How can I reduce the amount of time I have to spend on my hair after sweating from exercise?
June 19, 2012 6:42 PM   Subscribe

You have long hair. You exercise often. What is your routine?

I would like to be exercising more often than I do, which is a couple times a week. My most often-used excuse is "I just washed my hair" and while that may sound like a giant cop-out, it really is true.

I feel the need to acknowledge that this is a trivial problem coming from a slightly high-maintenance person, but here it goes: I am a 20-something girl and I have long, mostly straight (though getting coarser/wavier/trickier as I age) non-colored hair that is in pretty good condition. I usually only wash it twice-ish a week because it doesn't get greasy too easily, gets dried out when I wash it too often and, more importantly here, because it's always such an ordeal that I avoid doing it any more often than I need to. If I'm going to work out, I'll work out pretty hard--sweating is inevitable, making hair-washing inevitable. (I like to swim, and while that removes the sweat factor, I appear to be terrible at keeping my swim cap from leaking in chlorine-water--and then I've gotta wash my dang hair.) My hair takes FOREVER to dry with a blow-dryer, and I curse my laziness whenever I let it air-dry because it always comes out wavy (not in a good way, just odd , irregular kinks) and is somehow limp at the same time. Basically if I want my hair to look nice (even if I wasn't vain, I work in a nice office), I have to blow-dry it straight and usually curl it. From shower to 'done' it's like 45 minutes--and that's if I blow-dry it sopping wet--which I hear is terrible for your hair so I usually like to put it up in a towel or let it air dry a little BEFORE I blow-dry. I dunno, I'd like to be the kind of person that works out every day but the thought of spending 45 minutes or more EVERY day on something dumb/unimportant like my hair seems...unappealing. This also makes working out in the morning (before work) out of the question unless I want to get up before sunrise.

I've actually considered cutting my hair shorter before but I think it's too much a part of my 'identity' or something--I've just never liked having shorter hair. That said, I need to figure out a way to work around my long hair.

So the question is: If your hair is long and you exercise regularly, what do you do with your hair? Do you just avoid sweating (because light exercise is better than no exercise)? Do you have some product or style or trick for making your hair look normal without having to wash it? Or better, do you have some product or style or trick for your hair after you have washed it that make the whole post-wash process much easier/time-efficient? Or do you just suck it up and work out every day and shower everyday and either take the time required to do you hair or just leave it alone and not care? There's gotta be something I'm not thinking of...
posted by lovableiago to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (34 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: i have long hair (halfway down my back). it's fine and it's also dyed. i exercise regularly (run 4-5x/20+ miles a week plus two 1.5 hr sessions at the gym. i wash my hair every 2-3 days. i'll towel dry my hair and then either blow dry it or, if i am particularly lazy or tired that day, i blow dry just the hair near the scalp and let the rest air dry and then use a straightening iron on it the next day to get odd waves out.

if your hair is taking "forever" to dry with a blow dryer, it may be your blow dryer. i was using cheap drug store blow dryers until my stylist convinced me to get a professional one like she uses (or closer to that quality). she actually gave me her professional discount to buy one. it was like $80 with her discount but it literally cut my blow drying time to a fraction of what it was.
posted by violetk at 6:54 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

First of all, I think you'd be surprised by how much time and how often other women are putting that time into their hair. If you use the locker room of a commercial gym in the morning before work, you'll see many women who workout, shower, then spend 20+ minutes blow drying or otherwise styling their hair at the gym. It's just part of their routine.

Me, I have very long hair but it's also pretty low maintenance. My workout is not especially sweaty -- most of the time I only lift weights, so I put my hair out of the way in a braid and it's no worse for wear afterwards. I do a HIIT type workout (high intensity interval training) about once a week that gets me REAL sweaty, and I wash my hair after that.

Finally, you might want to talk to your stylist the next time you have a haircut about the best way to style your hair more quickly after washing -- he or she should be able to make product and technique recommendations, then show you how to do it.
posted by telegraph at 6:55 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

p90x-er here... super long, thick, wavy hair... plus bangs.

