What do you do to your hair if you don't wash it in the morning?
March 1, 2016 3:20 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to be able to shower and wash my hair at night, rather than in the morning. When I do this, how do I make my hair not look like I slept on it?

I'm female, mid-30s, have shoulder length fine straight hair that used to be blond and has darkened to light brown. I am short on both time and style sense.

If I don't wash my hair in the morning, I wake up with it rather rumpled and with the ends going in every which direction. Brushing does not straighten it out. I'd like to be able to switch to washing it at night, and potentially to experiment with dry shampoo now and again to see if not washing it every day keeps it from drying out so much.

So - if you don't wash your hair in the morning, what *do* you do to it to make it look neat? Detailed walkthroughs would be super helpful - see above about limited style knowledge and sense. Don't tell me to "use product" - I won't know what you're talking about. I'll need to know what kind, how much, how to apply, et cetera.
posted by telepanda to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (33 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I use an instyler. I usually put a little wave in the ends, but you can go straight, if you want. If I don't have time to do that, then I put my hair up.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:26 PM on March 1, 2016

I use a straightening iron for this exact reason. It's not like I care about my hair being all straight and sleek - it's just that I need the hair to all go in the right direction and not be all bed heady. I never felt the need to buy an expensive one, but if you have shorter hair you'll want a skinnier model. I usually focus on the most egregious bits and leave the rest alone, because I'm a bit lazy and besides, trying to have perfect hair makes me anxious. It takes me about 5 minutes every morning. If you're not sure how to use one, just check out some youtube videos.
posted by kitcat at 3:28 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

I used to get good results with putting it up in a pony tail on top of my head while still wet. Then taking it down in the morning. Or putting in soft curlers at night while my hair was still damp and taking the curlers out in the morning.
posted by Michele in California at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

Does your hair hold any volume? Do you use any product at all?

I have good luck blowor air drying my hair completely at night, and then blasting it with high heat with a nickles sized amount one of those " thermal smoothing creams" to get it to behave for a few seconds in the morning. You can do the same with a straightening iron, but I hated waiting for mine to heat up.

Dry shampoo is for the 3rd day that you haven't washed your hair and it feels/looks greasy.
posted by larthegreat at 3:31 PM on March 1, 2016

Well, now my hair is crazy short, but I still bathe at night. I had it quite long for a long time and my texture is a nightmare.

1) Keep enough time at night to LET IT DRY before you sleep on it.
2) Try a satin sleeping cap. Often marketed toward curly hair but it helps with static, crimping, etc. I have not used one, personally.
3) Give the roots a quick blow dry for volume.
4) Grab your straightener, probably on medium, to get any crinkles out. Possibly blast the roots with some more of your hair dryer if you want. (If your hair is damaged or fragile use a heat protecting spray.)
5) Try a pomade type product to tame flyaways.

I personally like Got2B texturizing cream for some texture. It's very soft and smells really good and reminds me of whipped yogurt. Not sticky. It helps with flyaways without being heavy. You can probably find it at a grocery store. That's my fav product lately. I spread a little on my fingertips and spread it around then twist and rub it into my hair and spread it with my fingers starting at the roots - making sure to not have chunks of product leftover. Grabbing more if I need it but I generally just need a bit to tame spots or extend near the tips for texture.

I also like Bedhead Manipulator - but it's more sticky and better for an updo or short hair like mine. And Sexy Hair Control Maniac but that's a wax, so again good for updo or short hair or maybe bangs. I wouldn't necessarily recommend either for anything longer than a short bob. So maybe some advice there on what may not work.

ETA: Get a straightener that heats quickly. Mine has a turbo and is hot in 30 secs, was $20.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:33 PM on March 1, 2016

Fine hair doesn't respond well to being slept on, I'm sorry to say. It gets limp and loses whatever body you managed to get into it the day before. Sometimes I will spritz it with a spray bottle of water and restyle it with a blow dryer, but it never look as nice as if it's been freshly washed. If I don't have time for that, it's got to be a ponytail.
posted by cecic at 3:33 PM on March 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


I typically wash my hair at night, towel dry, comb a smallish quarter-size blob of leave-in conditioner* in with my fingers (just on the bottom half), and go to bed. In the morning I spray some dry shampoo** at the roots. Then I flip my hair over, brush, flip my hair back and put my hair into place. Sometimes I need to use my fingers to blend in the dry shampoo at my part line if I sprayed too much too close.

