One thing I have learned throughout the last 6 years or so of no longer washing my hair every day, is that if I can learn how to re-style my hair and make the most out of 4-5 days, I am a much happier morning person with much healthier hair.
But I get it.. I really do…
“What about the days I wake up and my hair seems ultra oily?”
“What about day 3 when I start to feel the build up of dry shampoo?”
“What about the days my hair feels like it has no lift (or potential for a lift) and it just lays flat to my scalp?”
These questions are legitimate and I have dealt with every single one of them.
And to be quite frank, as hopeful as I am that you will benefit from all the information below, understand that you may not and that is okay.
Every head of hair has unique challenges ranging from the air you live in, your lifestyle, and even genes passed down to you.
Just be sure that if you do not find these tips work for you, that you are using a great conditioner, oil, and avoiding heat as much as possible.
I thought the best way to break this down for you is to show you what my routine looks like in detail and then in part 2 of this blog post, I will be answering all of your specific concerns!
But, before I dive in, I need to break down for you why you may have to go through a period of “training” your hair.
When your hair and scalp get comfortable with an everyday wash, it is essentially in “survival mode”.
Depending on the temperature of your water and the frequency of blowdrying, your scalp is experiencing irritation from the heat and excessive washing.
Because of this, your scalp begins to produce as much sebum (oil) as it can, as it tries to protect and hydrate itself. (I go more into detail about this later)
Therefore, if you are an everyday hair washer, you have to expect a period of time where you train your scalp to not need to produce quite as much oil to keep itself hydrated.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump in!
I am a morning hair washer. I find when I wash my hair at night and sleep on it wet, I wake up and it is flat and it feels and looks oily much quicker.
This could certainly be avoided if I were to take the time to hit it with a blow dryer before I sleep, but then what is the point of washing my hair at night?
So I will wash my hair in the morning and let it air dry about 80%.
This next step is really important so are you listening?
If you let your hair air dry 100% and never hit it with a blow dryer, the chances of it feeling and looking oily quick, are much higher.
When heat, used in the correct way (medium heat for a brief amount of time protected by-products such as heat protectant and conditioning spray or oil), hits your hair via your blow dryer, it is resealing the wet, open cuticle* resulting in a shinier and smoother look.
*the cuticle is the outer layer of each individual hair strand
It is very important to note that professional products that are nourishing and protecting your hair are absolutely vital for this step to be healthy.
Letting your hair air dry for the most part is certainly recommended. But this is why I believe in the 80/20 rule…
When your hair is fresh out of warm water from the shower, the cuticle is open, vulnerable, and very ready to soak in all the moisture it can get.
Once your well-hydrated and protected hair has air dried 80%, finishing it with your blow dryer on medium heat will lock in all the wonderful nutrients from the products you have applied, and will result in a shiny finished look.
Phewf… Can you handle more?
Day 2 and 3
I don’t know about you, but as someone who works out every morning, I am not only fighting oil but I am also fighting sweat.
I have still managed to find ways to create a fresh look even on days 2-4 and sometimes even 5 (but here you gotta get creative!).
First things first, the process of keeping your hair looking fresh begins the night before.
Without fail I brush my hair every night before I go to bed and every morning right when I wake up, concentrating the brush at the roots especially around the hairline.
Detangling and smoothing your hair, as well as brushing excess product and build up out of your hair, is going to make this process a lot more successful.
For those of you like me who sweat from a workout in the morning, you want to take your hair out of its ponytail ASAP to avoid kinks and reduce the chances of your hair drying in place, hardened by the sweat.
I take my hair out of the pony tail and then I give it a quick brush through.
I then let it dry completely before applying any products, including dry shampoo.
Once my hair is dry, I will tie it back with a scrunchie (this is very important to avoid kinks) in a low bun to avoid getting it wet in the shower.
If you really struggle hard with maintaining volume, I recommend that every time you put your hair up or back, you are focusing on getting a loosely fitted ponytail or bun.
In other words, if you put your hair up high in a bun, make sure it is loose and your hair isn’t tightly pulled against your scalp. A loose bun on top with a scrunchie or a super loose low ponytail will work for this.
I do recommend that if you have a shower cap, use it!
This will avoid your hair getting damp from the moisture in the air which for a lot of hair types can cause frizz and an awful texture to try to revive.