I have to wash and dry my bangs everyday. I still try to limit the hair washing... scheduling it around the higher-sweat days.

Dry-shampoo (the aerosol kind) in between. I do a wash, blow out and flat iron and it lasts for a few days ... will just go over with a flat iron again if need be.

Beyond that... get friendly with a few different business-y type ponytails/updos that are easy enough to do by yourself.

Hair! PITA right?
posted by mittenbex at 6:55 PM on June 19, 2012

Bane of my existence. Try this. You can towel off your hair, slick it back and forget about it. Kind of has a Veronica of Better Off Ted feel but ... I am not trying to be the Cute, Lovable, Bouncy-locked Office Girl. Much better to be the One Who Runs 40 Miles+ A Week and Gets Her Job Done Well. It's disgusting that people spend so much time taking care of their hair...when they could spend that time working or working out!
posted by keasby at 7:02 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have thick hair past my shoulders, plus bangs. I exercise heavily at least three times a week, sometimes swimming additionally. No big style secret here. I wash it then put it up, either "fancily" in a nice chignon with a decorative clip (I like these combs covered with vintage silk kimono) or if it's a casual day, in a messy bun or updo. The Goody Spin Pins are also way easy to use, and very helpful. Sometimes I blow it dry a little bit so that it doesn't sit sopping wet all day. As per telegraph's rec, whoever cuts your hair may be able to thin it so it dries faster but still reads as long. I've had a cut like that at various times, and it helps with drying.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:08 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm in the exact same boat-- just started growing out my hair, and just started an exercise routine. I work out 3-4 times a week (TThSaSu) so what I do is:

wash on Sunday night,
style on Monday morning,
sleep + restyle Tuesday morning, work out, wash Tuesday night,
style Wednesday morning,
sleep + restyle Thursday morning, work out, wash Thursday night,
style Friday morning,
sleep + restyle Saturday morning, work out,
sleep + restyle Sunday morning, workout, wash,

I don't bother with it on Sundays since those are my low-key errand days. However, because I am tremendously lazy, very often I wait to see how my sweaty hair looks after it's dried post-workout... and if it's fine, I just use dry shampoo the next morning and skip a wash. If I put a mousse in my hair during the styling process, sweat just doesn't destroy it the way it does when it's natural. I feel gross, but according to my boyfriend I look fine (and now that I'm used to it I don't even feel gross). So mousse + dry shampoo (got2b Rockin' It is my FAVORITE brand) is really really key.

The key is washing it at night and letting it dry while you sleep. So much less hassle. However, that means working out after work instead of in the morning. If you really love working out in the morning, I'd maybe do the obvious:

WORK OUT DAY: work out, wash, style
NON WORK OUT DAY: wake up, re-style

every other day, and make the weekend a double workout day so you can skip a wash.

To be honest, I'd rather cut my hair than not be the Cute, Lovable, Bouncy-locked Office Girl, so I know where you're coming from. I'd much rather have slightly dirty hair than wash it in the shower every day or hide it in a bun!

And yes, 45 minutes from wash to style is actually really fast! It takes me about an hour fifteen, and that's just wash, blow dry, straighten.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2012

Oh, also, having some up-do days where you don't bother with the curling iron can help if you're running yourself ragged on a particular week.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:12 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I exercised every day when I had hair halfway down my back. If I am not swimming, I will use either a 2-in-1 shampoo only once (rather than twice as directed) or a conditioner only. I shampoo and condition after a swim because it was better for me. I always showered and washed my hair before going to bed so it made it seem like I washed my hair twice a day which is a lot of washing!

If you condition only every other day and shampoo and condition every other day, maybe that will work better for you.
posted by Yellow at 7:19 PM on June 19, 2012

Lush just came out with a dry shampoo -- I've seen some good reviews of it.
posted by spunweb at 7:24 PM on June 19, 2012

Would it work to sometimes just rinse your hair out and not use shampoo?

