Are you fed up with morning bed hair? Desperate to lock in your curls overnight? Or just looking to improve volume while you sleep? The right hairstyle can work wonders, trust us. Pinned, twisted, and fixed in the right style can completely transform your hair health and look by the morning.
The key is to find the right hairstyle for your hair type. Wiry curls? S-shaped waves? Flat and straight? Pixie cut? For each different hair type, there’s a hairstyle that will enhance luscious locks overnight.
To help you find comfortable and easy hairstyles, we have created the ultimate list. Just pick a hairstyle for your hair type from our guide below!
Benefits of Styling Your Hair for Sleep
There is conflicting advice about how to keep your hair overnight. Some stylists recommend leaving it down completely, so that air can pass through it, and you can move about comfortably. They also point out that tying your hair too tightly can put too much strain on the roots, triggering traction alopecia.
But the downside of keeping it loose is that it will become frizzy, tangled, and the friction against your pillow can cause damage.
So, the best thing to do with your hair overnight is loosely braid or tie it up with a gentle hair scrunchie. Use silk or satin scrunchies, rather than ones made with cotton or metal, to reduce damage, and never tie your hair tightly at the scalp.
Loosely tying or braiding your hair overnight has some great benefits:
- Keeps straight hair relatively straight,
- Enhances curls in curly and wavy hair types (especially when braided),
- Prevents moisture loss from your hair,
- Prevents breakages and frizz,
- Fewer tangles and easier brushing in the morning,
- Stray hairs won’t get stuck to your face during the night!
Depending on your hair type and goals, there are several styles and methods for keeping your hair protected overnight. Scroll down to find the right hairstyle for you.
Hairstyles to Sleep in for Curly Hair
Curls are typically drier than straight hair types and they’re more prone to frizz, breakage, and tangles. So, the key to curly hair sleep styles is locking in moisture and protecting the hair strands. Locking your curls into position can also help to enhance their natural shape and prevent them from falling flat or wonky during the day.
If you want to create curls in your hair, then braiding and overnight hair rolls are also good for defining smooth, organised locks. We have two heatless methods for creating curls. Even if you already have curls, these methods will further define and organize your curls into neat ribbons.
Satin Hair Wrap
Use a satin or silk hair wrap overnight to protect your curls. Gently tip your head upside down and loosely gather your curls into an elasticised satin hair wrap, so your curls are gently scrunched up against your scalp and held in place.
This will prevent breakage and moisture loss (cotton pillows absorb moisture from your scalp and hair) so you will have healthier curls in the morning. It also helps to define your curls by keeping them scrunched up for 8 hours.
Overnight Hair Rollers
Overnight hair rollers are soft foam or material-based, rather than the hard plastic rollers you may have seen used to create vintage hairstyles. There are many different brands available, including the flexi rods picture above, or you can try DIY if you like to sew your own rollers!
Wrap your hair around the roller and fix it in place. Most hair rollers require damp or dry hair, which will dry completely overnight. The biggest downside to this hairstyle to sleep in, is that it can be very uncomfortable.
Heatless Curl Ribbons
One of the most popular overnight curly hair stylers that we’ve seen is this U-shaped material tube that you wrap your hair around on either side. It has mixed results but many people with straight hair find that it creates loose, beachy curls.
Place it over your head and wrap your hair around it on either side, securing the ends.
Also Read: How To Sleep With Curly Hair?
Hairstyles to Sleep in for Wavy Hair
If you already have wavy hair and find that your waves fall our overnight, then scroll back up to our curly girl hair section. Using a hair wrap or silk pillow will really help you!
If you want to enhance your waves or create waves in straight hair overnight, these 3 heatless wavy hair methods will help. In the morning, gently untie your hair but don’t brush it! Instead, apply a gel that will hold the waves and scrunch it in. You can also use hairspray to fix the waves into place.
Section off a small piece of hair, split it into two and twist them together. This is a heatless way to create waves overnight! The more you split your hair into small braids, the tighter the waves will be. If you’re short on time and hair elastics, just two twist braids on either side of your head will create loose waves in the morning.
