There are more ways to mask dirt than just dry shampoo.
If you have chosen to throw away every notion of daily shampooing, then congratulations. You are now in a state of rebalancing your scalp's microbiome and are allowing your hair to finally moisturize itself back to health. But as you start to scale back how often you shampoo and your scalp learns how much sebum it needs, you'll likely experience some increased oil production. Certified trichologist and inventive colorist Bridget Hill reveals that the scalp takes “45–60 days" to rebalance itself to a state of normal sebum production after one stops washing their hair daily. During this grueling waiting period of greasy locks and lack of volume, consider patience and the following techniques for those days in between washes.
Styling with Dry Shampoo
We're here to break it to you: Not all dry shampoos are created equal. “Choosing a dry shampoo to target your sebum/oil production on your roots is essential in order to not overly strip it or cause unnecessary buildup," says Aaron Grenia, co-founder of IGK Hair. Dry shampoos contain different levels of cleansing agents, typically ranging from 1 percent to 8 percent per formulation. “You can adjust the dry shampoo you use each day based on your needs. There are different cleanse levels—a light, a medium, and a deep cleanse level. You can choose the dry shampoo based on your scalp type (how oily you get), hair type (how fine or thick your hair is), and lifestyle (workouts, how far past blowouts, etc.)." When choosing a dry shampoo for your hair type, the general rule of thumb is the finer and oilier your hair is, the more cleansing agents you will need in your dry shampoo. Here are a few of our recommendations for each hair type.
Fine to Medium Hair
This hair type will require the highest level of cleansing agents in their dry shampoo to absorb excess oil while providing a lift to second-day hair that falls flat.
Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo
Medium to Curly Hair
This hair type works well with a medium-strength dry shampoo to soak up any lingering residue from a good workout while adding texture to naturally voluminous hair.
Curly to Coily Hair
This hair type requires the least amount of dry shampoo, if any at all. If you find that your curls are falling a bit flat, consider a dry shampoo paste that will absorb excess oil without drying your strands out.
Use a Shower Cap
Nothing makes hair cling to oils at the roots more than the steam of a shower. This results in a loss of volume that might have you wishing you hadn't skipped a wash that day. But there is a way to avoid this. Says Leo Izquierdo, co-founder of IGK Hair, “Wearing a shower cap is the best option on days when you are not washing your hair to protect it from humidity."
If you are not one for shower caps, Adam Federico, R+Co director of content, says, “Alternatively, wind your hair loosely into a bun. Once you get out of the shower, take your hair down right away. If it dries [in the bun] while damp (you simply can't avoid that shower steam), it will hold its shape. That makes it harder to style." If your hair does become wet with this technique, allow the hair to air-dry, and follow with a dry shampoo and hot tool to fix any lingering pieces in disarray.
Brush your hair
Says Federico, “I think that people sometimes forget that you can redistribute the natural oils that accumulate on the scalp. Use a boar-bristle brush and, starting at the roots, work down to the tips. This will help move the natural oils from your scalp to your strands' tips, where you really need them. Remember, hair isn't alive, so it doesn't produce its own oils. It needs those oils from your scalp—and it needs [your] help get them to where they need to be."
Style with Dirt in Mind
Lastly, there is no reason you shouldn't use hairstyles to mask your second- or third-day hair. Think of this trick as a one-two punch that both masks the oiliness in your hair and provides you with a chic look to tie together any Zoom-conference makeup look. Here are a few styles we recommend trying out.
Tie it back
Chase Kusero, co-founder of IGK Hair, recommends being creative with new hairstyles each day you go without a wash. Says Kusero, “[Wear] hair down and curled on day one when it's clean, then the following day, pull hair up into a loose ponytail. [The day after that, put your] hair in a bun to extend the life of your style."
Switch Your Part
When the scalp produces sebum, it not only moisturizes itself and the hair strands, it also acts as a glue that binds hair strands together, resulting in a loss of volume at the roots. To avoid this flat look during second- or third-day hair, consider switching your part to help strands separate themselves and create the illusion of volume. And no worries if you have bangs; this is a great day to rock a side-bang look.
Accessorize Your Locks
Accessorizing the hair is no longer just a way to add a dainty finishing touch to your outfit. Federico tells Coveteur, “When all else fails—invest in a cute headband. The most frustrating part of second- or third-day hair is an oily hairline (the area around the face). This pulls that hair away from your face, making it less noticeable to both you and everyone else." And if you're not a fan of headbands or hair scarves, clipping your hair back with a chic clip will do just fine.