I routinely leave for work with my hair wet, let it airdry a little on the way (tied up in a twist), and blowdry when I get there. If you drive to work and are willing to be slightly ridiculous, you could even keep the towel on your head during that time.
posted by lakeroon at 7:27 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have thick hair, just below shoulder-length, and old-school bangs down to my eyes. I put my hair up in either one or two buns, and either just...grossly let it be sweaty in a bun, or take it out of the bun, wash and/or rinse it, and put it back up in the bun. Conditioner is once a week.
posted by RainyJay at 7:48 PM on June 19, 2012

Best answer: I have thin hair that wavers from curly to irregular waves down to my decolletage. I have come to terms with living with my hair in a variety of buns if I don't have time to wash and condition it. The amount of time I spend exercising varies, but I walk to work every day and sometimes spend hours packing boxes of books. I don't always do a full wash of my hair after that, but I do after going running or boxing.

Have you spoken with your hairdresser at all about this? I never used to bother with conditioning and I'd always leave it in a tight bun to walk to work (2 miles, hence the buns) until I learned that at my last haircut that hair expands as it dries which meant my buns were creating damaged strands all over my head. A spritz with a decent leave-in conditioner (Nexxus, I think) and air drying for the last month has actually had a noticeable affect on my hair and it's far easier to manage not only while down but also while shampooing and combing. Redken makes some specialized products to protect against chlorine and dryer damage which you may also find helpful. He or she may also have some suggestions on a better hair dryer or different hairstyles that might give you other professional options.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:54 PM on June 19, 2012

Seconding dry shampoo. You can pretty much just get some variety of baby powder type stuff - it soaks up grease.

I am 99% sure that your hair could be awesome with just air drying and a couple strategic styling products if you get the right hair cut. For real. It is life changing. Go find out! Then you have the option to work out and just rinse.
posted by skrozidile at 7:56 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Used to have long hair but not any more. Washed with a cheap, silicone-free conditioner (like a lot of the V05 line), then used a higher-quality conditioner mixed with a little jojoba oil to condition. Air dry. This did a good job keeping my hair conditioned and healthy--which meant after it was done air-drying it looked a lot better. And I second skrozidile, find a stylist who can work with you on a long-hair cut that will look good air dried, or air dry with a few minor tweaks.
posted by Anonymous at 8:04 PM on June 19, 2012

Best answer: I have EXACTLY the same kind of straight long hair that you do, where if you let it air dry it's not particularly attractive. It also goes limp when it's unwashed and I teach dance for a living 5 times a week so I know your pain. I've been trying for the longest time to only wash my hair once a week, or at most 2, for the health of my hair and the saving of time too.

Recently I've stumbled upon the knowledge of RE-STYLING. Also, I spoke to my hairdresser who informed me that many of his clients come in for a professional blow wave once a week, and somehow manage to keep their hair nice all week with re-styling.

So I'm trialling this routine, and it may work for you too (because I am totally hooked).

Firstly, your friendly tools = amazing hair dryer, hair straightener or curling wand, hairspray (I use Elnett), and a re-styling product of choice (beach hair sprays or curl enhancing sprays).

Day 1 - Wash hair with clarifying shampoo, deep condition, use hair oil when damp, blow dry, then curl or straighten with wand/iron. Once done, SET with a lot of fine mists of hairspray. My hairdresser taught me how to do this, basically with a fine mist of hairspray to keep it in shape all day.

Day 2 - Brush out hair. Hair should still be nice even if you have sweat. If a bit oily on scalp, use dry shampoo OR baby powder (tip some out on your palm, rub your palms together, and rub fingers and palms on scalp until absorbed). Hairspray again. Use fingers and brush to get semblance of yesterday's look. (I never knew hair could be reworked so well!)

Day 3 - Hair may be looking slightly manky after sweating + day 3 weariness. Brush it out, use dry shampoo/baby powder technique again. If the curls aren't holding, use your curl enhancing spray, spray it all over hair, and twist your hair into 2 big buns on your head. By the time you finish putting on your makeup, you let it out, and it'll be all nice again. HAIRSPRAY.

