You may be wondering if the most effective way to keep your hair looking flawless after a keratin treatment is just to spend the rest of your nights sleeping upright. Or perhaps you could try not sleeping at all. We’ve all been there – laying in an awkward position, trying to get to sleep after a particularly fabulous makeup or hair day with the hope that maybe, just maybe, it’ll still look as great in the morning.
Like with any beauty enhancement, after the time and money that you’ve spent on a keratin treatment, you will find yourself looking in the mirror, envisioning being able to channel your inner Beyoncé and “wake up like this.” But how do you make it happen?
The bad news is that for most of us, it’s not quite that simple, but the good news is that not even Queen Bey wakes up like that. If you want to give the glam squad the morning off, with a few easy tips, you can make sure that your keratin treatment will last, while minimizing the damage that can be done while you get your beauty rest.
What Does a Keratin Treatment Do?
Before you dive into the sheets, it’s important to have a quick look at what the keratin is actually doing to your hair, and how long the results will last.
In your research, you will find that keratin is a protein that our body produces naturally, in this instance – in your hair. For some, the hair follicle produces less protein; and on a purely superficial level, this simply means the hair doesn’t appear as straight, shiny, or shampoo commercial-worthy. The process adds keratin onto the hair shaft, adding heat and styling it so that the keratin will bind to your hair where it is missing the protein. (Source)
After a keratin treatment, most people can expect from 3-5 months of frizz-free bliss; however, making your treatment last as long as possible does rely on the care that you give it, especially in the first 72 hours. This is why being careful when you are asleep is just as important as when you are awake.
How to Sleep After a Keratin Treatment
The purpose of a keratin treatment is to lessen frizz and make the hair smoother and more manageable. If the aim is to make styling easy, the maintenance shouldn’t have to be so hard! Fortunately, with a keratin treatment, it’s relatively straightforward to achieve the maximum results for your hair and still be able to sleep well. Follow these 8 easy tips for a smooth night of sleep.
1. Keep It Straight
For many of us, our go-to night time hairstyle is to put it in a ponytail, bun, sleeping braid, or some other kind of haphazard whack-it-up. It is incredibly vital that you avoid these styles for the first few days, especially when you are sleeping. As tempting as it may be at night to reach for your 90’s era scrunchie, leave it tucked away.
Because the keratin requires so much time to bind to your hair and hold, an 8-hour bun will leave you with crinkles that will take away the hours and money that you have put into your ‘do. During this time, your hair will still be malleable, meaning even a loose ponytail or braid will leave slight indents. It’s best to avoid having to fix it in the morning or risking being unable to fix it at all.
Even if stick straight isn’t your standard go-to style, sleeping with it that way will ensure that the keratin has time to do its job.
2. Keep It Silky
If you haven’t already, now is an excellent time to reconsider the pillowcase that you sleep on each night. While there’s technically nothing wrong with the one that comes in any standard sheets set, there are ones that are much better to go to bed with.
For the average person, the rough fibers in fabrics such as cotton and flannel don’t have a noticeable impact; however, the friction on a smooth hair shaft can actually end up doing more damage to your hair than you know about. Using a pillowcase made of either satin or silk will provide a gentle resting place for your hair to minimize split ends as well as working together with your keratin treatment for hair free of frizz. I personally use the Fishers Finery 100% Pure Mulberry Silk Pillowcase (check the current price on Amazon) after getting my hair treated. It does an amazing job protecting my hair while I sleep, and I wouldn’t use any other pillowcase!
After the first three days, a satin scarf wrapped around your head can help keep the tiny hairs in place and extend the life of the treatment.
3. Keep On Your Back
While it’s not required, it may be worth it to sleep on your back for the first few days. In this position, you can pull all of your hair out from behind your head and over your shoulders (yes, just like Sleeping Beauty), leaving very little “scrunchable” hair at the back of your head. To keep yourself from rolling, try placing a pillow on both sides of your body. Sleeping on your back allows for little movement of the length and ends of your hair.
If you are a side sleeper who absolutely must sleep on your favorite side each night, you can use the same pull-around method pulling all of your hair over the shoulder that you are not sleeping on. With this, you do run the risk of rolling onto your back or the opposite side and crunching the hair in various sections of your head. It will also put unwanted creases in the strands that frame your face on whichever side you sleep on.
Sleeping on your stomach is not the best option because of the way that your hair falls when you switch from one side of your face to the other. If, on the other hand, you know for certain that you are not a mover nor a shaker in your sleep, sleeping on your stomach with your face resting on your arms can prevent your hair from having too much contact with anything.
Keep in mind that sleeping on your side or stomach may lead to the constant need to wake up and readjust, breaking your sleep pattern and disrupting your sleep quality.
4. Keep It Dry
Getting your hair wet in the first three days after your treatment is at the top of the list of things that you definitely do not want to do. After a night of rolling around on your hair, or if you usually wash your hair each day, you may feel the urge to give it a quick rinse. Avoid this by using a dry shampoo to freshen your look. Here is the one that I use from Amazon – Batiste Dry shampoo!
