All products recommended on have been chosen by our editorial and research team. We may receive a commission on qualifying purchases made through our affiliate links.

How To Protect Curly Hair At Night: Top Hair Styles To Protect Curly Hair

Last Updated on January 5, 2022
image 1


written by nail expert Jess Rowley

How To Protect Curly Hair At Night: Top Hair Styles To Protect Curly Hair

There’s nothing worse than bossing out a wash day and then waking up the following morning to flattened, pulled-out curls and not to mention frizz central. Is there a way to protect your hair while you catch some beauty sleep?

Absolutely and I’m here to show you how!

Protecting your curls at night not only minimizes frizz it can also help retain moisture and maintain curl definition, protection g your curls while you sleep will leave them looking fresher for longer.

Before starting the curly girl method I had no idea what products to use on my hair, how to keep my curls healthy, how to style my curls, let alone how to sleep with curly hair.

So don’t worry you’re not alone.

We don’t realize how much damage we cause our hair at night when sleeping, as it turns out the way you sleep with your curls actually determines whether your hair will be frizz-free or frizz-filled.

All you need is a protective hairstyle that’s comfortable to sleep in, the right pillowcase, and a couple of inexpensive hair tools.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How To Sleep With Curly Hair When Dry:

Anyone will tell you that the best way to sleep is with dry hair; when your hair is wet, it is more prone to damage and breakage as it is weakest when wet.

Using the right products as well as utilizing a brilliant curly hairstyle will help protect curls overnight. Let’s talk about the top protective hairstyles to sleep with curly hair.


This curly hairstyle gets its name because it resembles a pineapple– wow, shocker! But surprisingly, it is a super protective style for curly hair.

All you need to do is turn your head upside down and gather your hair as close to the top of your head as you can; between the crown of your head and your forehead is ideal.

(This will prevent you from sleeping on top of it)

If you have short hair, this can be a bit more tricky, but try to put your hair as far forward as possible.

I would also recommend using a silk scrunchie if you have one over a regular hair tie; scrunchies cause much less breakage and don’t tug on your head. You can even use a cloth to keep it in place.

The looser you secure the scrunchie, the better; this will minimize breakage and hair creases in the morning.

Sleeping with your curly hair in this hairstyle will prevent breakage and frizz because it reduces friction as you turn at night, preventing you from crushing your curls.

It will help curly hair look fresher for longer.

Loose bun:

Tend to switch positions and move around a lot in your sleep? Well, then the pineapple may not work for you as it may fall out within an hour of you tossing and turning.

Instead, I would recommend you sleep with curly hair up in a bun. It is also brilliant for those with long, thick hair, too as it prevents you from sleeping on top of your hair.

However, since your hair may be more contained on top of your head, you may lose some definition, but as long as you secure it fairly loosely, it should refresh with a couple of pumps of refreshing spray.

Tying curly hair at night up in a bun will help prevent breakage and minimize frizz-causing friction.

Tying your hair in a buff:

Another way to sleep with curly hair is to tie it up in a buff. If you’re wondering, a buff is a long, wide tube of stretchy fabric intended to be scrunched up and placed over your head.

It is also known as a snood for your head as it can also be used as a neck warmer in the winter.

You can quite easily use a buff by stretching the fabric out and gently guiding it over your head until it is around your neck, and then tip your head and tug the top of the buff until it covers your hair.

If your hair is particularly long, you might want to tie the top to prevent it from falling off throughout the night. It keeps your hair on top of your head without having to use a scrunchie.

But this may only be ideal if you don’t tend to move around in your sleep; it may come off quite easily if you move around a lot.

But in terms of keeping your curls intact and refreshed for the next day, this is one of the best– despite being slightly irritating at times.


Styling your hair in braids is another excellent way to keep your hair protected at night. Lot’s of Curly Girl Method guides suggest that this is one of the best ways to secure hair.

The only downside to braiding your curly hair at night is that you’d lose a fair amount of curl definition because of the braid pattern, but if you’re planning on wetting your hair in the morning, then it is ideal.

