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Is it bad to sleep with wet hair? Facts, risks & ways to sleep more safely

Sleeping with wet hair is something everyone does from time to time, but there seems to be conflicting advice about whether or not you should. We have the answers to all of your questions.

There aren’t enough hours in the day, which is why the shower you plan on taking as soon as you step in from work can sometimes end up being the last thing you do before climbing into bed. But have you ever found yourself distracted by the thought: is it bad to sleep with wet hair? Doing it every now and then isn’t worth losing sleep over, but there are some possible risks associated with your hair hitting the pillow damp every single night.

What are the risks?

There are some possible implications to consider before going to bed with wet hair. Best-case scenario, some stubborn tangles set in overnight and refuse to budge the following morning, no matter how good your detangling brush is. It’s also worth remembering how much weaker your hair is when wet, so friction damage caused by your pillow (especially if you toss and turn at night) could result in even more breakage.

Then there’s the increased risk of developing a fungal scalp infection. Why? Because yeast (a type of fungus) thrives in warm, damp conditions, which can lead to an itchy, flaky scalp that may require antifungal medication or topical treatment. If you’ve gone to bed with damp hair for years without experiencing any of the above issues, chances are you never will. But if you want to err on the side of caution on the nights you find yourself too tired to blow-dry before bed, read on.

Damp, not wet

The wetter your hair, the more vulnerable it is to damage. So however tired you are, try to rough dry it with some warm air from your blow-dryer (at least 70% dry), or leave plenty of air-drying time between your shower and bedtime. Use conditioning in-shower hair care to strengthen your strands, minimizing the damage that could occur while you sleep. Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner work together to target and replenish damage on the surface of the hair, preventing 98% of breakage.*

Slip and style

No doubt you’ve heard this advice before: sleep on a silk pillowcase to dramatically reduce the damage, tangles, and knots caused by pillow friction. Another way to add protective slip to hair is by using a smooth hair serum that nourishes hair, such as Dove Hair Therapy Brilliant Gloss & Repair Serum, which leaves hair shiny and seals split ends. Apply a leave-in conditioner and sleep in a style to create enviable texture come morning.

Got curly or coily hair? Try spritzing Dove Amplified Textures Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner into damp hair, then gently gather and secure your curls into a pineapple on the top of your head to prevent curls from being flattened overnight.

*vs non-conditioning shampoo

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