Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.
October 1, 2021 — 11:33 AM
We’ll wager you, too, have woken up with bedhead at some point. Unless you have the magical ability to fall and stay asleep peacefully on your back, chances are you doze off with your face smashed into the pillow, perhaps tossing and turning throughout the night—which does a number on your hair (your skin, too, but you can read about that here).
As a result, you may experience tangles, frizz, and splits, especially if you go to bed with damp hair; in some cases, you can even experience buildup from a grimy or sweaty pillowcase (gross, but true). And on a pure styling note, tousling the strands can create unfortunate bends and snags, which you may find only salvageable with hot tools or opting for an updo.
Award-winning actor and producer Nicole Kidman—known for her gorgeous mane of defined, natural ringlets—has a trick to keep her slumber from messing with her ‘do. As she shares in a “Go To Bed With Me” video with Harper’s Bazaar, all it takes is a little hair oil and a go-to bedtime style.
How Kidman styles her hair before bed.
How you style your hair before bed ultimately depends on your hair type and styling goals (i.e., those with coily hair hoping to avoid knots might have a very different plan of action than those with loose waves gunning for definition). As for Kidman, she finds tangle-free success with a single tail braid: After sliding Philip B’s Rejuvenating Oil through her strands, she gathers her hair into a quick three-strand plait. “It just makes me feel like I can sleep without it getting knotted,” she says.
In fact, hairstylists routinely recommend braided styles in situations where you put stress on the hair, like working out (or in this case, tossing and turning in bed). Whether you opt for a simple three-strand tail like Kidman, weave your strands into a French, or tie your natural hair into a two- or three-strand twist, the braids will keep your locks secure without applying too much tension. Just don’t pull too tightly when you style to minimize breakage at the hairline.
Or if you have a straighter strand pattern and are looking to tousle up the texture, sleeping in braids can also offer defined, heatless curls. “When the braids are taken out, it will give you a nice wavy texture,” hairstylist at Spoke&Weal Clay Nielsen previously told mbg.
Other ways to ensure healthy hair while you sleep.
As mentioned, specific sleeping styles vary depending on your individual hair texture. However! You can take advantage of a couple of bedtime hacks for healthy hair in general.
Apply a leave-in conditioner or mask.
beauty & gut collagen+
The one-step routine to support youthful skin, strong hair & a healthy gut*
Kidman prefers a hair oil for her curls, but you can also spritz a leave-in conditioner to protect the strands from physical damage. (Find our favorites here.) They also can prevent tangling overnight, as the emollients and oils in the formula give your tresses more slip. If you have particularly dry hair, you can even apply a sleeping mask to add extra moisture—just gather it into a shower cap or bonnet before bed to avoid making a mess of your pillow.
Use silk or satin sleeping products.
“Sleep with a silk or satin pillowcase, headscarf, or cap, which allows hair to slide as you toss and turn while sleeping. Unlike cotton, silk and satin prevent friction (which leads to hair pulling, tugging, stretching, breaking, and tangling), and these smooth fabrics help retain the hair’s natural oils,” says hairstylist Miko Branch, co-founder of hair care brand Miss Jessie’s. This is especially important for curls, which are more fragile and prone to damage and frizz. Check out our favorite options here.
For Kidman, a single tail braid helps her keep her curls from tangling overnight. You may rely on a different style (and that’s OK!), but everyone’s strands can benefit from some pre-bedtime TLC.