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Dirty Secret: How to Get Away with Skipping a Hair Wash

Updated on September 21, 2010

We've all been there. You spent about an hour blow-drying, and possibly even straightening, your hair, and somehow it's already the next day and you're not quite up for doing it all over again. Personally, I can get away with skipping a day washing my hair. In fact, most women agree that second-day hair is a little bit more manageable. However, and my curly-headed sisters will relate, what if you want to stretch that do out for three days... or more?

The problem you're faced with is a slightly oily look. Here are some preventative measures you can take to prolong the oil (that isn't necessarily "dirty") from forming:

1. Less is more. If you're someone who has to straighten her hair, you're likely to use a straightening serum, relaxer, or lotion. In my experience, the majority of these, especially those purchased at the drugstore, do little to nothing (and some will even make your hair even funkier than if you just went with a good old fashioned fro!). These products are meant to be used sparingly. Use no more than a quarter sized drop, rub the product thoroughly in the palms of your hands before applying, and don't be tempted to use more to achieve more results. Straightening products don't work more effectively in greater quantities; excess will only remain lingering on top of your hair and scalp, thus looking greasy. Also, using less, or no, conditioner and being sure you rinse it all out, will help, too.

2. Keep your hands to yourself! I know, after you've just blow-dried your hair it is softer than ever, and your tempted to just run your fingers through it all the live-long day. However, your hands have natural oils (not to mention dirt and germs) that will be deposited in your hair every time you touch it, only to make you look greasier sooner. Don't brush or comb your hair if you don't have to. Your brushes and combs have oils on them from previous use and will just go back into your hair when you use them.

So, you might be wondering what can be done on that third day, when you want to get a little more wear out of your hair. Women who have to straighten there hair (i.e. ME), spend A LOT of time blow drying, flat ironing, and styling to get it to look the exact opposite of how it is meant to look. To do this every day would not only be damaging to our hair but also be incredibly time consuming (we would likely have well-toned arms, though). So, what should you do on day 3?

1. Don't take a steaming shower that day. It's not the steam that will make your hair greasy (actually, water will eliminate some of the grease), but it's your own sweat. You don't realize it because you're wet, but even when you're in the shower, you can still be sweating. Your sweat often has natural oils in it that will increase the oily appearance of your hair. You're also likely to be sweating under that shower cap you looks so fabulous in.

2. Absorb it! Do you know what is often used to absorb the oil from oil spills? Sand. Please, don't go putting sand in your hair. While sand might absorb the oil, it won't give you that clean look you want. However, having similar properties to sand, baby powder works wonders. At one point, I went through a 5-year bleach blond phase. Baby powder was a God-send during those days. I could shake a little into my palms, rub it into my hair, get a fresh look, and no one was all the wiser. Today, as a darker brunette, it's not so simple. I only shake a little bit into my palm because too much will give me a nice powdered wig look.  I can then shake a little bit into my palm again, and repeat as necessary, but I can't do it all at once anymore.  Nonetheless, if I just use a very little bit at a time, I can get an extra day out of my do.

3. Blow off! Set your hair dryer to cool (remember, we don't want you sweating), and use a wide-toothed comb to blow out some of the oil in you hair. Before you use the comb, wet it thoroughly and towel it dry. You don't want any oil left over on your comb from previous uses getting back into your hair. Not only will the cool air get rid of some of the oil, but it will also revive some of the body that you may have lost by day 3.

Finally, understand that this is not literally a "dirty secret." You are not at all dirty if you go 3 days without washing your hair. In fact, washing your hair every day can dry it out and even increase hair loss. In my 25 years of having straightened, bleached, and dyed my hair billions of times (that's no exaggeration), it's still pretty darn healthy. I'm convinced that is because I wash it at most every other day. I don't go longer than 3 days because by then it's beyond help. Unless I'm doing some sort of strenuous work, a rarity anyway, or something that really gets me down and dirty, I don't see any need to wash my hair every single day. I'm not ashamed to say it: I don't wash my hair everyday, and neither should you!  Thankfully, using these tips, you shouldn't have to!


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    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. Very informative information and tips I never knew anything about. If I don't wash my hair everyday, it just gets really oily and greasy looking. Any ideas?