Try not to pull too tightly at the top of the twists, so your scalp can still breathe. When it comes to take the braids out, gently rake through them with your fingers starting at the ends.
Simple French Plaits
If you have straight hair but want to add some waves and kinks to it overnight, use a simple French plait. We recommend splitting your hair into three or more sections (either side and back) to create even waves all around your head.
If you just create one plait, starting from the nape of your neck, then only the ends of your hair will be wavy. Furthermore, the waves will be quite large. The more sections you create and braid, the tighter the waves will be.
Don’t forget to plait loosely so you aren’t pulling tightly on the roots of your hair strands.
Twisted Hair Buns
Grab a section of your hair and start to twist it around and around until it bunches against your head – almost like a Princess Leia hair style. Once it’s all curled up, pin it in place using bobby pins or a hair elastic.
Just like with the French plaits, the more sections you create, the more your hair will be wavy from higher up the strands. This overnight hairstyle creates gentle, loose waves.
Hairstyles to Sleep in for Straight Hair
The problem with tying your hair up at night is that it will create kinks, waves and curls. If you want your hair to be dead straight, then that’s a problem. Whether you have naturally straight hair or used heat to straighten it, the right hairstyle will keep it straight overnight.
A pineapple bun that gathers your hair right at the top of your head can be a great way to keep it as straight as possible. With braids and rolls that form along the side of your head, the pressure of your head against the pillow (and the heat it creates) is what makes waves and curls hold.
By piling your straight hair on the very top of your head, you are preventing this. Ensure that the bun is quite loosely tied, as twisting it tightly can create more waves that you don’t want.
Wrap and Pin
To keep your hair dead straight, try smoothing it against your head and pinning it down. This is easiest with shorter hair styles but will still work with long hair. Separate your hair into sections, wrap each section flat against your skull, and pin it down.
If you have very thick hair or find pins uncomfortable as you sleep, try flattening down your hair and using a hair wrap or scarf to keep it all in place.
Wet Hair and Serums
If you are going to sleep with slightly damp hair, then applying a small amount of oil or serum can strengthen the protein and keep your hair silky soft, smooth, straight and frizz-free.
Argan oil is great for hair, as is coconut oil. Warm these natural products between the palms of your hands, then run them through the lengths of your hair. You can also apply hair serums and oils that are mixed with other botanical ingredients, for hair growth or protection.
Hairstyles to Sleep in for Short Hair
If you have short hair, you will know the dilemmas you face when it comes to sleeping. With really short hair, you can’t just throw it up into a bun! And just because the strands are shorter doesn’t mean it’s quicker to style in the morning when you wake up with bed hair…
One of the best ways to avoid the problem is to go for a choppy or pixie cut that naturally looks great when it’s messy. If you’re determined to have a sleek, short hair style, then try these two methods to keeping your hair tame overnight.
Silk scarfs and bonnets are not just for women with curly hair. Anyone with short hair who can’t easily tie it up should use them too. Pinning down all your layers with bobby pins to keep them smooth overnight is uncomfortable, to say the least.
Instead, use a square silk scarf or purpose-made silk hair bonnet to keep your hair sleek and unruffled all night long.
Rollers and Dry Shampoo
If your short hair falls flat overnight, then apply dry shampoo to the roots before going to bed. This plumps up your hair and it won’t be so flat when you wake up in the morning. Some dry shampoos, like this Kaia Naturals Takesumi Detox, are specifically designed to work overnight.
You can also try rollers – pick the smallest ones you can find for your short hair.
Hairstyles to Sleep in for Volume
Adding volume to your hair is something you can do fairly simply overnight. Along with the right products (mousse is typically great for adding volume) and haircut, you can boost the volume of your hair even if it’s naturally thin and sparse.
Try sleeping in one of these hairstyles, or scroll back up to curly hairstyles and take another look at leave-in rollers – not only do they add curls, but they can also create volume if you separate your hair into sections close to the roots.
Top Knot Bun
If your hair has no volume at the roots, try sleeping with your hair strands pointing away from your skull. So, instead of strands falling down to your shoulders, they should be pointing in the opposite direction. To do this, gather your hair up on top of your head and secure with a silk scrunchie.
