I’ve tried going to bed with wet hair and dry hair, up hair and loose hair, covered and not. I’m sure most of you have as well, in your quest to figure out the best way to keep things from getting too out of hand overnight. This next series of posts is going to discuss a few of the options, and why one or another might work best for your needs.
Gotta include a couple of fun facts first. Obviously, the original purpose of a nightcap was to keep a person warm in a poorly heated house. Think about it: you can keep everything but your head under the covers. Men who wore wigs on a daily basis also wore nightcaps around the house, to cover their very short (and not-so-attractive, by the standard of their society) real hair.
And, if you’ve ever read Memoirs of a Geisha, you’ll remember this one. Geisha hairstyles are incredibly complicated and involve combing wax-based pomades through the hair to help it hold its shape. So women who have gone through the trouble of getting their hair done that way sleep on something called a takamakura, which supports the neck instead of the head. I’m getting a neckache just thinking about it…
So anyway, on to bedhead. It’s caused by moving your head around in your sleep, which obviously rubs your hair over your pillow and against itself. The cuticle of your hair gets roughed up, which makes in snag even more. If you wake up to a headful of knots, don’t panic; get some detangling spray to ease the process of combing it out, and use a wide-toothed comb to prevent unnecessary breakage. Be gentle to that bird’s nest!
Most sheets, and therefore pillowcases, are made of cotton, which is an awesome fabric for many reasons. But when it comes to your hair, it’s not the best to sleep on; the fibers catch on your hair and rough it up. But there’s an easy fix to that, namely a silk or satin pillowcase. You want something with a smooth finish.
Another basic fix is to braid your hair at night. The less there is loose, the less there is to tangle in the first place. If braiding will result in flat or lifeless hair in the morning, try flipping your head upside down and gathering your hair into a ponytail or loose bun (or an upside-down braid!); this will give it some life when you eventually let it down.
Another basic – but less-popular option – is to wear a nightcap. You don’t have to wear something purpose-made; you can improvise with anything soft and comfy. Try a few and see if something works for you. This soft beret might be worth a try; a plain pretied bandana, a classic turban, or a simple hairnet snood could also do the job nicely. If you’ve been waking up with an unmanageable mess, or ponytail holders are giving you headaches at night, the old-school solution might be the best one for you.
Coming soon: The Wet Hair Debate: Will going to sleep with wet hair make you sick? Is it good or bad for your hair?