Day 4 - I find by day 4, I need to put up the top part of my hair and fringe in a poufy coif. Repeat day 3 for rest of hair as needed.

Day 5 - Repeat Day 4.

Day 6 - by this stage, I'll try out Day 4/5 technique, but inevitably I'll probably need to just braid it or put it up in a ponytail.


Basically the hairspray applied in a fine mist each day prevents your scalp from being greasy and oily. The re-working of your style/shape each day prevents it from looking like your natural hair. Unless you are literally sweating till drips are rolling down your face (which you probably aren't doing every single day) this should tide you over fine.

At the beginning I only managed to make the cycle last 3-4 days. Now I'm up to 6. I have 2 friends who only wash their hair every 7-8 days and honestly, they have the healthiest hair I've ever seen because they're only heat styling it and stripping it of oils less than once a week.

My hair has improved so much since doing this, and like you, I HATE spending time styling my hair, so it works. Especially on days 3-6 when I spray, tie in quick bun, do makeup, and let it out, and BOOM, great hair. My next personal step is to find an affordable and local hairdresser who will do the painful once a week styling for me for cheap to lessen my pain even more!

I have also LEARNED a lot about what I can do with it - previously i was a "let it just hang down my back" girl. I am also able to splurge on amazing hair product for washing (Aveda) because I'm only washing once a week. Lastly, I can't believe I just wrote an epic essay about hair maintenance.

Hopefully it helps though!

PS - I have no help for swimming hair. I hate pools.
posted by shazzam! at 8:09 PM on June 19, 2012 [33 favorites]

I would say you have three options (that I can think of right now):
1. Buy a better, faster hair dryer. I swear my $150 hairdryer was worth the money because it shaved at least 10 minutes off of my drying time when my hair was long. Try the brands T3 (mine), Solano (my hairstylist), CHI (my best friend). All three of us swear by our hair dryers.
2. Dry shampoo, as many others have suggested. You'll have to try a few to find one that works for you. Tresemme does not at all work for me, whereas Oscar Blandi powder totally works for me and is amazing.
3. Wear your hair up on days that you don't wash it - use dry shampoo an a flatiron on those days.

Finally, if shampoo dries out your hair, you need to find a new shampoo that is less harsh. Probably something without Sulfates like Burt's Bees or JASON.
posted by echo0720 at 8:24 PM on June 19, 2012

I work out 5 mornings a week before work, and have the same issues you have (long, course, unruly hair, formal-ish office environment combined with getting ready in a locker room) . I got a Brazilian Blowout and that legitimately allowed me to air dry my hair with no problems. It was awesome, but expensive. It has faded out now and I didn't get another one, but I did get a really good haircut and some better styling products (Bumble and Bumble defrizz and styling creme if you are interested), which has made it so I don't need to curl or flat iron my hair and can leave with my hair 50% wet.

Also, if you don't currently shampoo much, don't start! I just use conditioner and no shampoo 2-3 days a week because if I shampooed any more than that my hair would be a dry mess.
posted by mjcon at 8:44 PM on June 19, 2012

Best answer: I have medium hair length, that I peroxide super blonde and dry out, I also have glued in extensions that take me more than a half hour to blow dry. My regular hair routines are:

1. Blow dry the top of it and lightly blow dry the rest, then put it in a french braid and either just keep re-doing the french braid everyday or letting the crimpy-ness look awesome every morning when I take out the braid. Not so office friendly, but the french braid is office friendly. Takes me 5 minutes to blow dry my bangs and the top of my hair (so it's smooth) and 1 minute to french braid. I had to practice for years, but I've finally got it down pat. I used to practice while watching TV or walking around. If you can't do it, just keep practicing and you'll catch on quicker than me.

2. Blow dry it straight and put my hair over my head when I sleep so it doesn't get kinky and put my hair in a pony to work out. Takes me half hour to 45 minutes by the time I blow dry it and straighten it or curl it.

