Should I Cover My Dreads at Night?

Silk cap for dreadlocks

This question comes up quite often in dreadlock forums and chat groups, and the answer is easy. It is completely up to you whether you choose to cover your locs at night or not. Based on my experience, however, I would highly recommend it.

There are many benefits to doing this and I believe you will see noticeable improvements over the long-term, not just in your hair texture but in your loc’s formation and maturity. I hope this article answers this question clearly so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you!

The benefits of protecting your locs while sleeping

  • It prevents your dreads from absorbing your bedding’s lint.
  • It helps your hair retain its natural sebum, the oil produced by your scalp, thereby preventing your hair follicles from drying out.
  • It reduces the appearance of frizzy locs.
  • It prevents hair breakage thereby contributing to stronger, healthier dreads. 
  • It is said to encourage your hair’s matting process. In other words, those who cover them may experience faster dreadlock maturity. 

How do I protect my dreads at night?

There are several ways to protect your locs at night. Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Sleeping on satin or silk bedding: One of the cheapest and most comfortable options is a silk pillowcase. 
  • Sleeping on a pillowcase that matches your hair color: If you’re unable to get a silk or satin pillowcase, then get any pillowcase that matches your hair color— if you have black hair, get a black pillowcase, brown hair brown pillowcase, etc.

    If your locs attract lint from your pillowcase, at least it will match your hair color and won’t be as noticeable. If you can, though, avoid using cotton or other materials that are known to produce lint. 
  • Putting a microfiber towel over your pillowcase: For some reason, microfiber materials vary quite a bit— some are ultra-thin and others are thick and fluffy. I recommend the thin microfiber towel that is used for traveling or for working out, like this one

    I do not recommend the fluffy towel that is used for drying cars because those attract a lot of lint. In my opinion, this towel is a great substitute for a lint-free pillowcase or head wrap.
  • Tying up your locs: Tying up your locs will obviously work best for those with long dreads. I like to tie them (loosely) on the top of my head to contain them better overnight. This is completely optional.

    Some people, like myself, don’t like to wake up tangled in between their locs but other people don’t care. I don’t recommend doing this every day, however, especially if your locs are not fully mature yet. This is because your locs need the freedom to move and if you tie them too much, they can get weak spots. But, on occasion, it helps to keep them away from your face. 
  • Covering them up: I’m a bit paranoid about keeping my locs lint and dirt-free so I’ve made it a habit to cover them with a silk cap at night.

    This is not the preferred method for everyone because the cap can fall off sometimes and they may be a little uncomfortable at first…plus if you’re trying to make a fashion statement this is a no-go, LOL— see the picture of me above if you need a reminder of how un-sexy these look! But who knows, over the course of time, you may get used to it and choose this method over the others…it’s a matter of preference.  
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What should I cover my dreads with at night?

To cover your dreads at night, it’s best to wear something that fits snug around the rim of your forehead and neck to prevent it from slipping off in the middle of the night— a “comfortable” snuggly fit. You’ll also want to make sure your cap covers your locs loosely to give them the space to move. A doo-rag is perhaps not the best option since it’s too tight for locs and may cause breakage. Some of the options I recommend include the following: 

  • Silk cap: There are many styles of silk caps— some are short and others long to fit the length of your hair. In any case, you’ll want to get a cap with a silk inner lining. Look here for some ideas.
  • Dread sock: These are similar to the silk caps. The edge has an elastic which supposedly allows it to stay on your head through the night. Here’s hoping!!
  • Beanie: To prevent your locs from absorbing random colors of lint, I recommend using a beanie that is a similar color to your hair. 
  • Shirt: As a last resort option, I recommend using a clean t-shirt. The easiest way to cover your hair would be to have the collar wrap around your forehead and let the rest of the shirt hang around your locs.

While covering your locs at night is a matter of personal preference only, I have found it to be beneficial for me and I believe others would benefit from it as well. The best-case scenario will be that you try one of the methods mentioned and end up loving the results. The worst-case scenario will be that you don’t see the benefits or you find it uncomfortable. There’s really nothing to lose if you try it!

One quick side-note: Whether you cover them or not, expect to have some flat dreads (possibly on the sides where your head typically lays against the bed). Those locs can be palm rolled while your hair is still wet and flexible, like after a shower. 

Do you protect your locs at night? Which method do you use? I’d love to hear your insight and input in the comments below! 

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