No, I don't own a blow-dryer
December 4, 2010 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Every morning, I wash my hair. Then I leave for work, while my hair's still damp/wet. Does this make me... weird?

My hair's about shoulder length, and it's a very straight, fine hair. I have a hairbrush at the office that I use to brush it out about an hour after I arrive--once it's mostly dry. I've done this for years and years without thinking about it. However, I've noticed over the past few weeks that I never see other people out and about with wet hair. And I tend to get nervous about my behavior's social acceptability when I realize I'm not conforming.

I assume this makes me look unkempt, and I'm okay with that. What I don't want, however, is to be doing something so outrageously uncouth that I seem weird, gross, or socially misaligned.

So, on which side of the unkempt/gross line does going out of the house with wet hair fall? Is this more like wearing socks with sandals (ugly but just a matter of fashion) or more like wearing a shirt with an obvious stain from last night's dinner (ugly, and also a bit gross)?
posted by meese to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (91 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
It's like wearing socks with sandals, only as you go about your day the socks gradually fade away and disappear.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 4:18 PM on December 4, 2010 [7 favorites]

I do it every day, too. Well, I only wash my hair every third/fourth day, but I get it wet every morning and throw a motorcycle helmet on and ride to work. I end up with horrid helmet hair, but at my job that doesn't matter.

So, if it's uncouth, youve got company.
posted by mollymayhem at 4:18 PM on December 4, 2010

I used to do this, but it's a bit non-pro. Depending on what you do and where you work, it might seem a bit sloppy. If you teach yoga, I think it's fine. If you're a banker, use the blow dryer. Also, wet hair picks up smells and particles from the atmosphere more readily (I think--no science citation) than does dry. What if you want to meet the love of your life on the bus to work?
posted by Ideefixe at 4:19 PM on December 4, 2010

If you're a banker, use the blow dryer.

Some people's hair looks worse after the blow dryer. I don't own a blow dryer because if I had one I'd be tempted to use it, and if I used it my hair would stick out in all sorts of amusing directions.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:21 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

Probably depends a lot on your particular hair style: really short/trimmed, etc., less of an issue than really long/thick. But overall, I'd agree with the consensus above.
posted by 5Q7 at 4:23 PM on December 4, 2010

I never used a blow dryer when I had long hair. If it was below freezing out, I either made sure my hair was nearly dry when I left the house, wore a hat, or made sure to not futz with it if it froze.
posted by rtha at 4:23 PM on December 4, 2010

I too frequently leave with wet hair, and the Weirdness Police haven't arrested me yet. For whatever that's worth.
posted by chicainthecity at 4:25 PM on December 4, 2010 [7 favorites]

I did this for years...and yep, then I decided it was just too unprofessional. Basically because I saw, like you, that literally no one else was doing it. And that made me uncomfortable. But I don't think there's anything particularly wrong about it, nor do I find it socially unacceptable. If your job is the kind of place where it's no big deal, then continue on.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:25 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I do this pretty much every day too, and I have wondered the same thing. (I have long curly hair, and the reality is that blow drying it makes it look crappy, so I don't even own a blow dryer.) The conclusion I've come to is that the following conditions make it okay:
- It's not wet enough that it's, like, making the fabric of my top look wet
- I'm just going to be sitting at my desk in my office for the first hour or two of the day.

If i'm going to have a meeting in the morning, I'll try to get it a bit dryer, and I'll put my hair in a ponytail or bun so it's less noticeable. But yeah, i always feel self concious about it, even though i try to convince myself that no one else is paying attention to my hair. (You might consider doing the hair brushing in the bathroom or something - some people get grossed out by hair potentially flying around their workspace.)
posted by Kololo at 4:26 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have hair short enough that it dries on the way to work if I haven't already blowdried it, but some of my coworkers regularly come in with their hair wet. nobody seems to think anything of it.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:26 PM on December 4, 2010

I do this. Hair dryers are death to my curls.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:28 PM on December 4, 2010

If it helps answer your question, I personally have never thought to myself "Oh god, wet hair... they must have washed it, I hate clean hair, I hope they don't stand near me" when traveling to work on the tube every morning.
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:29 PM on December 4, 2010 [21 favorites]


