For the wavy and curly girls who find themselves without enough time in the morning to fit in a whole wash day routine, you are not alone. Being able to wash and style hair at night is a great skill to learn to make your morning go that much faster, as sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to have much success with any style other than a bun. When showering every morning for definition is not an option, you can still get your freshest, best curls with this step-by-step guide.

How to Style Wavy-Curly Hair At Night (When It's Wet)
Image Source: @hanzcurls

1. Start with a leave-in conditioner.

While styling wavy and curly hair overnight, use about twice the normal amount of leave-in than you normally would in the morning. I have found that my hair loses more moisture overnight, and without the extra conditioner, it tends to be frizzier the next day. My current favorite leave-in is ApHogee Curlific! Moisture Rich Leave-in because it leaves my hair feeling super soft and moisturized without feeling flat or weighed down.

2. Apply your favorite medium-hold styling gel.

I stress using only up to medium hold, as you do not want your hair to harden into the shape of your head against a pillow the night before (or your pineapple). This way, your curls will not be able to bounce back to their natural curl formation the next morning. My favorite product for doing this is Kinky Curly Curling Custard because it has enough hold to give me great wave and curl formation but, at the same time, won’t cause any crunch.

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Image Source: @hannahhnotmontanaa

3. Plop your hair for 30 minutes to an hour.

This allows the hair to dry a bit, so you are not going to walk out the door with super wet hair. If you are short on time, now would be a good time to diffuse until your hair is about 50% dry to achieve close to the same results as you would with plopping for 30 minutes to an hour. However, this tends to add more frizz whenever I choose this route since it draws more moisture out.

4. Place your hair into a pineapple.

I find this is the best hairstyle to wear overnight because it helps to not crush waves and curls by covering them with too much. Use a large scrunchie that will not cause a dent in your natural curl formation.

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Image Source: @sumans.waves

5. Sleep with a t-shirt over your pillowcase.

Your hair will still be slightly damp to the touch, so use a t-shirt over your pillowcase to help absorb some excess moisture without over-drying the hair or causing abrasion.

In the morning, your hair may still have a few wet spots where you had your hair band around, so to keep those areas from causing frizz, it’s best to apply either a light cream or light-hold gel in the morning. My current favorite to use in the morning is Alikay Naturals Wake Me Up Curl Refresher because it adds volume to my hair in the morning and helps keep frizz to a minimum.

Finally…head out the door!

Cutting down the morning routine to only one step, it makes being able to wear your hair naturally curly, even when you have to get up early, a much more manageable thing.

If you want more wavy products to improve your styling regimen, check out the Best Wavy Hair Products of 2023.

This article has been updated since it’s original publication in 2021.

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