*Garnier Fructis
**I have no particular brand recommendation here, I have gotten a bunch in Birchboxes and they tend to all be pretty similar. Currently using/loving Living Proof Perfect Hair Day, YMMV. You may also not need this step, I am oilier than most.

posted by everybody had matching towels at 3:47 PM on March 1, 2016

I blow it out again as though it was still wet; medium heat setting, big round brush. I also sleep with it up in a big sloppy bun right on the top of my head so no position on the pillow will mash the bun flat. This keeps the matted sweaty bits to the underside of my hair and the top layer of it still smooth and shiny. I don't use any kind of product in my hair.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:47 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I use a flat iron in the morning to straighten it. Works like a charm.
posted by quince at 3:48 PM on March 1, 2016

I have very different hair than yours. But when my (thick, frizzy, curly) hair was very short, I could spray it with water in the morning to "reset" it
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 4:01 PM on March 1, 2016

I have fine, sometimes-wavy shoulder length hair. If I put it up in a bun topknot, when I take it down in the morning, it's delightfully curly and full of body. (Just in case you are looking for an option that is not straight and/or dependent on heated styling tools, since you are doing this for hair health reasons.)
posted by instamatic at 4:16 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Since fine hair dries quickly, I wet a comb and comb the parts that are rumpled, slicking it down to my head a bit or pulling it straight out from my head. It usually takes a couple re-wettings and the result is flatter than a blow out, but it avoids heat damage and it's fast.
posted by momus_window at 4:25 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have very thick, processed blonde short hair. But, the individual pieces are very fine. If I sleep on it, it looks like I stuck my finger in an electric socket. If I don't shower that morning, I take a washrag and wipe my hair down with the warm rag just enough to get it damp....then I blow dry for 2 minutes while brushing it into place. I then use soy paste and light hair spray to wrestle into place. Getting it damp again should help.....I agree that dry shampoo is only for day 3 or more when it gets greasy looking.
posted by pearlybob at 4:34 PM on March 1, 2016

I have fine hair and wash it at night because in the morning I am good for nothing, in fact, what is morning?

First, I got a 'messy' haircut. In the morning, I spritz my hair with water, maybe a little styling foam and hit it with the hair dryer. Sometimes, when it is being difficult or I am feeling lazy, I pin it up, put on my black coat, and march around like a Moffat villainess.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:19 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

My hair is fine and smooth, there is just a lot of it. I have a slightly inverted Lob (long bob).

BEFORE BED apply a light amount of dry shampoo. I like Clean Freak or the Tresemme kind. USE A NATURAL BRISTLE BRUSH to brush through after application. Mason Pearson is the OG version of this but you can find ones (even ones sold by Kardashians!) for much less. For fine hair, this brush thing is important.

Sleep with your hair up (top o the head messy bun is a great tip). If you have problem areas like your bangs (I do) then you can use velcro rollers to reshape those areas while you do your face or get dressed or cook omelettes or whatever. Fluff up with a hair dryer, don't aim the heat right at your scalp. Maybe use a bit more dry shampoo and your lovely new brush on any problematic areas.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:33 PM on March 1, 2016

I used to own (more than one) a very expensive hair straightener. As in hundreds of dollars. After I broke my last one, I took a risk on a very cheap one w great recommendations. Seriously, this thing is $40 (and Amazon is showing me a$3 off coupon). Better/as good as my crazy expensive ones. And I use it daily.
posted by atomicstone at 5:48 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Disclaimers: I am lazy. I do not blow dry or straighten or really spend "work" on my hair. I also shower and wash my hair at night. I don't think I own any "product" right now. My hair used to be mid-back length (just shy of bra strap, I think), it's thick, takes forever to dry, moderately straight.

But I had to look put together at my last office job. So french braids, buns, regular braids, flexi-clips, etc - those are what I did. Every morning. Hair does not have to be heat-styled to be fancy and presentable.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:57 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depends on how long your hair is and what texture, but I have good luck putting a volumizing mousse in mine and then putting it back in a loose braid. When I wake up, it's nice and wavy but not messy. I usually put some styling oil in before I leave the house, just to pull it together.
posted by holborne at 6:19 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh sorry, you wanted brand recommendations. I use the Aveda Phomollient, five pumps (my hair is around shoulder length), and Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil (one pump).
posted by holborne at 6:23 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have fine, shoulder length hair that I wash every second or third night. Sometimes I comb it out and rub some argan oil in but mostly I just take my messy wet hair straight to bed. In the morning I spend two minutes max straightening it, maybe add some John Freida anti-frizz cream and I'm good to go. If my hair still looks terrible or is a bit dirty I put it up in bun with one of those AWESOME donut things. I get heaps of compliments on it when I do and it seriously takes no time at all.
posted by Wantok at 6:25 PM on March 1, 2016

I have fairly fine, wavy/curly chin-length hair that ends up getting washed at night if I go to the gym Figuring out that a spray bottle full of water + one dime-size squirt of product spread around my palms and scrunched in (I use a Bumble and Bumble Curl Creme because I want mine to be curly/messy- you might want to do whatever generic anti-frizz smoothing cream thing you find- no joke, there are usually directions on the bottle if the coin-sized amount doesn't work for you) was a big deal for me, as a Hair Dummy.

