Beauty sleep does wonders for the skin, but until now we hadn’t considered the overnight magic it could offer our hair. Before bed, we slather on moisturizer, spot treat zits, and pat on eye cream to banish bags—so why shouldn’t we take similar measures for our strands? After all, waking up to a good hair day is the equivalent of getting that extra shot of espresso for free. Here, find the quick and easy ways you can get healthier, better-looking hair overnight.
1. Apply an overnight hair treatment. Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector ($28) is a total game-changer for fighting everyday damage. It smoothes and adds shine to hair as you sleep with a potent amino acid blend, as well as time-released conditioners and antioxidants. It can be used on damp or dry hair, is totally pillow-safe, and thanks to its ultra-light, lubricious formula, won’t weight hair down. At night (or even throughout the day) apply it from root-to-tip, then use a flat bristle brush for even application. You can also finger comb it if it’s more convenient (or that brush is just too far away from your nightstand to grab).
2. Don’t sleep with your hair back if it’s wet. Damp’s okay, but don’t even think about turning in with a dripping ponytail. “When you tie wet hair back, it stretches up to a third of its length,” explains Tim Rogers, hairstylist and creative director of Living Proof. “When you anchor the hair like that, it can cause tension breakage. If it’s wet at the nape or the ends, make sure to towel dry and extract as much moisture as possible. ” And as much as we laugh at the thought of scrunchies, Rogers maintains a velour one is the way to go when tying it back at night. (Just be sure to keep ’em around for bedtime use, only.)
3. Use a silk pillowcase. The smoothness means less abrasion on the hair. Translation: no damage! “The more friction you engage in as you move around at night, the more your hair can get roughed up,” says Living Proof’s resident hair scientist Eric Spengler. “Additionally, if you perspire, it won’t give you the wrong kind of bedhead with those kinks.”
Slip Silk Pillowcase Standard/Queen, $79; sephora.com.
4. Keep brushing to a minimum. Remember when your mom told you to brush 100 times before bed? You can permanently nix that idea. Excessive brush strokes cause breakage, especially for fragile hair, and basically ruins your strands. (Ugh, mom!) “Brush it enough so that there are no tangles—AKA the minimum amount of times to achieve the look you’re seeking,” advises Rogers. When it comes to choosing a before-bed brush, don’t use anything made of metal. Rogers swears by a boar bristle paddle brush like Mason Pearson’s Handy Bristle Brush ($230).
5. Sleep with your hair in braids. Plaits will not only give you even texture and soft waves, but will keep your hair from harmful tangling. “Pippi Longstockings had the right idea—she was a fox,” says Rogers. “If you braid your hair with Night Cap Overnight Perfector into braids, it will have a nice wave pat when you wake up. It’s essentially a pre-style. You take it down in the morning and you’re ready to go.”
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