How To Refresh Curls After Sleeping (14 Easy Tricks)

Refreshing curls is a philosophy in itself – especially after just waking up.

What is the best way to refresh curls?

Everyone with natural curls knows the problem: On the first day after washing, the curls curl like crazy and shine really nice.

To the second day? Suddenly the hair looks like cabbage and turnips, dull and straw-like. And the curls? Let’s put it this way; some still curl, others just stand out, and some strands are more reminiscent of dreadlocks.

At least that’s how many people with curls feel. That’s why I went on a search for the different methods of taking care of curls for girls, and how they do the refresh.

Read through this guide and find your own way to refresh your curls.

How To Refresh Curls After Sleeping

Method to Refresh Curly Hair After Sleep

Tip 1: Spray with water and refresh curls.

A very typical refresh of the curls after waking up works simply with moisture, that is, with water.

For this purpose, a standard spray bottle with water in it is enough. It is good to make sure that the bottle is a fine spray mist that distributes moisture all over the hair (e.g. spray bottle from Efalock *Amazon).

Since this only slightly dampens the curls, you can quickly let them air dry.

As a rule, this gives a freshness kick for beautiful curls. If necessary, you can also add some conditioner to the bottle.

My personal tip: Add a splash of perfume or essential oil to the water and the hair smells like freshly washed.

Tip 2: Refresh with conditioner

A very popular refresh method for girls with curly hair is to moisturize the hair with a mix of water and conditioner. This is especially useful when the hair is frizzy after sleeping.

The conditioner smooths the texture.

Some girls even make the hair relatively wet again so that the curls can bundle up nicely again.

The conditioner is mixed with water on the hands and applied to the hair with Praying Hands or Raking Hands.

Read: How To Refresh Curly Hair Without Washing

Tip 3: Refresh curls with aloe vera

Since aloe vera gel provides a lot of moisture, it can be used perfectly to refresh curls. To do this, the hair is first moistened and then aloe vera gel is applied.

Tip 4: Refresh with a vinegar rinse

A refresh with vinegar is especially recommended for bad-smelling hair. The vinegar takes away the smell.

The vinegar smell, on the other hand, dissipates quite quickly.

Here’s how it works: Put a mixture of water and vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar) in a spray bottle* and spray the hair with it after sleeping.

If you like, you can add a drop of a fragrant oil.

Afterwards, if necessary, add some conditioner to the hair in case of frizz. To bring the curls back into momentum, you can also knead in some gel again.

Tip 5: Refresh curls with gel.

If the curls have clearly unhooked after waking up, they need to be defined again.

Curl gel or flaxseed gel (recipe for flaxseed gel) is particularly suitable for this purpose.

Before applying, the hair must be moistened. Then the gel is applied to the hair more sparingly than after washing. Then let the hair dry or diffuse.

If they are dry, knead out any gel cast that may have formed.

Tip 6: Curl again diffuse

If you have a lot of time for the refresh, you have the option to make the hair relatively wet again, knead in a product (conditioner or aloe vera or gel) and then diffuse again.

But again, make sure to diffuse only at low heat. Then knead out Gel cast as usual.

Tip 7: Refresh overnight

It is always best to tackle the root of the problem. So if you make sure that your curls are well protected overnight, you hardly need to refresh them the next day.

This saves an enormous amount of time.

In my experience, overnight refreshing goes particularly well by wetting the hair before bed and kneading in conditioner, curl cream, or gel as desired.

Then twist the hair in, tie it up as a pineapple or loose chignon, or even plop it.

After bedtime, undo the braid, shake out the curls, knead out the products (scrunch out the crunch) and knead in more products if desired.

I have found that curls look and hold much better the second day if you refresh them overnight.

Read: How To Take Care of Wavy Hair After Shower

Tip 8: Refresh curls with curl cream or curl spray.

Some people report positive results when they refresh their curls with curl cream or curl spray on the second day (not necessarily expert-approved).

I am still a bit skeptical about the curl cream in dry hair. With me, it always brings not quite so much – except that the hair smells good.

That is, yes already times an advantage.

With the curling sprays, however, there are actually a few quite good (eg Curly Twist* Amazon). These are usually not necessarily safe for every curl.

You can also spray dry the hair. I find the result generally awesome but better if you moisten the hair before anyway or if you use the curling spray in the evening and then twist the hair in.

Tip 9: Make hair shine with hair oil

Many swear by using a little oil on the second day to make the curls shine again.

It depends a bit on how fine your hair is. I have a lot of hair, but it is relatively fine in itself.

If I get even a little too much oil, they look disastrous.