I often have wet hair but I usually twist it up in a bun, and because my hair is dark, it's hard to tell. I think that yes, some people will think you're not well groomed. As for the uncouth bit, I'm not sure.
posted by b33j at 4:32 PM on December 4, 2010

Well, I do it all the time, so I don't think it's weird or gross. As long as you have thoroughly towel dried your hair before leaving (so your hair isn't literally dripping wet, which would be weird) I think you're good.
posted by crankylex at 4:32 PM on December 4, 2010

I do it too, when my hair's short enough to dry completely during the commute (if it's too long, I just wash it the night before). It's not gross or socially unacceptable, but it does make you look less put-together, like wearing clothes that don't quite fit or having a rampant unibrow.

Do you brush your hair at your desk or in the office bathroom? Brushing your hair in public is kind of gross. I can't explain exactly why it's gross, since it's just hair, but it is.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:34 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have no problem leaving the house with freshly washed, damp hair (it dries very quickly in warm weather, or if it's short.)

I don't own a hairdryer either - I used to, but I never used it, so I gave it away.

But I once had my honours supervisor say "Did you get caught in a rainstorm?" when I arrived for a session with her with damp hair. And when I said no, she seemed slightly surprised.

and hairdressers always seem a bit surprised/shocked that I am quite happy to go home with damp hair after a cut-and-colour rather than pay an extra $15-20 for a blow-dry-and-style.

I also once had a 19 year old coworker, who was very judgemental about style over substance[1], who talked about how she would never get on a bus with damp hair because it looked (in her words) "derro"[2].

[1] She would spend all her money on very expensive haircuts/hair colours, manicures, clothes and shoes and then complain to all her coworkers that she had no money and couldn't buy a house like she wanted to.

[2] Australian slang, from the word 'derelict'.
posted by with the singing green stars as our guide at 4:35 PM on December 4, 2010

I routinely leave the house (and gym) with damp hair and have never worried about it. I do have short hair which dries quickly. I haven't owned a hair dryer since high school.
posted by gingerbeer at 4:41 PM on December 4, 2010

Some people hit the gym before work, and thus arrive with damp (showered) hair. No one blinks an eye.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:42 PM on December 4, 2010

When I see people with wet hair in summer, I think "She's lucky she can do that without her hair drying all weird." When I see people with wet hair in winter, I think "She's lucky she can do that without losing her voice completely." I would think it looked strange or unfinished if I saw someone with wet hair at a party or job
interview or in an environment where you're expected to look polished. Otherwise, just the slight envy.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 4:42 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

The only thing that catches my attention when I see someone with longish damp hair, is that sometimes it leaves a big wet mark on the back of their shirt... especially if it's in a ponytail.
posted by kimdog at 4:42 PM on December 4, 2010

I don't think it's really bad but I do think it looks unkempt. When I had longer hair I never used a hair dryer either, but I would always wash it in the evenings.
posted by vanitas at 4:44 PM on December 4, 2010

I do this. I'll admit that I also think it looks unkempt, which is a total double standard.
posted by cabingirl at 4:46 PM on December 4, 2010

Is your hair long, curly and think like mine. A weasel you have to maintain? Do you have a mustache the world thinks you must shave off on top of it?! Worrying about wet hair is like worrying if your fingers are too long. You will reach a place of warmth. Your hair will dry out. Chill.
posted by parmanparman at 4:52 PM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]

"thick" instead of think for the first sentence of the above. Is there a protocol for word insertion?
posted by parmanparman at 4:53 PM on December 4, 2010

It's fine. It's likely damp, not dripping, and is no big deal.
posted by theora55 at 4:53 PM on December 4, 2010

I've done this literally every day of my adult life. No one has ever said anything to me, and it doesn't seem to have hurt my career or anything, so I don't think it's a big deal.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:54 PM on December 4, 2010

It's not repulsive or anything, but it does strike me as a little sloppy. Sort of like a guy heading to the office with a loose necktie or an untucked or unbuttoned dress shirt. It says, "I'm in such a rush that I can't make myself look 100% presentable before heading out and will just worry about it later."

