6 Tips for Preserving Your Curls Overnight, Straight From Hairstylists

Close up of model Imaan Hammam with her natural curly hair

@imaanhammam / Instagram

Have you ever gone to bed with a head of perfect curls, only to wake up to a total mess? As a curly-haired person, I've often gone to bed with bouncy, defined curls only to wake up to straightened, flattened strands. And I'm always baffled by how a peaceful night of rest manages to so fully undo my styling work from the day before.

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the effects of an overnight slumber on your curls—and to find out what they are, we spoke with curly hair experts Tiffany Minyon and Leigh Hardges. Choose one of the options below or mix and match approaches. Either way, get ready to wake up to gorgeous day two (or three... or four...) curls.

Meet the Expert

01 of 06

Take Your Time and Prepare

However you choose to maintain your healthy curls overnight, you'll want to plan for it and set aside enough time for a nightly hair care ritual. Hardges considers this the primary item on the list: "First of all, make time for the hair routine," she tells us. She adds that before you perform any of the following steps, you must "be sure to remove all clips, tight bands, or pins from the hair."

02 of 06

Try a Pineapple for Long Hair

A pineapple bun or ponytail is great for sleeping on longer curly hair. This hairstyle takes its name from the fruit: When done properly, your head should look like the base of a pineapple, and your hair should appear to be the green stems sprouting out of the top. Minyon compares the style to "sleeping with your hair in a larger old-school scrunchie" and tells us it helps maintain volume in your curls overnight.

Hardges agrees, telling us that "for longer hair, I like pineappling." She describes a pineapple style as "flipping all of the hair down and then wrapping a silk or satin scarf around the sides and back," which "makes the curls plume out and stay undisturbed during sleep."

The easiest way to pineapple your hair is to flip it upside down and gather it into a high ponytail. Use a scrunchie to tie it, then wrap it in a scarf or bonnet. The ponytail should be very loose—you only want to place the scrunchie around it once, not twist it over on itself to double it tight. You can tie the scarf in whatever way is the most comfortable for you, but the basic idea is to have it covering a good bit of the sides and back of your head.

03 of 06

Sleep With a Bonnet

Bonnets are perfect for preserving your curls at night if your hair isn't long enough to pineapple. "It's best to sleep with a silk or satin loose bonnet," Minyon says, adding that a bonnet can be used for all curl patterns. Bonnets are also great for those with long hair who find the pineapple uncomfortable—just make sure to get one with a long and loose back so you can gather your hair into it without scrunching up your curls much.

04 of 06

Use a Silk or Satin Pillowcase

Hardges likes satin pillowcases for short and medium-length curls. "It's the carefree way to sleep and retain smooth curls," she tells us, adding that it "is also ideal for those prone to night sweats."

Minyon suggests either silk or satin and says these materials are especially important for those prone to tossing and turning in their sleep: "Cotton pillowcases create friction on curls, leading to unwanted frizz and quicker split ends," she says, making silk and satin the better choices. Satin is usually significantly less expensive than silk pillowcases, which can be quite costly.

05 of 06

Sleep in Twists or Braids

If your hair is long enough, putting it in a protective style overnight can keep your curls fresh. "For day two- or three-day hair with mid-length to longer curls and coils, sleeping in loose twists or braids can help define curls and stretch out wash days," says Minyon. Choose a style aligned with your natural curl pattern, and avoid braiding or twisting too tightly, as that can weaken your natural curl pattern overnight, and you could awaken with less curl in your hair once you undo the braids or twists.

06 of 06

Apply a Lightweight Oil to Your Ends

We mostly think of adding product to our hair when styling or washing it in the morning, but it can be a useful addition to your overnight routine, too. "I suggest applying a light oil to the ends of the hair," advises Hardges. She recommends doing this after you have taken down your hair from whatever style it was in and removed any barrettes or pins.

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