Nighttime Routines For Seriously Gorgeous Hair

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Establishing beauty and health routines is part of life for most of us, and making sure our hair can make it through a night's sleep relatively unscathed is an important part of keeping our hair as healthy as can be. Of course, figuring out just what that nighttime routine should look like isn't always intuitive. 


Lots of us have a bedtime routine for our skin, so it makes sense to adopt one for our hair, too. Different hair textures and hairstyles have different needs, and it's important to understand your hair before you settle on what you think will work for you. 

Here are several ideas that will help you protect your hair as much as possible while you sleep. After all, our hair is pretty important, and taking care of it can boost how we see and feel about ourselves during the day. From making sure you go to bed with dry hair to picking the right hair serums or dry shampoos for you, these tips should help.

Always dry your hair before going to sleep

If you are the type of person who likes to wash your hair at night, there is one thing that is crucial to keep in mind if you want to keep your hair healthy: Do not go to sleep on a wet head of hair ... ever. It turns out that our hair is in its weakest state when it is wet. There's a scientific reason for this, as shared by It turns out that the hydrogen bonds in our hair are more pliable while the hair is wet, which means the hair is more prone to stretching, which leads to breakage. 


One solution is to dry your hair with a hair dryer before crawling in between the sheets, but not everyone wants to apply heat to their hair every time they wash it (and some of us wash our hair frequently). If that's the case for you, there are other options before you hit the pillow with soaking hair. Microfiber hair towels are great for all hair types (and especially curly and thick hair), and wrapping your hair in one will speed up the drying process considerably.

Add satin pillowcases to your bed

If you're having trouble keeping your hair in good shape while you sleep, the culprit might be a lot closer than you think: your pillowcase. To understand exactly what the issue is, Good Housekeeping spoke to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, who explained that inexpensive cotton and blend pillowcases can wreak havoc on both our skin and our hair. 


The best alternative might just be a silk pillowcase. As the site explains, the ultra-smooth texture of silk helps keep frizz at bay. Additionally, your hair won't get caught and break on silk as it can on cotton threads, making for a peaceful sleeping experience and a beautiful, healthier head of hair the next morning.

Dr. Schultz also tells Good Housekeeping that silk helps our hair retain its moisture, unlike cotton pillowcases (which can strip moisture away). If you've been waking up with dry hair that's prone to splitting, examining your pillowcase might just be the best first step you can take.

Lightly brush your hair before bed to redistribute oils

Many of us brush or comb our hair regularly, but sometimes too much brushing can be a bad thing, especially if we aren't gentle enough with our hair. However, when it comes to prepping our hair for ideal sleeping conditions, a little light brushing won't hurt — and, in fact, it can really help.


As the team behind the Hotheads hair brush has explained, there are a lot of great reasons to brush our hair regularly. Doing so is like giving our scalp a massage, which can in turn help us be less stressed (which is always ideal before going to sleep). Brushing is also a great way to remove dead skin from our scalp, and it's a lot more gentle than scratching our heads with our fingernails.

The site goes on to add that gently brushing before bed is a great way to carry our natural hair oils from the roots of our hair all the way to the tips, thus helping even out the overall oil on our heads (and helping us avoid having oily roots).

Braid your hair instead of tying it up

As tempting as it might be to tie all your hair up on top of your head while sleeping, doing so can actually cause a lot more damage than you might think. Instead of wrapping your hair up in a bun and heading off to dream, consider braiding your hair. 


As Shaz & Kiks explains, there's a very real reason why braiding your hair before bedtime is such a great move. Many of us toss and turn throughout the night, and all that movement can cause a lot of damage to our hair. When our hair is in a braid, the same movement doesn't hit quite as hard; the braid helps keep the hair from rubbing too much on our pillowcases, which in turn limits hair breakage.

