Although braiding your hair at night might be an easy fix for wavy hair the next day, there are a lot of truths to know before sleeping in braids. While the idea of waking up to beautiful, bouncy curls may seem effortless, there’s actually a lot of thought and preparation that needs to go into it the night before.

I’ve been sleeping in braids since I was in high school and over the years, I discovered that it was the best way for me to curl my hair in a timely and efficient fashion. It’s quick, easy, and it turns out pretty well! But since I have thin hair, I always made sure that I braided my hair the right way so I could avoid any further damage to my strands. When using this practice, I’ve had to be extremely cautious in making sure my braids don’t tire or stress my hair out.

Ponytails and braids can cause hair to break, especially if your style is pulled tightly. If you wear it that way every day, permanent hair damage can occur. If you can avoid sleeping in braids every single night, do it. But if it’s just too much of a timesaver for you to pass up, make sure you take the right precautions the night before. According to Lovelyish, that means keeping your braid loose, and making sure your hair is dry — not wet — before your plait.

Here are a handful of other things to keep in mind before you sleep in braids:

Apply Leave-In Conditioner

This has helped my hair tremendously when it comes to braiding. Since my hair is really long and thin, I make sure to apply leave-in conditioner before I go to bed. Applying the conditioner can keep your strands hydrated, smooth, and silky.

Anti-Frizz Spray Is A Must

If you don’t want to apply leave-in conditioner, I highly recommend using an anti-frizz spray. Not only will this keep your hair from being frizzy when you let your braids loose, it’ll also give your hair the proper moisture it needs all night long.

Invest In A Silk Pillowcase

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can do wonders for your beauty routine, especially when you sleep in braids. Since the texture of the silk helps immensely when it comes to keeping your hair smooth and texturized, it’ll make your braids appear that much nicer in the morning. Also, you might as well make sure your hair is taken care of throughout the middle of the night while sleeping.

Braid Gently

Although braiding your hair may damage your strands, you can take extra precaution by braiding your hair gently. Try not to rush through braiding your hair by pulling and ripping your strands, but instead apply leave-in conditioner first and then braid. This way your hair won’t be difficult to work with and you won’t have to rip apart your luscious locks.

Pick The Best Braid For You

This one takes time and practice, but making sure you pick the best braid for you is extremely important when sleeping in braids. Not only is comfort important, but the way your hair looks in the morning when you pull your hair out of braids is key. The more braids you have, the curlier it will be. French braids and tighter braids will also result in more curlier/crimped hair as well.

Choose The Right Hair Bands

Choosing the right hair brands is also extremely important. Try picking hair bandsthat don’t damage your hair as much as straight-up rubber bands do. Stick with bands that have a fabric texture and are easy to deal with while sleeping.

Braid All The Way To Your Ends

This is extremely important to remember. Unlike curling, braiding is a little more different when you try to make your whole section of hair evenly curly. When you tie your hair at the bottom, make sure you’ve braided as much as you can. This way your hair doesn’t have a weird non-curly section of hair at the bottom of your strands.

Sleep With Dry Hair

Braiding or putting your hair in a ponytail when it’s wet can cause damage sooner because wet hair is more fragile. Personally, whenever I sleep with wet hair braids, it doesn’t curl my hair as much as I’d like it too. It’s basically a win-win to sleep with dry hair. You won’t damage your hair as much, and it’ll look curlier!

Buy A Night Cap

If you really want to protect your hair, I would buy a night cap to keep your hair intact. Sometimes, your braids can come undone in the middle of the night, so putting on a night cap will ensure your locks stay all in one place. You won’t have to worry about having that one section of uncurled hair in the morning.

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