If you are blessed to have a wavy, curly, or natural curl pattern, learning to preserve your curls overnight is essential to establishing a healthy hair routine. And not only because of the flattened mess you will need to deal with in the morning. Tossing and turning at night leads to hair breakage, frizz, and nasty tangles. Read on for an ultimate guide on how to sleep with curly hair and wake up with shiny, bouncy locks in the morning.
Is It Better to Sleep with Hair Up or Down?
It is better to pull hair up for the night. When you place your curls on top, you will not literally lie on your coils, and the weight of your head won’t smash curls in your hair while you sleep. This will also make curls have the same definition on all sides, even if you prefer sleeping on one side only. You may also sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase without doing any additional bedtime hairstyles.
When you wear curly hair to bed in an updo, make sure that you do not wrap or tie up your hair too tightly – this may cause hair friction and headaches. Below are the protective hairstyles for sleeping with curly hair along with our step-by-step guidance.
#1: Wrap Your Hair in a Silk Scarf
Wrapping curly hair in a silk scarf is one of the best overnight hairstyles a curly girl can style (as well as the best way to sleep on curled hair without messing it up).
Here is how to wrap curly hair for sleeping:
- Take a silk or satin scarf and fold it into a triangle. Keep the shiny side out, as it is softer and gives even more gentle care to your curls.
- Flip it over and lay it on your shoulders like a shawl.
- Get your hair back, bring the ends of the scarf up and tie them around your head. Your curls shouldn’t stick out.
- Take the triangular piece at the back and pull it up. Hold the end of the scarf with one hand and use a free one to push all of your curls into a hair buff you have just created.
- Now, pull the end to the front and tuck it under the knot to secure it in place. Then, tuck any other sticking ends or sections.
- Take two ends and tie them at the back. Do not make the wrap too tight to avoid any headaches.
Note that this method helps to retain moisture, protect curls, and prevent overnight damage from rubbing your hair against a pillowcase. Thus, you might want to wrap a soft shawl around other nighttime hairstyles too.
#2: Plop Your Curls
Plopping hair with a cotton T-shirt is often used in a curly girl method and plump method as a way to speed up the air-drying process or as a way to go to sleep with your hair wet. In fact, it works well for either wet or dry hair and you may use this same method to sleep with curly hair on the second or third day too.
Here is how to plop curly hair:
- Take a cotton T-shirt and lay it down flat in front of you with the sleeves away from your body. Do not use high surfaces, as you will need to flip your hair over the t-shirt; your bed or a chair might work great.
- Flip your hair over and place it at the center of a T-shirt.
- Take the section that is away from you and put it on top of your head.
- Use the T-shirt arms to wrap the head over and tie them at the front.
- Tuck any sticking pieces in.
If you want to tie the wrap at the back, just start placing the T-shirt with the sleeves closer to your body. If you go to bed right after your shower, consider getting rid of moisture by micro plopping your wet hair with one t-shirt and then plopping it overnight with a dry one to avoid discomfort.
#3: Pineapple and Medusa Clipping
Pineapple is the most common do for curly hair at night. To create a pineapple hairstyle, flip your head over, smooth the curls with your hands, and pull your hair up into a very high loose ponytail. Use a static hair tie or scrunchie.
Note that pineapple works best only for medium-length hairstyles: if your strands are long, you eventually sleep on your curly ponytail; likewise, you can be not able to pull all of your short hair up. Medusa clipping is a hack that solves both of these issues:
- if you have long curly hair, pull sections of your pineapple closer to the top of your head and clip them with claw clips;
- if your hair is short, skip the pineapple and just pull sections up and clip them on top.
#4: Make a Pineapple Bun
Another way to modify a pineapple for sleeping with long curly hair is to twist it into a loose bun. Follow these steps:
- Flip your head over and work with your hands to gather all of your curls into a high ponytail.
- Tie the ponytail with an elastic once.
- When you pull the ponytail through the elastic for the second time, stop halfway, not pulling the hair ends through.
For better protection, you may add a satin bonnet or scarf on top of your loose bun. This will keep your hair protected throughout the night.
#5: French Braid Your Curls
French braid allows stretching curls around the crown of your head while leaving the ends with a better-defined curl pattern. If this is what you want to achieve, a French braid should definitely make part of your curly hair night routine.
Here is how to French braid curly hair:
- Do not brush your hair; instead, work with your fingers only. Section hair grabbing several locks together and untangling their ends.
- Start braiding by gathering a big chunk of hair at the top of your head and separating it into three even strands.
- Twist the three pieces as in a traditional braid by crossing the right one over to the center.
- Start adding in new hair: grab hair from the side of the strand that you want to cross over and combine it with the strand itself.
- Continue the process until you reach the nape of your head, then finish making a traditional braid with the remaining length and put a hair tie on the end.
If you do not want to stretch curls at the crown that much, go for two French braids. Mind that you need to have two even braids at night to have curls of the same size at both sides in the morning.
#6: Make Bantu Knots
Bantu knots are a popular protective hairstyle for natural hair. What makes a variant for sleeping different is that you don’t have to make the sections or the parting even; thus, the hairstyle takes just a few minutes:
- Separate your hair into 7-12 sections about 3 to 4 inches wide. You don’t need to create all sections right away. Start with creating three or four Bantu knots at the front, then gradually move to the next raw.
- Take hair from one section and twist it around itself a few times, creating a coil.
- Wrap the coiled strand around itself into a tiny bun.
- Tuck the ends under the coil or secure them with bobby pins or clips.
- Create new sections and twist Bantu knots with the remaining hair.
If you have wavy hair and want some tighter springy curls, keep your curled twisted into small knots. On the other hand, twisting larger sections can help you give more loose curl definition to tight natural curls overnight.
#7: Sleep on a Silk or Satin Pillowcase
As mentioned before, you can preserve your hair by sleeping on a silk pillowcase. Note that the method prevents frizz and breakage, but it is still better to bring your hair up if you do not want your head’s weight to flatten your curls.
If a silk or satin pillowcase is still on your shopping or gift list, or you hesitate whether it would make any change for your hair care, try this hack:
- Lay your silk scarf flat on a surface with its shiny side down.
- Place your pillow on top in the way that the corners of the scarf protrude on each side of the pillow.
- Pull the opposing ends and tie them on top of your pillow. Then, do the same trick with the other two ends.
- Smooth and tuck any sticking sides and turn the pillow upside down. Voila! A pillow with a silk pillowcase is ready!
How to Wake Up with Curly Hair
For a perfect curly hairstyle on the second and third day after washing, moisturize hair with a mask or a leave-in conditioner before going to bed and revive your curls the next morning:
- Pull hair and roots and give your curls some shake to return the volume to the top sections. If you need even more lift, apply hair powder and rub it into your roots.
- Give some mist to the sections that need restyling; then, scrunch or twist them around your finger to create tighter coils.
- Use lotion or serum to smooth over any frizzy curls and define the tips.
No way the overnight hairstyle should prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep! After our tips on how to sleep with curly hair, the night should no longer be the nightmare for your curls either.