    • IvoryMelodies profile image

      IvoryMelodies 7 years ago

      Oh Amanda - you are a woman after my own heart! Ironically, I started shampooing (and showering) every other day when I was laid off from work to economize on water usage. It worked, and I discovered exactly what you are saying - it's not necessary to wash every day. And depending on what you're doing, or who you need to impress that day, the same goes for washing your body. It feels dirty saying it, tho, but if I'm just hanging around at home, it seems wasteful. Even then, I still have limits. lol

      I think of my grandmother who had her hair done once a week at the beauty parlor. Period. The rest of the week she just brushed through it. That would be a little much for me, but imagine what that generation thought of us showering and doing our hair every single day.

      Caught part of Dr. Oz's show yesterday, and he was talking about hair issues and had some products to recommend. One was a dry shampoo - don't remember the name, but it's probably on his website. For oilier hair, the recommendation was to use the oil-absorbing facial paper blotters, as most oil accumulates at the hairline or in the part.

      Great hub, and congrats on the HubNuggets nomination!

    • sandun81 profile image

      sandun81 7 years ago

      Interesting article. My wife should be definitely interested about this. Btw, Congrats for Hubnugget Wannabe nomination.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Wow interesting tips, I'll have to try the blow off one definitely. :)

      Congrats on being selected as a nominee for this week's HubNuggets Wannabe Contest. Good luck to you! :)

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Thanks for a great hub. I have curly (tending towards frizzy) hair. It takes a lot of time to get it how I like it and so usually the second day I straighten it just for a different look. Wish it would last three days, but that is rare. I'll have to try the baby powder tips. Congrats on the nomination and good luck.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Baby powder on your hair is still the best. The talc and essential oil on it will eradicate unpleasant odor from your scalp. My sisters used to tell me they don't want to take a bath because they have their monthly period.and women have this distinct odor when they cannot wash their hair. Now, I know why they're using that 'talcum' powder.

      BTW, congratulations on your HubNugget nomination.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Congratulations on your hubnuggets nomination.

      I find on day three, braids and a cute hat mask the oily look. However, tomorrow morning, day 3 for me, I am going to try your baby powder suggestion.


    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 7 years ago from California

      Cool hub! I use Rockaholic's Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo, it lets me go days without washing my hair! It's awesome!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! Great hub. Useful tips for ladies like me, but I must be doing something right by instinct b/c I've been following a few of these tips already. Thanks.

      Congratualations on your hubnugget award. Welcome to HP

    • Kotori profile image

      Kotori 7 years ago from Chicagoland

      I have a friend who has been working her way up to washing every three days; it's taken years. She uses hats and ponytails, mostly. I have the Ojon dry shampoo, but for the price I wasn't that impressed. Baby powder is a good alternative.

    • jtrader profile image

      jtrader 7 years ago

      In winter the air is more dry. Washing every day in winter really isn't necessary and it does remove the healthy oils.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Ooh these are great tips as I confess I shower everyday! LOL Will keep this in mind.

      In the meantime, your dirty secret is not a secret anymore as the Hubnuggets team discovered it sometime this week. YIPEE...we should celebrate because your hub has bee nominated on the Hubnuggets!!!

      Check out your nomination and vote:

      To the Hubnuggets Learning Center:

      Participate in the Hubnuggets Forum Thread:

    • amanda_hinski profile image

      amanda_hinski 7 years ago from New Jersey

      Ameplaza, are you referring to the powder shampoos? I used to use shower to shower but it made no difference than baby powder and baby powder is cheaper. You just have to watch the amount if you have dark hair- don't want that powdered wig look!

    • amesplaza profile image

      amesplaza 7 years ago from starbucks

      Have you tried any dry shampoos? my friend has recommended it try it but i was wondering your stance.

    • profile image

      Lisa Murphy 7 years ago

      Great info and well written...thanks for sharing your post!

    • amanda_hinski profile image

      amanda_hinski 7 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks ladyjane1!

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

      What an awesome hub and you are quite right about not washing your hair everyday. I used to be a beauty school instructor and I would often tell everyone that it isn't necessary to wash your hair everyday. What I find works for me is I wash my hair like every two days or so and as I do take a shower everyday I run a little bit of conditioner through my hair in between washings. I have overly curly and dry hair so it works but is not for everyone. THanks for an interesting read. Keep up the good work. CHeers.