Going to Bed with Wet Hair Isn’t as Bad as Grandma Thought
Especially if you take a few precautions.
A certain family matriarch used to tell me I would grow mold in my ears if I slept with wet hair. Fortunately, I have not found that to be true [knocks on wood]. What is true about sleeping with wet hair? It's not necessarily the best thing for your hair and scalp. To minimize adverse results, we've rounded up our best tips for sleeping with wet hair because long Mondays happen and sometimes all you can muster is a nice soak in the tub before crawling right into bed—wet hair and all.
If you're still chuckling about the ear mold comment, just know it's not quite as far-fetched as you might think. Indulging in a habit of wet hair at night can make your scalp a cozy little spot for bacteria to take hold. But, instead of growing mold in your ears, it will likely manifest itself in the form of dandruff—not quite as bad as the former, but still. If you're a frequent nighttime wash-and-go type, consider flash drying your roots before hitting the pillow. Your scalp with thank you.
Another not-so-chic side effect of sleeping with wet hair is that sleepyhead styling you'll be left with the next morning. We've all experienced it—one side completely crazy and unruly while the other is plastered against the side of your head in such a way that even the mightiest of teasing combs can't turn things around. There are a few ways to avoid this, or at least improve the odds that you might wake up with a halfway decent hair situation.
First, flash drying roots (as mentioned above) will help keep your strands from running wild. Also, don't even think about laying that wet head of hair down on anything other than a silk pillowcase. The smooth fibers will cut back on friction, in turn reducing the chance of breakage and lessening the risk of frizz. Finally, avoid ponytails and tight buns as they can stretch the hair cuticle which means, you guessed it, more chance for breakage. Try a loose braid that's secured with a soft scrunchie, like this one.
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Our final tidbit of advice is to give your hair an extra dose of protection with a leave-in conditioner and/or air-dry styling cream. When hair is wet, it's more fragile (more on that here) and therefore more prone to breaking. A protective layer of product is the easiest way to give a boost of nutrients and achieve silky-smooth texture.