I work out 3-5 times a week and it's deathly hot these days so I'm always sweaty... but I only wash my hair usually once a week, occasionally twice if it's been an especially sweaty week. I use dry shampoo after day 3 or 4 and it gets me another couple days. My favourite dry shampoo is A/G and if you're in the states, you can get it cheaper on (I'm Canadian, but have American friends who will ship it to their parents' houses for me and pick it up for me when they visit).

Honestly, the french braid saves me all the time. I went to a conference for a week, stayed in the residences which didn't have air conditioning and I worked out everyday while I was there for a week. I was sweaty mess. I only washed my hair once and kept my hair in a french braid to look professional during the day and let it out at night and the crimpy braid hair gets ridiculous attention from women and men alike.
posted by DorothySmith at 10:25 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I work out 5-7 days a week and have insanely thick wavy/curly super duper dry hair. And it's colored. I wash it in the mornings usually, unless I got really sweaty and gross working out in which case I wash it after I'm done. I only use conditioner to wash it and then I cover it in conditioner and leave it in. Add some gel and let it air dry and the curls are good for a few days. It does take several hours to air dry when it's down so I try to wash it right after I work out so it's mostly dry when I go to bed. It doesn't dry it all if it's up, it's just too thick.

The first day I wear it down, sometimes the second day, then if I haven't washed it I wear it up for a day or two.

If you can wear a wide microfiber hairband or bandana when you work out, they wick the sweat away from your hair and if you are only doing a mild workout it helps a lot.
posted by fshgrl at 10:49 PM on June 19, 2012

I have thin, straight-ish hair and blow drying + curling looks best for my hair but is a PITA. Just popped in to suggest my new favorite alternative to blow drying my hair: the sock bun!

OKAY! Here's what you do:
1. Take an old sock and cut the toe end off of it so that you have a long fabric tube.
2. Roll the tube onto itself so you have basically a sock donut.
3. Put your hair up in a high pony tail with an elastic. You can play with the position of your pony tail a little bit to change the style of your bun, such as a mid-height ballerina bun or high fashion top knot, but if you are planning on wearing the sock bun to bed, I recommend wearing your pony on the top of your head. This way the bun doesn't bug you in your sleep AND you'll have extra volume.
4. Roll your pony tail up in the sock donut. It takes some practice, so watch the video. If I'm doing this before bed my hair is usually damp (note: NOT wet!) and then it dries in the bun overnight.

Now here's the best part: you can wear your super chic sock bun to work and then take your hair out of the sock bun and pony tail and you'll have amazing waves and volume. I wash my hair at night, put it in the sock bun and go to bed. The next morning I have beautiful, full hair and all I have to do is style my bangs. OR I'll wear my hair in the sock bun to work/running errands/etc. and then wear it wavy the following day. So easy.

Also note that the thickness of your sock donut determines what kind of waves you'll have (loose vs. curl) and the placement of your pony tail determines where the waves will start.

posted by gumtree at 11:06 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by custard heart at 11:15 PM on June 19, 2012

Yes, Tresemme dry shampoo is awful, please don't start with it. It made my hair a stickier, weirder mess. got2be, Lush, and some overseas brand that you can find on Makeup Alley seem to be the most popular options. Re-styling was basically what I was trying to get at, and the combo of hair oil/mousse + hairspray will keep it from looking "manky," as the above commentor put it so well.

Another thing I'd advise is as you learn to re-style, asking someone you trust if your hair is looking clean or not. I took a long time to realize that feeling greasy and looking greasy are two different things (and I think it was quite mental, because now I don't feel nearly as greasy, even after 6-7 days of no wash).
posted by stoneandstar at 12:06 AM on June 20, 2012

Ughh also forgot, yes, using the right kind of products can make the occasional air-dry day a non-disaster. I currently just use a hair mousse with argan oil and blow dry the top layer slightly, and then I have a glossy wave (as glossy as it gets) for the rest of the day, which isn't super professional, but is very wearable. I'm pretty sure my fine, frizzy, sporadically wavy Hermione hair is not too attractive on its own, but with enough smoothing/shine products, it looks fine.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:07 AM on June 20, 2012