Even once you are able to start washing your hair, it’s best to avoid going to sleep with wet hair. Sleeping with it wet isn’t damaging or counterproductive, but it doesn’t give your hair the chance to dry as straight as possible without needing styling tools.
5. Keep It Cool
Keeping your bedroom at a low temperature is ideal for maximum sleep benefits in general. Cold temperatures will come in handy when you want to avoid sweating the treatment out during the night. To help prevent waking with sweat at the base of your neck or at your forehead line, make sure that your room isn’t too hot by sleeping with a fan, air conditioning, or an open window.
In addition to keeping your head temperature cool, be sure to keep your styling tools, such as hairdryer and straightening iron, to medium heat, rather than set at max. Unlike styling when you are trying to tame unruly flyaways, the treatment aims to make styling more effortless and less damaging.
Additionally, when it is time to wash your hair, always rinse with cool or cold water to help seal your hair cuticles. This will add to the effects of the treatment.
6. Keep Hands Off
As tempting as it may be to run your fingers through your smooth, silky locks, avoid touching your hair as much as possible. Since you can’t wash it for a few days, it’s best to keep the oils and any other particles from your hands far away from your strands.
Hair flipping, twirling, or any other habitual excessive touching should be off-limits until after the treatment has had time to settle.
And ladies, the no touching rule also applies to your partner and any bedroom activities that involve their hands in contact with your hair.
7. Keep It Free
Just like you shouldn’t use hair bands to keep your hair back at night, also avoid things like clips and bobby pins, as well as sleeping caps. Of course, the impression from these accessories seems minimal, and on a regular day, you may not even notice, but directly after the treatment, it’s essential to let your strands be as free as possible.
Saying this also includes daytime dents. Avoid wearing hats, headbands, scarves, and pushing your sunglasses on top of your head. If you have the habit of pushing your hair behind your ears, it’s a good idea to leave them out if you don’t want a semi-permanent ear-shaped curl.
8. Keep Masking For Help
Even with the perfect hair regimen, a keratin treatment lifespan can only go for so long. For your hair to stay feeling fresh and moisturized, apply a mask up to two times per week to help keep it conditioned.
Choosing a sulfate-free natural mask that contains argan oil can alleviate some of the dry or brittle hairs before they become unsightly. Be sure to select an overnight mask that will do all the work while you’re fast asleep. I have personally tried a few overnight hair masks and found that TruePure Natural Hair Mask (link to amazon) outperformed any other product that I could find in terms of preserving my keratin treatment!
If you decide not to apply an overnight mask, opting for a quick rinse one instead, working your mask into your nightly pre-bed routine is a great way to freshen your mane and give yourself a spa treatment at the same time.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
You may be wondering what the big deal is with how you sleep in the first few days after your treatment. For a simple cosmetic fix, there sure do seem to be a lot of rules.
Putting in the effort is essential because the treatment itself is not made up solely of Keratin (the protein we already have). Rather, it is made up of various additional chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that, when physically straightened using heat, give the results of straight hair with less frizz. So this would mean that after application, your hair is still impressionable for some time. (Source)
How To Fix It
Let’s face it; accidents happen, the gym happens, steam from the shower happens. Sometimes it can be hard to put all of your plans on hold when your friends and family won’t accept the excuse of not wanting to ruin your hair. If, over the three days, you manage to get a few kinks or your treatment just doesn’t appear to be setting as well as it should, here are a few ways that you can help keep the keratin on track.
- Brush as soon as you wake up. Unless there’s a very heavy sedative in the picture, most of us do not spend our evenings looking like Sleeping Beauty (if we did, we wouldn’t need the keratin). There’s no fault or shame in waking with a little bedhead. If that’s the case, be sure to run a smoothing brush through your hair as soon as you roll out of bed (delicately) in the morning. Catching the frizz and flyaway hairs before they have a chance to be set in their stubborn ways is your best bet for keeping them at bay for good.
- Use a hair straightener. As mentioned, you want to avoid too much heat on your hair. Not only because it’s mostly unnecessary, but also because it can strip the keratin. But in order to make sure that the treatment will set correctly, you want your hair to be free of kinks. Use your straightener on a low setting and don’t overdo it. Go over the bent strands just enough to have them fall back in line.
- Use a blow dryer. Wet hair, whether from shower steam or sweat, is usually high on the list of things to avoid for any desired hairstyle. The first few days of a keratin treatment are no different. If you do happen to have a run-in with water, be sure to blow dry your hair as soon as possible. Setting the air to cool will help avoid more heat (and more sweat).
What To Avoid
Like with all chemicals, there are certain things that you want to avoid mixing as they can strip away the keratin. These include:
- Shampoos with sulfates
Be sure to use a swimming cap, or wash your hair as soon as possible after going swimming in a pool or ocean. Speak to your salon about shampoos that are recommended and safe to use after you have had the treatment done.
Unlike some treatments in the beauty world, sleeping after a keratin treatment is a breeze once you get through the first few days. Be sure to follow all of these tips, plus the guidance of your treatment technician for an effortless hairstyle that will last for weeks.