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Curly Nikki

I Ain’t About This Life – You’ve Got Mail

By January 27th, 202168 Comments
I Ain’t About This Life – You’ve Got Mail

Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics

Readers question:
I am a transitioning natural who is slowly learning how to care for my hair and I am tired of wrapping my hair up at night. That’s it. It may sound silly or even petty but sometimes I just want to go to bed, period. No scarf, no satin cap, just lay it down. Am I being lazy? Is this unrealistic? Is natural hair not for me? I never hear any other race of women being forced to tie their hair up at night and it’s just a little irritating. Is it really that important or can I just skip it?
My response:
I feel your pain but here’s the thing, to whom much is given, much is required. Isn’t that the saying? If you want a healthy mane, it is imperative that you are obedient to it, natural or not. I admit there are a lot of DO’S and DON’Ts when it comes to natural hair care and how important each item is on the priority list is up to your discretion. I always say natural hair is not only a HAIRstyle but a LIFEstyle. For me, protecting your hair at night at all cost, is not an option, it’s a must. You may sacrifice a little vanity or convenience at times but I put it in the same category as washing make up off your face at night – no matter how tired you are, it must be treated as a requisite.

Prevents Breakage
The satin or silk scarf helps to maintain moisture levels while you sleep and acts as a barrier between your hair and the pillow case. The constant, repeated friction between the two will rob your hair of moisture which leads to dryness which makes your hair more susceptible to breakage, and so on and so on.

Aids in eliminating/reducing tangles
Naturally textured hair is already prone to tangles and leaving it unarmed at night, basically gorilla style, is inviting the possibility of even more tangles. While sleeping, you toss, you turn, and it is likely that your hair will get matted and tangled in the process. Again, leading to more sustained damage. The scarf will help to keep it tame and in place for an easier styling session in the morning.

Alternative to the scarf
If you still can’t get with the scarf at night, at least consider sleeping on a satin pillow case. This will allow your hair to be able to slide up against the pillow with ease, thus eliminating additional knots and tangles. Cotton fabric will undoubtedly pull moisture and essential oils your hair needs out of hair.

How do you feel about the scarf requirement at night? If you don’t wear one, how do you protect your mane at night?

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook.


  • Tiffany says:

    There was nothing grammatically incorrect about the paraphrase in the article, btw.

  • Anonymous says:

    @ SYP-M: Good point!

    Anywho, I say do what works for you. I tie my hair up at night – every night unless I know I'll re-do it the next day or so. I haven't noticed any real breakage but my hair does get hecka dry and it's noticeable both to the eye and to the touch. Otherwise, it's no real big deal to me.

    Yes, at times it annoys me, but it has its benefits.

    BTW, I wrapped my hair when I was permed (for wraps), too, so it's not a natural thing. If I didn't wrap, my hair would be dried out the morning after as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is very minor and in not hair related, but it matters a lot to me lol. The grammatically correct way of saying that quote (since the exact quote is translated and paraphrased from the Bible) is:

    "Of those to whom much is given, much is required."

    Just saying "To whom much is given, much is required" (which is the most common misquote) leaves out the whole object receiving the action, so it makes zero sense. If you're a grammar nerd who likes diagramming sentences, you'll see that "To whom much is given, much is required" is impossible to diagram and discover what makes it incomplete.


  • Crishair says:

    I don't use it at all!!! What I do is wrap my pillow in a satin scarf, then I pineapple my hair loosely. My hair's grown greatly. Do what works for you, the natural world has too many rules for my taste.

  • mangomadness says:

    I always wear a satin scarf and/or bonnet before sleeping (nap or bed). I've been doing this for years–with relaxed hair, braid/twist extensions and now with my natural Afro-textured hair. It's not a "burden"–it's just what I do to care for my hair.

    I wear a satin scarf and satin bonnet when I sleep because I want to preserve my hair styles (braid-out, high bun, etc.) and keep lint/thread/etc. from getting caught in my 'fro. Sometimes, I re-braid my hair before wearing a bonnet but that isn't necessary most of the time.

