When thinking of hairstyles to rock, you normally aren’t thinking about styles to wear to bed; after all, who’s going to be seeing you while you're asleep? It’s understandable not to think of styles to put your hair in for bed, especially if you already have your hair styled during the day. However, cautiously putting thought into how you’ll wear your hair for bed can help keep your hair healthy and fresh for the morning!
Why Style Your Hair Before Bed?
When we say “style your hair for bed”, we’re just talking about different styles you can put your hair in while you sleep. We don’t mean going through the whole process of reapplying your styling products, detangling, or whatever other steps you take in styling your hair after wash day.
Protecting your hair during the day is important, as the environment around you can affect your hair's hydration and condition. Protecting your hair at night is easily as important since there is a lot of weight being put on your head, and therefore a lot of weight being put on your hair. Along with the pressure on your hair, there is also a lot of friction between your hair itself as well as between whatever you are laying on. The weight or pressure alone can cause damage, single strand knots, and split ends, so the two combined can be extremely damaging to your hair if it isn’t cared for properly before bed.
When you lay on your head, it gives the hair strands an opportunity to rub against each other. If your hair is dry, that friction between strands can put too much stress on the hair, causing it to break off. This breakage can then turn to split ends the more the hair rubs against each other. If your hair is moisturized, there is less chance of the friction causing breakage since the hair is able to extend, making it so any friction simply makes the hair bend and curl around each other. This is why keeping your hair moisturized is so important; keeping its elasticity lessens the chances of it breaking. However, even though the hair strands may not break while rubbing against each other, they can wrap around themselves, producing single strand knots (or as some may call them – fairy knots).
Keeping your hair “styled” during bedtime can prevent breakage, however this is only if you make sure your hair is properly moisturized. If your hair is tied up or not, if it is dry and rubbing against itself, it will break off no matter what. Because of this, any style we cover a little later should be done on moisturized hair. But, this doesn't mean you have to apply (or reapply) product at night if you already moisturized your hair early in the week (or that same morning). If you are using an effective moisturizer, leave-in conditioner, or combination of products, your hair should be moisturized enough (especially if you applied the product the morning of). Before styling your hair for bed, take a good feel of it. Does it feel dry and brittle? Are you experiencing any breakage while feeling it and running your fingers over your curls? When you pull on your strands, do they stay extended instead of bouncing back? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then that’s a sign to take some time and rehydrate your hair!
Even though everyone should be typing their hair up in some way before bed, this practice is especially important for those with tightly coiled 4B or 4C hair that is prone to coiling onto itself and tangling up. The rehydration tips will also help those with 4B or 4C hair, as if the coils are more moisturized, they are less likely to coil onto each other and tangle, causing breakage and unneeded shedding. Styling the hair before sleeping is an easy, quick way to take care of 4B/C hair.
Tips - How to Rehydrate
- If your hair is fine, low porosity, or easily weighed down by product, you can rehydrate by simply using water! Spritz your hair with water, making sure to pay close attention to the ends of your hair (they are most prone to breakage). Most naturals find that using a regular spray bottle to distribute water on their hair is too heavy and hard to control. Because of this, mister bottles are a popular alternative to apply water to the hair! Our Mister Bottle is a handy tool to have on deck for any natural who struggles with keeping their hydrated throughout the week (or anyone who needs to rehydrate at night!).
- If you’d like to add a little more moisture to your hair but don’t want to overdo it with the product, you can make a little hydration spritz. It would contain mostly water, with a little bit of leave-in conditioner or moisturizer. Our Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner or Hydrating Moisturizer would be perfect to mix your spritz, whether you use them by themselves or together. With either product, or both, just adding a dollop in your mister bottle full of water will help give your hair extra moisture and nutrients! You can even add a light oil, like our Hydrating Oil Blend, in there if you’d like for a sealing factor.
- If your hair is extremely dry and you haven’t washed in at least a week, we recommend taking time the next day to wash your hair. This will restore the moisture in your hair, especially if you incorporate a deep conditioner into your wash routine. Our Ice Cream Deep Conditioning Treatments are great examples of deeply moisturizing treatments that will restore your hair, allowing it to remain hydrating until the next time you wash. Washing with non-stripping shampoos and nourishing conditioners, like our Hydrating Shampoo and Hydrating Conditioner, will help your hair get the hydration it needs during washing. If you find your hair is low porosity or is easily stripped, cleansers like our Low Poo Miracle Cleanser are a great alternative to traditional shampoos and rinse-out conditioners. Not only is our Miracle Cleanser perfect for low porosity naturals, but it also is extremely moisturizing and softening to the hair! In the meantime, you can go ahead and apply a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer directly to your hair (instead of it being diluted in a mixture). When doing this, you still want your hair to be a little damp. If you don’t wish to go to bed with a wet (or damp) head, you can skip adding the water. Even though water helps the product take to the hair better (while also providing hydration), your hair will still benefit from the moisture of the leave-in or moisturizer.
