How to Air Dry Curly Hair Overnight

By: | Last Updated: November 2, 2019

One good skill to learn is the ability to wash and dry your curly hair overnight. This way, you can significantly shorten the time you spend prepping your hair in the morning. You can go out looking great the next day in no time at all. In this article, we’ll talk about how to do just that. But first.. 

How long does it take for curly hair to dry?

Yes, having naturally curly hair is a blessing that a lot of ladies desire, but it also comes with more challenges. Curly hair requires much care as it tends to be drier, and more prone to breakage and frizz than straight hair. What’s more, curly hair takes a long time to dry. Here are some of the ways to air-dry or blow-dry your hair with minimal damage. 

Air-Drying Curly Hair

Wash your hair correctly

Curly hair is drier than straight hair because the scalp’s natural oils do not adequately get to the curl twists. This causes the hair to be dry, and prone to frizz and split ends. 

To avoid this, you should wash your hair daily, and subsequently use a moisturizing shampoo to hydrate the hair and boost its shine. Also, your shampoo should be free of detergents that strip the scalp and hair of natural oils such as sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate.  

Protein conditioners

You should balance moisture and protein in your hair to get elasticity. A protein conditioner will sink deep into the shaft of your hair, making it stronger. Even more, it forms a coating over the outer layer of the hair, ensuring that the hair remains flat and preventing frizz. 

Alternate between your moisturizing conditioner containing aloe vera, jojoba oil, Vitamin E or glycerine and a protein conditioner containing milk, silk, collagen or wheat. 

Never dry your hair with a towel

Using a cotton towel to dry your hair causes abrasion and roughens up your hair cuticles. So, squeeze water from your hair after a wash with your hands or a microfiber material, which is super absorbent. 

CHECK OUT: The Healthiest Way To Dry Your Hair

Add a Leave-in conditioner

After squeezing out water from your hair, use a wide-toothed comb to apply a leave-in conditioner through your hair, focusing on the middle section of your hair to the ends. The conditioner will protect your hair from the moisture absorbing and hair swelling that occurs during air drying. 

Control Frizz

Home remedies for frizzy hair after shower – Curling Diva

As you are styling your hair without the heat of a blow dryer, you should apply appropriate products such as cream, mousse, gel, curling and/or anti-frizz serum, spray or lotion to hold your curls and control frizz. 

READ: How To Style Curly Hair Without Frizz

After Drying

Once your hair is dry, you can separate your curls with your fingers and then finish with a suitable styling product. 

Blow-Drying Curly Hair

High-Quality Blow Dryer

Use a high quality blow dryer – Curling Diva

As said earlier, curly hair is dry, and it is more prone to breakage, so excessive heat can damage the hair proteins. This is bad because these proteins create the spiraling shape of curly hair. 

To avoid this, you should get a high-quality blow dryer that can provide you with 1400 watts, multiple speed and heat settings, and a dial. If you wash and dry your curly hair frequently, then you should purchase a ceramic, tourmaline or ionic blow dryers as they emit negative ions or infrared heat for breaking down water molecules. 

Check Out: How To Dry Hair Without Making It Frizzy


Use a diffuser with a heat dryer. On a curly hair, a diffuser will spread heat evenly, reduce frizz, retain the curls, and provide volume. 

Wash and condition your hair

Follow the same steps (explained under the air-drying section). After this, apply an anti-frizz, smoothing or curling product to your hair, then gently detangle. 

Add a heat protectant to your hair to minimize heat damage to your cuticles. Use a silicon-based product as this offers better heat protection. 

After your hair is completely dry, you can apply a finishing product. You can smooth a natural oil, serum or pomade over your curls if your hair feels frizzy.

Typically, drying mid-to-long curly hair even with heat will take about 30 minutes or more. If you have to rush out in the morning, and you don’t have this time, then your best option is to set, wash, and wrap your hair before going to bed. 

Now, the next question is, how do you sleep with wet curly hair? 

After washing your hair at night, wait till it’s damp (not dry or sopping wt), then divide the hair into two sections, part each towards your scalp and secure with bobby pins. 

Wrap your entire hair in a silk scarf to reduce frizz. If your hair is very curly, you can braid or twist it before you wrap it in a silk scarf. Then the next morning, you can use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to style your curls. 

How do you sleep with curly hair?

How To Keep Curly Hair From Tangling at Night – Curling Diva

If you had a fantastic curl day without frizz, and you want to maintain this till the next day without having to go through the process of washing and styling, then you have to learn how to sleep with curly hair. 

There are several techniques for sleeping with curly hair. You have to choose which works best for you based on your hair length, the tightness or looseness of your curls, and if you are wearing your hair dry or wet to sleep. Here are some of the ways to sleep with curly hair.

  • Loose Bun: This style will help you reduce frizz. Before you flip your hair over and secure it into a bun, you should apply a leave-in conditioning product and gel. Twist and tuck the bun loosely, then secure with a scrunchie. 
  • Two-strand Twist: You can style your hair this way when it is damp or dry, but you’ll get tighter curls if you twist on a damp hair. 
  • Pineapple: This is a favorite overnight style for ladies with curly hair. Flip your dry curls to the top your head, then use a scrunchie to tie it into a loose ponytail. 
  • Braiding: This is another popular way to sleep with curly hair. You can either do a French braid, a single loose braid or multiple braids. However, ensure that you braid the hair loosely to maintain the natural pattern of your curls. 

To prevent hair abrasion while sleeping, you should always use a satin or sile bonnet or pillowcase. Irrespective of the hair technique you select, be sure to adhere to this to avoid frizz, knots or tangles. 

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