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Expert Hacks for Waking Up with Better Hair

Treat your hair while you sleep, and you’ll wake up with smoother, healthier strands.
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When that post-dinner, 9 p.m. sleepiness starts to set in, it's difficult enough to force yourself into the shower, let alone treat your hair to a multi-step care routine.

But giving your strands some TLC before bed is the key to healing breakage and preventing future damage. Here, a pro shares the benefits of a nighttime hair routine and his top tips for making your mane as healthy as can be and preventing some unsightly bedhead. (Related: The 5-Minute Night Skin-Care Routine a Top Dermatologist Swears By)

When It's a Wash Night

After washing your hair, gently pat away excess water, then apply a leave-in hydrator. "The moisturizing formula protects strands while in bed," says Patrick Ferrara, a hairstylist in New York. "Damp hair is especially fragile. When strands absorb water, they swell, causing the outer, protective layer — the hair cuticle — to lift, which exposes the inner cortex. So you want to be extra protective when going to bed post-shower since rubbing the lifted strands on your pillow can cause damage."

If you have straight or wavy hair, mist Gisou Honey Infused Leave-In Conditioner (Buy It, $34, sephora.com) through mid-lengths and ends. Curls and coils will appreciate a thick formula, like Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Styling Cream (Buy It, $25, sephora.com).

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Gisou Honey Infused Leave-In Conditioner
Credit: Sephora

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Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Styling Cream
Credit: Sephora

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When Strands Look Greasy

Nighttime is the best time to apply a dry shampoo. "This gives the formula's oil-absorbing powder plenty of time to work, and its white residue is long gone by morning," says Ferrara. "Spritz in sections, aiming at your roots, and then don't brush it." Colab Overnight Renew Dry Shampoo (Buy It, $6, walmart.com) uses pink clay to soak up oil with notes of dreamy amber, tonka beans, and lavender.

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Colab Overnight Renew Dry Shampoo
Credit: Walmart

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When Hair Is Dry or Damaged

Your strands have ample time to soak in the goodness of a mask overnight. If your hair is damaged from hot tools or chemical treatments, try a strengthening formula like IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond-Building Dry Hair Mask (Buy It, $34, amazon.com). If it needs to recover from a lightening treatment, go for Kérastase Blond Absolu Serum Cicanuit (Buy It, $42, amazon.com).

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Credit: Amazon

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Credit: Amazon

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When You Want to Wake Up Frizz-Free

First, secure your hair in a loose bun, a ponytail, or a braid to prevent tangles and keep waves or curls intact, says Ferrara. Consider using a scrunchie instead of your regular hair tie, which can put too much tension on the hair and cause breakage if you wear it 24-7.

Kitsch Satin Pillow Scrunchies (Buy It, $18, amazon.com) are super plush and won't leave creases. Then sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase, which allows hair to glide across it without friction. Curly and coily hair types, or anyone with a protective style, can also tuck hair into a silk bonnet or a turban. Black-owned Grace Eleyae Satin-Lined Knot Turban (Buy It, $23, was $45, graceeleyae.com) has adjustable strings that customize the fit.

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Kitsch Satin Pillow Scrunchies
Credit: Amazon

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Buy It, $18
Grace Eleyae Satin-Lined Knot Turban
Credit: Grace Eleyae

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Buy It, $23, was $45