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Curl care

I'm just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

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Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Verna Meachum

Unlike straight or wavy hair types, curly hair is structured in a way that makes them more prone to breakage, tangles, frizz, and hair fall. Curly hair requires different hair care than other types. That includes particular kinds of products and accessories to help preserve curls overnight.

To preserve curls overnight, items such as silk and satin pillowcases, bonnets, scrunchies, and head wraps, help protect the hair from rubbing and breaking against conventional cotton pillowcases. Hair buffs, teleties, specific hairstyles, and hydrating products are also helpful.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent time and money finding products and techniques to make your curls look their best. But no matter what you do, sleeping messes it up. We give you all the tips as we discuss how to preserve curls overnight with curl-preserving accessories and product recommendations.

Preserving Curly Hair Overnight

Photo of curly haired woman sleeping on pillow for 'How to Preserve Curls Overnight: Best Accessories and Products' blog post.

There are a few fun and fantastic items you can inexpensively invest in to help preserve your curls overnight, retain moisture, and prevent damage.

Check out this list of our favorite accessories:

Satin Pillowcase 

Sleeping and moving your head during the night strains your hair follicles and makes breakage more likely, especially while sleeping on a conventional cotton pillowcase. The cotton fabric pulls moisture from the hair and skin, leading to dryness and frizz.

Cotton can also cause friction and damage to your curls while your hair rubs against the material during sleep. This can cause significant damage over time, leading to breakage and hair fall. An ideal solution to this is using a satin pillowcase.

Silk Pillowcase

Like the satin pillowcase, a silk pillowcase is just as good. It is smooth, soft and helps reduce frizz and define your curls. It also helps prevent bed head and keeps your hair from snagging on the pillowcase.

I’ve tried both satin and silk pillowcases, but I personally prefer silk. My pro tip – avoid using bleach on silk when washing! I, unfortunately, ruined my beautiful pillowcase by making that mistake!

Satin Headwraps/Hats/Bonnets

Satin and silk are companions for curly hair. Bonnets and head wraps are standard for people with curly hair, but most materials can snag hair and cause damage. Using silk or satin-lined accessories is the best to protect your curls.

Here are some excellent options:

Scarves – wrap your head in a silk scarf before bed.

Bonnet – wear a satin bonnet over your curls overnight.

Head Wrap – secure your wrap and relaxed styles with satin wraps. The opening at the back of these allows you to have a relaxing but secure hairstyle while sleeping.

Satin-lined slouchy beanie, – keep your hair in place with a satin-lined slouchy beanie. Satin scrunchies – a perfect tie to your hair in a ponytail, bun, or any style that requires them. They are better than other hair ties because they are soft and don’t snag the hair.


These are like hair ties that hold all your hair strands together due to their firm and comfortable hold without leaving any marks or bends in your hair. Many curlies use these to put their hair up in a pineapple style. You even get them in different colors and sizes for your comfort and preference.


A buff is a great option to protect your hair and keep your overnight styles intact when you sleep. It works similarly to a bandana but is versatile and can be used as a head covering or headband. You can use it at your leisure for your hair requirements when sleeping.

Nighttime Products to Preserve Curly Hair

How to preserve curls overnight using curly hair accessories.

Rather than using accessories, curly hair requires more moisture than straighter types. That means using products overnight can help to retain, maintain, and add hydration and nourishment to your locks which helps to prevent breakage and dry, damaged hair.

Several nighttime products are available that will help you preserve your curls and keep them looking their best. A deep conditioner is vital for curly hair regularly. But overnight is the best time to use one if you don’t have time to do it during the day.

An overnight mask/deep conditioner is ideal since it allows you to give your curly hair some extra TLC even through the hustle and bustle of daily life. By incorporating an overnight hair mask into your haircare routine, you can care for your locks while you sleep.

Benefits of an Overnight Hair Mask

Hair masks that are left on overnight can be used for a variety of hair problems, such as:

  • Reducing frizz
  • Restoring moisture
  • Reducing breakage
  • Adds shine and luster
  • Adding curl definition

Are Overnight Hair Masks Safe?

Generally, professionals like trichologists do not recommend leaving oil and masks overnight because they can clog your pores and absorb more dust and debris onto your scalp. Additionally, the products tend to soften the follicles, making detachment from the roots easier, resulting in hair fall.

Using masks and oils for 4-6 hours only is best before washing them out. But as mentioned, an overnight mask/conditioner works significantly well if you lack the time. They are safe and will not necessarily damage your hair per se. And they can be helpful for people with already dehydrated and damaged hair.

Most hair masks are generally safe to use overnight if you ensure to wash them out in the morning. Here are our top 5 picks:

There are a few exceptions:

  • Protein treatments are fantastic, but not for overnight. You can use them on your hair for approximately 20 minutes, but keeping protein in your hair for several hours can induce breakage.
  • Some clay-based masks, like the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask, can dry out your hair and scalp if left on for too long and should not be used overnight.
  • Acidic ingredients like apple cider vinegar should also be avoided overnight. If they are exposed to your hair for long periods, they can strip your hair’s protein.

How to Style Curly Hair Overnight

One of the biggest challenges with curly hair is trying to get it to look its best the following day without the entire process of washing and restyling from scratch. 

One of the most important things you can do for your curls is to hydrate them. This means using a good conditioner and leave-in treatment every time you wash your hair. 

