When it comes to the world of haircare, there are a few things pretty much all of us are trying to achieve, no matter our hair type. Preventing breakage and keeping our hair as healthy as can be. Luckily, there are plenty of things we can do at home to help keep our hair feeling its best. One of which being a silk hair wrap — also known as a bonnet or turban — which is a practice dating back centuries and is particularly beneficial for afro and curly hair.
So, how do silk hair wraps work? Essentially they “shield hair against the nightly friction and moisture absorption of pillowcases that causes breakages, frizz, and split ends,” explains mother-daughter duo Maria and Christine Sotiriou, co-founders of Silke London. Many people wear them day and night, but they’re particularly good at bedtime when our hair is prone to tangles. “They are great at protecting your locks to promote growth, boost thickness, and extend time between washes and [styling] — all while you sleep.”
Although it might seem like yet another beauty step to do before bedtime, silk hair wraps are well worth it, especially for textured hair that tends to be on the drier side and can get tangled more easily. “As curly and coily hair is typically more dry, higher porosity, and more prone to frizz than other hair types, [a silk hair wrap] forms a physical barrier between curls and a pillowcase, while helping to hydrate the hair by distributing its own natural oils,” explains Soritiou. “As curls are all about preservation between wash days, the hair wrap also helps curls to last, meaning less refreshing/restyling, and looking their best all week long,” she adds.
Let’s take a look at all of the benefits of a silk hair wrap, then waste no time and shop our favourites.
1. Reduces frizz and prevents breakage
Hair loves silk because it reduces friction, which ultimately reduces frizz and potential breakage. This is the main benefit of wearing a bonnet at night. “Worn nightly, hair cuticles glide smoothly against the 100% silk, protecting hair against the friction that causes frizz, breakages and split ends,” Soritiou says. Reducing breakage makes hair healthier, appears longer due to length retention, and generally feels and looks to be in a much better condition.
2. Prolongs hairstyles
Since the silk wrap keeps hair cocooned and safe from the friction from bedding, it keeps it super neat. If you’re wearing protective styles, they’ll last much longer than if you aren’t wearing silk wraps. For fine hair, you likely won’t need to wash your hair as much, “oils are no longer concentrated at the roots,” Soritiou adds.
3. Saves time on styling
If your hairstyle is staying perfectly in place overnight, you’re also going to save time on styling. This is one of the reasons wearing a silk wrap is so loved because it’s such a quick, easy thing to do and it really saves time in mornings on styling. Plus, this can prevent further damage. “Minimising damage from repetitive at home restyling and saving you time in the morning,” says Soritiou.
4 . Prevents tangles
Natural curls can frizz overnight, meaning you wake up to a tangled mess. Covering your hair with a silk wrap helps to keep the spirals intact and prevents the curls from falling out of shape or breaking up and looking frizzy. It’s important to use real silk too – since many other materials will sap the moisture from curly hair (which is often prone to dryness).
5. Boosts shine
For fine hair types especially, you’ll likely notice a difference in how shiny your hair appears. Our hair really benefits from the natural oils it produces, silk wraps help by distributing these oils “along the entire hair shaft and throughout your hair, acting as a naturally-conditioning treatment as you sleep,” Soritiou explains. All without it becoming overly greasy.
6. Helps length retention
There’s little solid evidence that hair wraps can help hair growth from the roots (aside from avoiding unnecessary friction, which we’ve already covered) but it does help with length retention, which is typically what people think when talking about hair growth. This means that the old lengths of your hair are healthier and lasting longer with minimal split ends before needing a big chop.
7. Sleep with mess-free treatments
Another benefit of protecting your hair whilst you sleep is the fact you can put treatments on with minimal mess on pillowcases and bedding. If your hair is in need of some extra TLC, pop on your favourite mask, oil or serum and let it marinate overnight.