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Showering at Night, Bedhead in the Morning

By Amalah

Hi pretty lady!

You have helped me before with some complicated and some not so complicated problems. So since I trust your advice, I am here again, with probably the least complicated question ever to hit your inbox. Amy, help me have pretty hair!

My whole life I have been a shower-in-the-morning person. It helps me wake up, it’s nice to feel clean and it’s easy to style wet hair. Right? If I actually woke up in time, 15 minutes with a blowdryer and either a round brush or a flat iron and I was good to go.

Well then I went and had babies. Yeah, two of them. And mornings have gotten very very complicated, not to mention that my one son cries when I run the blowdryer. So, for the first time in my life I am a shower-at-night person.

Amy how the heck do I avoid looking like I slept in my hair? It seems regardless of how carefully I compose my style before bed, I still wake up with one side smashed down, one side sticking up and the whole thing just generally looking ratty. I don’t have any time to myself to attack it with styling tools in the morning, so I have been heading in to work looking a bit of a frazzled mess (a bit MORE of a frazzled mess) ever since I started showering at night.

Do you, or any of your readers, have any ideas, tips or advice on styles or shortcuts that can help my bedhead look professional? For what it’s worth, I have straight to wavy hair that extends about two inches past my collarbones. If that helps. I hope it helps.

Thank you!

I have done long stretches of showering at night, then switched back to showering in the morning. Then back to night. I’ve gone months without touching the blowdryer, then gone back to that, too. I’ve sworn that hot rollers were the only way to go for months, then downgraded back to a curling iron. Currently I’m reaching the end of a months-long diffuser-and-scrunch kick and opting for the round brush again.

In other words, I have pretty much tried it all and YES I HAVE SOME IDEAS FOR YOU. Here are my recommendations, in no particular order:

1) Let your hair dry completely before sleeping on it. You don’t mention whether or not you bust out the blowdryer at night, or if your son is still up and around and available for traumatizing if you were to use it. But a lot of bedhead-related weirdness can be eliminated if you make sure your hair is 100% dry before sleeping on it. If your hair air-dries relatively quickly, that’s another option, depending on if it frizzes up or not and/or if you can use styling products without overnight oil issues.

2) Divide your hair in two parts, and put each side up in a soft, loose bun. (Think Princess Leia.) If you sleep on your side most of the time, simply pull all the hair up to the very top of your head and put the bun there. Some people can get away with using hair elastics around the base of the bun, but if your hair is fine like mine, this will result in those bandy-line-dents (and breakage). So I do the bun using bobby pins and those snap barrettes. This is the best night-style option I’ve tried (as opposed to braids or wrapping my head in a scarf or whatever), since it usually results in soft, messy waves that you can actually style quite easily in the morning with a little smoothing cream or scrunching product or hair spray.

3) If your hair isn’t long enough for top-knot buns or you’re still unhappy with the results, try this: Blow dry your hair most of the way. Divide the hair on the top of your head into three or four sections (going in lines from back to front/bangs). Add smoothing cream, if you use it. (I do not.) Pull each section up and blast the roots with a little hairspray, then roll it backwards into a circle like you’re wrapping in around an invisible roller. Secure the little hair-roll with bobby pins or one of those long metal hairstylist clips. Do three or four of these rolls, spray with hairspray, go to bed. In the morning you should have some really nice volume on the top of your head and the pinned hair should be able to camouflage any smushed/bent loose hair that you slept directly on. (Unless your hair is super layered, alas.) Unclip, lightly brush down over the sides and back. (You can also backcomb the roots of the pinned sections as you releash them if you want mega-volume for going out.)

4) DO NOT CONDITION YOUR ROOTS. Ends only! This applies to morning showers too, but it’s even more important if you need your roots to bounce back from being slept on all night.

5) Wash those pillowcases! I have read that satin or silk pillowcases are extra-forgiving for washed-at-night hair, but I have not tried that. I will say that sleeping on a dirty, due-to-be-washed cotton pillowcase, though, is never going to result in fresh, non-stanky hair in the morning.

6) If all else fails, embrace the low side bun. Brush your hair out, maybe hit it with some appropriate-for-dry-hair styling product of your choice (I’ll have a list of suggestions in a bit) while flipped upside down to keep it from looking too flat. Then pull your hair back and over behind one ear like you’re going to put it in a side ponytail. Instead, wrap it into a loose, purposely messy-type bun. I basically wrap and mash my hair into a crazy blob-bun the size of my fist, then wrap a hair elastic around it a couple times. Then I tuck ends in and pull other bits out and secure it fully with a booby pin or two. (Note that for us fine-haired types this look works best when paired with the invisible roller trick described in three and backcombing, so your crown still has some oomph to it.) If your hair is short enough that you have pieces that don’t reach all the way around your head, try curling a couple of them into loose face-framing ringlets, or buy some super cute decorative clips or bobby pins (HELLOOOOOO ETSY) and pin the crap out of it, the more random the better.

PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS: Note that I do not use ALL of these products ALL the time, but it more depends on the look I’m going for (smooth/wavy, volume/controlled) or the problem I’m attempting to solve. And note that  my hair is baby-fine and oil-prone, which yours may absolutely not be. But these are my favorites to have in my general-use arsenal of Dealing With Mah Hairs, particularly in the fluff-it-back-up-without-adding-oil-or-weight department:

Lush The Big Tease styling gel (discontinued)
Lush No Drought dry shampoo
Lush Veganese conditioner
Lush Jumping Juniper solid shampoo
Pureology Volume shampoo
Bumble & Bumble Salt Spray
BedHead Superstar volumizing leave-in conditioner
Fekkai Gloss smoothing cream
BigSexyHair Spray & Play hair spray
Paul Mitchell Extra Body Finishing Spray

Photo source: Ablestock/Thinkstock

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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