Today we’re gonna talk about one of the common issues that plagues us when we try to stretch multiple days between washing our hair and that is how to work with dirty hair.
We’re gonna talk about oiliness, sweat, creasing, frizz, visible scalp, basically any problem you could run into with 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th day hair.
Table of Contents
Dirty Hair Hacks
Concern number one of dirty hair is oiliness. Your scalp makes oil, this oil accumulates around the root area and scalp and by day 2 or day 3, you’re gonna have way down and clumpiness.
The first and most obvious thing out there is dry shampoo. I want to share one of my favorite ones for dirty hair and that is the IGK First Class The Charcoal Detox dry shampoo.
I love this one very much. It is a deep cleanse level detoxifying, oil absorbing, scalp soothing, dry shampoo. It actually dissolves dirt and then it absorbs oil and sweat and odor and then you brush it back out of your hair and it effectively cleans your hair.
Another thing you can do if your hair is feeling flat is just flip your part. I know that’s super obvious but try it.
In general, once you’ve used your dry shampoo to absorb oil, you want to style with as much volume as you can.
Here is a quick little style you can do that will give you a little bit of volume.
First brush back your hair at the crown of your head and then push it up a little bit and pin it in place, just enough to fake that natural lifted look, so you don’t have to rely on your roots doing that for you.
Then you’re gonna grab a large section from either side of your part, bring it back and tie a very lose half knot over those bobby pins.
Pin into that half knot and then go in and gently pull at the hair that’s right around your part to add a little bit more manual lift.
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Now let’s move on to stop number two – sweatiness.
This problem mostly effects people who work out every single day.
If you’re dealing with moisture from sweat, your natural hair texture has been reactivated. In my case it means that my hair would return to being very flat, but for people with wavy to curly hair, it means that it’s going to go really crazy.
There are some things you can do to fix that.
I recommend grabbing your blow-dryer and using the leftover humidity in your hair to go ahead and fight whatever your hair is going to throw at you after it’s gotten damp.
If your hair is curly or wavy, I recommend grabbing a boar bristle brush and the dryer and just going in and re-smoothing your hair.
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If you have waves in your hair or you have straight hair, getting that smoothness back on the roots is going to help everything match a little bit better.
If your hair is typically flat, I recommend drying your hair every way, causing some root confusion in order to get tons and tons of volume into your hair and refresh that second or third day hair.
Refreshing is great, but you might also want to cleanse to get rid of the sweat gunk and build up from your hair and you can use a cleansing dry shampoo for that, like our friend that I talked about earlier. It’ll help your hair go longer between washes, even after working out and to remove odor and buildup and all that stuff.
We have talked about oily hair and we have talked about sweaty hair. Let’s talk about frizzy hair.
Typically ends get frizzy if you have a lot of damage on the ends because it needs to be cut or if it’s thirsty.
If you have a lot of damage, it’s good to cut your hair. Your second and third day hair will look better if you get rid of the damaged ends.
However if it’s just thirsty, you can moisturize it and give it a little drink. Oil is a great way to go. If your hair tends to get way down easily or you don’t need a whole lot of moisture, you can use a dry conditioner because it gives you a lightweight amount of hydration, a subtle shine and heat protection without weighing the hair down at all, which is something that I really need as somebody with very fine, flat hair.
That is kind of my one-two punch for dirty hair – to absorb the oil at the roots and then add necessary oil at the ends and then your hair looks balanced and ready to go.
Another thing that can cause frizz is if your hair has dried or slept into a funny shape and so the frizz isn’t coming from your hair being dry or damaged, it is coming from your ends being contortionists. That’s a different issue. I still recommend moisturizing but the thing that’s gonna help you the most is restyling.
You can either use a hot tool and give yourself a whole new style for the next day which can also help with the volume and lift if you need that.
You can help your flat hair by adding some curls into it, especially if this is day two and you know you can stretch your hair to day 4.
But if you don’t want to add heat into your hair another option is to do an updo because then you can go ahead and tuck the ends under everything else pin them out of sight and no one will know that you have dirty hair.
My next category is creasing and cowlicks because some of us have cowlicks that are okay to tame right after we wash the hair but then they become more and more stubborn. Also if you wear your hair up to sleep, you might be dealing with a ponytail crease. I want to talk about how to fix that.
First thing you can do is use a tool the Kristin Ess Root Tamer Tool. It’s like a straightening comb. It has little teeth that pull the hair straight and a little rod that helps to warm it up.
You just go in sections and you brush in the direction that you want the hair to fall. You will see that it will make a huge difference. If your hair was all over the place before, now it is gonna lay down nicely.
The other trick you can use is a hair dryer and the brush. The gentle heat from your hair dryer can help to relax any funny bend in your hair and the brush can help to pull it straight.
Another thing you can do if you don’t want to use heat or if you are really in a hurry is just to style around it. If you wore a ponytail the day before, wear a ponytail again or you could do a half updo very quickly and it would still be very cute and get the job done. Here is how.
Pull your hair back into a half up ponytail, pulling back whatever hair you need to cover your cowlick or crease. You could leave it there but I love a half up top knot so I’m gonna go ahead and make a top knot.
That is a very quick and easy option that you can use to disguise all amounts of crazy stuff going on and have a cute hairstyle in the process.
Our final area of concern to address is visible scalp. If your hair is getting a little clumpy or a little flat, it becomes easier to see your scalp. That’s something that I struggle with a lot especially because my hairline is very sparse.
Here are a couple easy tips for that.
First oil absorption is key, because if you have oil in the hair, it’s gonna cause that clump edge and flat looking. If you absorb the oil and maybe even add a texturizing spray into it, it gives you the ability to fake a little bit more hair and naturally disguise those gappy areas more easily.
You can also use some root color powder. I’m using the Color Wow Root Cover Up, but you could also use your brow powder instead if you have that because it’s probably in a similar color to your roots. You can do this whether your hair is up or down, braided, in a ponytail, whatever.
Those are my dirty hair hacks and tricks. I hope this helps so much.
Samantha is a hairstylist with over 12 years of color and stylist experience. She enjoys using her knowledge to create what her clients really want when they sit down in her chair. Her passion is creating unique looks that her clients feel great in.