Hair wraps - from silk to stockings, we rate your options
16 May 2018
Protecting African hair, especially at night, is vital. There are all kinds of hair care tips to incorporate into your bedtime routine. One of the most important components of this regimen is wrapping your hair to protect your fragile curls from damage while you sleep.
Not every hair wrap or head scarf is created equal, though. Below, we look at the fabrics you should avoid, and those you should consider an investment, if you want to make your dream of shinier, longer, more manageable hair an everyday reality.
One of the major reasons you’re wrapping your hair in the first place is to protect it against your cotton pillowcase and other bedding – so don’t use a cotton scarf to wrap your hair. Cotton has two major disadvantages for African hair. Firstly, its rougher texture snags on intense hair coils, leading to frizz, tangles and breakage while you sleep. Secondly, cotton sucks precious moisture from hair strands more than any other fabric. If you are forced to wrap your hair with cotton material, use a soft T-shirt – although it makes a better towel than an overnight wrap.
A very common night-time protective strategy for South African women and their hair is the use of nylon pantyhose. Stockings are accessible and affordable, and are gentler on hair strands than cotton. As an improvised night time doek, stockings are quite ugly, though, so maybe skip them come sleepover time. More importantly, if you are using pantyhose as a budget-friendly night cap, avoid letting the waistband sit at the same level as your hairline. It’s the same drawback as using an elasticated bonnet, as the continual rubbing or tightness of the band can lead to hair thinning or a dreaded receding hairline.
Talking about satin can be a little confusing as satin is actually a weaving technique incorporating either silk or synthetic material. Today, though, we tend to associate satin with the latter – namely man-made fabrics like polyester. Regardless, unlike cotton, the glossy, smooth nature of satin means it won’t generate damaging friction as your hair rubs against it. Satin is also less absorbent, meaning you don’t have to worry about moisture being leeched from your hair overnight. Overall, satin is a winner because it has loads of protective benefits, and is as gentle on your bank balance as it is on your hair.
If you want to invest in premium protection for your hair (with the price tag to match), choose silk. The natural product of the silkworm, silk is supreme luxury. Like satin, silk is incredibly soft on hair and skin. As it won’t snag, you don’t have to worry as much about split ends and tangles. It also provides a good, breathable thermal balance, as it’s cool in summer and warm in winter. Silk doesn’t have as slippery a feel as synthetic satin, but the downside of this material is that it requires more specialist care. Unlike polyester-woven satin, it can’t simply be popped in the washing machine.
Now you know what fabrics to look for when wrapping your hair before bed, but as always, for expert advice specific to your needs, consult with a professional. You can find your closest expert stylist using our Salon Locator tool. Click here now.
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