10 Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping (Straight To Loose Curls Edition)

by BRENDA L. / FEB 8, 2022

Reading Time: 7 Minutes


    Have you ever wondered what happens to your hair when you’re sleeping? To name some: friction, tangling, scratching, sometimes even pulling - that’s right! All that love and care you put in your hair in the morning can only do so much if your night routine is non-existent. And when you’re wearing hair extensions  clip in hair extensions or permanent extensions for example – it is known that you will need to pay a little more attention to anything that happens to your hair in order to preserve them.

    You may be thinking: “Okay, but what do I have to do?” – well, the answer is pretty simple. According to your preferred styles, here’s what you can do to protect your hair and how to sleep comfortably with hair extensions.

    Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: Haircare Night Routine

    Before we talk about protective hairstyle more in detail, let’s discuss your haircare night routine. Do you go to sleep with wet hair? Do you brush your hair before going to bed?

    First things first, never ever sleep with wet hair when possible: sleeping with wet hair can lead to many problems for your scalp, such as fungal infections, skin irritation and itchiness, dryness, and dandruff. As if this was not enough to convince you to stop sleeping with wet hair, I should also mention that it promotes hair breakage. Ideally, you should let your hair air-dry (to avoid heat damage), then apply your overnight hair serum or hair oil, massage your scalp, and go to bed. Now, let’s talk about your bed: have you ever thought of investing in a new pillowcase?

    Silk or Satin pillowcases

    Silk or satin pillowcases (and, why not? Even coordinated bedsheets) not only feel heavenly on your hair and skin: the smooth texture prevents hair breakage caused by friction (something that can happen with cotton pillowcases, which are rougher in texture). What's more? Ah, yes, sleeping on a silk pillowcase can also help prevent wrinkles and the build-up of dust mites, fungus, mould, and a whole lot of other common allergens.

    Last but not least, using a sleep cap is also a good investment. Not everyone feels comfortable in sleeping with something covering their head, but if you’re not bothered by the idea or simply would like to try it, a silk or satin sleep cap could be that extra measure that completely changes your hair game whilst you get your beauty sleep. If your hair goes from wavy to curly, a sleeping satin cap will help you minimize frizz too. Find out more what frizzy hair is and how to tame it in our "Frizzy hair: Your Ultimate Guide To A Frizz-Free Life" guide.

    Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: What is a protective hairstyle

    A protective hairstyle is a hairstyle that tucks the hair away and keeps it free from manipulation. It also prevents it from tangling during your sleep and saves it from friction. If you keep your hair long, it is extremely important that you wear them in protective natural hairstyles to bed, in order to avoid breakage and split ends. Bonus points: did you know that many protective hairstyles for sleeping are also heatless overnight styling methods? When tucking your hair in or braiding always remember to avoid wearing hairstyles too tightly as that may cause traction alopecia if worn for extended periods of time, and the pulling may irritate your scalp – leading to flaky scalp and itchiness. Ready to go? Let’s explore the best protective hairstyles for straight to wavy hair.

    1. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: The Classic Plait

    This is the most basic braid you could imagine, obtained by intertwining three separate strands of hair and tied at the end with a hair tie or, in some cases, a ribbon.

    2. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: The Twisted Top Bun

    Another fairly easy hairstyle: the length of your hair is twisted together and tucked in a bun sitting on top of your head. Quick and easy, it usually doesn’t require the aid of any type of barrettes or bobby pins.

    3. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: The Loose Bun

    Also known as messy bun, this simple hairstyle can be used both at home for your own comfort and to keep your hair away from your face, or out for a “fashionably late” laid back but chic effect. Simply tie your hair up in a bun, leaving it loose enough to be stable without pulling on your roots.

    4. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: Two French Braids

    Despite its name, the origins of the French braid are uncertain and have been widely disputed and discussed over the years – Greeks and Africans are often credited as the first cultures to use this braiding technique, with the earliest evidence coming from Algeria and it dates back to almost 6000 years ago. In Greek art, this style of braid is featured on kouros statues. Similar to the classic plait, the French braid starts closer to your scalp and goes down adding pieces of hair to its body on its way to the nape of your neck. In this video, EverydayHairInspiration shows and explains step by step how to get your French braid done.

    5. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: Dutch Braids

    Similar to the French braid and often referred to as “reverse French braid”, the Dutch braid crosses its sections underneath each other instead of over one other. Together with the French braid, the Dutch braid is one of the most popular and trendy traditional hairstyles.

    6. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: The Crown Braid

    During Medieval times, hair was just as important as your dress code. Back then fashion wasn’t just a caprice, but a whole presentation of one’s self in terms of social status, financial situation and respectability. Given the prejudice about certain hairstyles being associated with heretics and witchcraft and the general hygienic situation of the time, braided up-dos were between the preferred option for many women. This is how the crown braid came to be! Nowadays, the crown braid is an elegant protective hairstyle to keep your locks safe whilst making you look fresh and youthful.

    7. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: The Low Ponytail

    Probably the easiest, most effortless style of them all. A low ponytail is a simple hairstyle to keep your locks all in one place, although this doesn’t offer much protection to your ends unless you tuck them in with a second hair tie. 

    8. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: Space Buns

    Space buns are a variation of the Japanese hairstyle known as odango, a generic term that indicates a different number of hair buns. The name comes from Princess Leia’s hairstyle in Star Wars, gaining popularity in the late 70s. In Chinese culture, the bun is a gender-neutral hairstyle; in western cultures, this hairstyle was adopted by the populations that the Romans defined “barbarian”, such as Goths, Vandals and Lombards. Space buns are usually two smaller buns sitting on top of your head. They are often worn with tendrils hanging down the one’s cheekbones.

    9. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: Pigtails

    Pigtails follow the same concepts of a ponytail, but multiplied by two. Hair is usually parted in the middle and pigtails can be worn high on your head or low on the nape of your neck.

    10. Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping: Fishtail Braids

    This is not the easiest hairstyle to do at home, and it honestly looks so pretty that it almost hurts doing it just for the sake of going to bed (I mean, obviously you can use it for a night out too, but you know what I mean!). The fishtail braid resembles a French braid in its smoothly woven appearance – however, it only divides the hair in two sections instead of three. It can be incorporated in any of the styles above (think fishtail pigtails, fishtail crown braid, fishtail messy bun…) and it’s been a timeless classic since ancient Greece. Here, Kayley Melissa shows us her technique to achieve a loose but elegant fishtail braid.

    I hope you found this guide entertaining, informative, and – most importantly, useful! Which one was your favorite? Have you tried these protective hairstyles before? If you post your results on Instagram do not hesitate in tagging us. We love seeing your results!

    Back to blog