Maybe it works better with your hairstyle -- I'm a guy whose hair looks pretty ratty and stringy until it gets a good blow-dry and combing, so I'd never want to do it myself (especially not in frigid winter weather... brrrrrrr!). But some people can pull it off okay, so their hair looks fine after some time in the sun and a light brushing. So it's hard to judge without knowing what yours looks like.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:54 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I do this, have always done this, and it never crossed my mind that it would look odd (so thanks a ton). I suspect most people don't notice.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:59 PM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]

Eh, mornings are a transition period. For what it's worth, on really bad mornings I not only leave the house with wet hair and without make up but get to work and apply make up and then use a flat iron on my bangs. I have an office with a door, which helps, but honestly nobody could miss my half-finished crawl into the building and the fact that nobody has ever caught me doing this is just dumb luck.

As long as it's first thing in the morning, we all get it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:03 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

One thing I do is use an extra, smaller towel (often two) to get my hair as dry as possible without using extra electricity or much extra time.
posted by amtho at 5:05 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I do this, but I brush it (wet) before leaving the house. Like The corpse in the library, I've never even considered the possibility that it would look weird. And no one has ever said anything about it to me. As I see it, blowdrying your hair is time consuming, bad for your hair, and a waste of electricity.

Then again, I don't wear makeup either, so maybe I'm not the best judge.
posted by dizziest at 5:08 PM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]

Did it when I had short hair. Now that I have long hair, I do it too, just less often, because I only wash it twice a week -- pull it back into a bun when it is wet. It dries over the course of the day. What's the problem?
posted by sdn at 5:11 PM on December 4, 2010

I do this. Have done it for over 30 years. When I had a job where I worked with the public, I made sure it was dry before they saw me.

Mostly, I can't be bothered to mess with it (it used to be waist length and fine, now it is shoulder length, it dries quickly), but I also don't see the point of using electricity to damage my hair. If I don't blow dry, don't soak in chlorine and don't wash my hair every day, I don't need conditioner, either.

I rarely see someone else with wet hair, but, you know, I really don't care. I'd much rather obsess over important things, like my weight and the colour of my belt.
posted by QIbHom at 5:13 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was so thrilled when I was stuck taking the bus for a while and someone else on my route did this. I do it, because the alternative is scary scary frizz. Someone did buy me a hair towel as a "I'm retiring and will be honest with everyone" gift, but now I use that towel plus two more, and my hair is thus at worst damp when I walk in the door. I wear a towel from before I dress until I get to the parking garage, so there's no damp shirt problem.

I don't brush or style my hair where others can see me, though. It gets weird looks.
posted by SMPA at 5:24 PM on December 4, 2010

I used to do this until one day in college when my hair actually froze on the way to class and I walked in the door with a head full of icicles. Not only did I get crazy stares, but it was also incredibly unpleasant. Now my hair is so short that it's a complete non-issue, but when it's more than an inch long the blow dryer comes out.

Uncouth? No. Weird? Not really, unless it's balls cold outside. Sloppy-looking? Yeah.
posted by phunniemee at 5:24 PM on December 4, 2010

You know what's weird?

Picking your nose and examining the results. Staring at strangers. Wearing your underwear over your outerwear. Not brushing your teeth, ever. Sharing your apartment with two dozen cats. Having involved conversations with inanimate objects.

Showing up to work with damp hair is probably OK. At least, I would not look askance at you.
posted by indubitable at 5:29 PM on December 4, 2010

i do this, because as others have noted, curly hair tends to look awful if you blow it dry.

i work in an office, and no one has ever said anything to me about it, but i have also had this same worry, so thanks for asking. right now, i'm leaning towards it being acceptable.

either way, i'm probably not giving up an hour or more of sleep just to let my hair dry.
posted by woodvine at 5:30 PM on December 4, 2010

Lots of people do this. But lots of people look sloppy. Just saying.
posted by mmdei at 5:32 PM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

I really don't like blow drying my hair, so usually I wash my hair in the evening instead of first thing in the morning. I doubt it really comes off gross because, if anything, it's proof you just washed. But... socks with sandals, yes. Or maybe more like... going somewhere in pajama pants. Like you've not quite finished the whole getting-ready-for-the-day bit and have gone out half-undone. I really don't necessarily judge someone for being in pajama pants if I'm, like, running into them at the grocery store because I will totally go there in sweats myself, but I'd think a little differently of someone if they were at even a casual workplace dressed like they just rolled out of bed.

