How to Style the Hair of a Bedridden Individual

Hair styling for a bedridden person
I saved this particular section for last (see also How to Shampoo a Bedridden or Mobility-Impaired Individual and How to Cut Hair for an Individual who is Bedridden) because although the styling of the hair is something that is most frequently done, and it is the “simplest” as far as preparation and precautions are concerned, styling can take on so many variants that it’s hard to make specific requirements for tools.
It’s far easier to simply make plans based on what you want to accomplish. Depending on the results you desire, you will need different tools, and may need some different advance preparation depending on the tools you choose to use.
To that end, let’s talk about some “results” and discuss the best methods to achieve them in a bedridden environment:
The results can be broken down into two basic categories: adding curl, and straightening. Achieving these results can be done with differing methods, each of which may need slightly different preparations to make the processes work smoothly. Different techniques are better for persons with different limitations of movement and endurance in sitting in one position for longer periods of time. The techniques are also dependent on the amount of time you have to achieve the results you desire.
When you want to create curl in the hair of a bedridden individual, their ability to “sit up” is usually the deciding factor in determining what technique will be most appropriate. Of the ways to create curl, you have two general methods – wet setting, and heat setting.
Wet Setting:
Wet setting is great with individuals who cannot sit up for a more extended period of time, since the tools can be set up in advance, and hair can be fairly swiftly wrapped and then allowed to dry naturally. This will give long-lasting curl.
• Tools (rollers of the desired type)
• Combs
• Spray Bottle
• Setting product
• Non-friction scarf or cap to cover the wrapped hair afterward.
• Shampoo cape
• Hand towels
• Blow dryer with a diffuser attachment
Make sure to set up your materials and tools in advance, so that you aren’t using up the endurance of your “patient” with your preparations. As with other activities, you want to make sure that you can position yourself on the various sides of the head so that you can easily access the areas that you are immediately working on.
If the individual can sit up for at least a short period of time, you can use a more comfortable chair/position, otherwise, you may want to shift the individual closer to one side of the bed or another when you are working on that side.
In these cases, it is usually great to have a moveable surface for your tools and equipment. A tray table (such as you might use for tv dinners) is a great thing to have as you can move it easily and it can be folded for storage when not needed.
To wet set the hair of a bedridden individual, it is usually a great idea to use sponge rollers or even rag rollers, since these are generally more comfortable for those who need to be in a reclining position with head support. If you can do the wet setting immediately after shampooing the hair, this is the perfect time.
Otherwise, you will want to mist the hair thoroughly with water and keep the spray bottle handy to rewet the hair as it dries. Apply your setting product to the dampened hair and comb it through.
Wrap the hair on your chosen tools and secure the tools in place. The configuration is entirely up to you and the specific look you are going for. Once finished, re-mist the hair and carefully blot up any dripping water with a hand towel. Cover the wrapped hair using a scarf or other non-friction fabric cap and allow the hair to dry naturally. Once dry, you can take a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment and warm the curls while they are still wrapped.
Allow the curls to cool then remove the tools and comb or brush out the curls as desired.
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