You don’t need to pull your hair tight for this to work, just make sure it’s tied securely enough to stay put.
French braids are a good way to add volume while also creating natural waves. Instead of a simple plait (see the wavy hairstyles above) use a French braid that gradually draws in hair from across your scalp. This layering and braiding technique separates clumps of hair and crosses them at angles – thus when you wake up, your hair will have more volume rather than falling flat.
Hairstyles to Protect Hair While Sleeping
If your hair is prone to breakage, dries out easily, or cannot be brushed often (so you need to avoid overnight tangles) then we recommend one of these protective hairstyles to sleep in.
Although not the most comfortable to sleep with, bantu knots are great for protecting your hair and keeping it strong. You will need to pull quite tightly at the roots, so this is best for people with strong hair in general. It’s popular with 4c curly hair types.
This guide will take you through how to secure bantu knots correctly. You can wear them for several days in a row – use a very squishy pillow to sleep more easily with them in!
For anyone most worried about frizz and tangles overnight, one very simple protective hairstyle to sleep in is plaits. If you sleep on your back, use one plait on either side of your head. If you sleep on your side, do just one plait down your back.
This is a good protective hairstyle for people with straight, wavy, or loosely curled hair. Use a soft silk scrunchy to secure the plait if your hair is prone to dryness.
Twisted Rope Braid
If your hair is very long and creating a plait or bantu knot is a lot of work, then a simple twisted rope braid can also be very protective. If your hair is dry, start by oiling it with coconut oil (and why not give yourself a scalp massage at the same time) then twisting two sections together and securing them with a hair tie.
Don’t twist too tightly – keep it loose but well secured.
Hairstyles to Sleep in with Wet Hair
Okay, so technically you should never go to sleep with completely wet hair. The advice varies from expert to expert, but most agree that your hair should be 50% dry or more before going to sleep. 70% dry is ideal. It should only feel damp!
Hair is most delicate and easy to break when it’s wet. Sleeping with wet hair can cause further damage, although it won’t hurt your hair follicles or cause hair loss. Braiding your hair when it is wet will help the shape hold (if you’re aiming for curls or waves) but it may not be dry by the morning!
Yes, we’re talking about this sleep hairstyle again! It’s great for curls that lack moisture, as wrapping your damp hair in a silk bonnet or scarf will lock in that moisture and let your hair dry slowly overnight. If your hair is very dense and holds onto water like a sponge, then this won’t be great for you – your hair will still be wet by the morning.
Learn more about your hair density and natural dryness before trying this hairstyle!
Cornrows are a good way to protect your hair and are best created while your hair is still damp. Start by detangling it and applying a hair cream, oil or serum to moisturise it. Creating cornrows will lock in that moisture and prevent breakage overnight.
To keep your cornrows frizz-free, try wearing a silk wrap over them too.
Although it’s the simplest hairstyle, it’s not to be underestimated! A simple ponytail with a satin scrunchie keeps your strands together and should minimize breakage. Your ponytail should also be loose enough that air can travel through the strands and slowly dry your hair overnight.
Tie the ponytail at the base of your neck, or right at the top of your head (like a top knot) so it doesn’t dig into your skull as you sleep.
Best Hairstyle to Sleep in for Hair Growth
Whether you want longer hair or thicker hair, focusing on hair growth is probably on your mind. There are a few hairstyles that are good for hair growth as you sleep, but you should also try pressure point massages and oils/serums that are good for hair follicle health.
Overnight Hair Mask
Choose a hair mask that’s designed to be used overnight – it shouldn’t have too much protein or acidity, which can damage your hair if left on too long.
Apply the mask as directed, then gently gather your hair into a shower cap or hair bonnet. Let it soak in overnight, then wash out in the morning.
You need to let your scalp breathe, which means loosely tying your hair up, but you also need to protect the ends of your hair. So, a loose bun that sits at the top of your head or at your neck is ideal for meeting these criteria.
Once again, make sure you use a silk or satin scrunchie to protect your hair!