Finding a good bonnet — one that doesn’t leave a mark on your forehead or slip and slide during the night–can be difficult. But there’s lots of reasons to wear one while you sleep. While cotton and linen pillowcases may be comfy, they dry out your hair and can cause breakage. Bonnets made of satin or silk help hair to retain moisture which can also help prevent split ends. “It’s like protection for your hair,” says Jamila Powell, founder of Maggie Rose salon and hair care brand Naturally Drenched. “They also increase the longevity of a look or a hairstyle.” Choosing between satin and silk really comes down to personal preference and what you can afford. Silk is a natural fiber and tends to be more expensive while satin is a fabric type produced with a certain weave. Satin pillowcases can be made from silk but they can also be made with polyester, which isn’t as smooth but is more affordable. Bonnets you might find at the beauty supply store are often lower-quality satin, which tends to be rougher and more plastic-feeling than higher-quality satin. This texture reduces its ability to protect your hair. “The quality of the material matters,” says hairstylist Michelle Cleveland. “You’re going to rip up your hair cuticle a lot less if you go with a higher quality bonnet. Your hair will thank you in the long run.” Aside from material, it’s important to find a bonnet that won’t come off, which ensures your bonnet does its job all night long. To avoid slippage hairstylist Ebony Clark-Bomani recommends looking for one with ties rather than elastic. “The ones that tie are adjustable and typically stay on all night.’
To find the best bonnets we asked hairstylists, people with natural hair, and hairstylists who also have natural hair and wear bonnets to bed.
All of the stylists we spoke to recommended investing in high quality satin that’ll hold up for many years to come and can be washed without losing its sheen. One such option is this bonnet from Swirly Curly, a favorite of entertainment podcast host and Vox Media Studios Chief of Staff Mallory Johns. She tried hundreds of different satin bonnets before settling on this one. Satin blend bonnets that could be found at the beauty supply store would get scratchy after a few uses and high-end silk options left her feeling unimpressed. She likes this one because it has adjustable buttons, which she says are key for keeping it in place throughout the night. “Instead of dealing with stretched out elastics constantly, I’ve got one bonnet that I adjust to preserve any style,” she says. It’s also held up to multiple washes. “I’ve been using the same bonnet for over a year and the satin lining still hasn’t worn down.”
Cortne Bonilla, a branded-content editor at Vox Creative and self-anointed “wild sleeper,” is a fan of this traceless elastic bonnet from Lilysilk, which is made of 100 percent pure silk and stays on all night. “This bonnet is a sleeker version of the classic overnight bonnet,” she says. “It has a wide band that’s super comfortable and stays on my head as I toss and turn throughout the night.”
This hand-sewn satin bonnet, which comes recommended by longtime bonnet-wearer Sydney Umeri, has all of the trappings of a traditional bonnet like ruffled edges and stretchy elastic. But unlike the bonnets of years past, it actually stays on and won’t leave an indentation behind. “It doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything when I have it on, and I don’t have issues with it sliding off at night,” she says. “I also appreciate that it’s reversible and that there are different colorways. No one really sees me in it, but it’s a little touch that I enjoy.”
The Best Affordable Bonnet
Writer Jenna Milliner-Waddell likes this ultra-affordable bonnet that can be found at the drugstore and stays on throughout the night. “This isn’t the coolest, and certainly not the cutest, bonnet on the market, but it’s definitely effective,” says Milliner-Waddell. “The elastic makes it secure without completely cutting off circulation, and unlike more high-end bonnets I’ve tried, the elastic doesn’t stretch out over time. It is on the smaller side so if you have a lot of hair, this might not work for you, but as long as I’m not wearing a protective style like waist-length box braids I haven’t had a problem.”
Best Oversized Bonnets
If you have longer hair, thicker hair, or a protective style like faux-locs or braids, you might want a bigger bonnet that can hold everything in but won’t be too tight on your head. Powell likes this extra-large, reversible one from hair-care brand Curl Daze. “It has the expandable drawstring, so you can adjust it depending on how big your hair is,” she says. “It stays on all night. I wake up and literally can stick my hands in it and just shake it out.”
Another jumbo bonnet option — this one from The Mane Choice is a favorite of content creator Natacha John. “The elastic band is strong so it stays on all night,” she says. “It’s also huge so it fits just as comfortably over my protective styles as it does my natural hair.” This one is made from satin and is double-lined, which ensures your hair won’t dry out.
The Best Bonnets That Don’t Look Like a Bonnets
If you’re on the hunt for something that doesn’t quite look like a bonnet, I’d recommend this one from Grace Eleyae, a Strategist and celeb favorite. It’s a favorite of mine because it’s unassuming, comfy and comes in lots of different colors. The cap is lined with charmeuse satin, an ultra-silky fabric that glides along my hair and helps to maintain my styles. These are one size fits all so I recommend it for someone with less hair or styles like twist outs and braid outs which will lay relatively flat. The elastic in the bonnet also stretches out over time, so if you’re concerned about that, I recommend the adjustable SLAP, which can be tightened with ties.
If you want to sleep in a silk bonnet, expect to pay a little more. This one from silk-hair-accessories brand Slip is a favorite of actress Regina King, who says it’s big enough and deep enough to fit her hair when it’s in braids. As the name suggests, it’s made from pure mulberry silk and has a thickness of 22 momme, making it a luxurious and protective option.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.