Q: I am an African-American teen, with relaxed hair, and I have many questions referring to night time rituals for my hair. It
is said that wrapping one's hair is the best thing to do with it while sleeping, is this so? Wrapping is supposedly to stop breaking and
keep it straight if that is your desired hair choice. And if one does wrap their hair should they alternate the direction in which they
wrap it? As well, what types of head scarves would be the least damaging to relaxed hair? Is a silk scarf better than say cotton, or
polyester? Also I heard that if you tie a scarf in the back of your head it tends to lead to more breaking in that area. Is this true?
Any answers would be greatly appreciated.
A: Well, wrapping the hair is certainly one way to keep the hair under control while sleeping and to prevent cases of bed-head.
However, I think the practice of wrapping the hair before bed at night was more a means to divide up the time needed to style the hair.
Since wrapping the hair means you have to wait for the hair to dry and set, many women began wrapping their hair at night, so that it
would have plenty of time to dry and they could simply comb it out in the morning. They soon realized that this made keeping the hair
smooth and frizz/breakage free much easier as well, and so a habit was born.
If you want to keep your hair free of breakage and frizz, you can certainly use the wrap method.
Other options include using a silk or satin sleeping cap, or scarf, or a silk/satin pillowcase on your pillow. Silk and satin are
gentler on the hair because the fibers are smoother. Other fabrics - like cotton, wool, etc. - are more likely to snag the hair
fibers. Furthermore, the hair itself can get roughed up by rubbing against other hairs. The silk/satin fabrics allow the hairs to
slide smoothly when you move in your sleep, reducing the amount of friction you experience.
Nightcaps and scarves are especially useful if you have curlier styles. These help to hold the
curls while you sleep and prevent them from rubbing against one another and knotting up.
As for tying scarves, you want to make sure that you tie the scarf so that no hair is caught in
the knotting. Many women find it simpler to wrap the scarf around the back of the head and tie it at the forehead where it is easier
to avoid the hair when tying the scarf.