Keep ‘healthy hair’ for longer by avoiding five bedtime habits

Hair expert Nicole Petty from Milk + Blush explained that “healthy hair”, which can give women a younger appearance, relies on a balanced and varied diet as well as a good sleep routine, amongst other factors. The stylist revealed five common mistakes to avoid at night “if you want to keep your hair looking shiny and healthy” in the morning.

Heavy-duty eye masks

Most popular eye masks are made of silk but some can be heavier than usual, including those designed for sleep apnoea sufferers.

Similarly, there are Bluetooth sleep masks that allow users to listen to music while they sleep.

The thick elastic straps can be “extremely damaging to the hair”, Nicole revealed, and recommended avoiding any mask that fits tight against the head.

Over time, they will rub and create friction that “will result in hair breakage and even traction alopecia”.

Instead, women should invest in a nice silk hair cover to place over their hair before putting the mask on at night.

This will decrease the tension and protect the hair from breaking while sleeping.

Dirty bedding

Pillowcases and sheets accumulate a lot of bacteria which can also be very damaging to the hair.

During the night, the hair is in constant contact with the bedding and exposed to germs which can result in scalp irritation or dandruff.

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The best way to avoid this is by washing the sheets, or at least the pillowcases, “at least once a week,” Nicole advised.

Rough pillowcases

Similarly, the material of the pillowcases can damage your locks, especially cases made of cotton fibres.

The expert explained: “That’s because cotton fibres are woven tightly together, meaning the hair can’t move freely while you’re sleeping, creating friction which tangles and even breaks the hair.”

The hairstylist recommended getting a silk or satin pillowcase to reduce friction and “help your hair retain moisture at night”.

Health and wellbeing website Healthline explained: “Silk pillowcases are considered the gold standard for beauty sleep. If you want to be extra gentle on your hair and skin at night, consider investing in a silk pillowcase.”

Wet hair

According to the expert, going to bed with wet hair “isn’t beneficial for hair health” as the cuticle is at its weakest, “meaning it’s more vulnerable to breakage from tossing and turning at night.

Nicole added that women with coloured hair are “even more at risk as the hair cuticle’s naturally weaker”.

She advised always drying your hair naturally or applying a heat protector and using a hairdryer to dry your hair before going to bed.

Using elastic ties

Finally, elastic ties can be very damaging during the night but only if “you tie your hair up in tight hairstyles”.

This will “cause tension on your scalp and result in hair breakage or loss” and instead, women should switch to silk ties or scrunchies made from soft materials.

These won’t pull the hair and “you will not only avoid any breakage but help you swerve any dents in your locks that are a pain when styling it in the morning”.

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