But as issues go, wet hair would not be what I'd consider to be a large one.
posted by gracedissolved at 5:33 PM on December 4, 2010

I do it all the time, but I clip mine back into a loose ponytail so I look more put together, but my hair isn't impeded from drying TOO much.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:35 PM on December 4, 2010

I have long thick hair and when I leave the house with it wet in the winter it freezes like twigs and I like to snap them, it amuses me. But by the time I arrive at work? It's mostly dry and I put it up in a bun.
posted by henry scobie at 5:36 PM on December 4, 2010

I do this, but I shower first thing and wrap my hair in a towel while I eat breakfast and check Metafilter. That way it has a chance to mostly-dry and by the end of a 10-min commute it is usually all-the-way dry and ready to be finger-styled.

Of course, I'm an engineer so our fashion standards are extremely lax. YMMV by profession.
posted by muddgirl at 5:41 PM on December 4, 2010

I have long, thick hair and I always dry it before I leave for work. I feel the same about damp hair in public as I do about watching women put on their makeup on the train. I'd rather get up earlier than groom myself in public.
posted by Evangeline at 5:43 PM on December 4, 2010

I have done this every day of my entire life. I'm not self-conscious about it (though learning that people are silently judging me for it has certainly been enlightening). I have thick, curly hair, and there's no other way to get it dry without utterly frying it. Professional blow drying takes more than an hour and looks terrible. Trying to do it myself would be a disaster. Not gonna happen. If other people don't like it, they can go suck a lemon.
posted by decathecting at 5:49 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

As you can tell, it depends how damp and depends where you work. I stopped (for better or worse).
posted by unknowncommand at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2010

I did this when I was younger. At some point I decided I was getting a bit past the age where it was kosher to look like I was dashing from dorm room to lecture at 8:59am or whatever, and stopped.

However, having that in my past, I am not utterly doctrinaire about it now -- but if I am in a rush and do go out with wet hair, I put a hat or scarf on as a little "Yes, I know -- look, I'm trying here" nod.
posted by kmennie at 6:03 PM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: Okay. It seems the consensus is that, yes, it is very unkempt but that's it. And if I worked in a different office or profession, it could very well be a problem -- I'm just lucky my place of employment doesn't care. And, also, that brushing your hair in public can be weird (which, actually, I agree with!).

Thanks folks! (And sorry to those of you I've suddenly made self-conscious about this!)
posted by meese at 6:04 PM on December 4, 2010

At least two of my coworkers, one of each gender, does this every morning.
posted by royalsong at 6:04 PM on December 4, 2010

I leave from the house with wet hair all the time. My hair is so thick that it takes hours to dry naturally. I would rather sleep the extra half hour it would take, minimum, just to partially dry my hair.

I think it can look sloppy after it dries with no styling. Here is my solution for that: Spend extra money on a really good haircut. A haircut done right looks good without a huge amount of fuss. It takes a hairdresser who is really talented to do this, but think of all the time saved every day....
posted by annsunny at 6:04 PM on December 4, 2010

My super thick, super curly hair probably looks dry (usually damp) by the time I get to work. While I'm still not getting up at 5:30 to dry my hair, I was nonetheless taken aback when I showed up without makeup one day, and the next day someone referred to my wet hair. She was wrong about which grooming faux pas I'd committed but apparently I looked like I'd just rolled out of bed.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2010

I've done this my whole life. I prefer to shower in the morning and don't like blow drying my hair. I don't particularly care if my co-workers think I look sloppy for the first 30 minutes of the day.
posted by Mavri at 6:09 PM on December 4, 2010

...though learning that people are silently judging me for it has certainly been enlightening

I don't think anyone is saying you're a bad person for not drying your hair. I just personally don't think it looks good to show up in an office environment looking ungroomed. As other people have mentioned, if you work as a yoga instructor, who cares?

