How To Prevent a Bed Head

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Your alarm goes off, but that’s all good, you’ve got plenty of time to get ready. Except when you look in the mirror the nicely coiffed hairstyle you went to bed with last night now resembles a bird’s nest. Or that of a recent victim of some terrible explosion. Yep, you work up with bed head (again).

Fixing it is going to drain lots of the time you thought you had – there goes that leisurely coffee – but you can’t spend the day looking like a scarecrow. So how can you prevent bed head so that this does not happen again? That, and some other related issues, is what we are going to take a closer look at here.

Why Do I Get Bed Head?

When you sleep you obviously put pressure on your head, and your hair. For some the result is that their hair tangles and twists, especially if they are restless sleepers, and the result, when they wake, is that far from chic bed head look. Often it affects those who shower before bed (to save time) as they go to bed with hair that’s not quite dry.

Hair length is not, surprisingly, really a factor. Short haired people are just as likely as their longer haired peers to wake up with bed head. Hair type, the way you care for your hair and even the bed linens you choose are all factors in whether you wake up with bed head or beautiful hair, as we will get to in a minute.

How to Avoid Bed Head

Woman waking up refreshed, well rested and no bed head.
That moment you find out that getting beauty sleep is ACTUALLY a thing!

So, how do you minimize the chances that you’ll wake up looking like you stuck a finger in an electric socket? Here are some tried and tested ways to prevent bed head you can try.

Make Sure Your Hair is Dry Before Bed

One of the ways you can almost ensure that you’ll wake up with bedhead is to go to bed with damp hair. Hair that is even slightly damp is going to twist and tangle far more than dry hair, and as that moisture is transferred to your pillow (which can lead to mold and mildew by the way), and your hair dries it gets messier and messier.

The obvious way to ensure your hair is dry if you shower before bed is blow dry it. However, some people do avoid hair dryers as high heat is not always great for your hair either. Drying your hair making use of a heat protectant spray and using a lower heat setting can prevent much of the potential damage though.

L'Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Sleek It Iron Straight Heat Spray, 5.7 Ounce

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If you are one of those people who just hates blow-dryers – and we know that some do – ensure that you towel dry your hair vigorously when you get out of the bath or shower and that you do not head to bed until it really is completely dry. Do make sure it is dry by brushing it out and running your fingers through it.

Sleep on Silk

Yes, for the most part it’s true that sleeping on a silk pillowcase will help prevent bed head. The reason for this is that other bed linens – even smooth cotton – can make bed head worse.

When you sleep on silk it does not produce any friction, and so your hair will slide across it as you sleep (and move around) rather than getting tangled and messy. It still may not be able to combat the wet hair issue though, so dry hair is still a must.

Silk sounds like an expensive indulgence but choosing silk pillowcases – is not as expensive as you think. For example, this mulberry silk pillowcase – mulberry silk is the gold standard – costs less than $15 – and will last for a long time. If you really want to treat yourself to a rather lovely sleep experience you could opt to buy a complete sheet set – which will come with pillowcases – instead.

J JIMOO 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase for Hair and Skin, Both Sides 19 Momme Pure Natural Silk Pillowcases Soft Breathable Standard 20''×26'', Silver Grey 1 Pack

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If you don’t want to splurge on silk, satin, which is a close relative but not quite the same thing, does a decent job of keeping your hair smooth and in shape too. Satin does tend to be cheaper, but you may want to look at return on investment here, as silk will almost always last longer, meaning saving a few bucks now may not offer good ROI in the long run.

Use a Leave in Conditioner

Most of us use a conditioner when we wash our hair, but some types of hair – hair that is naturally coarse, or color treated especially – is more likely to tangle at night.

“The most popular leave-in hair conditioners are used by persons with curly or kinky hair. These products lubricate and moisturize the hair shaft while aiding in styling” said Dr. Zoe Diana Draelo, a research and clinical board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Making use of a good leave in conditioner will not only help prevent bed head, but it will usually improve the overall look and feel of your hair in general.

Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream, 10.2 Ounce (Pack of 2)

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When making use of leave in conditioner you do need to make sure you follow the instructions for use properly though, as making use of too much may result in waking up with hair that looks like you went swimming in an oil slick, which is also not a very appealing look. Dr. Draelo also advises, that if your skin is prone to pomade acne, to consider using a glycerin-based pomade or leave-in conditioner instead of a vegetables oil based leave-in conditioner.

Not sure how much to use because the instructions are not too clear? This video should help.

Add a Humidifier to Your Bedroom

Given that we just got done talking about the importance of going to bed with dry hair for preventing bed head this tip may sound counterintuitive but let us explain.

When you add a humidifier to your bedroom it does not soak the air in moisture. Instead, it keeps moisture in the air at an ideal level, which is great not just for your hair but for your skin and even your nails as well.

If you don’t like the look of bulky humidifiers as a part of your bedroom decor try a stylish choice like this one, which is a sleek space saver too.

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Sleep in a Silk Bandana

If you really want to double down on using silk to prevent bed head, and you have shorter hair, you could try wrapping your hair in a silk bandana before you do to bed to keep things in place. This is not always the best solutions for longer hair, as it may in itself flatten out your hair in ways you really don’t want it to. However, for short haired guys and girls it can be an excellent solution to a crazy bed head problem.

Stylore 100% Silk Scarf Lightweight Sunscreen Shawl Wrap Scarves White Long

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Morning Bed Head Fixes

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase prevents bed head
If you’re not sleeping on a silk pillowcase… you’re missing out!

So, despite your best efforts you’ve woken up with bed head. Maybe your silk pillowcase didn’t arrive yet or your hair wasn’t as dry as you thought. Or you just have hair that won’t behave whatever you try (which happens). If you wake up with bed hair you have to fix the problem unless you want to spend the day in a hat. Here are some tips for doing just that.

Wet Down Your Do and Start Again

If you have the time, the easiest way to tame bed head is often to wet down your hair do and start again. Mist your hair with water from a spray bottle to get it just damp enough to work with and then style it in the way you had intended it to look before your bedtime habits got the better of your hairdressing skills.

Make Use of Mousse

If you don’t have the time for a complete hairstyle re-do every morning – which is totally understandable – often a good hair mousse can help (gels and pomades can too but may be too thick and messy for many). Hair mousse can both tame the effects of bed head and add texture and volume. Better still it can be used on dry hair and is designed for guys and girls, as this instructional video demonstrates.

Coconut Oil and Shea Wrap Me Foaming Mousse by Lotta Body, Creates Soft Wraps, Defines Curls, Anti Frizz, 7 Fl Oz

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Get a Layered Haircut

If bed head is a daily problem, you may want to rethink your hairstyle altogether, and opt for a layered haircut the next time you head to the salon, whether your hair is long, short of somewhere in between.

Why a layered hairstyle to prevent bed head? Layers make gravity your friend. Once cut into layers your hair should naturally fall where it is supposed to with a minimum of fuss and styling, while also adding structure and volume, a plus from a general looks point of view.

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