The Best Way To Style Your Hair As You Sleep? It's Complicated — But This Tip Isn't

mbg Beauty Director By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and
Young woman with hair in bun

It's the dream: Waking up with perfectly styled strands that don't require fuss or restyling. The thing is, however, that sleeping on your strands inevitably causes tousled texture, snagging, tangles, and even buildup from sweating or dirty pillows (yes, really). So how can you best sleep on your hair for not only maximum health but also achieving your styling goals?

The answer, it turns out, is complicated. However, there is one piece of advice that transcends hair type. 

Why not all sleeping styles are equal.

There's no right answer for everyone, as hair textures and style outcomes will require different sleeping styles. This is because hair has so many variables and thus very different needs to attend to. If you have kinky hair and want to minimize tangling as you sleep, you'll have a far different routine than if you have straight hair attempting to get waves. 

Not to mention, other variables come into play as well: Are you a night showerer and thus need to worry about damp hair as you sleep? Or do you wash and style every morning, and thus styling isn't a concern, and you are simply worried about hair health in general? Or if you have dry hair, you may consider sleeping with a sleeping mask to add moisture. If you get oily easily, you may consider spritzing on a scalp-healthy dry shampoo prior to bed to help absorb moisture and sebum throughout the night.

See, the best way to sleep on your hair is no easy question.


What can you do to help your hair while you sleep?

Here's the one tool you need to improve the health of your hair as you sleep: silk, be it in the form of a cap, scarf, or pillowcase. "Sleep with a silk or satin pillowcase, headscarf, or cap, which allows hair to slide as you toss and turn while sleeping. Silk and satin prevent friction (which leads to hair pulling, tugging, stretching, breaking, and tangling), and these smooth fabrics help retain the hair's natural oils," says hairstylist Miko Branch, co-founder of hair care brand Miss Jessie's Original.

It's not just that silk and satin are better; other fibers come with some downsides, too. Cotton or linen are porous and therefore rougher fabrics. For hair, this means the fabric can snag and pull at hairs, trigger physical damage, lift up the cuticle, and cause frizz. This is especially problematic for those with curly hair, which is already prone to all of these issues. They're not great for skin, either: Their porosity means the fabrics more readily absorb sebum, bacteria, and even your precious skin care products (silk and satin, on the other hand, are more repellent fabrics). But the benefits of silk don't stop there: They are hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, and breathable.

If you're looking for some options, check out our favorites here. 

The takeaway. 

Everyone will be different regarding how they should style hair as they sleep. But there's one tip that could help literally anyone: sleeping on silk or satin. It will help your hair's health as well as keep it looking and feeling soft and smooth.

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