Rat’s nest. Tumbleweed. A mess. These are the cruel words people have used to describe my frizzy hair. But thanks to the Grace Eleyae Adjustable Slap, I’ve gotten a handle on my curls and discovered how to help them shine. When I tend to my curls at night, I can embrace my hair for what it is: big, bold, and beautiful.
I was decades late to the dance that is proper curl care. I’ve experimented with dozens of products to tame my mane over the years. And it’s because of the Slap that my curls now bounce to the beat. I was skeptical when I first saw this adjustable bonnet in a curly-hair care roundup three years ago: It was $20, made of satin rather than silk, and called not a bonnet but a “satin-lined cap” (aka Slap). When I read Black designer Grace Eleyae’s compelling backstory about hair breakage and why she invented the Slap, I decided to give it a try. It was easy to relate to Eleyae since I have my own chemically straightened hair breakage story. I’m glad I took a chance and snapped up the Slap. It’s the only sleep bonnet that has survived the night when I’m fighting off monsters in my dreams. It looks more elegant than other, inexpensive bonnets I’ve tried, too.
The rayon-elastane exterior doesn’t cause me to break out in a sweat, while the delightfully smooth interior keeps frizzies at bay, ensuring that my curls and coils retain their shape better between wash days. My hair no longer looks like a frumpy mess when I can’t devote an hour to styling it. And that high-quality polyester charmeuse satin is kinder to my hair than a regular cotton pillowcase, which causes friction while I sleep. The Slap doesn’t stain or retain odors as easily as my pillowcase, either. It’s such a nice surprise that I can toss the Slap into the washer and dryer, too. (The tag says to hand-wash and hang-dry, but who does that?) It’s not needy, it complements my curls—seriously, where has this bonnet been all my life? And after three years together, we’re still going strong.
I especially love the Adjustable Slap’s drawstrings, which let me tighten the bonnet around my scalp to my liking, and the concealed design means the strings won’t flounce around while I’m doing my evening skincare routine. The built-in elastic band—picture sweatpants for your head—ensures that the bonnet won’t fly off my head while I’m in dreamland.
You can tuck the Grace Eleyae Adjustable Slap’s drawstrings into the bonnet so they’re never in your face. Photo: Sarah Kobos
The drawstring design comes with one drawback. I need to tighten the strings nightly to ensure the bonnet stays put, and that tight fit leaves imprints on my forehead the next morning. I prefer covering my hairline, to ensure that my baby hairs and my temperamental, face-framing curl roots are protected. If you’re happy letting the bonnet sit a few inches near the crown, the fit likely won’t be an issue for you—although the Slap may not stay put if your body is restless while you sleep.
Getting my hair ready for bedtime was a struggle before I found the Slap. Although my head is small, my type 3B curly hair is big, very porous, and surprisingly dense. Translation: I’ve got a whole lot of hair. I often have difficulty shoving my hair into a headscarf or wrangling it into a ponytail that won’t crush my curls. I’ve broken more than my share of elastic bands over the years, and I’ve had to purchase bonnets or sleep scarves that are large enough to accommodate the extra hair yet are too big for me to easily wrap around my head. That’s not an issue with the Slap, as its adjustable straps ensure a great fit every time. The deep cap offers plenty of space for my curls to rest at night. It looks a bit bulbous atop my head, but I love rockin’ the “Diva from The Fifth Element” look if it means my curls are on point the next day. And the sleek look accessorizes well, which means I can wear the Slap to protect my hairstyle during morning errand runs—misogynoir be damned.
The Adjustable Slap has a sleek silhouette. Photo: Sarah Kobos
The Grace Eleyae Adjustable Slap is the one sleep bonnet I recommend to friends with hair-care troubles of their own. It’s affordable and well made, it stays atop my head (even during a bad night’s rest), and it keeps my hair looking like it was freshly styled longer. Some days I’m still self-conscious when my frizz takes center stage. But the Adjustable Slap helped me embrace those “bad” hair days as much as I do the good ones. When I fail to wear my Slap at night, I no longer immediately smooth down the frizzies on my way out the door the next day. I choose to embrace every part of me, including the breathtakingly frizzy and curly hair atop my head. Now, when I command attention in a room, it’s not because my hair has a life of its own—it’s because my hair looks pretty damn good.
This article was edited by Christine Ryan and Christine Cyr-Clisset.