Nighttime Routines For Seriously Gorgeous Hair

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

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 MarthaStewart.com. 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 Hair.com 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."