5 Ways to Protect Curls at Night

5 Ways to Protect Curls at Night

Protecting your curls whilst sleeping is key to avoiding the dreaded bedhead. It also contributes to the health of your hair and gives you the best chance of waking up with happy, bouncy curls.

You may have researched and nailed a wash day routine, but what use is that if you go to bed without protecting your curls?

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How to Sleep with Curly Hair

There are many ways to protect your curly hair at night, it's all about finding the one that suits your needs. As we have determined, heading to bed without tending to your tresses is a definite no! Choosing a protective hairstyle such as the pineapple, twists, plaits or Bantu’s is great to preserve your curls. Once you have chosen your style, add that final step of protection with a satin pillowcase, bonnet or scarf.

Why Use a Satin Pillowcase, Bonnet or Scarf at Night

During the night, your curls can become dry and tangled because traditional cotton pillowcases absorb the moisture from your hair. This is down to a substance called cellulose that contains a negative charge, which helps to attract water, causing cotton to be an absorbent material. The rough surface creates friction between the pillowcase and hair, resulting in frizz and breakage. However, using a satin pillowcase, bonnet or scarf to protect your hair at night can prevent the aforementioned issues as satin is non-absorbent. Its silky smooth texture allows your curls to glide across the surface during the night, preventing frizz and breakage.

Now we know the benefits of using satin to cover our hair when sleeping, let's take a closer look at the range of protective styles and the results achieved to see which one would suit your needs.

The Pineapple

You are probably familiar with the pineapple method, but what are the benefits of doing this at night? This method preserves your curls on the mid-length and ends without the risk of crushing them whilst you sleep. Place your hair in a loose ponytail at the top of your head (yes, that's right, it mirrors the appearance of an actual pineapple). Loosely secure the ponytail with a satin scrunchie to avoid dents and breakage that can be caused by a traditional hairband. This method is great for all curl friends that want to maintain voluminous natural curls. If you have shorter hair, you will benefit from loosely securing your hair in three bunches to ensure that you don't overstretch the curl. Place one loose ponytail at the top of your head and one on each side. When taking down your pineapple in the morning, add some gloss to your curls with our Shine Oil, a weightless oil blend that locks in moisture and adds shine, suitable for all curl types.

Twist Hair

Twisting your hair is a great method to preserve definition and prevent shrinkage, especially for those with tighter curls and coils. Lightly spritz your hair before twisting with a leave-in conditioner like our Memory Moisture Re-activator to add moisture. Follow with a gel such as our Curl Defining Souffle that offers stronghold and definition for all hair types.


Braids are a great protective style to apply at night on all hair types (even those with straight hair) that want to rock some waves or loose curls (depending on your natural hair type). Apply a light leave-in conditioner such as our Weightless Air Dry Cream to freshly washed hair (if you are refreshing, use our Moisture Memory Reactivator). Follow with an optional gel styler if you require a medium hold such as our Shape Up Aqua Gel, or for the stronger hold, opt for our Shine Gel which provides long-lasting definition and shine for all curl types.

Bantu knots

Although you may have seen this style showcased throughout the day, Bantu knots are also a great overnight heatless method to create curls. Apply a leave-in such as our Multi-Tasking Conditioner and follow with a styler like our medium hold Hydro Style Flexi Jelly designed for all curl types. When taking this style down in the morning, break the cast with our Intense Treatment Serum, suitable for dry, coarse hair, which benefits from a Shea Butter-based formula for ultimate moisture.

When you have applied the styling method of your choice, don’t forget to protect your hair with a satin pillowcase, bonnet or scarf.

What To Avoid When Sleeping

You have now been provided with all the relevant information to ensure you rise and shine with bouncy curls. If you ever consider skipping your bedtime routine remember the implications; you will wake up with dry unwanted frizz, and your curls will be in disarray, even worse you will experience breakage!

Other common causes of damage to your curls include;

Use of traditional hair ties- the tension from the elastic used for traditional hair ties can cut into the hair and lead to breakage. Switching to a satin scrunchie is much kinder as the material is silky and soft against your curls. Also, when securing your hair at night with a satin scrunchie only pull your curls through once as pulling the hair too tight can cause breakage and discomfort.

Going to bed with wet hair- failing to dry your hair before going to sleep can lead to various issues, including dull hair and breakage. The hair is at its weakest when wet due to the swelling of the hair shaft, leaving the hair much more vulnerable than if it was dry. It can also lead to scalp conditions, as the warmth from your scalp along with the dampness in your hair is the perfect recipe for bacteria.

Ignoring the signs that your hair needs extra moisture- if your hair feels dry and in need of moisture, take the opportunity to apply an overnight treatment such as our Intense Treatment Serum designed to intensely nourish your strands; suitable for all curl types.

Ultimately, there is a lot to consider when working out how to protect your curls whilst sleeping, we all love beautiful curls and the bottom line is in order to achieve this you need a good haircare routine.

Give Your Curls the Best

If you are unsure of what products would suit your hair type, take our curl quiz to provide you with the products to fulfil your hair needs. Pair with your chosen bedtime protective style, our Satin Pillowcase, and voilà, you're on the road to perfect, healthy curls.

Sharley Viola
Curlsmith’s Lead Educator

Textured Hair Specialist with a vast amount of experience delivering education both nationally and internationally. A self-confessed product junkie committed to spreading her wealth of knowledge amongst the curly hair community and beyond.

Sharley Viola
Curlsmith’s Lead Educator

Textured Hair Specialist with a vast amount of experience delivering education both nationally and internationally. A self-confessed product junkie committed to spreading her wealth of knowledge amongst the curly hair community and beyond.