It might also mean using a Curl Enhancing Cream or Gel to help define your curls and give them extra hold. When applying the product, focus on the ends of your hair and work your way up to avoid weighed-down roots.

If you’re tired of waking up to a head full of frizz or looking like you’ve been electrocuted, then here are some techniques for bouncy curls that last all night long:

The Pineapple Head

The pineapple hairstyle is a popular method curlies use to secure and protect curls overnight and when lounging around the home. This will help keep your curls from getting squished while you sleep and help preserve their shape.

To put your hair in a pineapple style: 

  • Gather all of your hair on top of your head.
  • Secure it with a satin scrunchie, loosely enough to hold without creating tension.
  • If you want, protect your hair further using a satin scarf or sleep cap

Video credit: Candice Celeste

Satin Pillowcase

We have already buzzed about this. But if you don’t like sleeping with your hair up, you can also try using a silk or satin pillowcase. This will help keep your hair from getting tangled and reduce friction, which can lead to frizz.

You can either sleep with your hair loose or, if you have longer curls, put it in a loose bun or braid and then use a satin/silk pillowcase. Like a pineapple, this will help to keep your hair from getting squished while you sleep.

Bantu Knots

Another fantastic option for overnight curls is to do Bantu knots. This is a popular hairstyle for those with shorter hair and curlies who want to achieve defined and voluminous curls. Bantu knots also help to elongate tight curls.

To do Bantu knots:

  • Start by dividing your hair into sections. 
  • Take each section and twist it around itself until it forms a knot. 
  • Secure the knot with a bobby pin or small hair tie. 
  • Repeat the process with the rest of your hair.
  • Put on a satin bonnet or scarf, and let your hair knots set overnight. In the morning, take down the knots and shake out your curls. You can also use a pick to help loosen them up.

Video credit: Bella Mecia


Braiding hair is a popular curly hair method for preserving those locks overnight. It is an excellent option if you have longer hair and want to avoid getting it tangled during the night or keep it out of the way.

For braids:

  • First, divide your hair into sections.
  • Then braid each section loosely. 
  • Secure the ends with a small hair tie. 
  • Put on a satin bonnet or scarf before going to bed.

Video credit: Lana Summer

Flexi Rods

If you want to achieve defined, bouncy curls, then Flexi rods are a great option. This heat-free method can be done on wet or dry hair. It is also an excellent technique for wavy or less-defined hair or anyone wanting a little more volume without the effort of heating tools.

To use Flexi rods:

  • Start by sectioning your hair.
  • Then roll each section of hair onto a rod. The smaller the rod, the tighter the curl will be. 
  • Once all your hair is rolled, put on a satin bonnet or scarf overnight.

Video credit: Natasha Camile

Pin Curls

Pin curls are another great option to achieve bouncy, defined curls. This method can be done on wet or dry hair, and the best part – it doesn’t require any heat.

To do pin curls:

Start by sectioning your hair.

  • Then take small sections of your hair and wrap them around your finger. 
  • Use a bobby pin to secure your hair.
  • Repeat the process with the rest of your hair.
  • Wear a silk/satin scarf or bonnet to bed.
  • Take the pin curls down in the morning.

Video credit: NaturalReign

Moisturizing Curls

One of the things I often did early on in my healthy hair journey was moisturize my hair before putting it in a pineapple so that it didn’t dry out while I was asleep.

Here is how you can do the same:

  • All you will need is a spray bottle and your favorite leave-in conditioner.
  • Mix the water and conditioner in a spray bottle and shake well.
  • Lightly spritz your hair with the mixture, then put your hair in the curly hairstyle of your choice.
  • After you’ve finished, put on your satin bonnet or scarf and crawl into bed.
  • The slight moisture and body heat will create a conditioning treatment for your hair while you sleep.
  • Simply take out your hairstyle, fluff, and go in the morning!

Plopped Curls

Try plopping if you prefer to sleep with wet hair or only have time for a hair wash at night. Plopped hair is a curly hair technique where you gather all your locks at the top of your head and wrap them up. This keeps your curl pattern intact while your hair dries overnight and prevents frizz.

How to plop your curls:

  • After cleansing your hair, while it is still wet, apply your usual styling products.
  • Lay a cotton T-shirt on a flat surface, flip your wet hair forward, gather your hair into a high ponytail, and pile it onto the T-shirt (the sleeves of the T-shirt should be facing you).
  • Next, pull the back flap of the T-shirt behind your neck over your head, pull the T-shirt sleeves to the back, and tie them in a knot.

Video credit: Penny Tovar 

How to Style Curly Hair in the Morning

Even if you use our best curly-hair sleeping methods, your locks may require a little boost after sleeping on them all night. This is normal since you have been sleeping on your hair or left it for 6-8 hours in one style. 

Here is how you can maintain your overnight curls:

  • If you’re removing a protective style, ensure your hair is completely dry before untwisting.
  • If you have a pineapple style, remove the satin scrunchie or invisibobble, and gently shake your hair at the roots to allow your curls to settle in their natural state.
  • Apply a tiny amount of light moisturizer, curl refresher spray, or gel to your hair, and scrunch in with your hands. You can also use a small amount of natural oils to seal in the moisture.
  • Avoid too much touch and manipulation with your fingers, as this will only lead to frizzy curls.


Now that you know our overnight curl-saving methods, you never have to wake up with messy curls again. For more tips on how to style curly hair in the morning, check out our post on how to refresh curls the next day. Remember, always experiment and find what works for your hair!

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