The Right Way to Sleep on Wet Hair
If you shower at night you’ve likely experienced waking up to knotted, frizzy, and brittle strands. Not to mention the funkiest case of bedhead. And haven’t we all heard the old tale that if you go to bed with wet hair you’ll wake up with a cold? While there's no evidence that you can catch a cold from sleeping with wet hair, it does impact the health of your scalp and strands. The main reason is that the structural integrity of hair weakens when wet. The cuticles naturally lift up when wet, making the hair more vulnerable and prone to breakage.
There are also scalp concerns associated with sleeping with wet hair like unwanted bacteria, fungal infections, skin irritation, itchiness, dryness, redness, and dandruff. If you’re not ready to give up your nightly shower routine we’ve got you covered. There’s a right way to sleep with wet hair for every hair type and we’re breaking it down below.
Universal tips for sleeping with wet hair
Follow these hair tips for sleeping with wet hair no matter what your hair type.
One of the easiest ways to limit the amount you are sleeping on wet hair is to wash it less often. How much you shampoo your hair is a personal decision influenced by your scalp, hair type, and lifestyle.
Add as much time between your wash and bedtime as possible
If you're going to bed with soaking wet hair, consider inching up your shower earlier in the evening. This gives your hair time to air dry, so your strands aren’t sopping wet.
Blast with a blow dryer about 30 percent of the way dry
Take the nozzle off of your blow dryer and blast-dry your hair until it’s a little less than halfway dry. If you don’t want to use heat, at least let your strands air-dry before going to bed. Sleeping on damp hair is better than sleeping on wet hair.
Sleep with a silk pillowcase or with a silk scarf
Sleeping on silk allows strands to slide as you toss and turn while sleeping. Silk prevents friction, which leads to pulling, tugging, tangling, and breakage. Cotton pillowcases are extremely rough on your hair so try to avoid them if at all possible.
Swap out your pillowcases frequently
As you sleep you lose water while excreting toxins through sweat on your scalp. Your sebaceous glands, which are mostly concentrated on the scalp, continue to produce and secrete sebum, while skin cells continue to shed while you sleep. This makes your pillowcase a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Sleeping on that pillowcase with wet hair night after night means bacteria and fungus can transfer back on to your scalp and cause infection.
How to sleep with wet hair according to your hair type
If you have wavy or curly hair
As part of your curly or wavy hair routine, after shampooing and following with a curl conditioner, follow these tips when sleeping on wet hair.
- Apply a curl prep cream midway down the hair to the ends (your scalp produces natural oil so you don’t need to moisturize the roots). This acts as a detangler and conditioning treatment.
- Use a curl cream from roots to ends so your curls stay defined and don’t flatten while you sleep.
- Pineapple your hair by gathering it into a high ponytail and slipping a scrunchie over the base. Keep it loose enough to hold your hair without tension.
- In the morning, take down your hair and use a curl refresher and blow dry with a diffuser to shape your curls.
If you have highly textured hair
If you have highly textured hair these are the tips you need to follow before sleeping on wet hair.
- Apply a curling mousse to your damp hair from roots to tips. Split your hair into two sections and twist the sections gently. Secure the ends of the twists with elastics and allow your hair to dry overnight.
- Or you can wrap your hair with a silk scarf loosely so your hair and scalp can breathe. Using silk lets your scalp breathe which is important to the health of your hair.
- In the morning, remove the scarf or elastics from your twist and gently shake your hair to release your natural curls.
- Finish with a dry wax.
If you have straight hair
If you have straight strands, try the tips listed below.
- To wake up with straight hair, comb an amino acid hair treatment through your damp hair with a boar bristle brush. The dense bristles evenly distribute product through your strands so you wake up with hair that’s shiny, frizz-free, and manageable. In the morning brush again, flip your hair upside down, and when your hair falls into place naturally add a few spritzes of brushable hairspray.
- To wake up with waves, apply a curling mousse to your hair from roots to ends before giving yourself a french braid hairstyle. Secure the end with a hair tie about two inches from your ends for a more natural-looking wave. When you wake up, undo your braid and run your fingers or a wide-toothed comb through your strands. Rub a dry shampoo into the root to add lift.
If you have frizzy hair
If your hair is prone to frizz, these tips are a must if you plan to sleep with wet hair.
- Apply an anti-frizz oil to detangle, fight frizz, and protect your hair without weighing it down. Twist your hair into a top knot and wrap it into a bun while going to bed.
- Use a silk scarf and tie it into a headband to make sure your hair doesn't touch the pillowcase.
- In the morning take your hair down and flip it upside down and side to side. Resist the urge to brush as it causes more friction and frizz.
- Finish with a brushable hairspray.
The takeaways on how to sleep with wet hair
If you shower at night and you don’t like to blow dry, you’re likely dealing with knotted, frizzy, and brittle strands in the morning. Going to sleep with really wet hair can contribute to waking up with a funky case of bedhead, even for those with great hair. In addition to hair breakage, the wetness of your hair coupled with a damp pillow could create the perfect environment for yeast to flourish, including the yeast associated with dandruff. If you’re not ready to give up your nightly shower routine, we’ve got you covered. There’s a right way to sleep with wet hair for every hair type and we’ve got the right tips and products you need to do it. All of our formulas are free of harmful toxins, use natural ingredients, and are made with renewable energy and packaging that minimizes the environmental impact. Our hair care isn’t just good for your hair, it’s good for the planet.