And to me it just feels really unpleasant.

If other people don't like it, they can go suck a lemon.

Now see, this is the attitude I imagine the women doing their full makeup on the train have, and I find it off-putting. Where do you draw the line? I've seen people clipping their fingernails, flossing their teeth. At some point you're just being disrespectful. It's like you're saying to the other commuters, "I care as little about you as my dog, who I also don't mind clipping my toenails in front of."
posted by Evangeline at 6:11 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Being a psychology major, yet never publishing a paper on the phenomenon, I have noticed a few things;
a) Men notice women with wet hair. I believe it subconsciously reminds them of showers.
b) anybody with wet hair, to my eye, physically look more attractive. I need a survey.

I understand it seemly appearing unprofessional, but I don't think other professionals notice it. Most of the professionals I've ever worked with were so busy/in a hurry, or self-absorbed to the point that they were only ever thinking of themselves, even when they were two feet away from you, telling you about an important meeting scheduled at three to ever notice someone's hair.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 6:16 PM on December 4, 2010

When I had long hair, I'd usually have it up in a bun and no-one knew it was still wet. Now that it's short, the outside dries quickly enough that it doesn't look damp.

I will say that I had a few coworkers in my former office who felt like they were treated like kids, yet came to work every day with long hair hanging damply in their faces. If you're looking to be taken more seriously, consider adapting your routine.
posted by desuetude at 6:18 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

"I'm in such a rush that I can't make myself look 100% presentable before heading out and will just worry about it later."

posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:20 PM on December 4, 2010

I think there's a clear line between "looking sloppy" and "active grooming." I may owe it to my fellow commuters not to floss on the train, but how I look isn't really their business.
posted by Mavri at 6:21 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Makeup doesn't leave detritus behind. Toenail clippings and flung spit from flossing are far more gross than someone using a snippet of time to do something. When I used to wear 'makeup' (powder, mascara, eyeliner and gloss) I'd regularly do it at the bus stop because I had a few minutes there that I could use. Sure, I could have spent those minutes at home doing it but I'd not have my safety buffer of time.

I figure that makeup is not grooming, it's participating in an unfair social structure that says as a woman I have to do this. If you don't like the fact I'm leaving home and openly participating in it, rather than pretending I am naturally this matte, dark eyed and glossy lipped, that's okay. It's just not grooming nor unhygenic.

(now I don't wear makeup and spend even MORE time reading. YAY!)

If I leave the house with wet/damp hair, it's in a bun. Sometimes I brush it when it's dry, usually I forget.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:27 PM on December 4, 2010

Evangeline, I think there's a big difference between clipping your toenails in public, which involves tiny pieces of dirty toenail potentially flying all over the place and landing on other people, and not blow drying. Not blow drying is more like not painting one's nails or not wearing foundation. It's a personal choice that people make because they have different aesthetic preferences or different physical needs or just make different choices. It's not a statement about the level of respect people have for their fellow man; it's just a personal choice.

But let me ask you, what do you think that those of us who just can't blow dry should do? I could get up at 3 am so that my hair is dry by the time I leave the house, or I could wash it the night before and walk around all day with a huge, tangled frizz-ball that would take an hour to untangle at the end of the day. Are you advocating options like those, or is there some other choice that the rest of us are not aware of?

If I were blow drying my hair on the subway, or rubbing my wet hair up against other people, then it might be, to use your term "disrespectful." But sorry, my hairstyle isn't hurting anyone, so while you're welcome to dislike it, I feel pretty welcome not to care.
posted by decathecting at 6:27 PM on December 4, 2010 [11 favorites]

Eh, I do it occasionally, though I will probably put my hair up in a clip or something while soaking wet instead. I have a job where most people don't see me, so who cares. I have, alas, been forced to blow-dry it in colder weather though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:29 PM on December 4, 2010

