During your waking hours as you are growing a beard there is so much thought and preparation that goes into maintaining it and keeping it looking good. Whether that is beard oil, beard balm, or other Beard products we are constantly aware of what our beard is doing and are actively trying to groom it into shape. All of that effort can easily come undone when you go to bed. As you are sleeping there are things that you could do which could potentially damage your hair and the growth of your beard. While you are sleeping you are unaware of the amount of pressure you are putting on your beard and if you are a rough sleeper you could easily damage the hairs that come into contact with the pillow. In this article, we are going to go over everything you need to think about while you are sleeping so that your beard remains protected and does not get damaged unintentionally.
You can protect your beard while sleeping by not going to bed with wet hair (as wet hair is much easier to damage than dry hair), sleeping on your back, using a beard wrap, investing in silk pillowcases or putting a silk scarf over your pillow.
If you are finding that your beard is shedding a lot of hair while you are sleeping and your bed is becoming more and more full of beard hair in the mornings than this article should help you tackle that issue.
Let’s go over all of the ways that you can protect your beard while you are sleeping so that you don’t wake up with a worse beard than when you went to sleep.
5 ways to protect your beard while sleeping
These five ways that you can protect your beard while you are sleeping are relatively simple to implement and do not cost much. There are plenty of other things that you can do to prevent your beard becoming damage while you are sleeping but here are the top five that will have the biggest impact on your beard growth.
Don’t go to bed with wet hair
Many of my bearded friends shower at night. There’s nothing better than getting squeaky clean after a hard day of work or play (hopefully both). What you may not realise is that your nighttime shower may be putting your beard hair at risk of breakage.
In general hair is incredibly strong. On average a single strand of hair can carry up to 100 g of weight. You can even test this by doing your own experiment outlined in this scientific American article. Hair is strong because it has a three-layered structure. There are keratin fibres that make up the middle layer of the hair strand which is the same stuff that your fingernails are made of.
Although beard hair is incredibly strong there is an important exception to this rule – when you’re hair is wet. Wet hair is far weaker than dry hair, which makes it more susceptible to being broken than just about anything else you can do with it. Pulling on the hair strands are more likely to damage wet hair than dry hair.
Why is wet hair weaker than dry hair?
Hair is comprised of protein created in the hair follicle. In the middle of the hair are proteins called keratin and they are covered in cuticles which is like a protective covering for the middle of the hair. When hair is wet it absorbs the water and swells. This interrupts the bonds in the hair making it easier to damage.
As the hair is stretched (through movements of your face on your pillow) the stretching deforms the outer protective layer causing the cuticle edges to lift up and break stop once it’s cuticle armour is damaged it can make the beard feel rough and more wiry.
This means you should take extra care of your hair when it is wet.
If you cannot escape the act of sleeping on wet hair you should think about implementing some of the other interventions that are mentioned on this list.
Beard wraps are also called beard bandannas, beard durags, beard bonnets, beard guards, and beard rags. They are becoming increasingly popular to wear at night by bearded people all over the world. They are an excellent way to protect your beard while sleeping and they are the only dedicated beard product on this list that could actually help you protect your beard as you sleep.
When you are looking to purchase a beard wrap you have to make sure that it is super comfortable and will not add any extra damage or risk of damage to your beard. You can do that by checking the following things:
- material – the material that beard wrap is made of is very important. Quite often the beard wraps are made of a double layered construction with a satin or silk layer on the inside. Satin or silk is the best option for most uses as it also allows you to wear beard oil while sleeping.
- Size – if you have a really long beard you need to make sure that you buy a beard wrap that is big enough to hold your entire beard without putting too much pressure on it. Beard wraps come in a variety of sizes and so measure from one into the other taken in the full shape of the beard and choose one that will comfortably accommodate the full bulk of your beard.
- Attachment type – most beard wraps use and over the ear attachment method this can be relatively uncomfortable for many people as you do not want your ears being tugged on all night long. No matter how comfortable or soft the elastic is it can be very frustrating. There are other options such as over the head and neck attachment types – so choose one that is best for you.
A beard wrap can also be made with any sort of satin or silk like material. You can tie around your face like a bandanna and although it may not be as comfortable as a commercially available one it will still do the trick of protecting your beard.
Choose your beard wrap wisely and focus on comfort.
Sleep on your back
If you are a stomach or side sleeper you may be putting a lot of pressure on your beard. One of the easiest ways to overcome putting pressure on your beard is to become a back sleeper. If you want to sleep on your back there are a number of ways to make sure that you end up there. The easiest way is to put a pillow either side of yourself so that you can secure your sleeping position. A good head pillow for sleeping on your back is something that is of a medium loft and softness because if it is too high you’re probably end up putting your neck into an uncomfortable position.
You should also put another pillow on the back of your knees. This will stop you from rolling over and will provide some extra comfort for while you are sleeping. The bellows will help lock you into your back sleeping position so you will not be rolling onto your stomach or flipping onto your side during the night.
A Word of Warning: if you are sleeping on your back you are more prone to sleep apnoea and snoring. Sleeping on your back is the perfect way to keep the spine aligned as it does not put any pressure on joints or organs like side sleeping. When you sleep on your back however your draw will drop in an open position due to gravity and will force your tongue to the back of your throat which can restrict the flow of air.
We spend about one third of our lives sleeping. So you need to make sure that you are getting a good night sleep and if your beard is getting in the way of that you can use other techniques in this article to overcome any issues without having to change your favourite sleeping position. There is nothing worse than having a rubbish night sleep.
Using pillows can be a really great way of changing your sleeping position but if you find that you are snoring and keeping your partner up then you may be more interested in the next solution on this list which is to purchase a silk pillow case.