Dr. Apoorva Shah, who founded the RichFeel Hair Clinic in Mumbai, echoed this advice in an interview with Healthshots. She explains that, in addition to protecting hair from breaking, braids offer other benefits. Dr. Shah says, "In fact, a loosely-tied braid can work alongside your body's natural process to boost hair growth."


Use your hair serums and oils at night

Plenty of people are familiar with using hair serums and oils during the day to protect from the elements, especially from sun exposure. Our hair often encounters any number of potentially damaging elements throughout the day, and many serums and oils can help combat that.


However, as notes, nighttime is when our hair has the chance to repair. The site spoke with hair expert Erika Dawn Shear, who explained how beneficial hair serums and oils can be at night, too. "This eight hours of sleep gives our hair a break from heat, styling, and day-to-day health risks — the optimum time to use a reparative night serum," Shear explained.

There are plenty of nighttime hair serums and oils to try, each tailored to a different type of hair and a different hair goal. Many, such as Kérastase Nutritive 8H Magic Night Hair Serum, are designed to both hydrate and detangle hair while we slumber, which makes using the serum a powerful part of anyone's bedtime hair care routine.


Find ways to de-stress at night

When it comes to taking care of our hair at bedtime, the solution sometimes actually has little to do with how we treat our hair at all and more to do with how we treat ourselves. A 2007 study conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology found that stress plays a major role in the overall health of our hair, skin, and nails and that one thing we can all do before bed to help our hair out is trying to de-stress as much as possible (via ScienceDaily). 


Miami, Florida, dermatologist Flor A. Mayoral explains in the study that one reason people lose their hair is due to massive levels of stress. If you are constantly dealing with huge levels of anxiety and stress and think that your hair might be suffering from it, Dr. Mayoral also offers a few tips for how to manage that stress and keep your hair (and mind) healthy, including exercising regularly to release endorphins (via ScienceDaily).

Use dry shampoo at night

Dry shampoo is a great tool to have in your bag for days in between hair washes when you feel your tresses need a little sprucing up in the morning, but did you know that for the healthiest hair using your dry shampoo at night might be the better play?


Clean beauty product company Kaia Naturals explains why dry shampoo does more for our hair overnight, pointing out that the answer is pretty clear: Our hair produces the most oil while we sleep, and using dry shampoo before bed can help keep that oil at bay. Additionally, using your favorite dry shampoo at night and then going to sleep actually allows the dry shampoo to do the job you want it to, with plenty of time to do the job well.

Using dry shampoo at night can be particularly effective for people who have fine hair, as oil tends to show up prominently on such locks. As hair educator Brian Zinno tells Well + Good, applying dry shampoo at night gives fine hair the best possibility for volume. He says, "For fine, straight hair you'll want a product that works all night to supercharge your hair with fullness."


Hydrate your hair with an overnight hair mask

If you're always waking up with frizzy hair, it might have something to do with your hair needing more hydration and nourishment. You can look no further than an overnight hair mask to cater to your unruly hair while you sleep. "Overnight masks are such a secret weapon. Every hair type benefits, however the ones that will see the biggest change will be the drier, coarser hair types. The longer you leave it on, the more effect it has," celebrity hairstylist Kristen Shaw tells Well+Good.


While drugstore hair masks that promise overnight revival and repair are a great addition to your nighttime routine, it's also possible to DIY an effective one at home. To do this, you must first establish what your hair currently requires, and then find a recipe that can provide those requirements. For instance, if you're looking to fight dandruff, then a mask with natural cleansing ingredients like banana and yogurt can be used a couple of times a week to keep dandruff flakes away. Since these masks require a wash when you wake up, you'll want to use them only when you have time for a rinse in the morning. Additionally, it can help to wrap your hair in a shower cap while you sleep in order to avoid a mess. Doing this routine even once a week can help you wake up with healthier and shinier hair.