I'm just telling you how I see it, decathecting - I never said I had a solution. I would have said wash it the night before, but you say that's not an option. I do know, however, that you're not the only curly-haired woman in the world, and at least some of them have found a solution. You could ask them.
posted by Evangeline at 6:32 PM on December 4, 2010

People with curly hair just cannot blow dry. So we have the option of waiting until our hair dries, leaving the house with wet hair, or showering at night. I usually do the last one.
posted by bearette at 6:35 PM on December 4, 2010

And I do see a correlation between the flossing and damp hair. A small one - certainly walking around with damp hair is not intrusive in the same way as flossing your teeth, and it's not unhygienic. There's just something about it to me that says, "I'm going someplace where it's important for me to have clean hair and look good for a certain group of people. You are not that group of people so fuck off." Yes, that's a little extreme, I realize. Dilute that by 50 percent. It's a very fleeting thought, probably compounding by all the extreme things I see on the subway every day.
posted by Evangeline at 6:37 PM on December 4, 2010

Evangeline, it's true that I'm not the only curly-haired woman in the world, but I'm not advocating that everyone make the same choices I do (nor am I assuming that what works for me will work for everyone else, since I know we all have different hair and different lifestyles and different aesthetic preferences). I've definitely talked to other curly-haired women about this. There are whole message boards debating the merits of daily frying vs. wet hair, and people come out on different sides. And as I said, you're absolutely entitled to your opinion. I just find it frustrating when people assume that their way is the only way, and that people who make different choices are doing so because they don't care or don't have regard for others.

Anyway, meese, as you can see, there are a variety of (surprisingly strong--I had no idea I felt so strongly about this until I started writing) opinions on this. But I'm pretty sure that people who don't like it can't actually call the fashion police and send us to fashion jail, so if you're okay with being silently judged "ungroomed" (as I am), keep on keepin' on.
posted by decathecting at 6:39 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I do this too, but have never even questioned if it was weird or not - I just do it. Now that I think about it, if my job involved dealing with the public in any way, I'd use a blow dryer. But since my job involves sitting at a desk where nobody sees me except my department, well - I'm sure there are *weirder* things that I do :)

Brushing, on the other hand - maybe duck into the restroom to do it? I'm a little grossed out by public brushing, but that may just be my own personal baggage I carry from being raised by elderly parents who taught me that public brushing was a faux pas.
posted by chez shoes at 6:40 PM on December 4, 2010

I'm assuming you brush or comb it out after you've come out of the shower, right? If not, you should start doing this because I, too, have fine, straight hair and it looks like a bird's nest after I towel dry it. Your question doesn't say if you brush it before you leave the house, only that you brush it when you get to work.

I have no issue with leaving the house with damp/wet hair (none at all, and I have done this on many occasions), but I would probably think you were having a really, really bad day or perhaps weren't altogether "there" mentally if I saw you with damp/wet, and un-brushed hair.
posted by cooker girl at 6:43 PM on December 4, 2010

I just find it frustrating when people assume that their way is the only way, and that people who make different choices are doing so because they don't care or don't have regard for others.

As I said, a fleeting thought. I don't presume that you personally don't respect your fellow man. The OP asked for our impressions, and that's what I gave. First impressions aren't always completely rational.

Though I stand by my assertion that flossing your teeth on the train is beyond the pale.
posted by Evangeline at 6:45 PM on December 4, 2010

Also, showering at night is just as bad for girls with curly hair as blow drying is. Sleeping all night is just going to create sweat and frizz - gross. It's much more hygenic, IMHO, to go out with damp hair.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:47 PM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

Evangeline: " Though I stand by my assertion that flossing your teeth on the train is beyond the pale."

That, we can definitely agree on!
posted by decathecting at 6:54 PM on December 4, 2010

I do know, however, that you're not the only curly-haired woman in the world, and at least some of them have found a solution.

My solution, in the days when I had an office job, was always to leave the house with damp hair and comb my hair in the privacy of the ladies' room when I got to the office. I really didn't care if anyone on the subway thought I looked unprofessional.

meese, I am sure other people around you have damp hair. You just don't notice it, because it isn't a giant deal.

