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How to wash your hair less: 8 tips to extend your hair further between washes

How to wash your hair less

Above: My hair on day five! I washed it last Wednesday, and this photo was taken on the following Monday, last curled on Saturday. Also wearing this Amazon nightgown that I LOVE–so comfy and great while pregnant/postpartum. Ordered my pre-pregnancy size. 

Happy Tuesday!

I feel like this post should’ve been written a LONG time ago. (I’ve clearly been unintentionally holding out on you, and for that I apologize!) I do feel as though I have a particular knack for stretching my hair a LONG time in between washes, and today I am sharing that knowledge with you.

I will be honest in that it hasn’t always been this way, but I’m pretty proud I can now go six days in between washing my hair if I need to!

Now, what is “normal” for you going in between washes will vary GREATLY depending on your hair type and texture, so if you have a different hair texture than mine, obviously take these tips/product reccos with a grain of salt! I know what works for me won’t necessarily work for everyone–but I hope that everyone can at least learn a couple new tricks no matter what kind of hair they have!

How to wash your hair less

“Can you share tips on healthy hair?!”

I always get asked to share my tips on how my hair always looks so healthy. Everyone always wants it to be some kind of vitamin or supplement that they can take to magically give them healthier hair, but it’s not. (Sorry!) I’ll be honest, part of it is genetics, but another huge part of it is that I try to do as little to it as humanly possible–I rarely blow dry it (I air dry it) and I try to wash it as little as I can get away with.

First, blow dry your roots after a wash 

I know, I JUST said, “I rarely blow dry my hair” (unless I’m in a hurry and need it done ASAP!) but I do typically blow dry my ROOTS only–for a couple reasons. 1. Because I have weird cowlicks that can look funny when air-dried on their own, and 2. (Most importantly) it allows me to stretch a lot further in between washes. I’m not sure why this is, but my hypothesis is that something about the heat zaps the oil out.

What I’ll do is tip upside down, and shoot just my roots for about a minute, tossing with my fingers, until just the roots are dry. Then I will put in a loose braid, and let the rest air dry. (By the way, I have used this T3 hair dryer for years and I LOVE it!) I do think having a quality hair dryer makes a really big difference in damage and frizz control.

This is what I consider “step one” of my “how to start washing your hair less” bag of tricks.

You can see my air dried beach waves tutorial here if you’re interested! (Again, all these tips might not be applicable if you don’t have my hair type, so take that with a grain of salt and I would encourage you to research best air drying methods for your hair type!)

Have different dry shampoos on hand for different things

If you read nothing else in this post, I think this is the most important take away!

It was a game-changer for me was when I realized that different dry shampoos do different things. Some of them clean, purify, and make your hair smell better, others just use a powder to soak up oil and/or give you volume–and in my personal experience, I found that I need a combination of a couple different products to accomplish all these things. It might take some experimentation to figure out what works best for YOUR hair, but here’s what I do:

CLEAN hair with dry shampoo mist: 

My favorite for this is R&Co’s dry shampoo mist. It actually dampens your roots and acts kind of like a micellar water to clean and refresh your hair. I usually won’t need to apply this until day 3 or 4, but everyone will be different. I spritz my roots and around my hairline (you want it to be damp), let it sit/massage it in after about 30-60 seconds, and then I’ll give my roots a quick shot with the hair dryer. This is also the product I would recommend if your hair is damp from a workout. Spritz the roots, blow dry, and you’re good to go! Because it’s a micellar water, it really does CLEAN the hair as opposed to just being a band-aid like other dry shampoos! Another plus is that it doesn’t leave your hair feeling like it has a lot of residue in it (which I know a lot of people hate about dry shampoo!)

Soak up oil and add volume with dry shampoo powder or paste: 

I apply this whenever my hair is just a little bit oily or is just looking flat and needs a boost. I’d say the above method gets you the most results, but a regular dry shampoo is something I’d use on, say, day 2 or 3, where the mist, I might use on day 4. I will also sometimes layer these two if necessary–using a powder for volume!

Anyway, I think dry shampoo is so personal, you’ll want to try a few different kinds to figure out what works best for you, but my most recent favorite has been Briogeo’s Volumizing Dry Shampoo Powder. Bumble & Bumble’s Pret a Powder is also great.

I also LOVE R & Co’s “Badlands” dry shampoo paste (it lasts FOREVER and is also amazing for travel because it never spills–but I know some people might not be into the paste texture). You use a TINY bit, warm it in your palms, and apply to roots, massaging into scalp. (Like you would a shampoo).

If you want a spray product, or you really don’t want to buy multiple and prefer an all-in-one product, I really love Living Proof’s. I don’t think it works AS well as the above products I listed in tandem, but if convenience is the biggest factor, this is an amazing product. (It also smells incredible). If you’re also really concerned with the *feeling* of dry shampoo in your hair (it doesn’t bother me, but I know it bothers some) then this is another reason I think you’ll like Living Proof. It doesn’t feel as “dry shampoo-ey” as the others.

