Let’s be honest, there is nothing cute about most curly peoples’ night time routines. It’s not like we have a choice in the matter, the struggle is real when you’re sleeping with curly hair—especially when you’re not a still sleeper (spoiler alert: I’m not).
I always wake up looking like I’ve been electrocuted. Which you know, all of my partners have found super cute. (This is a lie). So here, I humbly offer up a step by step guide on how to slowly—and I mean slowly—introduce your partner to the weird way you NEED to sleep.
Sleeping with curly hair 101
Sleeping with curly hair isn’t as easy as just laying down and closing your eyes, which is something that might baffle a straight-haired partner (or even one with loose waves). So unless you want to shove a whole “how to sleep with curly hair” crammer in before the first sleep-over date, you can start by easing them into this whole new world.
Round 1: Your First Sleep Over
You heard me. Those second day curls? Yep, you’re forfeiting them. Sleep on them in a messy bun. You look publicly acceptable, and you can just keep the bun the next day. It’s your only option for not completely terrifying them.
Round 2: They’re staying at your place
Sneak in that satin pillow case.
Just say you love the royal treatment and the satin makes you feel like a *queen or king.* The big curl benefit? Unlike traditional cotton bedding—which pulls moisture from hair—satin prevents friction and, as a result, excess frizz. #SecretlyWinning
Round 3: You’re starting to get comfortable.
Pineapple alllll of that.
If you want to avoid crushed curls, this technique is a game changer. Thankfully, it’s also not that weird looking. Just tell your S.O. it’s a new bun style. Some curlies actually rock it outside the bedroom, so technically you won’t be lying.
The simple way to achieve the technique:
Step one: Channel your inner-unicorn.
Step two: Secure your hair at the front of your head with a loose hair tie. The “loose” part is key. Like last year’s skinny jeans, a tight fit is something you want to avoid when it comes to your curls. Double wrapping hair ties can damage the integrity of the follicle. Albeit not the best fashion choice, a scrunchie from the 80’s works wonders here (maybe they’ll think it’s cute?).
A tip for short haired curlies: try sleeping with multiple “pineapples” – two in the front, two in the back.
Round 4: For when they really (and I mean really) love you.
Break out the Curl Cap
Sure, you look like the wolf that’s disguised as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma. But hey – they love you. So now’s the time in your relationship to be weird.
You can purchase a curl cap online, or DIY your own (you just need to sacrifice a pair of stockings – but it’s worth it!). Cut a thick section of a stocking leg, so you essentially have one “slice of stocking.” The piece should be about seven inches when stretched. Pull the stocking over your head, so it sits like a necklace. Then take one edge and pull it up smoothly over your curls. You’ll feel a bit like a cone head (it’s really not sexy, but at this point who cares?!).
Bonus trick: You can cut smaller sections from your stocking and use them as gentle hair ties (they don’t pull like traditional bands – so you won’t tear out strands).
Wondering how to sleep with wet curly hair? Us, too.
Once you’ve eased your S.O. into your normal nightly routine, it’s time to start mixing it up. After all, the longer you’re together, the less you’ll be able to avoid sleeping with wet curly hair.
First off, try to shower 2-3 hours before bed, if you can manage it. If you can’t, repurpose one of your cotton t-shirts to scrunch your hair as dry as you can get it.
Then, you can choose your fighter: plopping with that t-shirt, braiding for sleep for wavy curls, gathering into a loose bun or pineapple for natural curls, or pin curling or bantu knots for bouncy and defined curls.
Then, just freshen up your curls in the morning with a few shakes and some Mist-er Right and you’re ready to go.
How to sleep with curly hair without ruining it
When it comes to sleep, you can’t afford to lose any over how your curls are going to look in the morning. The best way to sleep with curly hair is the way that takes the best care of YOUR curls: so try everything out before you’re going to wake up next to your S.O. tomorrow. I’ve given you the basic tools, but you have to decide: is it bantu knots or the pineapple that will give you the results you’re looking for? Can you find a satin pillowcase, or is it better to dive straight in with the bonnet?
The one thing you shouldn’t be worried about is what your partner will think. If they can’t get over your hair care routine, honestly? Love yourself first.
It takes a lot to achieve #IWokeUpLikeThis curls (Beyonce what are your secrets?! And what exactly is Jay-Z putting up with?). That’s why getting your partner used to how to sleep with curly hair is so important. How long did it take you to work up to showing off your weird sleep routine? Let us know in the comments!