That said, if blow-drying isn't for you (makes my head look like an angry dandelion, so I don't do it), let me suggest one of those microfiber super-thirsty towels for your hair. They really do take several minutes off the drying time.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:21 PM on December 4, 2010

I have straight hair.

I hate blow dryers -- they burn my ears and are unpleasant.

Being well-groomed should mean being clean, having things tucked in. It should not mean that you are forced to make drastic choices about one's personal appearance (shaving of beards, cutting hair short) or lifestyle (waking up at 3am, burning one's ears).

Having wet hair is not like clipping one's toenails in public. It's like having a bit of snow on your shoulders in the winter. A simple fact of life that is no one else's business.
posted by jb at 7:30 PM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]

I've gone to the other extreme—washing my hair much less frequently. Over the past few months by washing it less and less often, I've trained my hair to get oily much more slowly. So I can squeeze a few days of totally presentable awesome hair out of a single washing, and do the wet hair thing on days when I can afford it, professionally. (If your hair, like mine, is murdered by hair dryers, washing it less often may help keep it shiny & moisturized, too.)
posted by stargazer360 at 7:48 PM on December 4, 2010

I have super thick, super curly hair too, and I do this every day. Blow dryers and my hair just do not get along. I do towel-dry it so it's not dripping wet, and I comb and style before I leave the house.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:27 PM on December 4, 2010

I do this because I have thick, wavy hair that takes ages to dry. I put it in a bun, though. It looks neater and less obviously wet. I work in a lab so work attire is very casual- jeans and sneakers, etc. I imagine if I worked in a more formal environment I wouldn't show up to work with wet hair.
posted by emd3737 at 8:29 PM on December 4, 2010

it's horribly unprofessional to show up to work with wet hair, if you have any kind of even remotely professional/white-collar job. i have seen people cited for this at various work places.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:47 PM on December 4, 2010

I do this too, though it's on the way out of my life.

I don't think it's weird/uncouth, but working around my damp hair during the commute means that I have to be careful about winter hats, careful about how my hair interferes with the scarf or coat collar action, careful about headphones and putting my hair behind my ears until it's dry.

And then (embarrasingly recently), I discovered that my hair looks way better when I blow dry it. So there's also that. Pretty sure I'm on the way out of the wet head commute club.
posted by Sara C. at 10:18 PM on December 4, 2010

I used to do this, too, because I hated the time it took in the morning and sleep was way more important to me. But I got a new job and realized that I felt like I needed to feel more "professional" so I bought more business-y clothes, started wearing makeup every day and bought a nuclear-powered blow drier that dries my thick, long hair in about 3 minutes. It's just a personal thing that made me feel better. If you're cool with it, then it's cool.
posted by buzzkillington at 10:24 PM on December 4, 2010

I go to work and wander around in public with my hair not only wet, but uncombed. I used to scrunch with gel and I think that made it look more like I planned it, but when I discovered I could get the same loose waves by simply not combing until it dried, I quit with the gel because I am just that fucking lazy.

Nobody has ever said anything about it, but I don't know if that's because it isn't considered all that odd, or if people are just afraid to mess with the obviously unstable weirdo who is out in public with a mess of tangled wet hair.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:53 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Living in a rain forest and walking to work means that my hair would be wet when I got to work no matter what so I always leave the house with wet hair. There are plenty of people who arrive with wet hair, whether they planned it that way or not. Blow drying doesn't work very well with my curly hair and I refuse to get up an hour earlier so I can sit around waiting for it to dry before I go to work.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:25 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wash my shoulder-length hair every other day and don't blow dry (or even brush it). It's wavy, as opposed to curly, and dries quickly. I don't wear make-up either. I work with hyper-groomed legal-types but no-one has mentioned it and I'm far too much of a fan of sleep to add any further maintenance time to my morning routine. I would dry it for an interview or important meeting though.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:52 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Y'know how there's this stereotype of how unbelievably gorgeous French women are? Okay, I live in France. And the women generally considered as the most drop-dead beautiful ones (in my daily life, not talking about the movies or TV) come to the office with damp hair. High-level managers included. So, I'd say it all depends on the culture you're in, as a few others before me have mentioned.
posted by fraula at 4:17 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's totally a curly hair thing. I have curls, so I can't blow-dry my hair, but I also have to shower every morning in order to be able to brush my hair at all. There's no good solution, so I just brave the risk of being seen as unkempt and so it goes. Other curly-haired folks will always understand where you're coming from, at least.
posted by Eshkol at 6:16 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Every morning, I wash my hair. Then I leave for work, while my hair's still damp/wet. Does this make me... weird?

