As a Black woman, bonnets are a huge part of my hair-care routine. No matter what style I have—a silk-press, braids, or extensions—I never forget to put one on at night. The reason? Bonnets can help extend the health and life of your hairstyle. In fact, many of them prevent frizz, tangling, and the breakage that's caused by your hair rubbing against your pillowcases at night. But how exactly do they work?
The magic is in material, which is usually silk or satin. These fabrics are naturally soft and less absorbent, and thus won't strip your hair of its moisture or create friction. (That isn't so much the case with cotton.) “Silk allows the hair to move easily over the pillowcase without friction, thereby keeping its style in place,” New York City dermatologist, Marnie Nussbaum, MD previously told W+G.
- Marnie Nussbaum, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist based in New York City
“It also allows the hair to keep its natural oils and prevents frizz and dehydration,” Nussbaum adds. However, both satin and silk bonnets can provide the same amount of protection for your hair. The only real difference tends to be in the price and how each fabric is made. Satin is a human-made fiber that weaves from other materials like nylon or polyester. Whereas silk is a natural fiber created from silkworms, so it tends to be more expensive (and even softer). That said, you can't go wrong either way.
Feeling like your hair could use some nightly protection? Take a look at the tried-and-true bonnets below.
Best bonnets to wear to bed
One of the best parts of this bonnet is how versatile it is. No matter if you have short or long hair, braids or extensions, this cap really helps to keep all your hair smooth and evenly slicked. It’s reversible, and even comes with an edge-laying wrap to wear to protect the hairs around your edges.
Size is what really makes this bonnet a winner in our book. Its extra large fit protects almost any hairstyle, from big ringlet curls and blowouts, to high ponytails and elegant updos. And thanks to the snug headband, it stays pretty secure no matter how much you toss and turn at night.
Designed to feel like a buttery-soft wrap around your head, this Yanibest bonnet helps to give your hair the ultimate protection from waking up to a bad hair day. Both sides of the cap have a satin layer to help reduce frizz and excessive dryness. Plus, you can easily adjust the level of tightness around the band using the drawstring.
If you want to extend the life of your blowout or protective style, this satin bonnet is the perfect fit—literally. It’s specifically designed to hold braids, dreadlocks, curly hair, or any voluminous hair style. Additionally, the double layer of satin helps to reduce friction and breakage, so that you don’t wake up with bed head the next day.
Made with 100 percent mulberry silk, this bonnet feels like you’re sleeping on a cloud. It’s incredibly soft and perfect for protecting your hair from breakage as you sleep. The headband gently presses against your forehead, but can be tightly fastened with the ribbons in the back to keep the bonnet in place. And when it gets dirty, just toss it into the wash and you’re go to go.
In addition to keeping your hair freshly styled, this bonnet also keeps your edges smooth. The headband is made with soft satin lining to lay your baby hairs flat and keep them from unnecessary breakage. The adjustable strap is also handy when you need to make more room in the bonnet.
Get hot at night? This Kitsch Satin Sleep Bonnet may be just want you need to keep your hair from getting frizzy without breaking a sweat. It’s thin in texture and can be tied down in different ways on your head, similar to a durag. The satin material also helps to smooth out your hair and keep it from getting tangled.
If you like to wear your bonnet while running errands, this sleep cap is a stylish pick. The bow-knot tie is cute, and fits easily on top of your head. It’s also pretty soft and glides gently against your hair, thanks to the 19 momme charmeuse silk. Just keep in mind, the cap is on the small side, so you may need to pin your hair up to get full coverage.
Don’t let the picture fool you. This bonnet is the perfect size for long, thick curls. It actually stretches to fit your head, allowing you to play Goldilocks with its size. Additionally, you can increase the cap’s tightness with the two ties in the back.
If there is anyone who knows how to keep their curls frizz-free and full of volume, it’s Tracee Ellis Ross. And this satin cap is one way that the actress does just that. The bonnet, which is an offering from her beauty brand Pattern Beauty, works as a breathable and protective cover for rod sets, loose hair, locks, braids, wash-and-gos and more.
Apart from the silky material and stylish moon pattern, this bonnet gets major kudos for how well it stays put on your head. One Etsy reviewer noted: “Gave my daughter this as an Easter gift, since she has been wanting one for awhile. She has very wavy hair, I was so impressed on how her hair looked this morning after wearing it last night. It stayed on great, and great quality! Worth spending a little more for a great product.”
If you don’t like to wake up with your bonnet somewhere under your pillow, this sleeping cap may just be for you. The five-inch wide headband helps to secure the bonnet in place without creating tension on your forehead. The brand also uses a special long filament fiber and color fastness technology in the satin to help reduce fading over time.
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