  • Julia @ the BackLoop says:

    I wrap may hair 99% of the time. And I have satin pillowcase for the 1% when I'm just not feeling it.
    That being said, I NEVER wrapped my hair up at night when I was growing up and I had crazy long, thick hair. It would have been past my mid-back if it had ever been given a "hard" press.

    I just slept in whatever braids my mom had my hair in and then in the morning mom would add a little water and a barrette to keep the edges down (never worked).

  • Karlisha says:

    I don't see this as just a natural hair thing, it's a hair thing. Even when I was relaxed I would never go to sleep without a satin bonnet or scarf. I never went "gorilla style" back then. I always wrapped my hair then tied it up with a satin scarf or put my hair in a top knot and wore a satin bonnet. It is just the price of beauty.

  • Karlisha says:

    I don't see this as just a natural hair thing, it's a hair thing. Even when I was relaxed I would never go to sleep without a satin bonnet or scarf. I never went "gorilla style" back then. I always wrapped my hair then tied it up with a satin scarf or put my hair in a top knot and wore a satin bonnet. It is just the price of beauty.

  • Michelle says:

    I had to learn the hard way about not protecting my hair against the cottom pillow cases at night. My hair growth was stunted because of it. The friction would cause breakage everytime, especially since my hair strands are fine. I would notice the back of my hair would always be drier because that's the part that would have more contact with the pillow. So, while it may seem like a nuisance, it is really a necessary evil. Natural hair is not hard; we've been conditioned to think so. Just as with everything else, it requires maintenance. We can't compare our hair to that of our white peers. There is vast difference in structure and maintenance. Get a satin pillow case and call it a day.

  • Anonymous says:

    P.S. That model's skin tone is just beautiful. Excellent application of makeup too!

  • Anonymous says:

    I've gotten used to the scarf (menopause) but ocassionally, I'll pull off if a night sweat should fire me up. My hair has a silken texture so sometimes, the scarf slides off. I've been using a satin pillowcase for years prior to becoming natural, but the satin scarf seems to help lock in the oils/butters in your hair thus keeping it moistured and keeping it off the pillowcase thus keeping your skin clear. However, you should do a weekly wash on your pillowcases. Latroshia, if you're using natural oils you should not have breakouts, that only occurs with commercial chemical laden hair "grease".

  • Latroshia says:

    If I may comment, I have altogether stopped sleeping on a satin pillowcase because my skin broke out so bad. With all the oils in my hair and then laying my head and face down caused my skin to break out into acne which caused me to visit the Dermatologist. After $200+ in medication, I decided to start sleeping with a satin bonnet and toss the satin pillow. My skin is back to being beautiful again. So take the time to wrap your hair at night. And my hair is so healthy and easy to manage the next morning. And I'm really really kinky coily type 4b hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Satin pillowcases are the best thing ever. They're cheap. They are comfortable and soft. They require no real effort on my part. I can come home tired and just fall asleep without pausing to wrap my hair. I'm a wash and go girl so I just spriz my hair in the morning with water, shake my kinks and coils and run out the door. It's wonderful!

  • Anonymous says:

    Although my room is clean, I've always worn something on my head. It's a psychological thing: feeling I don't want a mosquito, fly or anything buzzing around my ears nor getting tangled in my hair.

  • Nyjae says:

    I hated wrapping when I was relaxed. I swear thats why my hair broke off, acting like a WG with my tracks and not wrapping my hair at night…trying to be cute…

  • Anonymous says:

    One of the great, great, wonderful things about being a natural with a TWA is the freedom from wrapping! I love being able to just fall into bed when I'm dog tired and not have to worry about my hair. I do have a satin pillowcase, and as long as my head lands on it, I'm good. As another poster mentioned, as Black women we should have always been wrapping our hair, ESPECIALLY when it was relaxed and even more fragile. Some people seem to think natural means "no work". It appears to me that longer haired naturals actually may have more work, especially before going to bed with pineappling and such. But a simple satin bonnet would probably do the trick if you have more hair. Whatever your length, you should moisture and protect your hair every night. (mzcnnd)