For fast, easy styling with almost no effort, I love love love rag curls. After washing your hair, blowdry it to the point where it's mostly dry, but don't worry about all that extra effort to smooth or style it, just get the moisture out. Roll it up in as many or as few rag curls as you like (My hair is pretty fine, so I do just four on a typical day, more if I know I'm feeling extra fancy.) In the morning, untie your rags, flip your hair upside down and shake the curls with your fingers. Flip back over and instant gorgeous bouncy curls that last all day! (This is the only way curls last in my hair - I'm lucky if curls from heat rollers and curling irons last for more than an hour.) The beauty of these are that they work on dry hair too - my hair looks fresh for 3 or 4 days straight without washing as long as I remember to take a few minutes and do the rag curls each night.
posted by platinum at 1:19 AM on June 20, 2012

Have you tried just washing the front of your hair after a workout? You use a comb to section off the very front of your hair (basically where heavy bangs would be, if you had them, plus down to just in front of your ears) and then put the rest of your hair into a ponytail holder/bun. Put a shower cap on the back bun. Then take your shower and wash only the front of your hair. Condition only the ends. Blow-dry only the front of your hair. (Drying just the front takes me about 5 minutes, instead of 25 for my whole thick, long head of hair.)

I find that my back hair really doesn't get sweaty; it's the hair around my face and ears that gets lank and gross. YMMV.

Obviously, continue doing a full wash a couple times a week (maybe after your swimming -- my hair needs a full wash after that, no matter what), but if you work out 4 or 5 times a week, you can do just the "front wash" 2 or 3 times out of that.
posted by palliser at 6:20 AM on June 20, 2012

I have medium length, thickish hair, highly texured hair but... I pretty much have to blow dry my hair after every wash, and I usually wash just once a week, so I can relate.

I use dry shampoo midweek (suave) once a week, about midweek. When I work out (2-3x a week), I put my hair up into two loose buns on the top of my head and pin the front back. Airflow helps me keep my scalp from mankiness, and afterwards I sometimes will part my hair into quarters or eigths and run a cotton ball or qtip soaked in something astrignent (witch hazel will do) across my scalp.

I also do high buns which can go from gym to work with an absorbant headband tied around my head or a towel to dab the sweat away from at least my hairline.
posted by sm1tten at 7:46 AM on June 20, 2012

Do weight training on days that your hair is clean - much less sweating than cardio. And then do cardio/swim right before you have to wash your hair.
posted by at 8:41 AM on June 20, 2012

Best answer: My hair is just like yours. My favorite trick is to work out in the evening, wash my hair, let it dry while I sleep, and then hit it with a flat iron or curling iron in the morning before work. I can just skip the blow dryer completely (I have a good, expensive blow dryer and it still takes 45 minutes to dry my hair). I do put some product in my hair after washing to help protect it from the heat.

When I am regularly working out in the morning, I follow this routine: On workout days, work out, wash hair, put wet hair into a bun for work (a low, clean-lines chignon, usually accompanied by pearls or something to class it up). The next day (a non-workout day or just yoga or something not-too-sweaty), straighten or curl hair and wear it down. Sometimes, depending on my workout schedule, I'll get a third day out of a wash, maybe wearing my now-straightened hair in a low ponytail with a strand of hair wrapped and pinned around the elastic to make it a little fancier.

My hair looks better more often on the first plan, working out in the evenings. But my body looks better on the morning workout plan because I wind up working out more often! (Sadly I find you have to compromise something, since we women have these impossible expectations we're trying to live up to - exercise regularly AND have fabulous hair AND succeed in the workforce. The men we're competing with are not spending an hour a day on their hair!)
posted by TrixieRamble at 10:00 AM on June 20, 2012

Braid your hair when you work out. Not only does it keep the length of it out of the sweat, not having your hair on you also makes you sweat less.

Rest day. Hair down.
Non-sweaty workout (yoga and/or weights--neither one of these is a lazy workout, by the way, the muscle and flexibility are just as important as cardio). Hair braided.
Sweaty workout (jogging). Hair up.
Give-up-all-hope (swimming). Shower.