posted by Savannah at 7:32 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]

No one else has suggested that maybe you don't need to wash your hair every day, so I'm just putting this out there. It's my opinion almost nobody needs to do this (and has anyone ever calculated the vast amount of filtered drinking water that gets wasted by having millions of Americans doing this daily, not to mention the massive quantities of detergent and other mystery chemicals that are dumped back into the water system by this practice?) but to some people it's more important than religion.

But it isn't necessary.
posted by zadcat at 7:38 AM on December 5, 2010

Would it make you feel less self-conscious if you pinned it up while it dries? My hair is long and thick, and it takes several hours to dry. I don't like to use a blowdryer because I'm lazy and because I don't like to fry my hair. So I put it in a bun or a braid while it dries. Takes longer to dry, but looks more polished.
posted by missrachael at 8:08 AM on December 5, 2010

Eh, I think of it as pretty lazy when folks can't manage to get up 10 minutes early to dry their hair before they go out for the day. Reminds me of something a high school kid would do. It would definitely influence my judgement of a person. But that's just me.
posted by stranger danger at 8:54 AM on December 5, 2010

I do this (although not every hair would look like crap if I washed it every day), and I quite honestly don't care what other people think. If they think I look unkempt because I'm not wasting electricity and destroying my hair, they can fire me. If they don't, that's even better.

Of course, I'm an IT geek, so I can get away with looking like anything, so long as I have clothes on. Well, there are times I think people would be happy to see me even if I were naked, so long as I was up for fixing their computer.
posted by wierdo at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2010

I had no idea this was a thing. I tend to think my hair looks better when it's damp, and it hasn't occurred to me to worry that it's unprofessional. Once it's dry it will start frizzing out (in fact I sometimes re-dampify in the ladies room if it's a particularly bad situation). Even the hair products I've tried often make it look like it's sort of damp.

I guess there's something to be said for headscarves being feminist equalizers after all...
posted by mdn at 9:14 AM on December 5, 2010

I used to do this all the time (not anymore though--I shower at night now). My opinion is that it's far less weird to show up to work with wet hair than it is to spend an hour or more every morning doing makeup and hair.
posted by Lobster Garden at 9:59 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

It doesn't make you weird.

That thing you do with CoolWhip, though - that's completely off the map for Normal.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:19 PM on December 5, 2010

Eh, I think of it as pretty lazy when folks can't manage to get up 10 minutes early to dry their hair before they go out for the day.

LMAO at "10 minutes". It takes literally an hour to blow dry my hair, and since I have long, thick, curly hair, it would look horrendous. They would have to widen my office doors so that I could fit my hair through. (Think Roseanne Roseannadanna.)

I wash my hair at 5 a.m. every morning, and it is still damp in the back 11 a.m. No, I am not getting up at 11 p.m. so that I can let my hair dry for 6 hours before I go to work. And washing it at night results in bizarre alien stalks and corkscrews jutting out from my head at odd angles. On the other hand, my hair is so thick that as long as it's not dripping-wet, it just looks smoother than normal, and most people think it's just behaving spectacularly well in the morning, rather than realizing it's wet.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:11 AM on December 6, 2010 [5 favorites]

I always used to do this - my commute to work was upwards of an hr and by the time I got out of the car my hair was pretty dry and easily finger styled - I am an accountant for what it's worth. However, just transferred to Switzerland and my new colleagues seemed to notice it and commented on it so I guess I'll have to change my wicked ways.

And yes, it's purely a matter of getting an extra 10 minutes of sleep. For the same reason I'd never do my make up before leaving the house as well, as there's bound to be a traffic jam to do it in or else there's the car when you're parked up at work.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:08 PM on December 6, 2010

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