  • Ayisha S. says:

    I definitely feel her pain in this article! I am one that is very lazy when it comes to any routine. I am blessed that I don't have "overly" prone anything. I don't wear alot of makeup, but when I do I rarely take it off before bed! Horrible I know. But nothing bad happens to my skin when I don't. And the same goes with my hair! I transitioned for about a year and a half and I hardly ever wraped it, or used a bonnet, or use a satin pillowcase. I little BC'ed about two weeks ago, and I still don't use any of those items. I have had no problems, but I am sure that if I did use them my hair would probably be better off! I definitely want to get a satin pillow case if nothing else because, the bonnet or scarf doesn't stay on, plus it smooshes my hair worse than having nothing on. I think it is all about finding what works best for you, because God created us all in our own unique ways!

  • Veronica H. says:

    I've been wearing a satin bonnet at night for years now. It keeps me from "looking like the sun" as my aunt used to say when I would wake up and my hair would be sticking up every which way. It's a good practice for both relaxed and natural hair but not an absolute necessity to maintain healthy hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I used to apply the silk scarf rule each night. Then I decided one night after my nightly twisting ritual to go out on a limb and sleep "uninhibited" using just my satin pillowcase. How freeing…. I did use my silk scarf recently as my hair was wet from a fresh shampoo and I didn't want to have my damp head directly on the pillowcase. The next night, back to my nights of "uninhibited" sleeping without the scarf. Either way is fine for me. The results seems to be the same, but for me it's something about being "free" to sleep as I did prior to going natural.

  • ponytail says:

    Thanks for the this information about clip in extension Relay nice Article.
    Sarah Hair Extensions offers High quality Remy Wholesale hair extensions (wigs. ponytails)that will transform your hair in minutes. All of our clip in hair extensions are thick so you can have a fuller look.I really wish we would stop with the race comparisons.I have never experience any kind of dryness or breakage.


  • Erin says:

    I use both (overkill?). I don't like the idea of oil/product winding up all over the pillowcase, but that way, if I toss and turn too much, or if I'm just dead tired, etc., I've got backup.

  • SYP-M says:

    I really wish we would stop with the race comparisons. You're not Asian, Hispanic or White, you're black and THAT IS OKAY. Embrace it and keep it moving. I am sure that whites aren't complaining or comparing themselves to blacks about the levels they have to take to protect themselves from sunburn or how often they have to wash their hair to keep it from getting too oily. They embrace who they are and the things they have to do for what works for them. So get over the race comparisons and embrace who you are and the things that YOU have to do to be BEAUTIFULLY YOU!!!

  • Lola says:

    GIVE ME THE SCARF PLEASE! (A cute one)

  • Anonymous says:

    I for one believe that wrapping, twisting, braiding, tying up my hair at night is a pain in the butt. I can't tell you how many times I've been dirt ass tired and as much as I've wanted to hit my pillow I had to wrap my hair up so I don't look a hot ass mess in the morning, it's annoying. And for those of you who say it's not about race, I'm sure there are a few exceptions but most white, asian, hispanic girls just throw there hair in some kind of high ponytail or bun and call it a night.

  • Jessica says:

    I've become a fan of Kitsch hair ties. they are flat so they dont dent your hair, and they look cute on your wrist as a bracelet when you're not using it.

  • Gabby says:

    I just began to hat the satin bonnet, like literally HATE it. Its ugly. With the length of hair I have, it make my hair look crazy in the morning. Sometimes if my hair is twisted I will pull out the scarf but other than that I use a satin pillow case. I cant tie my hair up and expect it to be cute the next day, even with retwisting or rebraiding. Everyon's hair is different, so just do what works for you.

