The Beauty Brains investigates an interesting claim…

Bebelyn says…There is an old mexican wives tale that if you braid your hair at night it will grow faster, I doubt this is true but I would like to know what hairstyle has the most benefit for the hair in terms of preventing damage at night while sleeping…braid, bun or wrapped up???

The Right Brain responds:

That’s an interesting wives’ tale and I can certainly see the grain of truth that may have sparked it.

More breakage = takes longer to grow out

While no cosmetic product or treatment can truly make your hair grow faster, it can help your hair reach a certain length faster by reducing breakage. In other words, the more your hair breaks the more time it will take to reach the length that you desire. So anything you can do to reduce breakage helps you grow it “faster,” in a manner of speaking.

Reduce breakage by reducing friction
Braiding could help reduce breakage because when you wrap your hair in a tight style, the fibers are immobilized and can’t rub against the pillow as you sleep. By reducing the fiber-fabric friction you can reduce damage to the hair. Therefore, the ”best” hairstyle to wear while sleeping is the one that reduces damage-causing  friction the most. While braiding may reduce the friction against the pillow it doesn’t prevent fibers from rubbing against each other inside the braid. Theoretically, the best thing to do is oil your hair to reduce fiber-fiber damage. Of course this creates another problem: oil will transfer to your pillowcase. So perhaps the best option is to wrap your hair in some sort of bun cover.

Ladies, how do you maintain your hair at night? Do you braid? Twist? Add product? Share your nightly routine!

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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95 Comments on "Does Braiding Your Hair at Night Make it Grow Faster?"

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Barbara

Forget about all the conditioners and the co-washing. Two years ago I had short hair now it is 22 inches long. I don’t blow dry or use heat in my hair. I am completely natural. The Hgh mouth spray by Americare will make anybody’s hair long. People will be amazed how fast your hair has grown. But there is one side effect because it will increase your libido and you will need a boyfriend. You can negotiate the price with those people too.

Natalie

So, how much did you pay for your boyfriend?

Jojo

Synthetic human growth hormone?? Seems like too much risk for long hair.

@ Natalie, I read the last 2 lines the same way.

Dee
I have been transitioning for almost two years. I just stop using heat in June. I do bantu knots and two strand twist out at night. My hair is shoulder length. The challenge that I am having is that I am getting board with the twist outs and bantu knot and I am afraid to try a wash and go. My hair is shorter in the front than in the back and I need to look professional for my job. When my hair is wet it is beautiful and curly when it dries not so much. I almost got a… Read more »
Lon

Have you tried using gel? It helps your hair to hang more whilst keeping the curl definition. Also maybe you should check out natural hair styles on youtube, there’s tons of youtubers who post tutorials for natural hair styles. In terms of your relaxed ends its really upto you whether you want to cut them off or not. I have some damaged wavy ends (through heat damage) and i’m just waiting for my hair to reach its goal length (hopefully in the next two months) then i’m going to cut the ends off. 🙂

Dee

Thank you Lon. I have not used gel because I have heard it was very drying. Per your advice, I have been checking out style videos on youtube and I have gotten lots of inspiration. I really appreciate your advice.

Love JAH

Right now I have my hair in a bun, I spritzed with a mix of aloe Vera juice and water, spritzed my home made leave in conditioner and wrapped it all up in a satin scarf…my hair has grown a lot but I feel the less manipulation the better, Pinappling your braid/twist out yields better results than rebraiding every night. Rebraid or retwist every other day or every 3 days to keep the style and retain the length.

merry

i braid/twist my hair every night. i haven’t had amazing length retention, i don’t think.

i mostly do it to prevent tangling and knots.

Kimberly

What has been working for me is pineappling my twistout with a silk scarf for a couple of days. After that I re-moisturize with plain water, daily moisture lotion and shea butter mix and re-twist, but fewer twist. I cover my hair with a scarf and sleep on a satin pillow case. Overall I try not to manipulate the hair too much.

