A Week Without Washing: 5 Easy Dirty Hair Hairstyles

Sure, there are worse chores than having to wash your hair, but who among us hasn’t woken up one morning and wished we could skip washing our hair? The styling alone can take more than 30 minutes (we’d rather be sleeping in!), and we all know that skipping a wash is actually good for your hair.

“I’m a firm believer that some natural oil is not only healthy for hair, but also stylistically beneficial,” says Cutler Salon Owner and Stylist, Rodney Cutler. Every time you shampoo, you deplete the hair of natural oils that keep the hair from getting dry. Or get this, greasy. The more you shampoo, the harder the hair follicles work to add in that moisture, creating oily roots. Cutler recommends washing on average 2-3 times a week, which is decidedly less than washing, say, every other day.

But how long can you really go without washing your hair? Well, we set out to test five different hairstyles that would account for a full working week without washing—that’s right, no washing your hair Monday through Friday—to see if we could make it work. Guess what? It’s easier than you’d think!

It may take your hair some time to get used to a less frequent washing routine, and there may be off days when you need to camouflage oily roots, but with the right inspiration, it’s definitely do-able. We teamed up with Ashley Kalinske, our Publisher Relations Manager (who manages to go at least five days without washing her hair on a fairly regular basis), to show five easy hairstyles to get you through the work week with simply one wash. Who knew dirty hair could look this good?

not washing hair

Monday: Blowout
For the first day of the week, start with a wash and a blowout. Start with as much volume as possible (without veering into Texas blowout territory). As the week progresses, hair will start to flatten out as the scalp accumulates natural oil.

Here’s how to get the perfect blowout: Start by drying your hair about 75 percent of the way with a rough dry using your fingers. (It’s gentler on the hair than a brush). Once hair is only a little damp, use a round brush to dry 3-4-inch pieces  around the face and on top. As you finish drying, roll the piece into a loose curl. For a wavier finish, roll the each piece into a pin curl and let it sit for a few minutes before releasing. Finish with a light hair spray that won’t pull hair down.

Tuesday: Dry Shampoo
On Day Two, some oil may accumulate at the roots, but that’s nothing a little dry shampoo can’t fix. Apply the dry shampoo at the root, hairline, and below a few top pieces at the crown to add some height to the style. If you see any white residue, use your fingertips to rub it out gently. Cutler recommends Redken Powder Refresh ($17, redken.com) because it absorbs oil without any unwanted stickiness.

Wednesday: Half-Up Twist
Letting the hair fall naturally by the face on Day Three will highlight any oil residue—which you definitely don’t want. Instead, simply pull the hair back along the front into two twists and pin in place. If hair is greasy along the part, pull the hair straight back.

Thursday: Side French Braid
Braids are great for hiding dirty hair because they add just enough texture to camouflage grease. This side French braid hangs loosely along an oily hairline so it doesn’t highlight it. To get the look, gather three sections of hair at the right side of the nape of the neck. Start to French braid along the the bottom of the head, finishing with a side braid behind the left ear. To loosen the style, simply pull the hair with your fingertips. Voila! Seriously chic dirty hairstyle.

Friday: Twisted Topknot
By Day Five, your hair will definitely be dirty and oily, but that’s nothing a chic bun can’t fix. “To hide greasy, dirty hair, steer clear of any styles that are flat at the part line which shows the oil and any discoloration that can result from oily hair,” says Cutler. “Free form, textured styles, such as a messy bun or wavy natural texture help to hide the roots.” For this simple topknot, gather all of the hair at the crown into a ponytail. Then twist around the elastic, keeping the hair in place with bobby pins. “You can also use the oil to your advantage and pull hair back into a sleek look so it seems intentional,” says Cutler. Can’t stand the oily feel of your hair? Add texture with a texturizing spray or dry shampoo.

Read more: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair? We Asked the Experts