  • toyboxplayground says:

    My only grief with bonnets/scarves alike is my girls can't seem to place them BACK in the drawer where they got them. So every night it's like a scavenger hunt looking for something to tie our hair up with. I may get a satin pillow case, but my girls can't seem to even keep their bodies in the same position let alone keep their heads on a pillow…

    Otherwise, yes. If our hair is not tied up, we can definitely feel/see a difference in the morning.

  • Tab says:

    I don't think this is a "requirement". Bunning your hair, plaiting it, twisting it, or bantu knots are all ways you can preserve your hair and moisture without a cap/scarf/bonnet. All you need is a satin pillowcase. Now if you want to make twists outs or braid outs last long and not frizz up you may just have to give up on no wrapping up. And don't make it a race issue. Anyone with curly hair of any type does something to preserve the curls at night if they don't want to loo lie a frizz ball in the morning by putting their hair in one braid or two, a high bun or ponytail.

  • Anonymous says:

    Really …… many seconds does it take to slap a bonnet or scarf on your head?

  • Anonymous says:

    am i the only one that covered my hair at night when i was relaxed? Why do people suddenly act like it's a new thing we have to do to our hair. It's not till I became natural that I realized I could use a satin pillowcase.

  • Bee says:

    love the wrap!
    btw check out my new video posts on dry detangling at my site:
    very informative and step by step how to

  • Amanda M. says:

    I don't wrap my hair ever and I'm fine with the way my hair looks. It's a hassle to do so. I don't do protective styles or twist anything. I just wash and go. At the end of the day, it is JUST hair, some dead cells that live atop your head. If you don't like it, don't do it. Don't let other people tell you how you NEED to care for your hair. It is just hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    The fact is that it is YOUR hair and you are grown. Do whatever you like, you are the one who has to style it (or not) the next day.
    There is not right or wrong thing to do with Your hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I dont wrap my hair up at night , and i i dont use a satin pillow case. I have never experience any kind of dryness or breakage from doing this. Its not as big of a people think it is.

  • Ash says:

    I was very active in high school, and pressed my natural hair every week. I was just too tired to wrap my hair when I came home at 1 am from a competition. I wouldn't even shower or change my clothes until I had enough energy.

  • natruralwonder80 says:

    i use my satin bonnet i hate wearing a head scarf simply because by the time i get up in the morning it is off my head ALWAYS!!!! so i just slip on the bonnet put two bobby pins in it to make sure it doesnt fall off ( as of right now i dont have a satin pillowcase) this seems to do the trick and it stays on all night

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been using a scarf at night religiously since I was a child. It actually feels weird if I don't do it. I've gone to sleep in my underwear because I was too lazy to put on pajamas, but I still put on my scarf. The only thing that's changed is the material of the scarf I wrap my hair with.

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    I got my trusted satin bonnets in tow. However, I'm going to get a satin pillowcase for this summer heat.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello! I lost my trusty silk scarf that Ive had for forever and a decade. I have not been able to find a good replacement at the local beauty stores. Any recommend a place online where I can get a quality satin/silk scarf that will stay on my head and night and help retain moisture?
    Thank you in advance!

  • Anonymous says:

    It's just part of the nightly stuff that I do. I wash my make-up off, brush my teeth and put on my satin cap and make sure that my head is laying on the Satin Pillowcase.

  • C. from Raleigh says:

    Satin Pillowcase. only $4 at Target.

  • Anonymous says:

    wrapping hair at not is not just a natural thing or at least it shouldn't be. I began wearing a satin scarf in high school. I always wore a satin scarf or bonnet over my relaxed hair. If I wanted to be cute or just lay it down, I'd get a satin pillow case. It is so much a part of my routine that I can't sleep well if I don't have my bonnet on. My teeth might not be brushed and my face might not be washed but that bonnet is on my head. I feel the difference when I don't sleep with it. The back is dry and matted.