You can either do a french, dutch or even twist two strands around eachother, bringing in a new piece of hair for every stand (this is probably the best way to maintain your curl style).

I personally love a messy braid, waking up in the morning and pulling out the front two curls, and leave my hair in those messy braids for the day; the two little curls at the front can be quite cute.

What about sleeping with curly hair that’s short?

Tying short hair up is no easy task, and with curly hair, it is even harder because of shrinkage, but it is not impossible.

Some Curly Girl Method followers tie their hair at night up in a medusa clip; this helps keep your curly hair on top of your head without it falling out.

I’ve never personally used this, so I cannot say how it will hold throughout the night, but many people recommended it.

Silk or satin bonnet:

Silk or satin materials are brilliant for curls; they allow you to move freely without causing friction or causing frizz. I would recommend using a bonnet or scarf.

It is another option to protect your hair other than using a buff; they also help hold in moisture, so you wake up with as fresh curls as you did when you go to bed.

Investing in a silk sleep cap is a great way to protect your curls at night!

Silk or satin pillowcase:

Alternatively, anyone would benefit from using either a silk or satin pillowcase, especially a curly girl, as it prevents friction caused by movement throughout the night.

Some pillowcases are quite scratchy in the material, so they pick up a lot of friction while you sleep, and if you’re sleeping with curly hair or have naturally curly hair, it will be a frizzy mess by the morning.

Believe it or not, your pillow sucks out a lot of moisture from your hair which is a no-no for a curly girl as curly hair is naturally very dry as it is.

A satin pillowcase takes up a lot less moisture and, all in all, much better for your hair, so if you forget to tie up your hair or don’t want to, then you can at least use a satin pillowcase to protect your curly hair.

hair tied up

How to sleep with curly hair while wet:

If you’re a little bit stuck for time or if it’s just got to 9 pm and you’ve had that ‘oh shit I need to wash my hair before bed’ moment then don’t worry you can go to sleep with wet hair, despite it not being recommended.

Sometimes there’s just not enough time to wash your hair in the morning so going to bed with wet hair will have to do. For your curls to be most successful I would recommend washing your hair 2-3 hours before bed.

After applying your leave-in conditioner, cream, and soaked your drenched hair with gel then you should scrunch up and plop your hair leaving it time for the gel to form a strong cast.

You can either leave your hair plopped in your cotton t-shirt or after half an hour of plopping you can leave it in a buff to keep them intact all night long or even a silk bonnet.

Whatever you do I wouldn’t recommend leaving your hair down while wet as this can cause breakage and leave your hair looking very frizzy the next morning.

Top tips and tricks for sleeping with curly hair:

  • – If you lose curl definition or lose your curl pattern in the night you can refresh your curls the following morning with some water and refresher spray.
  • – Another thing I like to do to protect my curls before a wash day is to massage my favorite hair serum, or essential hair oils into my scalp. Black castor oil is a personal favorite of mine.
  • – You can go to bed with your hair wet or dry but I would recommend keeping your curls dry before going to bed to prevent breakage.
  • – Tying your hair up in a loose bun, braids or pineapple is a brilliant way to maintain moisture in your hair and keep your style secure overnight. Be sure that the style is loose to prevent breakage.


Sleeping with curly hair is much easier than you may think but protecting your curls while you sleep is super important. Not only to prevent frizz but also to keep curls defined and refreshed.

If your hair is particularly greasy and you’re leaving it one more day before washing it, I would recommend using some essential hair oils and massaging your scalp for a minute the day before washing; this will help hydrate the ends of your hair and keep your locks looking healthy.

Let’s keep our natural curls refreshed as we catch up on some well-deserved Zzzs.

Latest guides
Best Rodan+ Fields Products
Best Rodan+ Fields Products

[Review] in 2022  written by nail expert Jess RowleyCheck out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px"...

Related Post: Best Products For Curly Hair