You love your curly locks — whether they’re natural or salon-induced — but if bedtime doesn’t love them, you may be waking up to a mess of frizz. Sleeping disturbs your delicious ‘do because the outer layer of your hair — the cuticle — gets roughed up by the fibers in your pillowcase. Find ways to protect your hair overnight and keep friction from ruffling your curls.
Scoop your curls into a loose topknot using a technique called “the pineapple,” named for the way your head looks with this fluff on top. Bend forward from the waist; draw the front, sides and back of your hair into a loose ponytail at the top of your head; and carefully slide a scrunchie — or any fabric-covered elastic — over the topknot and down to the base. For long hair, divide the ponytail into two sections. In the morning, carefully remove the elastic. With the curls on top of your head, they won’t rub against your pillow as much.
To preserve your curls, replace cotton or polyester pillowcases with satin or silk cases. Or look for sateen cases with a high thread count. The smooth surface of the silky fabric reduces the friction that roughs up hair and pulls curls out of shape.
Long ago, ladies wore nightcaps to bed to keep their heads warm — and possibly to protect their hair. Today, bonnet-style sleep caps with elasticized edges are available in mesh or silky fabrics. Nightcaps also help keep long hair under wraps so that it doesn’t tangle while you sleep.
Women once used toilet paper — some still do — to protect their perms in between visits to the beauty parlor. Pull a length of toilet paper several feet long and wrap it around your head gently enough not to flatten the curls but firmly enough to hold them. Fasten the paper in front and back with clips or bobby pins. If the idea of sleeping with toilet paper on your head doesn’t appeal, a lightweight scarf works, too.
If your overnight methods don’t work and your curls wimp out overnight, spray the limp strands with a commercial curl-boosting product or with plain water in a spray bottle. For another de-frizzing trick, pour a small amount of conditioner into your palms and apply it to the frizzy spots, scrunching it with your hands or twisting a few tendrils into curls. Let your hair air-dry naturally.
References and ResourcesTexas Collaborate for Teaching Excellence: A Close Look at the Properties of Hair and Scalp
NaturallyCurly.com: The Pineapple Method for Natural Hair
NaturallyCurly.com: Use a Satin Pillowcase to Protect Your Curls
Hairfinder: How to Protect Your Hair While You Sleep