It’s easy to disregard the time you spend sleeping as a huge block of the day in which all time stops and our bodies cease functioning, but that couldn’t be farther from reality. Those glorious eight hours of rest are actually the ideal time for you to give your hair the attention it needs to look amazing the next morning. Start practicing good hair habits before bed and you’ll give your hair and scalp time to absorb much-needed moisture, plus prep your locks for a fantastic style the next day that requires little to no heat and will shave minutes off your morning routine.
“I am a big believer that a hair care regimen is a lot like a fitness or nutrition plan. If you create a plan or a routine that isn’t realistic, you’ll never stay consistent,” says Gina Capano of LuxeBar. “Pick and choose the steps that work best for your hair and your lifestyle and seriously commit to them.”
Need a little guidance? Here are six before-bed tricks that will improve the health of your hair and make you look like a morning goddess–no matter how early you set your alarm.
1. Use a deep conditioner. Find a hair mask you love, then pick one night each week when you have a little extra time between dinner and bed to apply it. Although five to ten minutes is all you really need to allow the strengthening and hydrating ingredients to penetrate your hair, if you have time, why not transform the evening into a salon night? Leave the mask in your hair for 30 minutes and treat yourself to a moisturizing face sheet mask, as well. My current fave? Biolage Intensive Strengthening Masque.
2. Apply an overnight product. There are fantastic products on the market that you can leave in your hair overnight and that don’t even require you to wash them out. “Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector is a great, no-fuss, leave-in product,” Capano says. “It’s beauty sleep in a bottle for your hair. A product like this makes your hair more manageable, smooths the cuticle and reduces pigment loss. The best part is that it can last up to five shampoos, so you don’t need to do it every night.”
3. Don’t go to sleep with wet hair. Just a reminder if you take your showers at night: you should always dry your hair completely before hitting the sheets because wet hair on a pillowcase can result in major frizz. “Reduce friction while you sleep by choosing the right pillow case,” Capano says. “To keep frizz and potential damage at bay, stick with pillow cases that reduce friction, such as satin. If you want to take it a step further, you can also sleep with a satin bonnet (warning: it’s not the sexiest way to sleep).”
4. Treat your scalp, too. While you’re taking care of your hair needs, don’t neglect your scalp. “There are a variety of at-home remedies such as mixing tea tree oil and extra virgin olive oil to boost moisture and hydration,” Capano says. If you suffer from a dry scalp, One ‘N Only Argan Oil Dry Scalp Treatment will help combat flaky, itchy skin and improve the quality of your hair.
5. Avoid elastics. I’ll be the first to admit: I have no idea whether it’s better to tie my hair back in order to avoid adding oil to my skin while I sleep or leave it loose to give it a rest. Capano’s advice? Give hair accessories a rest at night. “Try to avoid tying or braiding your hair before bed,” she says. “In some cases, the tension can lead to traction alopecia. If you absolutely must, use ouchless headbands or satin scrunchies and avoid tight tension.”
6. Style your strands while you sleep. If your goal is to wake up with tousled, sexy hair, take all of that advice about ponytail holders and going to bed with slightly wet tresses and toss it out the window. Fernando Salas, creator of White Sands Hair Care, explains how to get gorgeous morning waves without heat: “Shower the night before and let hair air dry until slightly damp,” he says. “Set hair with workable, memory hold spray like White Sands Gluten Free Undercover Styling Spray. Then loosely gather hair into a ponytail at the crown of your head. You can also position the base and move it around to find the most comfortable spot while you sleep. A scrunchie will be perfect for this since it will leave virtually no ponytail dents. Taking 1-2 inch sections of hair, wrap into a pin curl around your fingers and secure with bobby pins around the base of the ponytail. The larger the section, the looser the curl. In the morning, take out and shake with your hands to reveal waves that look like you spent hours with a curling iron.”