I have very thick hair and it took me years — decades, really — to learn how to manage it well. In fact, I’m still learning. In the hope that I can save some of my fellow thick-hair-havers from learning things the slow, hard way like I did, I’m sharing some of my survival tips for life with thick hair. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more #ThickHairTips.
Styling thick hair can be a nightmare. I say this because it’s a nightmare I live.
I mean, obviously it’s a nightmare in a very #FirstWorldProblems kind of way. I’m not being forced out of my home by ethnic cleansing or denied housing based on my race or starving to death, and even though this is a beauty blog I think we should try to keep some kind of perspective.
So let’s just dial that back and say this: Styling thick hair is labor-intensive and time-consuming, and even if you don’t have a full-time job or small children or a busy travel schedule, ultimately that’s time you’d probably rather spend doing something else. I know I would.
For me, the solution to shortening the time I spend drying and styling my hair is simple: I do it as little as possible. This week on Instagram, I’ve been documenting the simple steps I take every day to preserve my Drybar blowouts and get as many days out of them as I can. (Visit my profile and check out the #Barfly highlight to learn more.)
That’s great for you, you might be thinking, but I have to wash my hair every day or it’s a greasy disaster.
First of all, I totally get that, and I know a lot of people who wash their hair every day for that very reason. That said, I don’t think there’s anything particularly special about my hair that lets me wash it less often, except that my hair is used to being washed less frequently.
I’ve never been someone who washes their hair every day. I remember my mom, who worked for a long time in theatrical makeup and wig design and hung out with a lot of hairstylists, being adamant that not only was it unnecessary to wash hair daily, it was actually better for your hair to give it some time between washes. So I’ve always been more in the once-or-twice-a-week camp, and as a result I think my scalp is just conditioned to build up oil more slowly. Which is great, because it means I can get up to a week out of that $45 blowout.
Everyone’s scalp is different, of course, but especially if you have thick hair, let me tell you… your life will be easier if you try decreasing the frequency of your shampoos. (And the decreased shower and blow-dry time is better for the planet, as well as your utility bills!)
My favorite product for extending my hairstyle, by the way, isn’t dry shampoo — it’s dry conditioner. There are other products out there that call themselves “dry conditioner,” but as far as I know there’s nothing else that works quite like Drybar Detox Dry Conditioner. A light spray gives my second- (or third-, fourth-, fifth-) day hair just enough hydration and detangling assistance to refresh and extend my style with minimal fuss.
If You Try It
Byrdie has a great five-day plan for training your hair to be less greasy. Refinery29 has some additional helpful tips. And believe it or not, WebMD has a great rundown on shampoo frequency and hair health.
Got thick hair questions? Send them my way!