Use dry shampoo preventatively

A great time to apply dry shampoo is overnight while you’re sleeping, so it can soak in and prevent your scalp from getting greasy! Or, if you’re planning to do a lighter workout, or you know you might be, say, walking around outside when it’s hot, this is also a great time to add a dry shampoo powder preventatively to your roots. (Vs. the dry shampoo mist, is only something I would use reactively, once your hair is already pretty oily–does that make sense?)

Brush the roots every morning 

Brushing the roots allows you to re-distribute the oils throughout your hair and also makes it shinier! I don’t typically brush through my ends though because it causes my waves/curls to separate and frizz! (However, if you have straight hair, you won’t necessarily have to worry about that!)

If your hair has a couple tangles, spot-tackle those individually. After I brush my roots, I’ll usually sprinkle a bit of dry shampoo powder, on top, let it sit for about a minute, then tip my head upside down and use my fingers to rub it in, and then voila! Ready to go.

SEAL in your dry hair when showering

This is KEY! When you do shower, you don’t want any humidity or moisture to have access to ANY part of your hair, because this will cause it to frizz and might make it look even more oily.

The problem with shower caps is that many of them still leave your hairline slightly exposed, so you’ll still end up with slightly damp hair around your hair line. That’s not what we want! You want to ensure your hairline is completely covered–literally SEALED in.

The shower cap I’ve had for years is very old but this one is super cute and I like that it comes down further toward your face to completely cover your hair line!

If you have a shower cap already but need some extra help sealing your hair in, get something like this to velcro over the top of your shower cap so your hairline is extra sealed in!

If you’re in a pinch, just wrap your head in a towel turban style–it totally does the trick! (I usually wrap the tail end back around to my forehead and tuck it in the front so it stays super tight!)

Another trick in lieu of a shower cap–I love the “turbie twist” microfiber hair towels (that I use when I DO wash my hair) and wrapping my hair in one of those with a terrycloth headband like this over the top to seal in my hairline works great. (You just obviously can’t get your hair near the water using this method like you can with a shower cap!)

What to do if your hairline DOES get wet? That’s okay! Not the end of the world at all (just a little more work!) Just blow dry the damp parts with a hair dryer again, and touch it up as necessary (see below).

Make use of a detachable shower head, if you have one 

It’s not just for washing the dog!! If you have a detachable shower head, use it! It makes it REALLY easy to body shower and not risk splashing your hair!

Extend your ‘do, and touch up as necessary

Sometimes you might find that your hair just tends to look flat and lifeless after a couple days of not washing, so feel free to touch it up as needed!

For example, I don’t usually curl my hair unless I’m going somewhere or shooting photos, but when I do curl it, I like to be able to extend those curls as much as possible! I’ll make sure I’m spraying my full head of hair with hair spray before and after I curl it, so it will give me extra hold.

Side note, my curling iron:

By the way, I have used the T3 curling iron base with the 1″ wand for years and it’s my absolute favorite–it’s SO HOT though, I only use it on the third heat setting–be warned that you should use the most minimal setting you can get away with, otherwise you risk damaging your hair! In my experience, it’s well worth the money because my curls last days and days–far longer than with any other curling iron!

Additionally, the following days (again, only if I’m going somewhere) I will add dry shampoo as necessary, and then run a curling iron through it quickly, curling just a few sections around the top of my head to refresh my hair and add more volume. I like how my curls look on days 2-4 and how progressively they’ll look a little more “bedhead”-like. But adding a couple more curls here and there allows it to look refreshed without washing.

I also will typically add more finishing spray as needed–my favorites are Oribe’s Dry Takeover Spray (for volume and texture) and Apres Beach spray (for texture and shine). (These are expensive, I know, but seeing as I don’t dye my hair or cut it more than twice a year, I allow myself to splurge on these two!)

Don’t wash your hair unless you HAVE to 

I know this sounds bizarre, but with time, you can train your hair to produce less oil. Just like you can over wash your face, and over wash your clothes (yes, washing your clothes ruins them. Read my laundry post!) you can absolutely over wash your hair, requiring it to produce more and more oil to compensate. It can become a vicious cycle–your roots are always greasy, and your ends are always dry.

How you stop the cycle: Just start washing it less often! In fact, don’t wash it more than NEED to. Just because you shower every day does not mean you need to wash your hair every day. I usually try to stretch it to every four or five or even six days unless I’m going somewhere. Hair scarves and hats come in really handy too!

It will take a bit of time, and may mean more ponytails and messy buns and hats for a few weeks, but it will eventually adapt to where your scalp will produce less oil over time, and it’ll be a lot easier to go in between washes! I speak from experience!

How to begin: If you wash your hair daily, start washing it every OTHER day. Then, a week or two later, try adding another day to that extension–every TWO days, and so on, and so forth. Eventually, your scalp will get the picture and produce less oil overall, you’ll have to spend a LOT less time on your hair, and you’ll have way healthier hair in the process!

I hope all these tips are helpful in washing your hair less and extending further between washes!