Exfoliate your scalp with a scalp massage and treatment before bed

Exfoliating your face is common, but do you exfoliate your scalp? If your hair isn't growing in the right environment, then even if you give it all the love and care, it won't be healthy. Your scalp is home to the roots of your hair from where it grows. This is why a quick scalp massage at night makes sense to promote hair growth. In fact, research published in the journal ePlasty shows that participants of the study found that daily scalp massages helped them grow thicker hair and cope with hair loss through continuous stimulation of their hair follicles.


Now your scalp massage doesn't have to be very lengthy. Just a quick comb through your scalp with either a scalp massager or even your hands for one to five minutes will do. However, adding an overnight scalp serum at least once or twice a week to your massage routine can greatly benefit your roots. Whether you're looking to lock in extra moisture on a dry scalp, cater to hair loss, or ease the pain of a tender scalp, there are serums that can easily fit into your nighttime routine. For the best results, try to look for scalp serums that have natural ingredients like honey, mint, or rosemary in them to promote extra soothing.

Use a scrunchie instead of hair ties to avoid hair breakage

Do you notice more hair on your hair tie every time you remove it in the morning? Well, it might be time to change your hair tie to a scrunchie at night. Hair ties can be harsh on your follicles and make you subject to painful headaches and hair loss. If your wish is to wake up without a kink or dent in your hair and to minimize tangles and hair breakage, then the smooth material and elasticity of a scrunchie are what you'll want to invest in.


Scrunchies were all the hype in the '80s and '90s, but there's a reason scrunchie hairstyles are making a comeback after all these years. The popular hair accessory is incredibly versatile, which makes it perfect for bedtime hair to hold your loose bun, braid, or ponytail. If you want a scrunchie that is especially soothing and soft on your hair, then a silk or satin scrunchie might be the way to go. It also helps that scrunchies have a natural softness and stretch to them, making sleeping with your hair pulled back a breeze. Plus, their larger size makes them rather hard to lose in bed.

Wear a silk bonnet or turban to bed

If you're looking to keep your hairstyle in place as you toss and turn at night, then you should try wearing a silk bonnet or turban to bed. "Using a hair bonnet while you sleep can make the difference between a tidy hairstyle and a crazy hair day, " esthetician Ghanima Abdullah tells Vegamour. Plus, this can also reduce the friction that often occurs between your hair and your pillowcase and minimize the number of natural hair oils and products that seep into your skin.


While bonnets have been a staple for Black women to protect their hairstyle for decades, anyone looking to preserve their hairstyle can wear one to bed. Simply choose a bonnet that fits the size of your head and can hold the thickness of your hair. For example, if you have long or thick hair, an extra large bonnet with a thick rim might be the best option. A silk bonnet may also be a good option, as it's less absorbent than other materials and can ensure that your hair isn't stripped of any moisture overnight.

To place your hair in a bonnet, simply flip your hair upside down. Then, secure the bonnet at the base of your neck and stretch it down until you've placed the loose ends inside. From there, you can adjust it according to your liking and head off to dreamland.


Use a humidifier to keep your hair from drying out overnight

Humidifiers are known to be the perfect home accessory to help add moisture to the air. This makes it an easy go-to when people feel congested or have a dry throat or dry skin. However, humidifiers can also prove to be beneficial to your hair, especially during the colder months. According to Top Doctor Magazine, central heating and low humidity levels often lead to less moisture in your hair and scalp, causing it to dry out quickly and forcing your body to compensate by "producing more oil," per Top Doctor Magazine. This can lead to dandruff, scalp irritation, and dry hair. Turning on your humidifier at night can help keep your scalp balanced and retain its natural moisture while you sleep.


The hydration from a humidifier also works other wonders for your hair, like taming frizziness and reducing hair breakage that occurs from a lack of moisture in your hair. In fact, if you are looking to take your hair to the next level, consider pairing an overnight hair mask with a humidifier, as it can help the mask seep into your pores. You can choose between a warm or a cool mist humidifier depending on the season and your preference, though both are equally effective in adding moisture to the air. You can also add essential oils to your humidifier for a nice scent to breathe in while you sleep.