Ponytails and Pillows Equal Hair Damage

Is your nighttime routine damaging your hair?

Night time tips to avoid hair damage.

You’re in your favorite pajamas and are ready to call it a day. The bra comes off and hair goes up into a ponytail. You’re ready to start your skincare routine and slather your face with your favorite potions and lotions. You officially look like a glazed donut as your head hits the pillow.

Does this nighttime routine sound familiar?  If so, you are GUILTY! No, we aren’t trying to call you out if you forgot to floss.  But, did you ever consider that your nighttime routine could be damaging your hair? We spend 1/3 of our lifetime in bed.  Let’s assume you get about 8 hours of sleep. If you are like so many women and sleep with a ponytail, that means 8 hours of wearing your hair in a constrained style.

Many women, particularly those with long hair, like to wear their hair in a ponytail to avoid the morning rats’ nest that is sure to follow if their locks are left loose.  You are better off doing the following:

Loosely gathered hair on top of pillow.
  1. Consider adding a detangler before bedtime. This will help minimize tangling that is caused during sleeping.
  2. Opt for wearing a loose braid without any hair ties.  The braid will likely come out by the morning but it will alleviate any tangling and you might wake up with perfect beach waves.
  3. Lay your hair over the pillow. Gather your hair on the top of your head. As you lay your head down on the pillow, release your hair over the top of the pillow.  By the way, if you have curly hair, you must try this technique.  It’s a lifesaver when it comes to next-day curls.
  4. Try using a satin pillow case.  Satin pillow cases have had their moment in the spotlight as of late.  They are great at decreasing friction and help to minimize frizz.  Some people also swear that it helps to minimize wrinkles. We can’t vouch for that last one but satin materials are great when it comes to helping tame hair frizz.

One of the most common causes (and easiest changes) is repetitive styling and tight hairstyles. “In fact, hair breakage from wearing your hair in clips and tight ponytails is so common there is a name for the hair loss that results from it: Traction Alopecia,” says Young. Her number one tip for avoiding hair breakage is skipping out on repetitive hairstyling. Anything that puts stress on the hair follicle is a no-go. “No ponytails at bedtime! Consider using hair-friendly materials like satin hair scrunchies, if you must wear your hair up.”


People often think of repetitive hairstyles as how hair is typically worn in the daytime.  We might assume we aren’t in the danger zone if we don’t wear braids or updos during the day.  It’s easy to forget how we are wearing our hair during nighttime and yet that accounts for so much of our life.

Another way you can change things up and allow your follicle to flex its muscle is by changing your part line.  Repetitive styling even includes wearing your hair with the same part line.  Don’t be stuck on a middle part! Change it up and allow your hair roots to spread their wings. 

Changing up your part can create beautiful volume at the crown of the head. A directional change is a great way to alleviate follicle stress.  If you notice a widening part and have consistently worn your hair with the same part line, this tip is a necessity.

The next time your head hits the pillow, be aware that how you sleep can affect your hair.  Remember, ponytails and pillows don’t mix. Try one of the four tips listed above instead.  And, don’t be afraid to go in for the part line change-up once in a while. We will spare you the guilt on if you choose to add flossing to your nighttime routine. But, on matters of hair, you can avoid damage by following these easy tips.   

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