I have never had short hair myself, but I surround myself with enough short-haired women to be well versed in their grievances. Number one on the list: the short-hair flip, which occurs most often after sleeping on short hair (wet or dry). Common grumblings associated with the dreaded flip include “Great, now I have to style my hair” and “I look like my mom.” In fact, I recently played a word association game with one of my short-haired co-workers, and unhip, dated, and an assortment of profanities ensued.
Given that this is such a widespread complaint, I figured the pros must have a solution. So I consulted a few of the industry’s best, and it turns they all have kind of the same solution.
Yes, you've heard this tip a million times, but it rings particularly true for short hair. "Silk pillowcases are the way to go when wanting to avoid hair flips with short hair. They eliminate friction allowing you to wake up free of bedhead," hairstylist Caile Noble says. "Cotton fibers usually rough up cuticle and hair, making it messier. Silk or satin is softer and won't mess up hair," agrees hairstylist Tommy Buckett. Sleeping with a silk pillowcase is also much better for your skin, so it's a win-win situation.
However, most hair stylists actually want you to take it one step further. "Wearing a scarf at night can help minimize the flips," says Hairstylist Harry Josh. Noble says it's the best way to keep your style intact—just to be sure you have the right technique. "When wrapping your hair, wrap in the opposite direction to your normal part," hairstylist Vernon Francois says. "This will create a lot more body and movement when styling in the morning." It's important to keep in mind when you think of doing this that wrapping your hair doesn't just help out in preventing flips—it's also just generally good for your hair, as it creates less friction during the night.
You should also, ultimately, accept that a little styling will be involved. But rest assured you can avoid heat styling. All you need is a spritz of product (or rose water, as Buckett suggests) to reset your natural wave, and you can layer your styling products of choice on top of that. "Take a light spritz of water or rose water to just give a little texture and maybe smooth out some pieces of the short hairstyle," he tells us.
You also might want to cut your hair. This obviously doesn't apply to people who have recently gotten their hair cut, but if your hair is flipping outwards, it could also just be because the hair is broken and/or hitting your shoulders. Naturally, hair doesn't always fall to the front or back of your shoulders—plus, the natural frizziness of broken hair causes it to stick out anyway.
No matter what, the best way to avoid getting an undesirable hairdo in the morning is to take care of your hair. If you're getting it cut regularly, using hair oils, not overprocessing it, and avoiding too much heat styling, it should be easy to get your mane exactly how you want it.