Is It Bad to go to Bed With Wet Hair? (The Truth) 

Vivienne OgegaHair CareLeave a Comment

Is it bad to go to bed with wet hair

So, friends, this one is interesting thanks to the cautionary tales that most of us were told regarding going to bed with wet hair.

And as always, we don’t assume or rely on folktales when it comes to giving you objective, science-backed answers to your common hair questions.

This therefore brings me to the focus of this article:

Is It Bad to Go to Bed with Wet Hair?

Going to bed with wet hair is perceived to be bad for your hair and overall well-being given that a warm and damp environment is a good breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.

Therefore going to bed with wet hair may potentially lead to bacterial and fungal infections.

Also, it’s really just uncomfortable to sleep with wet hair.

BUT, if you MUST…

You can still go to bed with wet hair provided that it’s slightly damp and not soaking wet. Soaking wet hair is prone to breakage and thus sleeping with such will ultimately result in hair loss.

Also, some hair care practices such as overnight deep conditioning will require you to go bed with wet hair, and that is perfectly OK.

Now, let’s look at some of the dangers of going to bed with wet hair as well as when it is OK to go to bed with wet hair.

Dangers of Sleeping with Wet Hair

1. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections such as ringworms are more likely to affect people who sleep with wet hair.

Going to bed with wet hair creates a damp and warm environment which is a home for fungi and bacteria.

Moreover, sleeping with wet hair can cause skin irritation which may make your scalp itchy. 

2. Hair is more prone to breakage

Wet hair is much more vulnerable to breakage than dry hair because the strands are weaker and softer.

Therefore, with friction that come with sleeping with wet hair results in more hair breakage and as such hair loss. [1]

3. More tangles

When you sleep with wet hair you are likely to experience more tangles since the hair is malleable.

As you toss and turn while sleeping you will actually make things worse hence will wake up to a head full of tangles.

Of course, this makes it harder to style in the morning and thus requires more time to style.

4. Discomfort and Messy Bedding

Going to bed with wet hair is not only uncomfortable but also damages your bedding. The water makes the bedding water and in the long run causes mold to grow on the pillows.

When Is It OK to Go To Bed with Wet Hair?

#1. When deep conditioning overnight

It’s actually OK and a common practice amongst people with natural hair to deep condition overnight. This is often done when you are using a homemade hair mask and you do not have a heat cap.

Sleeping with the conditioner in plastic cap results in heat generation which in turn opens up the cuticles to facilitate faster nutrient absorption.

When doing this you definitely want to take pre-caution to avoid messing your lovely bedding. Therefore, ensure that you’ve covered your hair with a plastic cap and then add another layer of fabric wrap so nothing leeks as you sleep.

Also remember not to apply too much conditioner, just have enough to mask the strands.

#2. When Pre-pooing

Similar to deep conditioning overnight, there are times pre-pooing overnight is more effective.

The pro tip here is to ensure that your hair is not soaking wet and that you have covered the hair properly to avoid any messes.

#3. When using rice water

Sometimes, for people with high porosity hair, sleeping with a rice water treatment , can be effective as this type of hair can withstand the rice proteins for long.

How to Safely Sleep with Wet Hair

If you must sleep with wet hair, ensure you do the following in order to protect your hair.  

1. Use the right Shampoo

An important factor to consider when choosing the shampoo is to go for a fizz-minimizing and softening shampoo with collagen or glycerin to keep your hair moist, protected and healthy. [2]

2. Condition Properly

Hair conditioner strengthens hair and because sleeping with wet hair exposes it to physical damage, applying leave-in-conditioner will protect the hair and preserve its health.

3. Moisturize

Applying moisturizer to wet hair enables the hair to stay moisturized throughout the night. Some good moisturizers include coconut oil and shea butter.

4. Cover Your Hair

In order to be comfortable when sleeping with wet hair, cover your hair using a silk or satin cap. This allows the hair strands to feel softer and much more comfortable while preventing tangling.

5. Use a Silk Pillow or Hair Wraps

A silk pillowcase is highly recommended as it allows the hair to ‘breathe’ and thus prevents a lot of sweating which promotes the growth of fungi. By preventing the head from sweating, it prevents frizz and thus protects the hair.

6. Change Your Pillow Case Often

It is important to frequently change these pillowcases to avoid creating a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.

7. Style It Loosely

To keep the set hair out of your hair and face, wear it up in a loose bun or loose pigtails. Wearing the hair in tight styles promotes breakage and should be avoided.

Bottom Line

  • There are more cons of going to bed with wet hair than there are pros. If you are able to, always strive to go to bed with dry hair.
  • Some hair care practices such deep conditioning overnight or pre-pooing may require you to go to bed with wet hair. When doing this take precaution to avoid creating a mess
  • Other than the above hair care practices, life happens and therefore if you must sleep with wet hair ensure you pat it dry to drain out excess water cover it with a satin headwrap.

BTW, did you know hair porosity plays a key role in hair growth? Take this simple hair porosity test to determine if your hair is HIGH, LOW or NORMAL porosity.

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