There are many great journeys in life, and one of them is definitely the journey towards healthier hair. It may sound simple, and it is, but there's just something so nice about a healthy head of hair. In fact, I bet you'll stop at nothing to get it, even if it means taking care of your hair at night.
Traditionally, haircare seems to be reserved for the morning hours, when it gets washed, brushed, styled, and oiled for the day ahead. Meanwhile, the night is reserved for throwing your strands up into a top knot, and calling it an evening. But the nighttime is actually where it's at if you want to get truly healthy hair. That's your time to let some conditioner soak in for hours while you do nothing more than snore away, and yet such things often go forgotten.
I can even go one further. Not only does hair often go unnoticed at night — it's often accidentally ruined while you toss and turn and dream. OK, maybe ruined is a dramatic term. But many of us have some pretty bad nighttime habits that can leave hair looking a little worse for wear.
So if you want healthier, shinier hair, then here are some bad bedtime habits you need to drop ASAP.
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1. Sleeping On Any Old Pillow Case
If you've been sleeping on the same grubby cotton pillowcases since the 4th grade, then it may be time to update to something a bit better for your hair. Namely, a silk scarf or pillow case. As Kay Ireland said on LIVESTRONG, "When you toss and turn, silk allows your hair to slide across the pillow for less fraying and frizz. Or wrap your hair in a silk scarf before bed to protect it from rubbing and keep your hair firmly in place while you sleep, no matter how much you move around."
2. Using Metal Hair Ties
If your hair is long and/or unruly, you may want to tie it up at night to keep it away from your face. Totally understandable. Just be sure to use a looser, scrunchy-type pony tail holder that doesn't have any metal parts. As Ireland said, "Tight hair ties with metal pieces can tear at your hair throughout the night, and create pull around your forehead." Definitely not good your hair, or your ability to sleep comfortably through the night.
3. Tying Up Hair Too Tight
In the same vein, be sure not to tie your hair up too tight. "Tight buns and pony hair styles are pulling every single hair around your hairline and that can lead to a receding hair line. You may notice thinning hair around your temples, bangs and sideburns, and small frizzy hairs around your hair line," said Erin Kennedy on her blog MyThirtySpot.com. Make your pony tail or bun loose and comfortable, and keep that hair where it belongs.
4. Sleeping With Wet Hair
It may seem like an OK thing to do, especially when you're too tired to care. But sleeping with wet hair can leave it prone to breakage. That's because wet hair is like a loosened spring, and can stretch and break more easily, according to an article by Jené Luciani on Shape. So give your hair plenty of time to air dry before hopping into bed.
5. Skimping On Brushing
Everyone knows the old advice to brush your hair 100 times a day. While that might not be completely necessary, you should give your hair a once over before bed. As Aly Walansky said on StyleCaster.com, "Use a brush with natural bristles or a wide tooth comb. Brush your hair from root to tip for several minutes." This will help distribute your natural scalp oils, so you'll wake up with shiny, healthy hair.
6. Forgetting To Condition
Like I said above, the nighttime offers the perfect opportunity to condition your hair. Apply some leave-in conditioner at night, and let it soak in while you sleep. As Heather Williams noted on AllWomensTalk, "... conditioning not only protects your hair, adds shine and increases growth, but it also prevents breakage and damage to the internal hair shaft." And that's really the goal here, isn't it?
7. Skipping Washing At Night
Of course this tip won't work for everyone. I know I need a shower in the morning, no matter what. But if you can swing it, try to wash at night and let your hair dry naturally (or put it up in a loose bun). According to Ireland, this will negate the need for heated styling tools in the morning, which can damage your hair.
8. Forgetting To Put Your Extensions In A Braid
If you have extensions, it's a good idea to put them in a braid before you go to bed. According to the blog SimplyHair.co.uk, "Not only does securing your hair extensions in a braid keep them nice and tidy, it also prevents the hair extensions from becoming caught either by you rolling over them, or by a partner, pet, or child unknowingly laying on your hair extensions."
9. Sleeping In A Dry Room
Sleeping in a dry room isn't only bad for your skin, leaving it dry and crispy, but it can also be really bad for your hair. As noted on the natural hair blog thankgodImnatural.com, "You may not realize it, but the dry air could be the culprit of your dry hair. This of course, is not absolutely necessary, but you may find that it helps to sleep near a humidifier ... so your thirsty strands can gently be replenished while you’re asleep."
10. Neglecting Your Scalp
Again, the night is prime time to give your scalp a little bit of care. According to an article by Angela Haupt on USNews.com, the scalp is the bedrock of your hair follicles, and thus healthy hair. So apply a weekly scalp mask, and then enjoy your lustrous hair.
11. Not Wrapping It Up
Let's say you're growing out your hair, or really put a lot of effort into styling it. Do you really want it tangling up all night long? Probably not. And that's when a wrap may come in handy. As Walansky said, "If you like to keep you hair sleek and straight, use the wrapping technique. Starting at apex of the head, use a brush to begin directionally arranging the hair around the head using large bobby pins to secure as you go." This will keep everything where it needs to be, so your hair will still be super smooth come morning.
12. Forgetting A Hair Mask
As mentioned before, it’s wise to take advantage of the overnight hours and use that time to score some extra hydration. Is a leave-in not doing the trick? You might want to opt for something like a hair mask that can offer up a major dose of moisture. Apply it on your strands, hit the sheet, then rinse it out in the morning.
13. Not Investing In Protective Gear
Like silk pillowcases, bonnets are a great (and incredibly travel-friendly) way to protect your strands overnight. And while silk and satin caps and bonnets are mainstays in most curly-haired people’s routines, they work their protective magic on all hair types.
See what I mean? I bet you didn't even realize half these things were damaging your hair. But now that you do, you can put a stop to the bad habits, and get yourself some healthier hair.
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