Pineapple Hair: What Is It and How It Works For Curly Hair

rihanna with curly hair

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Without question, the curls Rihanna has rocked in the past are flawless, but the secret to those perfectly defined ringlets may actually lie in that front-loaded ponytail. It turns out that in addition to being Yet Another Thing Rihanna Has Made Cool, this hairstyle is actually a killer technique for keeping curls defined and frizz-free. Keep scrolling to learn what “pineapple-ing” is and why it works for curly hair.

Meet the Expert

Leigh Hardges, Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago

What Is “Pineapple-ing” Hair?

Ebony Obsidian

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Pineapple-ing gets its name from the obvious likeness to a certain fruit, and involves tying your ringlets up as close to your hairline as possible. As Hardges explains, "It’s a method of wrapping the hair to best reduce frizz and hold on to curly hair styles while sleeping." When we sleep directly on our curls, pillows tend to absorb a lot of the hair's natural moisture and oils—which in turn causes a lot of frizz and lack of definition (not to mention the friction when we move, which also causes frizz).

How to Pineapple Hair

Choosing a satin pillowcase over cotton can help remedy frizz somewhat—we love Slip's Silk Pillowcase ($85), FWIW—but a surefire way to ensure your curls stay intact is to loosely gather them into a ponytail on top of your head after wetting your hair. That way, even if you switch from side to back to stomach-sleeping, your locks aren't disturbed—and when you remove the ponytail in the morning, voilà! Cascading curls.

Hardges gave us a step-by-step run down on how to pineapple your hair:

  • First, you will need a large silk or satin scarf and a loose scrunchie or hair tie. 
  • Bend over until all of the hair is pointing to the ground.
  • Fold the scarf into a triangle.
  • Tie the wide base of the scarf around the sides and back of the hair. 
  • Tie the knot at the hairline in the middle of the forehead. 
  • Finally, allow curly lengths to spill over the top like a pineapple.  

Does the Pineapple Hair Method Work for Short Hair?

Dawn-Lyen Gardner

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The pineapple method might be a tad difficult for those with hair on the shorter side. If you're able, you can still attempt to pull your hair up in a high ponytail, but you might have stray hairs that are loose around your neck. Instead, Hardges says, "For my short hair clients, I suggest sleeping on a satin pillowcase instead."

On the flip side, if your hair is extremely long, simply loop the hair into a loose bun instead of letting the curls flow free.

How to Take Down Your Pineapple Hair

When you're ready to take your hair down in the AM, simply remove your scarf or satin hair tie, and shake your head to fluff out your curls. Easy peasy! Hardges also gave us some specific tips:

  • Remove the scarf. 
  • Using a pick or rat tail comb, fluff the hair at the roots (do not disturb your curls). 
  • Then, shake the hair to loosen from the pineapple-d form. 
  • Spray a curl refresher or add a oil, gloss, or serum on to ends for final touches.

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