Why you should never go to sleep with wet hair—according to an expert

Bad for both your hair and health


By Redzhanna Jazmin

Image: Instagram/@lirisaw
Why you should never go to sleep with wet hair—according to an expert

Is it okay to sleep with wet hair? We spoke to a hair expert to settle the debate once and for all.

There is no better way to wind down for the day than with a warm shower or bath. The heat of the water relaxes your muscles, the scent of your soap soothes and calms the senses and the change in your body temperature helps you fall asleep faster (and deeper!). There’s just one catch: While slipping into clean sheets with a cleansed body is great, if you’re the type to wash your hair before bedtime and hop right into the sweet embrace of slumber, we may bear bad news.

Indeed, sleeping with wet hair is a big no-no. Unfortunately, your mum was right in saying that your hair needs a thorough blowdry before bed. It’s terrible for the health of your skin and hair in a variety of ways, and we’re about to delve into all of them today. We spoke to the Assistant Manager for Education at EIG Haircare, Eddy Tan, who gave us the inside scoop on the potential risks of sleeping with wet hair (and some great tips too). Find the low-down ahead—plus, what to do if you can’t give up your nighttime rituals:



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The real reason why sleeping with wet hair is bad (and kind of icky!)

Here’s a sobering newsflash: There is nothing fungi and bacteria love more than a moist, warm environment. When you hit the sheets with your damp—or, God forbid, sopping wet—tresses, you create an ideal environment for fungal and bacterial growth. Plus, you’re also giving said microorganisms a free feast—your pillow is covered with dead skin cells and oils (and if you’re a particularly wild character, old makeup) which serve as food fuel to your unwelcome guests. According to Tan, when your hair is left wet for extended periods of time, it “provides a favourable environment for the growth of fungi and bacteria, which lead to scalp infections, acne and other hair-related problems.”

In other words, leaving your hair wet for extended periods of time is bad, but when you sleep on it, it’s exponentially worse. Not to mention, wet hair is more prone to damage. Tan explains that “the longer your hair stays wet, the more the cortex of your hair will swell and break, resulting in brittle ends and lots of flyaways.” When your hair is in this fragile state, your tossing and turning can lead to split ends and breakage, which is almost impossible to repair.



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So, what should you do instead?

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Tan urges you to avoid sleeping with wet hair, as it can lead to the above-mentioned problems. Instead, he recommends that you “blow dry your hair to at least 70 to 80 per cent dryness post-shower, starting from the roots to the ends and apply some leave-in treatment to help protect your hair while blow-drying.” If you don’t have time for a full blow dry, at least make sure that your roots are covered—this is where the bulk of the aforementioned issues arise, and so it should be the main priority.

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Further, ensure that your bedding—and, in particular, your pillowcases—is washed at least once a week, to reduce the risk of bacterial and fungal growth.

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If you have to sleep with wet hair, make sure you’re at least using a silk pillowcase to reduce friction and therefore breakage to your hair. Plus, don’t make a habit out of it—once in a while is acceptable, but try to save your wet hair antics for those proverbial rainy days.


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