That’s why I use it more for the tips when they are very dry and not to freshen up the whole hair. (e.g. Argan oil *Amazon)

Tip 10: Basic refresh: have the tips cut

Unfortunately, it’s just the way it is: the longer the curls become, the faster they hang out and the more maintenance-intensive they become.

If you notice that your curls are already hanging out by the end of the day of washing, you should think about having your tips cut again.

Every now and then it is really advisable to simply cut off a piece again.

Although this hurts at first, it gets the curls going again and is also noticeable on the second day.

Tip 11: To freshen up your curls, run through the rain once.

This is the only reason why curly heads are happy about rain: If you run through it once briefly and then let the hair dry again, they curl again totally beautifully.

Even if they only get a little damp. I assume that through the moisture the care products are activated again and are not washed out like when washing your hair.

However, I wonder why you just never get this effect with the spray bottle so well.

Tip 12: Save Refresh Fail: Sort out beautiful curls.

Often the curls of the lower part of the hair are still nice and curly on the second day – the top hair, on the other hand, is straw-like and straight.

This is because you haven’t flattened the uncurled hair at night and rubbed it over the pillow.

So I often just tie the top section of hair together (in a little chignon, for example) and leave the bottom one with the nice curls open: Et voilà, no one sees the straw-like, flattened part.

Tip 13: Refresh Fail: Do without curling mousse.

Many confirm that the hair is more stringy and sticky after you wake up on the second day if you used a curling mousse on wash day.

Personally, I can confirm this as well. The curl mousse gums up the hair a bit into individual strands, which then hang down like noodles the next day.

Since refreshing is really totally hard.

But I find that you can do other hairstyles totally well, because the hair has relatively much grip and you can define beautiful individual strands.

Instead of defining the curls with foam, I would rather recommend a curl cream or curl gel. This basically softens the curls.

Tip 14: Refresh Fail: Hands off the brush

Under no circumstances should you brush your hair to refresh it. This only puffs them up and pulls out the curls.

This way you won’t be able to refresh the curls at all, they will only become beautiful again with the next wash.

If you want to get rid of small tangled areas, you’d better do it with your fingers or, in the worst case, with a coarse-toothed comb (e.g. sandalwood comb*Amazon). But otherwise, comb the hair only when wet.

Even better: during the soaking time of the conditioner or before, put some oil in it. So the bristles glide more easily through the hair and correct no damage.

Tips to protect curls overnight

A question that concerns many curly heads: What is the best way to sleep with curls?

How do curls hold overnight?

How are curls still beautiful the next day?

Or do I really need to wash curls every day? Strictly speaking, of course, the question is: How do you prevent your curls from being totally flat the next day, from forming knots, or from looking like a plucked chicken?

I have collected the eight best tips and methods on how to protect your curls overnight.

Tip 1: Sleep with a silk hood or on a silk pillow

Protects curls overnight. The smooth material prevents unnecessary rubbing of the hair on a rough surface (such as with cotton).

Thus, the outer protective layer is preserved as far as possible and the curls do not become shaggy.

Especially with hair types four and Afro hair, this tip is really worth its weight in gold. So you protect your curls overnight.

Alternatively, you can also wrap a silk scarf around your hair or use a Buff. These are tube scarves that you can use in different ways.

Tip 2: Sleeping with wet hair

Gives a curly surprise the next morning. Because if the hair dries slowly overnight, the curls can curl really nicely.

The wet hair can also be plopped with a microfiber towel* or an old shirt (see tip 5) or braided/twisted into braids (See tip 3 & tip 4).

You should also knead in a styling product, such as a defining curl cream.

The advantage: The curls and waves hold much better the next day and do not hang out as long.

The only downside: you can’t really control how and in which direction your hair will swing. In addition, many people find sleeping with wet hair unpleasant.

Wash your curls especially gently with a sulfate-free shampoo.

Tip 3: Sleep with gel cast

Helps keep your curls in place overnight. Most Curly Girls (read more about the Curly Girl Method) pretty much know what a gel cast is by now.

After washing, gel is kneaded into the hair. This hardens as it dries and can then be scrunched out.

So the curls are then no longer hard but smooth.

So if you wash your hair in the evening and let a gel cast form, you can just leave it in overnight.

Through the movement it kneads itself out then. The rest can then be processed in the morning with your hands.

 Attention: Gelcast should be dry before going to bed. Otherwise, there is a sticky mess.

Tip 4: Braid hair overnight

Results in beautifully even waves. On the one hand, the curls are spared, and on the other hand, the braids give them the opportunity to curl evenly.

The tighter and smaller the braids are braided to sleep, the stronger and smaller the curls will be.

Moistening the hair beforehand (or braiding freshly washed hair) will strengthen the result.