Now that we’ve covered how to rehydrate your hair and prep it for styling (if needed), let's get into the styles you can do to protect your hair and prevent it from breaking, splitting, or knotting up…
5 Easy Hairstyles for Sleeping With Natural Hair
- Flat twists: Flat twists are great because the ends of the hair are tucked away and the strands are neatly collected in the twist. This prevents breakage since the friction between hair strands is reduced by it being twisted up. You want to take time to gently finger detangle your hair before or while installing the twists. This will get rid of any shedding and also make it so any existing tangles in the hair won’t tangle any further while in the twists. Even if you don’t feel like your hair needs to be rehydrated, it may benefit you to still rehydrate your ends, as they are the most susceptible to breakage (especially if you are pulling the hair, detangling it, and putting it in twists). This style is the go to if you normally style your hair in two strand twists, as it will keep your twist out fresh and curls defined. If you were rocking a braid out, twisting your hair at night will help elongate and loosen the tighter, more crimped coils that a braid-out produces.
- Braid(s): This is not referring to a braid-out, but a single braid (or two) in your hair. If your hair is on the short side, two braids on each side of your head may work better than a single one in the center of your head. Either way, a single braid is great if you’d like for your hair to maintain a bit of definition while also being stretched a little. Since the hair is in one large (or two large) sections, not all of the hair is enclosed in the braid. This leaves any hair outside of the actual braid to be stretched, leaving the hair closer to your roots stretched out and the hair closer to your ends (and including your ends) defined. This can be good whether you had a twist-out, braid-out, or wash and go the day before. The braid is also a good option if you want to stretch your hair and maintain a little definition without the manipulation of doing multiple flat twists. Even though braids normally cause more manipulation on the hair, since there are less braids here than would be flat twists, it will require less pulling and tugging on the hair to achieve.
- Pineapple puff: A pineapple puff is basically when you collect your hair in one big puffball. You can achieve this by getting a soft, elastic hair tie, scarf, or ribbon, and tying your hair loosely with the tool you’re using. A puff can sit high on your head – closer to your forehead, or low – closer to the nape of your neck. A pineapple puff is great for preserving the state of your hair overnight, whether it is defined or not. If you have curls you don’t want to stretch or change the pattern of with twisting or braiding, simply tying it up in a loose puff will leave the hair the way it was when you secured it. When doing a puff, it is important to make sure the ends of your hair aren’t dry or rubbing against cotton fabric (or anything that is drying). You can put a satin scarf over your puff or a satin lined bonnet. When putting on the scarf or bonnet, you want it to be as secure as possible, making sure the ends of your hair have as little room to move as possible. This will prevent your ends from rubbing against each other and breaking off (or knotting).
- Mini puffs: Similar to the pineapple puff, mini puffs are good for those either with shorter hair, or those who wish to keep their hair as separated as possible. For the former group, mini puffs will allow you to collect your hair completely inside of a puff, instead of stretching it, trying to make it fit in one large puff, or risk the possibility of the hair slipping out of one great puff. For the latter group, this is a good option if you don’t want your hair squashed together after taking the puff down. This will reduce frizz while increasing definition. However, doing so can decrease volume. If you wish for some height, make sure to fluff at your roots instead of pulling up the ends of your hair. This will give you some volume without ruining the definition of your curls.
- Loose bun: A loose bun, like a pineapple puff, requires very little tension and manipulation on the hair. It also doesn’t require you to secure your ends compactly, since they will be tucked away in the bun (or under the tie). When doing a bun, you want to make sure it isn’t tied too tightly and that you are using a soft (preferably satin or silk) hair tie, scarf, or scrunchy. This will prevent your ends from breaking due to pressure or friction. Tying your bun too tightly can also lead to a crease in your hair, wherever your ends were tucked into the tie, leaving you with a dent in your curls. Your bun can be high or low on your head depending on your preference.
- When it comes to flat twists or braids, you can protect your hair with either a satin bonnet, scarf, or pillowcase. The type of covering doesn’t matter as long as your hair is coming into contact with a soft, silky material. Materials like cotton just soak all the moisture from your hair into the fabric. However, when it comes to puffs or buns, you want something that is more secure than a bonnet (which can be loose on the head) or pillowcase (which doesn’t cover the head). Because there are still parts of your hair loose, unbound, or exposed in the last three styles, having a cover that keeps the hair in place is the best option. This will prevent friction and any risk of breakage. You can either use a bonnet that is closely fit to your head, a scarf that is tied securely to the head, or any other material that can be put snugly on the head.
- If you have curls and want to preserve the definition, a twist out or braid would be the best styles for you. These styles keep the curls fresh, reducing any frizzing that could happen when the hair isn’t collected together.
- If you have a fro and want to preserve the volume, a puff or loose bun would be the best style for you. These styles will keep your roots stretched while protecting your ends and preserving any curls you have and want to keep defined.
- If you wish to stretch your hair, mini puffs would be a good style, as you can easily control how loose or tight the puffs are. This will allow your roots to stretch while leaving your ends the way they were during the day.
- If you’d like to gently detangle your hair without using your fingers, you can use a brush that is structured like our Detangling Brush. The design is made to reduce breakage on the hair, allowing for an effective detangling that isn’t damaging to the hair (like traditional brushes can be).
We hope these 5 hairstyles inspire you to try some new nighttime looks to rock while you sleep! Let us know which one is your favorite!