Shamaia Veira

Especially if you have short natural hair! braiding or twisting your hair is key to retain length! The front of my hair “grows faster” than the back because its never crushed when I’m sleeping. The back is much shorter. Its just a great way to retain length and keep your hair healthy and natural!!

ArmyWife10
Yes! This is my 1st year natural. 1St week in actually taking care of my hair at night! Literrally cut it down to 1nch last October, now it’s like a short chin length Bob. I get ¼ of an inch cut off every 3months . I was tired of Waking up with a smushed afro, tired of sew-ins, and tired of fighting to keep it straight. So now I braid it every night, I mixed water, leave in conditioners, and olive oil in a water bottle and use that for moisture. (Saw this online too! ) I’m ready to wear… Read more »
TheALizTube

reducing friction can be achieved by purchasing a silk or satin Pilliowcase. If thats to much, then go to the fabric store and buy the actual material to make your own which is.much cheaper. Check a thrift store for one. If you’re in the Uk go to primark and buy the satin scarves for £3-4. One side Is rough the other is silk. Place the pillow on the rough side and tie the corners 🙂

T
I have 4b/c hair. I have been natural for a long time but was ignorant on taking care of my hair until about 3 years ago. I’ve noticed quite a difference in length retention, comparing how i maintained my hair at night back then, to how I maintain it now. I used to braid it sometimes but most of the time I would go to bed with my afro all out and co-wash it into submission the next day. I had breakage but my hair still grew and i retained a bit of my length. These days I moisturise, braid,… Read more »
Vanessa
What works great at nights for me, in regards to reducing breakage which helps with length retention and better results in hair growth, is to slightly moisturize my hair, brush it in a wrap around the crown of my head and use a silk head band to wrap it entirely. I will leave my hair like this until I have to leave the house even if I’m staying in for a day or two. I have ethnic hair and I’m Jamaican, I don’t know anyone else with hair like mine that grows as fast as mine does without the use… Read more »
Cee

Good one!… -_-

BraunSugar

What is “ethnic hair”? Everyone has ethnicity. That is not something limited to Black people.

BraunSugar

Meant to reply to the above comment.

TINA SMITH

OH PLEASE

Nadine

what does that mean when she said she is jamaican and she has ethnic hair…?

Viv

LOL @ Tina Smith! I feel the same way!

Jasmine

@tina smith omg I literally bursted out laughing just now !

Jacqueline T

Hi everyone:

Great comments. I am thinking of getting my hair braided. I was wondering if I tie it up at night with a Silk scarf or a Silk pillow case; would this be effective in retaining length as well as hair growth? I’m in AZ, and it’s get horribly hot out here. Also, I want my hair to grow; any tips/suggestions? Thanks so much.

Ashley
When I get braids, I just whip out an old school durag and wrap my hair up with that. You could probably get away with just a silk pillowcase but I sleep kinda crazy so my hair would end up pretty frizzy the next morning if I didn’t cover it with something. Tips while having braids in: treat your braids the same way you would your free-flowing natural hair. Do you usually spritz your hair with something in the morning? Do the same thing with your braids. Basically just follow your normal regimen that you usually use to keep your… Read more »
Cee
Where I live is horribly hot as well and during this summer, I kept my hair in box braids. When I took them out, I tried to look at as many hairs as possibly to check if they were shed and pretty much all were and my hair grew about an inch for the month and a half I kept them in. Just make sure to wet scalp at least once a day. This will keep your hair moisturized. They were very simple. Just make sure not to have braids that are smaller than 1/2 in. – 1 in., that’s… Read more »
yoco
My hair just reaches the top of my bra-strap when blown-out, something I only do about twice a year. Since going natural 2 yrs ago, my nightly routine has been the following: light spritz with water, add leave-in conditioner (Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner is AWESOME), seal with olive oil, and braid. If I am planning to wear a braidout, I do between 8 and 16 braids,depending on the look that I’m trying to get. If I’m just going to wear it in a bun, ponytail or I’m just too tired, then I just do 4 regular braids or 4 cornrows-… Read more »
Zenith
My hair retains length best when I leave it alone as much as possible. I did try braiding it at night for a while, but this did not lead to better length retention for me. It did not CAUSE a problem. The things that have helped me most have been: co washing, using a leave-in afterwards, using pure argan oil (not the ones mixed with silicones) for sealing ends and adding a bit of moisture at times, using my fingers for ‘combing’ 95% of the time, using NO heat, using henna 1x/month, DC each week and minimal manipulation ( little… Read more »
mlank64
Zenith, When I read your hair techniques I had to make sure it wasn’t written by me because i implement almost everything you stated. The co-washing, leave in conditioner, using pure oils particularly argon, jojoba, and grapeseed oil. I especially seal the ends, I do finger combing, no heat, and use henna once a month, DC, add moisture when needed. Here’s were we differ: I love mahogany curls and would love to implement her techniques, and some I do but, my hair looks and does better in twists or twist outs. I seem to have less tangles and SSK. I… Read more »
Landry