Again, it is advisable to apply a protective and defining product in the evening before twisting in – for example, curl cream or hair oil for curls.

What braids can be braided?

  • Two or more normal braided pigtails
  • Two large or many small French braids

I like to braid my freshly washed hair into two French braids.

On the first day, I leave them as a hairstyle. To do this, I pin the ends up at the back on the other side, so that it looks like a hair wreath.

Only on the second day I then open the braids and am happy about great defined curls and hair that smells like freshly washed. With a little hairspray, I fix the curls.

Tip 5: Twist in your hair

Gives curly locks the next morning. If you don’t like braiding or you prefer dignified waves, you can twist your hair overnight.

For example, in two large braids or in many small knots.

Again, you influence the result by the strength and size of the individual braids. With two large braids, there are correspondingly large waves.

If you want to twist dry hair to keep your curls overnight, you have to twist the braids very loosely. Then the natural curls are preserved and may only be slightly strengthened.

Tip 6: Plopping hair overnight

Strengthens the curls for the next day. When plopping, the hair is pressed tightly against the head after washing and tied tightly with a microfiber towel or a T-shirt.

This way, they have no chance of going flat and are not exposed to friction.

It’s best to at least dampen the hair beforehand and possibly condition it with a leave-in conditioner (e.g. Kinky Curly Knot Today’).

In this way, people with curly hair types can also sleep excellently with curls.

Tip 7: Sleeping with a loose chignon, palm, or pineapple knot

It has the highest style factor and protects the curls from friction overnight.

Tie hair up loosely with a suitable hair tie (no metal parts!).

So far up on the head that you do not lie on it when sleeping. This way, the curls hold pretty well overnight in my experience.

For the chignon, twist all the hair together and tie it down.

The palm tree is simply a loose braid at the very top of the head.

The pineapple knot is a cross between a chignon and a palm tree, with the ends of the hair coming out freely from the chignon – looks a bit like a pineapple.

With this method, it is definitely important to use the right hair tie. In no case should there be metal or something similar on it?

Tip 8: Place curls correctly on the pillow

And if possible do not move them. This method certainly seems kind of awkward.

But personally, I also often do this by simply placing the curls up over the pillow overnight and then trying not to curl on it at night.

Sometimes that works and sometimes I curse at night because my hair is all over the place.

Nonetheless, I have read quite a few testimonials from other curly heads who handle it this way.

This method to sleep with curls probably works quite well especially with long hair, because you can let it hang upwards over the pillow.

By the way, a silk pillow is also recommended for this method.


Curls are beautiful, at least on the first day when they are freshly styled.

After a round of sleep, that is overnight, I can guarantee that the next day my hair is no longer beautiful, but straw-like and the curls are no longer defined.

The hair overall looks very unkempt.

Unfortunately, the curls can also not be combed, as with straight hair, to bring them back into shape. So I have no choice but to wear a braid or wash and blow dry the hair again.

However, since I don’t want to blow dry my hair every day, I’m always looking for tips and tools to make the curls still look pretty on the second day.

Here’s a summary to maintain curls from this guide.

Spray hair with water

The easiest way to get the hair back into shape the next day is to spray it with plain water. You should not be sparing with the water spray and knead the hair afterwards.

The hair can then either be left to dry in the air or blow-dried briefly with a hairdryer.

Spray hair with hair tonic

If water is not enough, you can also buy extra hair tonic eg the curl power spray from Balea Professional I can well recommend.

This makes the hair smell great again and the curls become more beautiful again.

Foam/gel etc. in the hair

You can also e.g. foam or other means in the hair and let them dry again in the air.

Here I also take some strands specifically and wrap them around my finger to define the curls even more beautiful.

Papilotting or plopping overnight

Protect the curls overnight, works partly, but is a bit tedious.

You can twist some strands eg on papillotes, or soft curlers, and go to sleep that way.

Or another variant is the Plopping. The freshly washed and styled hair is dried slightly, and then placed upside down in a cotton towel or T-shirt laid out on a surface.

The towel should then be wrapped around the hair. After the hair has dried, the towel/T-shirt can be removed.

Pin individual highlights to the head.

What I also like to do is twist some highlights into curls and pin them to the head with a bobby pin, then take them out after they dry and loosen up the curls a bit so that the curls look nice.

In general, if you take proper care of your curls, they will stay beautiful longer! Because if the hair structure is not too rough, they still fall beautifully after sleeping.

There are many ways to refresh your curls. It’s best to try them all and then decide which technique works best for you.

But please don’t compare yourself with other curly heads whose curls still look great on the 5th or 6th day.

Try a lot and have patience here too. Because the healthier your curls are, the longer your curls look beautiful.