Both days 2 and 3 involve the same exact steps for me.
After I get out of the shower, I immediately turn my flat iron on and I will go right around my hairline and smooth out any of the curls or kinks formed from sweat and/or sleeping.
It is important to note that when I do this, it is a quick tap-tap with my flat iron.
Not only are the hairs around your face super delicate, but it really doesn’t need to sit on those chairs for long.
This step is simply to give you a fresh look right around your face.
If I am being honest, a lot of the time this is all I need to do in addition to dry shampoo and putting my makeup on, in order to be ready to go for the day.
Dry shampoo is a must for days 2-4. It is completely natural for our scalps to produce oil and unfortunately for some, more than others. (I will touch on the oil or “sebum” production in Part 2)
To an extent, we have to be gracious and thankful for this process because when left in a healthy amount, it is nourishing our hair.
The right dry shampoo, when used the correct way, will help to reduce the look of the oil at your scalp, add volume, and give you a fresh smell.
I have a video linked here that you can go watch to find out HOW to apply dry shampoo the right way.
So I will apply my dry shampoo at my roots, let it completely dry and then massage it in to ensure it is dispersed throughout all of the scalps.
I will then go in either with some fresh curls or I will leave it as it is and embrace the natural fall.
Sometimes I skip a day simply to avoid touching my hair excessively every morning, which is transferring more oil from my hands every time.
After this step, before I am “ready to go”, I will apply some hydrating oil to my ends when needed.
For me, this usually begins around day 3.
The oil from your scalp does not travel all the way down your hair strands to nourish your ends so it is so important to have a good hydrating oil or serum on hand to treat those ends when they get dry.
Avoid applying this oil anywhere above the mid sections of your hair.
Day 4 and 5
I will be honest, 5 days is pushing it for me, so more often then not, I wash every 4 days!
I take an extra step on day 4 that is essential for my hair to be revived and have volume once again.
I hit the roots with my blow dryer.
If you complete this step correctly, your hair will have some life again and now you will be able to go in and add some fresh curls or accomplish whatever style you want for that day without oily, flat hair.
In order for this to work for anybody, you must understand that when you blow dry your hair the same way it always lays, it will NOT add volume.
However, if you blow dry your hair to the left of your part, to the right of your part, as well as all your hair forward and even upside down, you will bring life back to those roots.
It isn’t a matter of how long you keep the heat on your hair as much as it is about blow drying in every direction EXCEPT the way your hair is wanting to lay.
You can even try parting your hair on the opposite side after this quick blow dry and you will notice a lot more volume on top.
I will note that sometimes day 4 will look different then the last “day 4”.. Why?
A variety of factors can apply. Sometimes it is because you touched your hair more this time around, other times it could be because of hat usage, walking outside in the wind several times, sweating more from that weeks workouts, humidity, etc.
So on the days that I feel it is really truly hopeless even after I have followed through with all of the steps laid out above, I will resort to my go to high messy pony tail.
This look already requires texture and a bit of grit to look the best, so try to take advantage of those extra oily and seemingly hopeless days and try out this cute updo.
Day 5 or 6
Now it is time for a good wash.
I am including this step because it so important how you set yourself up for the 4-5 days of not washing your hair.
By the time these days pass, it is natural to have a slight build up of oil and product in your hair and at your scalp.
I have learned that one wash just does not get it clean.
You need to wash your hair twice.
You will notice that the first time you apply that shampoo on day 5 or 6, it does not want to lather well.
Apply one round to lift some of that build up, rinse well, and then reapply.
You will notice a huge difference in how clean your hair is.
In conclusion of Part 1…
This routine is enough for me to achieve a fresh new style on days 2-4 as shown in the pictures.
However, I understand that everyone’s hair is different and certainly different factors apply to each step and how we can individually overcome the oil, build up of product, flat hair, and dry ends.
For this reason, I have created a Part 2 for this “revive your hair” series.
In Part 2, I will be covering every one of the concerns and struggles you face that was sent over to me via instagram.
I am including product recommendations where needed, and more specific answers to your unique needs regarding how to wear your hair for longer with less oil and more volume.
Try out these steps, but just know and feel the freedom to adjust where necessary.
We all have unique heads of hair and each of us may need to tweak our routine to fit lifestyles and goals.
Until part 2….