When I wear my hair out, (it’s currently in kinky twists, and I really miss it…okay focus) I either braid or twist it nightly after spritzing my hair with water and sealing with a bit of grapeseed oil.

I have found that keeping my 4a/b hair stretched (with no direct heat), keeps the moisture locked in and it yields more style varieties.

Mia_p

My hair grows regardless of whether it is braided or loose. I am very low key when it comes to my hair.

Venus

Same here Mia… My hair flourishes when I really don’t do anything to it… I was natural for 2 years and only did wash n goes… Did my first twist out a week ago… Everyone is different 🙂

nelle

Just wanted to say thanks for sharing, and ignore the haters.

blog police

well good for you.

Deeds

Lol @ blog police!

sherelle

My hair is heat damaged because of split ends so I have braids in canerows to give my hair a break from heat and i have noticed that my hair has grown but the split ends are breaking

DiJah

If you have split ends you should just cut it off and continue to care for your hair. No sense holding on to them, your hair will continue to break until you get rid of the split ends.

J

Split ends are caused by heat and mechanical damage.The baggy method is good for dry/damaged ends that might help but will not heal them.My ends need a trim but I wear my hair in braid outs so my ends don’t bother me.

J

I can only speak from my experience and I will say braiding at night helps me retain length better.Not only does my hair stay moisturizered longer but it keeps it from tangling up.

Hair retention is quite simple prevent mechanical damage and keep hair moisturizered as dry hair is weak hair which leads to breakage.

J

*moisturized

Cee

I agree. I braid my hair into four cornrows every night (usually stretched out) and my hair stays soft and I while I have some shedding, naturally, I do not have a significant nor moderate amount of breaking.

Niké

Retain length? yes but not “grow faster”… Keeping hair stretched in general , counteracts breakage, prevents tangling, less detangling issues, single strand knots…

mangomadness

Exactly!

“Length retention” is more important than “rate of growth”.

With that said, braids (and braid-outs) are bomb for length retention for my kinky coily hair.

mangomadness

I meant that focusing on “length retention” is more useful than dwelling on “rate of growth”. The later is pretty much immutable…

LBell

THANK YOU. On a healthy (and even not-so-healthy) person hair is going to grow REGARDLESS. Almost all the energy women spend on growth rate can be better spent on making sure their techniques aren’t hindering their length retention. I do not know why folks are still confused about this…

hyspin

Length retention is as important at rate of growth.
They are equal in my book because you can retain length as some one else yet still have short hair, because your rate of growth might be slower. So they work hand in hand.

Niké

Even if someone is a slow grower, it still is a normal growth rate for them. Retention correlates with growth but retention wont make grow it faster than it naturally does…

hyspin

Very true. It is necessary for people to realistic you main retaining length but in the end you hair won’t grow any faster so it necessary to be realistic with your goals. even if you retain 100% of your growth at 1/4 inch a month your will never have the same length as someone retains half their length at 1 inch a month, It said truth, but necessary to accept it to avoid disappointment and resentment.

tinabobina

unless the person who grows 1 inch a month happens to have a much shorter growth phase…

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