  • Anonymous says:

    I sleep with a satin scarf on at night or when ever I just take a nap. I also own satin pillow cases. My hair will tangle if I do not and cause breakage trust me it happen to me before. Even when I was younger I used to wear cotton scarves because my mother never used satin or silk my hair was dry and breaking I had to stop and went on YouTube when I was a freshmen in college and found out alot about protecting hair and my natural hair as well. and curlynikki were heaven sent that saved my hair.

    Megan Montgomery

  • Nashira says:

    Putting your hair in a scarf alone is easy peasy in my book. I've been sleeping on a satin pillowcase since maybe 01-02, and wearing a satin scarf since probably 03 or 04. Now that I'm natural, I require more than just "wrapping" my hair and putting on a scarf. I usually have to retwist or rebraid, and THAT'S what makes me sick and tired of the nighttime routine sometimes. There's times that I miss my relaxer days when all I needed to do to maintain the bi-weekly roller set was to wrap my hair and put on a satin scarf, which took less than 5 min.

  • adelh says:

    once i was done with relaxing my hair, i was done with wrapping my head in a scarf. I HATED doing it,especially during the throes of menopause, and got satin pillowcases immediately. i don't have breakage and my hair and head is happy. i am positive that the scarf, as well as those hard plastic curlers i wore were responsible for the demise of my hairline, and i have no more of that either!

  • Kurly says:

    satin pillow case, of course. i was tired of wrapping after a week lol. i get all of the benefits of the satin cap or wrap.

  • Anonymous says:

    I always wrapped my hair or slept in a bonnet during my relaxer and transition. As soon as i was totally natural sleeping in a bonnet made my hair look a mess! I started just sleeping on a satin pillow case and preserves my curls and gives it a little more body for the morning. I also don't use shower caps anymore cause my hair loves steam and water.

  • Anonymous says:

    Try a satin or silk pillowcase, works just as good if not better.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just sleep on a satin pillow case. I hate the way scarves feel around my head because it gets annoying. You don't *have* to wrap your hair. I don't know any naturals that do.

  • IcyLillies says:

    I like tying my hair up at night. Sometimes I don't feel like doing it, but something about tying my hair up at night, even if my friends poke fun at for my scarfs or caps, makes me feel good. Perhaps because it's part of our culture, tying our hair up every night to protect our hair. The fact that other ethnicities/races, to me makes it special 😉

    However, I also know people who don't tie up their hair or use a satin pillow, and their hair still looks great- to me at least haha.

  • LBell says:

    Not every natural is the same and I understand how some people get annoyed by people claiming "rules" that are really options. Covering your head at night isn't a requirement; it's an option that MIGHT save you some hair in the long run.

    For me PERSONALLY, I noticed a difference when I replaced my very old random polyester scarf with a satin hair scarf from the ethnic hair aisle. I also use satin pillowcases, but the satin scarf is really all I need.

    Compared to my relaxed hair days — when I had to sleep in rollers if I wanted anything resembling a curl in the morning — tying on a scarf is easy-peasy.

  • Braelynn says:

    I have always slept in a satin scarf. I have oily skin and do not need anymore oil on my pillow cases as a result of me not wrapping my hair up. I need a barrier between my hair, the oil, my pillow, and my skin. It's just out of habit. To each his own.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think you should do whatever feels best to you & makes you comfortable, but at least sleep on a satin pillowcase, cause it requires no effort & your still protecting your hair w/o any effort.

    Brooke B.

  • Paula L White says:

    I don't wrap my hair at night. Wrapping may have some benefits, but it is NOT necessary. I have a habit of sleeping on my elbow as opposed to placing my head directly on a pillow or sheet. When I get up, I do one of 3 things: 1) nothing – just shake my head from left to right then go, 2) make 7-10 big twists with shea butter to seal then loop it around and around at the bottom of the twist, 3) section into 6 sections, add olive oil and do a minute and a half tension blow dry of each section to stretch my hair. I do have some breakage but my hair is quite long and my compliments are many 🙂

  • The Curly Oenophile says:

    I totally appreciate Tammy's desire to be free at night. I do it sometimes but I use a satin pillowcase. It's just that simple. I get tired of having something wrapped around my head at night, be it a bonnet or a scarf. Some nights it's hot and I don't want to turn on the air because I sweat a lot in head. You only get this one life and there's no reason to spend it doing things you don't want to all of the time!

