Get a new pillowcase.
“The best thing you can do for your hair while you sleep is to use a silk pillowcase,” says Edward Tricomi, master stylist and cofounder of Warren-Tricomi Salons. Cotton pillowcases will tug at your hair throughout the night as you toss and turn, creating tangles. But with silk, “not only is the material gentle on the hair, it also retains moisture, which helps seal in shine and diminish frizz.”
Apply a hair mask before bed.
Who’s got the time to sit around with a hair mask on? You do—if you do it while you sleep, that is. Applying a mask once a week will make dry, damaged hair smooth and soft to the touch. “Mix one tablespoon each of mayonnaise, avocado, olive oil, and honey to make a nourishing and hydrating mask,” suggests Tricomi. After applying to wet hair, be sure to sleep in a shower cap or place a towel on your pillow to avoid ruining your pillowcase. Not in the mood to whip up your own hair mask? Opt for an overnight leave-in formula like Sachajuan Over Night Hair Repair.
Sleep with braids in.
Not only will braiding your hair before bed keep strands away from your face during the night (oil from your hair can cause breakouts along your hairline), it can also give you pretty, beachy waves that require little styling in the morning. Fix your hair in two loose braids before you go to sleep at night (messy is fine!). It’s ideal to start with damp hair, which will hold a wave best, but if your strands are dry, simply braid then spritz with water.
Don’t snooze with wet hair.
Unless you’re doing braids or have a mask on, that is. While this can be hard to avoid if you shower at night, it’s worth paying attention to because wet hair is weaker than dry. “Sleeping with wet hair can cause frizz or breakage, especially if the hair is already fragile, dry, or chemically processed,” says Julie Dbjay, a stylist at Fekkai 5th Avenue. Try moving your shower time back a few hours or quickly blow-drying your hair before you hop into bed. (Here are 6 ways your hair changes after 40.)
Spritz in dry shampoo.
Yep, dry shampoo can be used preventively. If you’re used to waking up with greasy hair, applying the product before bed will ensure that oil gets soaked up as soon as it’s produced, nipping greasy strands in the bud. Plus, if your hair tends to show a chalky residue after applying dry shampoo, sleeping with it in will ensure that most is absorbed by morning (but be careful not to make these 8 dry shampoo mistakes). All you’ll have to do is brush it out a few times.
Avoid using elastic bands.
Unless you’re using them to secure braids, banish hair ties from the bedroom. “Sleeping with a ponytail creates tension and pulls at the hairline, and can cause hair loss,” warns Dbjay. Also, the elastic will leave a visible bend in your hair, which is tough to get rid of. If you can’t stand sleeping with your hair down, Tricomi recommends this hack: Take an old pair of opaque pantyhose (they’re sturdier than sheer) and cut the leg off to make a headband or hair tie that won’t create a crease.
Give yourself a scalp massage.
Not only does a quick rubdown help you wind down after a long day, it also boosts hair health. By gently rubbing your scalp with your fingertips before bed, you’ll distribute natural oils, leaving you with shinier strands in the morning. A word of warning: This tip is best for thick, dry hair. If you’ve got thin strands, this will probably just make your hair look oilier.