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6 Ways to Make Dirty Hair Look Cleaner — Without Shampoo

Dirty hair happens. Maybe you've slept through your alarm, maybe you've been working out at the gym, or maybe you just don't feel like washing it. When your hair starts to get that not-so-fresh feeling, there are a few easy ways to make it look — well, not clean per se, but significantly less Crisco-glazed.

Change it up. If you part your hair on the left, part it on the right. Usually, it'll show cleaner hair, and it will create the illusion of more volume. Plus, you get that hair-in-the-eyes '90s shoegazer look, which is sexy.

Learn to love scarves. And headbands. And anything else that lets you get your hair away from your face. It's an obvious solution, but it works.


Do the twist. If your hair is long enough, twist or braid an inch-wide section of hair on each side of your face. Pull those back, and they'll look sleek. That distracts from the slick.

For another trio of tips, read more.

Wash what you can. If you have bangs, washing those can give you a fresher look.

Use a dry shampoo. Truth be told, it isn't the perfect solution, but dry shampoos can soak up grease. Apply them close to the scalp, and use less than you think you'll need. Oscar Blandi's version ($11-19) adds a fresh scent, but it's sometimes visible on medium-to-dark hair. Bumble and bumble's powder ($19-35) comes in different shades, so it may match better. In a pinch, you can use baby powder, too.

Wipe out. If you can't shampoo your hair, you can still give it a quick cleaning. Ted Gibson Hair Sheets ($17.50) are made to do just that. Conversely, a sulfate-free baby wipe such as Avalon Baby Wipes ($6.39) can gently refresh, too.

Source: Flickr User me and the sysop

julesisme1 julesisme1 6 years
Using rubbing alcohol (the kind that's like $2 at the drug store) is awesome. I tried the baby powder but it mostly just coats it and smells like you're trying to cover up dirty hair! Use the 70% kind, and apply w/ a cotton ball, in sections at roots, only where it's dirty/oily. Any odor will disappear & it absorbs much of the oil very nicely. After 10 min, take a clean dry towel & rub those areas. It will buy you another day of non-washing : )) Best if you do it the night before & sleep on it. Note: if you dye your hair, this could lift a bit of your color, so beware of that.
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
I'm a fan of braiding my hair if I can't wash it... also, I use loose face powder if I need to cut the shine factor a little...not perfect, but it works well enough to get through the day.
nikkeeb nikkeeb 7 years
my friends will start to notice a pattern, but when i don't have time to shower, i'll pull my hair back and slip on a wide headband. it covers pretty much everything. if i have just enough time to shower, but not to blow dry, i'll pull everything back and put on a thin headband to keep post-shower frizz from sprouting.
tatsauce tatsauce 7 years
Oscar Blandi dry shampoo sucks, try Ojon it is much better. My hair gets oily after one day! Lately, I've been depending on my dry shampoo. Ojon has a decent smell and I do notice a little extra oomph if you use it right.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I sleep with my hair up, as it's too long to leave down (my husband rolls onto my hair. LOL). By doing this, when I let my hair down in the mornings, I have a lot of extra volume. It looks good, and I can get away without washing it for 1 - 2 days.
AnnieAreYouOhK AnnieAreYouOhK 7 years
I would die w/o my cheap bottle of Psssssssst Dry Shampoo from the drugstore. I used to use Dry Shampoo from Sephora, but it was too expensive. My hair is oily by day 2 and washing it all the time is a pain because my hair is super long and I HAVE to blow dry and style it.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Another trick I use when I'm short on time is to just shampoo my bangs in the sink and then blow dry them. I have thick side-swept bangs and so it really gives the illusion of clean hair and takes less than 10 minutes.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 7 years
I apply baby powder with a makeup brush and it makes such a difference. But my hair is blond so may not work on darker hair.
Shev3237586 Shev3237586 7 years
Dry shampoo is da best!
pink-elephant pink-elephant 7 years
I definitely do the headband/ponytail/braid thing but otherwise I reach for my trusty every time, just so long as you rub it in really really well. Otherwise it makes you look like you've gone gray.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
Man - there's nothing I can do. My short, baby fine hair looks greasy if I don't wash it every day and it's too short to pull back in a headband and scarves are just inappropriate for my work place.
kayecouture kayecouture 7 years
the twist, scarves and headbands are my tricks lol!
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