  • Anonymous says:

    "Gorilla" LOLOL!!!!!

  • DiscoveringNatural says:

    For me, it's really nothing… just like how everynight, I wash my face, brush my teeth, … I also tie my scarf or put on my bonnet. I don't go without doing this, and neither do my 4 years old and 7 years old daughters. It's an habit that has helped the health of our hair.


    I wrap my hair every night to keep the moisture in and maintain healthy hair. Its a great suggestion to also consider silk pillow cases. 🙂

  • Jeannette says:

    I love Tammy's response! I have a nightly regimen (which includes wrapping my hair up) and I think nothing of it. I like maintaining healthy hair and if taking a few seconds out of the day to place a satin scarf on it helps to do the trick…then I'm all in! 🙂

  • Annie L. says:

    Thanks for the article! I see Tammy's point about taking care of your body in general, but disagree that breakage, dryness or tangles are an inevitable result for those who don't wear a scarf or sleep on a silk/satin pillowcase, or that they're a requisite for healthy hair.

    I also disagree that all natural hair is prone to tangles – mine isn't, and it's quite thick, dryish and tightly wound. I think scarves and pillowcases are alternatives that yield positive results for some, but not a rule. In general, it would be helpful to acknowledge that natural hair isn't one size fits all and that its characteristics and behaviors can be as unique as the head it covers.

    @Anonymous 2:36, thanks for pointing that out before someone got the wrong idea!

  • Jeannette says:

    I love Tammy's response! I have a nightly regimen (which includes wrapping my hair up) and I think nothing of it. I like maintaining healthy hair and if taking a few seconds out of the day to place a satin scarf on it helps to do the trick…then I'm all in! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    This comment is not even about the topic at hand..I just love the glow of the lady in the picture. The shade of chocolate brown and the texture of her skin…goodness!!!!!….just look at it. B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L!!!!!! #thatisall

  • Eboni says:

    I've never had an issue with wrapping my hair at night, especially since going natural. I slap on my satin bonnet AND sleep on a satin pillow case, lol. I would much rather suck it up and sleep w/ a scarf, than deal with the perils of dry hair. My hair texture is already prone to dryness so why make it WORSE by not using a scarf?

    But it's understandable as to why some people just don't do scarves.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anon 2:36,
    Wow, I didn't even notice that. I do really hope she meant "guerilla". Either way, I don't understand why that part of the sentence was even included in her response. It's completely unnecessary.

  • Anonymous says:

    Glad someone else is tired of and annoyed by the nightly scarf ritual. Plus, no matter how I tie it mine rarely ever seems to stay on. Satin pillowcase it is.

    BTW,in paragraph 3 of the response, I believe the word you're looking for is "guerilla"and not "gorilla". I know it's more than likely a typo/oversight but you know … referring to Black hair as "gorilla style" has a whole different connotation.

  • Anonymous says:

    i don't tie my hair up as well. I probably should, but you just get tired of it. But, i moisturize my hair every morning, ensuring that its well taken care of.

  • Anonymous says:

    It's not laziness. Hair wrapping isn't a necessity for everyone to retain length. I'm natural with four different textures of hair on my head. For me, hair wrapping is annoying and unnecessary. I gave up the scarf and now I sleep on satin pillow cases. I put my hair in 1-3 loose pony tails, lightly twist the ends, pin the ends down and that's it. My moisture retention remains the same and my hair isn't knotted in the morning.
    You will have to experiment and figure out what works for you and your hair. That's one of the cool things about a hair journey.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wrap it up. Our hair is unique like that in a good way. If you have a significant other, use a satin pillowcase.

    Even with relaxed hair, you should wrap it up for protection.

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