You had a glorious hair day, all of your products did what they were supposed to and frizz stayed away. Your curl definition could not be beat. But the big question for every curly girl is - how can you make this last until tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, without having to shampoo and style all over again?
We have the answer, or rather, we have 9 answers. There is no one way to sleep with curly hair. It's all about finding a way to wear your hair to sleep that won't leave you with dents, frizz or flattened curls the next morning. Depending on the length of your hair, how loose or tight your curls are, and whether you wear your hair wet or dry to sleep, you just have to find the way that works best for you. Here are 9 ways to sleep with curls, but you can mix and modify these for your unique situation.
1. Loose bun
Many curlies opt to sleep in a loose bun in order to cut down on frizz. Apply a leave-in conditioner and scrunch gel into hair before flipping it over and securing it into a bun. Make sure to keep your bun fairly loose so curls are not stretched out too much. Avoid a dent by twisting and tucking your bun very loosely and securing with a scrunchie.
This method allows for many morning styling options. If your hair is still wet, you can add more curling products and either air-dry or diffuse.
A popular curl drying method that helps you avoid hair being weighed down by gravity is “plopping.” This technique requires you to apply gel to hair and then lay a microfiber towel on a flat surface and flip hair over, allowing it to pile on top of itself into the towel. Tie the sides of the towel so that it will remain securely on your head. The towel will speed up drying time, and the “pile” of curls will set nicely. For a full tutorial on how to plop with either a t-shirt or a microfiber towel, check out our guide to plopping.
3. Two-strand twist
Another unique way to style hair for bedtime is to do a two-strand twist. This can be done on wet or dry hair, but curls will turn out tighter if hair starts out damp. This method allows you to target specific sections of hair to shape them in a manner that will not flatten as you sleep. To two-strand twist, simply take a section of hair and divide it into two, then wrap the two sections around each other from roots to ends. This works best for tighter curls and coils.
Many curly girls like to “pineapple” their dry hair as they sleep.
Flip your dry hair all the way over, and secure into a very high and loose ponytail. Use a scrunchie or fabric covered hair tie in order to avoid breaking or denting the hair. Stand back up, and separate the ponytail so that half is on each side of your head. In the morning, a quick spritz of water or curl refresher will do the trick!
If your hair is too short to pull into a pineapple on top of your head, that does not mean a pineapple can't work for you. There are many modified versions of a pineapple, like the multi-pineapple which consists of 2 or 3 pineapples. If your hair is still too short for that, stick to a satin bonnet.
6. Mini braids
Braiding hair at night is a very popular way to keep it in place. Experiment with one loose braid, a French braid, or multiple braids to find what works for you. Looser braids will help maintain your natural curl pattern, while tighter braids will add more of a crimp. If you don't know how to French braid, divide your hair into 6-8 sections and do regular braids. For loose wavies this will give you tighter curls, and for tighter curl patterns this will stretch your hair.
7. Sleep on a satin pillowcase or bonnet
In order to prevent friction on hair while sleeping, use a silk or satin pillowcase or bonnet. Hair will glide smoothly over the pillowcase without creating frizz. You can use this method in combination with any of the other techniques on this list, many women pineapple or braid and sleep on a satin pillowcase. Some women even double up by both wearing a satin bonnet and sleeping on a satin pillowcase, to protect the hair that slips out of their bonnet as they sleep. Find the combination that works for you.
If you don't like the look or feeling of sleeping on a satin pillowcase, you can tie a satin scarf or wear a satin bonnet instead to protect your curls. This will also prevent your loose hair from getting in your face (if that's something that bothers you) and can prevent knots and tangles. This is mostly a matter of preference.
8. T-shirt turban
If pineappling leaves a ponytail dent in your hair or loosens your curls, you can try this t-shirt turban method instead. CurlTalker serasgf came up with the method for her short hair, which keeps your hair from getting flattened while you sleep. I tried it out myself and it felt secure and stayed put.
9. French Braid
You may find different results between many mini braids and the French braid, particularly at the roots. The French braid method will give you a more stretched curl pattern at the roots. It pays to experiment with one or several braids to see which gives you the best results.
There are so many variations on these methods. How do you wear your curls to sleep?
Editor's note: This article is regularly updated as we discover new and better ways to wear our curls to sleep.