15 Ways to Refresh Hair Between Washes
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If you’re anything like me then the concept of ‘styling’ hair means a. swamping freshly-washed with leave-in conditioner in the vague hope it will air dry into some sort of acceptable shape, b. using some sort of heated tool only before any particularly important meeting/date/event, or c. scraping into a bun or pony on the in-between-washes/out-of-control-frizz/untameable days.
But while heat-styled hair generally holds its shape and volume fairly well (and even a messy bun can be achieved pretty much any time and without too much hassle), how do you refresh the flattened roots, fluffy ends, and oiliness that can come along between washes?
Luckily, I’ve had 34 years of naturally un-tameable locks to figure this one out, and I’ve now got a full routine of quick (read: lazy and very easy) ways to refresh my hair and bring it back in line in between washes.
And here it is…
1. Re-Comb Your Parting
Pretty much the quickest, cheapest way to refresh limp roots, just comb your parting backwards towards the nape of your neck before letting it fall naturally back into place and then tousling with fingers. Brush through the ends of hair to smooth any flyaways that might have crept up.
2. Dry Shampoo
The second easiest (but not quite as cheap) way to refresh hair is also the most obvious since dry shampoo is pretty much the best friend of every short/long/curly/straight haired gal out there (me included) for its instant degreasing, volumising properties.
To get the most out of your dry shampoo spritz (without any of the stiffness or weird dustiness that can go with it), I like to first shake the bottle (important, and ensures you don’t end up with just a load of powdery residue in one spot), before spritzing from a 12 inch distance on the oiliest parts of my hair, working in sections.
That means not just spraying my parting, but also lifting up hair about an inch either side of my part (and at the back of the head too) to give a quick spritz. If you have a fringe, lift this up and give the underside a quick blast too, since this is one of the first places to show grease (thanks T-zone).
Finally, I like to leave my hair for a few minutes (while I put my dry shampoo back in its little hair section of my beauty cupboard/wash my hands/reapply lip gloss etc), before gently massaging roots with my fingertips to disperse any residue and add volume.
Finding the right dry shampoo for your own hair type is half the battle I’ve found; with full on day-4 hair or curly, thick or oily types needing something heavier duty like IGK’s First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo (for my full thoughts on this day 4 hero, browse my review here). Meanwhile, dryer hair types or sensitive scalps may enjoy something slightly more natural and less heavyweight like Playa’s Soft Volume Powder.
3. Move Your Parting
Similar to point one, moving your parting is a pretty much instant (and completely free) way to increase volume and refresh limp-looking hair. I do this at some point in the middle of the day most days by combing hair backwards before using the end of a hairbrush or fingers to trace a line elsewhere on the scalp and create a new parting.
Not a tip that’s that great for the health of hair to be honest- but occasionally useful nonetheless- is backcombing hair around the hairline and parting to increase volume and disguise any flatness/oily roots/thinning hair. For some quick tips to do this without completely destroying hair in the process, there is a pretty comprehensive (and useful) guide here.
5. The Upside Down Flick
If the thought of teasing hair (and the potential breakage) is a hurdle too far, instead try flipping hair upside down before tousling roots with fingers and flicking back up. Bonus volume points for adding dry shampoo while upside down.
6. Dry Shampoo Before Working out
For keeping hair looking vaguely presentable even in the midst of a full-blown workout kick, I now dry shampoo hair before exercise so all that oil absorbing goodness gets to work as I go along. This has been one of the hair-changing hacks for me, keeping my locks looking vaguely presentable even after exercise (although sadly nixing my excuse to never workout again).
7. Blast Roots with Cold Air
After exercise, use one of those hair dryers that every gym has that’s surgically attached to the wall (as if you’re actually likely to steal it…) and switch it to the cool setting. Blasted on roots this dries out any excess sweat, before I massage my roots to get reactivate the dry shampoo I applied before exercise.
8. Mask Before Exercise
If you’re one of those organised people who actually intends to wash their hair after exercise (this is me approximately once a month), get ahead of the moisturising game by using a mask through roots, lengths and ends before a workout… The steam and heat generated helps it penetrate better (and makes me feel like I’m taking extra special care of my hair).
9. Toothbrush and Hair Spray
For frizzy, fluffy roots (especially in humid weather, after exercise or for dry, damaged hair- so all of the above in my case), use an old stylist’s trick involving a toothbrush and hairspray to comb through and slick down any wispy bits. To do this on the go, cheap a little travel-sized toothbrush and mini hairspray can with you in your bag.
10. Texturiser Spray
To refresh curls, pick an effective (but not sticky) texturiser spray to spritz through hair before using hands to either twist or scrunch curls back into position. As someone whose hair can vary between slightly wavy and pretty curly depending on how it dries, one of my favourite texturisers is Ouai’s Wave Spray .
11. Beachy Waves
Similarly, to refresh beachy waves, spritz a texturizing spray, plait hair (either in a few different plaits or one big one) and then either leave to dry or blast with a hairdryer. Since oilier hair takes a curl better than squeaky-clean locks, this is a great way to take advantage of the fringe (geddit!) benefits of dirty strands and create a whole new look between washes.
12. Pin it up
For all hair types, some strategically placed hair pins can be a great way to subtly increase volume without the need for dry shampoo/hair spray etc. Most involve backcombing before smoothing hair back over and pinning in place, while I also like to use them to clip the centre of my hair back and let the sides falls free. For 20 ways to use pins to change a style quickly though, there is a great guide just here.
13. If You Go for a Pony, Go Posh
That means instead of my traditional Mrs Trunchbull-esque bun I normally sport between washes, I occasionally go for a slicked-back pony, taking advantage of the toothbrush and hairspray tip above to click back any frizz (and along the way actually make it look like I intended to style my hair up that day).
14. Shine Serum
For every single hair type, colour or length, a shine serum through the mid-lengths and ends can add an instant polished look, cover up any less-than-fresh scents, and soften unwashed strands. My current favourites include Gisou’s Honey Infused Hair Oil and IGK’s Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm.
15. Hair Perfume
And finally, nothing says ‘I totally have my life together’ (at least in beauty terms) like hair that smells fresh and out-of-this-world gorgeous. So for a quick way to mimic a just-washed scent, check out a specially-designed hair perfume like Gisou’s Honey Infused Hair Perfume. Or for a (pretty much) free alternative, spritz some of your regular perfume on your brush before combing through hair, which should be less drying than applying alcohol-laden perfume directly to strands.
Just be warned, since perfumes do by nature contain some alcohol (which can potentially dry out hair), make sure to keep up the conditioners as well.