The Cookbook


How Do I Protect My Natural Hair At Night?

You can do everything right with your natural hair regimen... and still ruin it all with a bad nightly routine. Think about it- you spend a significant portion of your life with your hair squashed underneath the weight of your head. This can lead to breakage as your curls snag on your pillowcase, dryness as your hair loses moisture overnight, matting/tangling from friction between hair strands, and unmanageable hair when you wake up in the morning.

frustrated with natural hair

Luckily, you can avoid all of this with a simple but consistent nightly regimen. Your regimen will depend on your hair’s unique characteristics and the styles you wear on a daily basis, but here is NaturAll's general guide.

1. Moisturize and seal.

Curly hair dries out easily overnight. Your hair's natural oils can absorb into your pillowcase and sheets, and the moisture in your hair can dry out over time. Prevent this by moisturizing your hair before bed, either with a spritz of water or a leave-in conditioner. Seal in the moisture with an oil, such as this all-natural Jamaican Black Castor Oil Growth Serum with Lavender.

2. Put your hair in a low-manipulation style overnight.

You have a couple options for how to protect your hair, based on your hair length and the hairstyle you're wearing. If you’re rocking a twist out or braid out, take a moment to re-braid/twist your hair before going to sleep. Yes, it means taking a little more time in your nightly routine, but this will decrease frizz and keep your style looking good when you take out the braids/twists the next morning. It's worth it!

If you’re wearing a wash n’ go, try a pineapple to protect your curls for the next day. Gather all your hair to the top of your head and secure it with a loose hair tie. This leaves your curls loose on top of your head so they won’t get crushed under your head overnight.

To preserve a stretched style, tie your hair in loose, chunky twists/braids, buns, or even bantu knots under a scarf. That's it- you're ready for bed!

3. Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase

Standard cotton or linen pillowcases are a no-go for natural hair. These fabrics may feel great on your skin, but they wick moisture from your hair, causing it to dry out quickly. And although they feel soft to the touch, they can be surprisingly rough on your hair, causing curls and coils to snag and break, resulting in split ends. One of the best things you can do for your curly hair is to switch to satin or silk pillowcases.

Silk is a natural fiber used to make cloth, while satin is a weave that can be made from a variety of fiber materials. You can usually tell the difference because silk has a shimmery appearance, while satin is glossy on one side and dull on the back. (Not sure? Check the label!)

How much does the difference matter? Depending on the fiber used in a satin fabric, satin will usually be cheaper, but not quite as effective as real silk. Use silk if you can, but for all intents and purposes, they have the same benefits. Either silk or satin will drastically reduce breakage and dryness at night!

Satin/silk pillowcases are slick and create very little friction. While other fabrics are prone to snag and tug on your hair, silk and satin allow your hair to move and glide around freely. The result: less breakage, and less frizz in the morning!

Silk and satin also absorb far less moisture from your hair than other fabrics. Sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase will prevent your hair drying out overnight.

4. Use a satin/silk scarf or bonnet.

Especially if your hair tends to dry out overnight, a scarf or bonnet will protect your hair just like a satin/silk pillowcase, but it has the added benefit of holding your hair in place throughout the night and trapping moisture.

    curly natural hair in the morning

    If you follow these tips and your hair still feels dry or damaged from sleeping? Check out our longer, more in-depth guide to natural haircare at night!

    What are your pro-tips for a nightly routine that protects your tresses? Comment below! 

    Muhga Eltigani

    Muhga Eltigani

    After years of using products that left her hair dry, damaged, and dull, Muhga Eltigani decided to chop off her hair and start over. For 6 months, she committed to using only natural ingredients on her hair- foods from her fridge and the grocery store with names she recognized, like avocados, olive oil, coconut, baking soda, and even eggs. She found support through an online community of women like her, sharing recipes and ingredients on Youtube.

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