Sleep is essential to restore the body, but if you’re not careful with your hair during that time, you can pull, snag, and damage it without realizing it.
So, say goodbye to those high ponytails and tight buns. They’re a recipe for breakage and frizzing. Instead, we’ll show you how to do protective styles that are an easy way to guard against hair damage.
How Should You NOT Sleep?
When it comes to your hair, there’s a right and wrong way to sleep. Here’s what you should NOT do:
- Sleep with your hair out
- Sleep with cotton pillowcases
- Sleep with metal or rubber hair ties in your hair
- Sleep with wet hair
You may be thinking, “Really? No cotton pillowcases?” Believe it or not, cotton pillowcases are a top culprit for breakage. They dry your hair out and cause it to frizz while you sleep. When you create friction, you’re prompting damage that makes it difficult to grow your hair out and keep it healthy.
How to Sleep with Curly Hair
Curly girls should always follow these tips to ensure their hair remains luxurious.
- Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase
- Sleep with dry hair
- Sleep in protective styles
Many people may feel this is “overkill.” They’ve been sleeping on cotton pillowcases with wet hair for years, and their hair looks fine. Is it really that bad? We encourage you to try the alternative.
Just like cotton pillowcases, sleeping on wet hair increases the risk of kinks and breakage. Taking a few extra minutes to dry your hair or planning your wash schedule to allow you to fully air dry before you go to bed will ensure your hair doesn’t take on any extra damage.
What Is a Protective Hairstyle?
A protective hairstyle is one that keeps the hair tucked away with minimum manipulation from the weather or environment. Often, people think of protective hairstyles as those that they will wear their curly hair in for the next 2+ weeks. However, this isn’t always the case.
Top Protective Hairstyles for Sleeping
Are you looking for the top 10 protective styles that you can wear while you’re sleeping? If you’re in between protective styles or are just starting to note the damage your hair has, check out these ideas below. They can get you started and help you shield your hair while you’re resting your body.
1. Loose pineapple bun
Creating a loose pineapple bun is one of the most popular protective hairstyles for women with curly hair. It’s not only fast and easy, but it’s incredibly effective. To do this hairstyle, you flip your hair over so it’s all in front of you. Next, you gather it and flip your head up, holding your hair so it’s all gathered on your head.
You should use a silk scrunchy to tie your hair so that it’s all kept in this loose position. If you have a short hair length and find this unachievable, you can try the multi-pineapple. This involves conducting the process described below in two or three sections.
If you have very thick or full hair and you’re having trouble, you may also need to do it in multiple sections. You’ll likely find that the less full each section is the easier it is to form a pineapple. Make sure to do this style when your hair is dry.
2. Braided bun
This is a simple style that you’ll love the look and feel of. You may even find that you like it enough to wear it during the day. Start by creating a regular ponytail. Next, braid the ponytail. Then, wrap it around itself until you’ve created a bun that you can secure with a silk scrunchy. Do your best to only use silk ties or scrunchies for this hairstyle if you’re wearing it to bed. You don’t want to put any unnecessary tension on your hair or scalp. This can create damage.
3. Twisted top bun
You’ll need quite a few steps to make this bun happen, but once you get it done, you’ll be happy with the results.
First, hold your hair in a high ponytail, but don’t tie it off. Next, split the ponytail into two sections and tie them in a knot. Then, tighten the knot and create a second one. Finally, wrap the remaining strands around the knot and secure them with a hair tie. It may take you a little while to figure out how to do the twist-top bun, but it can be a beautiful style once you get the hang of it.
4. Classic loose braid
This is a style everyone has the time and patience for. Skip the complex buns, braids, and twists. Do a simple and easy braid from the nape of your neck. This also avoids putting too much tension on your scalp. It deserves a break after all!
Make sure you use a silk scrunchy to secure the ends. This will prevent it from unraveling and provide extra protection to the ends.
5. French braids
French braids are an easy solution no matter how curly your hair is! If you’re using French braids overnight, we recommend trying either one or two braids. You can do this as tight or loose as you’d like. If you choose to do more than one braid, make sure you take your time sectioning and smoothing your hair.
We also recommend adding moisture to the sections as you work so your hair can have the added moisture overnight. A leave-in conditioner like Intense Moisture™ Bamboo And Coconut Milk Strengthening Leave-In Conditioner is a great option.
To braid, you’ll need to take three sections and begin braiding. You should add hair to each section as you go. Keep in mind that French braiding differs from Dutch braiding because you go under the middle piece rather than over the middle piece. While both Dutch and French braids are good options for protective styles, French braids keep the hair more tucked in than Dutch braids.
6. Bantu knots
If you have kinky hair, then try these Bantu knots as a protective hairstyle for bed. Originating in southern Africa, Bantu knots are a hairstyle where the hair is sectioned off, twisted, and wrapped so that the hair is stacked to form a spiraled knot. Your knots will not only hold up throughout the night and protect your hair, but you’ll also have pretty curls when you take them out.
7. Large twists
Large twists are a bit different than any of the suggestions above, but they’re not much more difficult. You can do either two or three twists in a matter of minutes. Some people also like to leave them in for a day or so and enjoy the curls that result.
To create large twists, you simply need to use a little bit of moisturizing cream, and then you can twist the two equal-sized pieces around each other. You can secure them with a silk tie. If you’re leaving these just overnight as a protective style, you don’t need to worry about making them as “pretty” as you would for a long-term protective style. However, if you want to enjoy the girls they create, then we’d recommend creating relatively even sections as these will yield the best results.
8. Overnight rollers
If you’re interested in curling your hair without heating, you may consider using overnight rollers. You can first dampen your hair with mousse or curl cream and then divide the hair into sections. Then, put rollers in each section. When you’re finished, put a silk bonnet over your hair to keep it protected all night long.
9. T-Shirt Turbaning
This method is similar to pineappling, but if you’re not a fan of that method for one reason or another, then this could be a good alternative. Some curly girls find that pineapplying loosens their curls instead of defining them, or it leaves a dent from the scrunchy or tie that they use. Either way, you can opt for this turban technique instead.
To do it, take the t-shirt and put the head through the head hole, leaving the rest of the fabric over your hair. Next, twist the fabric from the base to the ends until you create a tight donut on top of your head. If you need a visual, you can check out this video: How To Make a Turban Using a T-Shirt.
Cornrows are yet another good option for a protective hairstyle. Create this look by sectioning your hair according to how many cornrows you’d like to make. Some people will loosen their cornrows the following morning. This conveniently leaves them with both smoothened and stretched hair.
We’re here to help you learn more about your hair, so you can better care for it! If you’re interested in digging deeper into protective styles, you can read more about protective styles in Crochet Braids: One of the Most Versatile Protective Styling Methods.
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