How to Handle Dirty Hair When You Don’t Have Time to Wash It

March 27, 2008 by Kristie Leong MD  
Published in Hair

If you’ve overslept and don’t have time to wash your hair for work, there’ no need to panic. Here’s how to salvage your hair and still get to work on time.

It’s been one of those mornings. Your alarm didn’t go off and you needed to be at work a half hour ago. Plus, your hair is dirty and oily from last night’s workout at the gym and you don’t have time to wash it. Is there any way to salvage your dirty hair and make it look acceptable for work? Here are some quick tips for working with dirty hair when you don’t have time to wash it:

Do a Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos can be a life saver at times like this. Commercial dry shampoos are usually powder based and spray directly onto your hair. The powder bonds with the oils allowing you to brush some of the excess oil and sebum out of your hair. If you don’t have a bottle on hand, don’t panic. Head to the kitchen and open the can of cornstarch. Use your fingers to dab corn starch only on the oily areas of your hair. Don’t use too much since it can be messy. Use a soft brush to remove the excess corn starch from your hair. If you don’t have cornstarch in the cabinet, flour can also be used although it’s even messier. Use it sparingly.

Go For Ponytail Or Braid

If your hair is long enough, do a low ponytail. Gather your hair tightly at the nape of your neck and secure it with an elastic band. Tie a ribbon or an eye catching scarf over the elastic band to hide it and add additional interest. A braid is another elegant way to disguise dirty hair if your hair is long enough. In fact, it’s often easier to braid your hair when it’s dirty. Finish off your ponytail or braid with a dynamite pair of earrings to draw attention to your face and away from your unwashed hair.

Short Hair Solution

If your hair is too short to pull into a ponytail or braid, apply pomade to the front of your hair and use your fingers to mold it against the side of your head. Creating a slicked back, “wet” hairstyle is the perfect camouflage for oily dirty hair as it looks like its part of the hairstyle. Plus, it can look ultra chic and sophisticated on its own.

Do A Three Minute Volumizing Blowdry

Apply a small amount of root lift or volumizing spray to the roots of your hair. Flip your head down so your head is pointing towards the ground and your hair is hanging over your head. Blow dry the roots in this position for three minutes and flip your hair back over your head. You should notice more lift at the roots which will help you avoid the flatness that often accompanies hair that hasn’t been washed.

Use Hair Accessories

Hair accessories can give your hair a little extra lift when it hasn’t been washed. Keep two beautiful barrettes or small combs in your bathroom drawer to use for hair emergencies. Pull the fronts of your hair back and lift it slightly before placing the comb or barrette. This will offset the flat look that’s characteristic of unwashed hair.

Wash Just Your Bangs

Bangs tend to always look oilier and flatter than the rest of the hair. If you have a few minutes, wet your bangs and do a quick shampoo and blow dry on just that portion of your hair. This can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your hair and can be done in less than five minutes.

Dirty hair doesn’t have to ruin your day. Have a hair plan in mind for those mornings that you oversleep so you can go to the office looking clean and refreshed. No one will ever have to know you overslept.

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