When I had longer hair, French braiding it wet at night led to reasonable results as soon as I took the hairband out.
posted by charmedimsure at 6:38 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending on how badly my hair is behaving, I may need to resort to the Bun Maker
posted by 26.2 at 6:51 PM on March 1, 2016

I wet and brush any sticky-outy bits. Or I wet and scrunch, if I'm going for waves. And I try to let it air dry as much as possible before going to bed; the wetter it is, the worse the bedhead.

I used to straighten my hair with a flat iron, and that made my hair stay put, usually for a few days.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:52 PM on March 1, 2016

Not gonna say I have great hair, but it's fine and shoulder length and about half wavy. In the morning I've been using a heat protector before I straighten it. I only wash about every 3-4 days and use dry shampoo in between (r+co badlands paste is my current favorite, you actually only need a little bit and it seems more economical than the spray cans that don't seem to last long). I just put it in a little bun with a clip if I don't feel like doing anything to it. I'm a life-long night showerer. I like to be clean when I get in bed.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:08 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I also sleep with a loose bun on top of my head. I also sometimes throw some mousse in my hair when wet, and sleep with my hair loose to get a bit of volume in the night. In the AM, I usually spritz a bit of dry shampoo on my roots, then go over my whole head with a medium barrel curling iron, because I like my hair to be big and full of secrets. YMMV.

Wearing your hair up is easier and less damaging, but if you want to wear it down I think the key is product and heat styling.
posted by nerdfish at 2:17 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Your hair sounds a lot like mine. I agree with cecic, use a spray bottle with water then quickly style with a hairdryer. When I had longer hair, I'd plait/braid it overnight, but no matter what I did with my fringe/bangs the only way I could get it back in place was by wetting it. The wet comb method mentioned earlier also works, but I usually ended up dripping more water on my clothes or the floor than made it to my hair.
posted by Kris10_b at 3:16 AM on March 2, 2016

This is super helpful.

I tried sleeping in messy bun and using the flat iron this morning. It worked (sort of). I think I definitely need to put something on it to control the static, though.

On non hair-washing days, do you wet your hair? Do you condition?
posted by telepanda at 6:43 AM on March 2, 2016

I shower at night. In the morning I wet my hair down where it's sticking up, and in the front, then blow it dry which takes about one minute. Right now my hair is pretty short, but when it was longer it was even easier to do this. I do this every day, hair-washing and non hair-washing days. I switch between a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner and separate shampoo and conditioner.
posted by lyssabee at 7:03 AM on March 2, 2016

Depending on your hair, french-braiding at night when it's still just a little teeny bit damp will mean gentle waves and nice body in the morning. Worth a shot, anyway.
posted by AmandaA at 7:11 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wash my hair maybe once a week. Every day, I shower in the morning; the steam and getting a little wet seem to help my hair work itself out of its slept-on state.

In the summer, if it's really bad, I'll rinse but not condition my hair. (I don't blow dry, like at all, ever.)

Messy bun in bed doesn't work that well for me because my ends look really bad. French braid works much better.
posted by mchorn at 8:59 AM on March 2, 2016

Messy bun in bed doesn't work that well for me because my ends look really bad.

This was my main problem with it so now I coil the hair around loosely on top of my head until about 2 inches from the end, secure with as loose of an elastic as will feasibly hold it, and leave the ends sticking out like...some kind of hair snail I guess. It looks dumb as hell at night but nobody sees it, and in the morning there is volume and some curl.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:04 PM on March 2, 2016

I have crazy disobedient curly hair, but I HATE going to bed dirty, so I rinse my hair first thing in the morning before styling. It's been the simplest solution for me. My hair is not long enough for a bun, so not an option for me.
posted by zug at 8:12 PM on March 2, 2016

I wash every 4 days. On day 2, I just refresh the style with the flat iron/curling iron as needed. On day 3, I use Dry Shampoo to refresh it and have it not be so oily.

It takes a while for your hair to adjust to less washing, though.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:11 PM on March 4, 2016

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