s Salon in Denver. “It’s more fragile—and if you’re a rough sleeper, then the morning will reveal it all.” If you must sleep with wet hair, then it’s best to braid it or put a wrap around it to protect it.
Detangle your hair
“Your hair gets tangled during the day as it rubs up against other surfaces or is blown about by the wind,” says Ghanima Abdullah, hair expert with TheRightHairstyles.com. “Sleeping on tangled hair creates more tangles, so brush your hair gently and thoroughly before going to sleep.”
Apply a moisturizing treatment
Slathering on a moisturizing mask or serum before you go to sleep can make a world of difference for your hair. That’s especially true if you have curls. “Curly hair that’s naturally dry and prone to frizz can benefit hugely from an overnight mask,” says Lauren Holland, hairstylist with Latest Locks. “It will retain moisture and prevent damage while adding more definition and bounce to your curls.”
Everson is a fan of Kérastase Nutritive 8H Magic Night Serum Hydrating Treatment for overnight hair hydration. “It helps repair and condition while you sleep,” she says. “The fragrance shifts after eight hours from soothing to energizing so when you wake up, it gives you a pep in your step.”
For a DIY overnight hair treatment, try coconut oil. “Coconut oil absorbs into the hair shaft instead of sitting on the surface of the hair for true deep conditioning,” says Abdullah, who recommends washing out your oil or conditioner in the morning.
Tie your hair up carefully
Avoid sleeping in a tight ponytail or bun. “This puts tension on the scalp, and the hair shaft can get damaged if tied up for a long period,” explains Holland. “It’s also more likely to tangle up with the hair tie, which ends up getting pulled out, resulting in severe split ends.”
Carter adds that curly folks should specifically choose a silk scrunchie if they prefer sleeping with their curls tied up. “The best option for curls is combining a silk scrunchie with a silk bonnet to reduce frizz and retain all the moisture you can,” she says.
Loosely braid your hair
Tight ponytails and buns might not be right for sleeping, but a loose braid is a much better option. A loose braid won’t cause damage—plus it’ll leave you with stylish waves, so it’s a win-win for your hair.
“Opt for loose braid at the nape of the neck,” suggests Holland. “There will be significantly less breakage and you’ll wake up to gorgeous heatless waves.”
Try the pineapple method
If you have curly hair, then chances are you’ve heard of the pineapple method. “To pineapple means to pile all your hair atop your head so your head looks like a pineapple, with your hair being the leaves,” explains Abdullah. You can use a silk scrunchie to hold your curls up, then wrap your sides in a silk scarf to keep them protected.
“Pineapples help keep your curls from stretching out as you sleep,” says Abdullah. “If you have a bang, keep it out of the pineapple and secure it in place with a few clips instead.”
Wear a sleeping cap
For short hair that won’t go into a pineapple, you can wear a satin or silk sleeping cap or bonnet to help preserve your curls. “This way your hair isn’t wrapped up in friction between your head and the pillowcase,” says Abdullah.
Did you know sleep plays a major role in your skin’s appearance? Check out our beauty sleep guide for tips on waking up looking refreshed.