Silk pillow cases / scarf on your pillow
if you are a side sleeper and you do not want to change that the next best option is to purchase a silk pillow. A silk pillow will minimise the amount of friction that is caused during your tossing and turning at night and will be a frictionless surface so your hairs can move around with your movements.
The thing is, is that beard hairs can easily become trapped between you and your pillow. You can end up putting a fair bit of torsional strain right at the base of the hair and causing it to become weakened. If you do this night after night you may find that more hairs are falling out than usual.
Silk pillow cases are good for your skin as well as your facial hair. It does not strip your face or skin of the natural oils like cotton can. You shouldn’t use a silk pillow case in combination with beard oil because it will end up all over the bed. If you want to know more about using beard oil at night check out my other article where I talk about whether or not applying beard oil before bed is a waste of time and money – click here.
Silk pillow cases have all of these benefits:
- they help prevent frizzy hair – because of silt super smooth texture the hair glides over it without any friction which means that it’ll not be as frizzy in the morning.
- They keep skin hydrated – silt smoothness means that it is less likely to absorb moisture from your skin which keeps the moisture where it can do the best – next to your skin.
- Keeps hair healthy – if you have particularly brittle beard hair silk can help. Cotton is much more porous than sink and so traditional pillow cases absorb the moisture from your hair. That means if you suffer from dry hair all you have beard dandruff a good silk pillow case will really help.
If you do not want to purchase a dedicated silk pillow case you can also buy the material or use a cheap silk scarf on your pillow. You will need to find out some way to keep it in position throughout the night maybe with some clips on the underside of the pillow. But it is a cheap and effective way to try out the benefits of a silk pillow without spending loads of money on one initially.
Using a hair tie on long beards will help keep the beard out of the way. If you have a particularly long beard using a hair tie can be a way to keep the beard in one position so that it lays flat against your skin at all times. I recommend that you tie the beard tie under the chin to keep all of the hair facing forward. That way if you are a side sleeper you will have flat surfaces on both sides of your face.
If you sleep on your front you may want to also consider tying your hair to the side that you do not primarily lie on. Make sure that you tie the hair not too tight so that it is pulling at the hair roots but just tight enough so that sits snug against your face.
So there we have the five things that you can do right now to make sure that your beard is protected at night. Another frequently asked question is what can you put on your beard before you go to bed at night. Here within a do a quick rundown of the best things that you can put in your beard (or on your beard) before you go to sleep. This will keep your beard looking awesome and be protected at the same time.
What can I put on my beard before bed?
These are the top things that you can put on your beard before bed. Night time beard care means that the products that you put in have more time to act on your hair. One of the best things to put in your hair is coconut oil.
Putting coconut oil in your beard hair just before you go to bed is one of the best ways to keep it hydrated. Coconut oil is readily absorbed by the hair and can act as a deep nourishing treatment while you are sleeping.
I recommend that while you are sleeping that you combine this with a Beard wrap so that all the coconut oil stays where it is can be the most beneficial which is right next to your hair.
You can also put beard oil in your beard before you go to bed. One thing I recommend you do is apply it at least 30 minutes before you go to bed so you can be sure that he is absorbed before hitting the sack. The last thing you want to do is waste all of that beard oil by allowing it to soak into the sheets rather than giving your beard hair and awesome nourishment hydration treatment.
If you want a full run down on what beard oil is and if you can use it before bed check out my other article – what does beard oil do? [A comprehensive guide to beard oil] – click here.
Another thing that you can put in is a beard conditioner or a Beard saver. A beard conditioner or beard saver quite often contains a multitude of ingredients that are there solely to provide a nourishment boost.
What are the benefits of beard conditioners?
It can be confusing with beard oils, butters, balms and waxes. Why would you need a product that specifically conditions the beard. Unlike other products that also provide a styling and hold component – beard conditioners are formulated for maximum nourishment for your beard.
Here are some of the best reasons that you should consider using a dedicated beard conditioner:
- It nourishes and moisturizes the beard – one of the biggest benefits to your beard – it makes it lovely and soft and will make your wirey hair much easier to manage.
- It helps softens the stubble on the face – If you are not one for growing a long beard but prefer to keep it close to the skin the it’ll help soften the ends of the hairs and make it way less spikey!
- Imparts a healthy shine – A well-conditioned beard is one with a nice healthy shine to it. If you want to find out more tips and tricks to making your beard shine – check out my other article.
- It makes combing and styling easier – having hair that doesn’t grip the comb and sits well after it is brushed into place is an achievable outcome if you use a beard conditioner regularly.
- It reduces irritation and dry skin – the skin under a beard is not easy to look after. However, the regular use of a conditioner will leave the skin nourished and irritation-free. If you are worried about bacteria and a smelly beard you can also use a beard conditioner with essential oil that has antibacterial properties.
- They leave a nice fragrance The last and maybe one of the strongest effects noticed by others is that a good beard conditioner will leave your beard smelling lovely! Choose a beard conditioner that has a smell that you like and, if you have a significant other, make sure that they also like the smell! There is nothing quite like a lovely smelling product!
Don’t let sleeping undo all of your good work that you do for your beard. There are a number of ways that you can protect your beard while you are sleeping and you can use a combination of them for best results.
Ultimately, beard hair is very strong and you probably won’t have any issues with sleeping on it. Having a beard bed hair morning is very common and can normally be undone with a quick brush as well as a little bit of product.
As long as your hair is not super dry and is malnourished sleeping on it will cause minimal problems. If you are finding that you are shedding more hairs than usual go to speak to your trusted barber or healthcare professional as it could mean that you have another underlying issue and this is only one of the symptoms.
I hope you have a fantastic night’s sleep!
I am an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialing different beard styles, I want to share the tips and tricks that I have learned along the way!