Aug 30, 2021

What's The Best Way To Wear Hair To Bed To Prevent Breakage?

How to care for your tresses overnight

Formulate user Denise wants to know more about what to do with her hair at night:

I have super long, super fragile hair. I want to grow it longer, but I feel like I'm stuck. I talked to my stylist about it and she said that I should take better care of it at night, especially since I'm such a tosser and turner. So what's the best way to wear my hair when I'm sleeping, so that there's no breakage? 

Thanks for reaching out, Denise! To answer your question, we consulted a range of hair experts. They had a ton of different ideas -- pick whichever way you feel will be most helpful to you.

Suggestion 1: Wear it loose 

Dr. Anna Chacon, board-certified dermatologist:

I believe the best way to wear the hair at bedtime is to keep it loose and uninhibited. This is much better than pulling it back, wearing it up, or suffocating it with a head wrap or scarf. It's important to note that most of the body heals itself during our sleep, so the hair should take the time to rest during this time. 

I suggest not having the hair pulled back when wearing the hair to bed as it often causes breakage. I have many patients who opt to wear their hair in buns or in scarves/wraps. While that may seem to make the hair more organized, it is actually causing harm by leading to a method known as traction, which pulls the hair follicle at the root and causes hair loss. Recurrent traction may lead to alopecia and hair loss. In severe cases, there may even be scarring of the hair follicle which does not permit regrowth.

Suggestion 2: Wear it dry in a loose bun on top of your head

Dr. Sam Elmais, board-certified aesthetic dermatologist:

Don't go to bed with your hair up in a tight hairstyle. The easiest way to avoid sleeping directly on top of your hair when lying down is to wrap it up in a loose bun on the top of your head.

In general, the best way to wear your hair while sleeping is dry. However, everyone's hair reacts in a unique way to sleep with wet hair. Some of you may find out that going to bed with wet hair doesn't have a significant impact on your hair's strength. For others going to bed with damp hair might lead to damage such as hair breakage.

Suggestion 3: Thoroughly detangle and wrap it on top of your head with a scrunchie and a silk pillowcase

Rachel Renken from More Naturals:

Make sure that your hair is completely dry before going to bed. Brush your hair from root to tip. Make sure that you get all of the knots out. Ensure that the brush you use does not pull out hair unnecessarily. You want it to be gentle but effective in distributing the natural oils found on your scalp to the lengths and also combing out any teased bits. Once you're done brushing, tip your hair over the front of your head. Catch it all into a pony and twirl it around until you've secured a bun at the top of your head. We recommend using a silk elastic band or scrunchie so that the hair does not pull. You're ready for bed! If you're able to sleep on a silk pillowcase -- wonderful! When you wake up, undo the scrunchie and watch as your hair tumbles down in waves. It's the best part!

Suggestion 4: Braid it loosely

Ghanima Abdullah from therighthairstyles.com: 

Wearing your hair down while you sleep causes tangles and (eventually) unnecessary breakage. If you have the length for it, a loose braid at the nape of the neck is enough to keep your hair tangle-free and in order. It also provides waves for the morning. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to make sure the cotton version doesn't dry out your strands.

Suggestion 5: Wrap it up

Ghanima Abdullah from therighthairstyles.com: 

All lengths can benefit from a hair wrap. Just wrap your hair donut style around your head, but keeping it as close to the scalp as possible. Secure it with a few plastic coated bobby pins. Apply a touch of hair serum before wrapping, and by morning your hair will be sleek with just the right amount of curve. Use a hair net to keep the wrap from coming loose during the night.

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