Swim and wash your hair in the evening, let it air dry overnight. Then in the morning you can flat iron it or spritz it with water and blow dry it to make it sleek.

For what it's worth, it took the lady at the hair place an hour to blow dry my hair. Even when she was done it was dry but not really, really bone dry.
posted by anaelith at 10:08 AM on June 20, 2012

I grew up on swim team, but didn't have long hair then. I have long hair now, but am not swimming.

AFAIK, swim caps are not intended to be waterproof. They are intended to keep hair out of the pool. If you swim, it is normal for your hair will get wet under the swim cap.

With that in mind, if you swim in a pool, it is best to first wet your hair in the shower before getting in. Why? Hair absorbs water when it first gets wet. You don't want your dry hair absorbing damaging chlorinated/brominated/salted water. If your hair is short, this probably doesn't matter. But the ends of long hair are several years old. They will be damaged over time from pool chemicals. It is best to minimize their affect by wetting your hair first.

I wash my hair about twice a week, though sometimes more often if I'm working out really hard or eating greasy foods. I tend to wash it at night.

If I were swimming, I'd definitely want to shampoo/condition my hair afterward. And I wouldn't be super-excited about heading to work with a wet head of hair. Blow-drying can be pretty damaging for long hair too, so I agree you're in a bit of a jam.
posted by sarah_pdx at 11:52 AM on June 20, 2012

I have straight, fine hair (no bangs) that hangs to my hipbones. My hair has absolutely no body whatsoever. I run, hike, ride horses, garden, split firewood, yadda yadda yadda. Also, I work a reasonably physical job (I routinely sweat at work). I wash my hair (with soap and conditioner) between three and four times a week. The other days, I rinse it with water during my shower.

My hair is worn/managed by being up most of the time. I put it up wet, typically in a high-crown ponytail (I use two thick ponytail holders). I braid the ponytail and wrap it around the base ponytail holder to make a bun sort of deal. Then, I secure the bun to my head using medium-sized clippy things in brown or black. (I can post pictures of this if that would help you get an idea of what is going on with the hair.)

Many updos are sophisticated enough for the office and can help you get away with damp hair and quicker hair prep time. From out of the shower to out the door takes me a heck of a lot less than 45 minutes and I'm dealing with quite long, exceedingly fine and snarl-prone hair.
posted by which_chick at 1:50 PM on June 20, 2012

Yeah, dry shampoo is your friend, as are ponytails/buns when it's at it's worst.

I do derby, so I'm pretty dang sweaty 3x a week (plus, I'm in Austin, so super hot in that warehouse now!). I'm trying to get the hair washing down to once/week, but that whole sweating thing is putting a kink in my plans. I'm down to about 2x a week though. Usually I can go one practice where I don't wash my hair afterwards. I bike to work, though, so I always put my hair up anyway just to keep it out of the way and less hot on the way there. Generally I forget to take it down even it's presentable, so now "up" is kind of my look, I guess.

Oh, and my hair is hip length, so I share the pain of washing. It's the worst, imo.
posted by theRussian at 2:15 PM on June 20, 2012

Best answer: A couple things to help cut drying time: Get an Aquis towel (available online or at Bed Bath and Beyond) and an expensive hair dryer.
posted by radioamy at 6:05 PM on June 20, 2012

I'm so glad this question was asked!!

One trick I swear by is drying my hair by sitting in front of a little space heater. This allows me to multi-task (check email, do nails, read, whatever) since I don't have to hold anything and just run my fingers through my hair periodically. I also tell myself it's not as damaging since it doesn't blow as hard or hot as a hairdryer.

I currently have super-thick wavy hair just below my shoulders - had long until age 25 when it went prematurely grey and wasn't worth the color maintenance. The space heater drying takes 5 minutes for a quick dry and 10 minutes for a thorough dry.

I try to wash every other day, and as a previous poster mentioned I try to do cardio on the wash days and weights on the non-wash days because of the sweat factor.

I also rely on a ponytail when I'm too lazy to bother.
posted by wannabecounselor at 6:25 PM on June 20, 2012

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