Real-talk: Busy girls on #teamSELF are always looking for ways to shave time off their beauty routines—without sacrificing good style, of course. Just think of all the you could conquer in the time you spend shampooing and styling every week. If you could give your style an extra day or two of life, you'd have plenty of extra down time to chill out. So, here are some new ways downsize your weekly wash routine and extend the life of your look.
Fine-haired girls should reach for a reverse shampoo system.
Some women swear by the condition-before-shampoo method for more volume, and now there is a proliferation of products designed to be be used in that exact order. “Conditioning first and then shampooing the hair allows the [hair’s cuticle] to hydrate itself before stripping away unwanted, excess oils,” New York City hairstylist Lauren Thompson of Nunzio Saviano Salon tells SELF. Try the Kerastase Resistance Therapiste reverse set ($42 and $40, kerastase-usa.com ) to hydrate dry hair. There's also Tresemme Beauty-Full Volume Collection, which includes a Pre-Wash Conditioner and Shampoo. It's a little more affordable at just five bucks per bottle ( tresemme.com ), and it's great for women with oily scalps.
While just swapping the order of your products may not seem like a time saver—it totally is, as you’ll save many minutes on the styling side. After using the Tresemme system, I didn’t need a volumizing spray or dry texture spray to get lift at the roots. And because my hair wasn’t being weighed down by any heavy humectants, it naturally dries faster, too.
Curly or coarse haired girls should grab a cleansing conditioner.
Also known as cleansing balms or co-washes, cleansing conditioner may be an innovative product in the beauty aisle—but cleansing with conditioner is an old trick, says Thompson. “People started to realize that the extra conditioning helped to keep their hair hydrated, and [they] weren’t shampooing as often,” she says.
This is because “shampoo uses harsh cleansing agents like surfactants,” Dark and Lovely Lead Style Squad Member Stephanie McLemore tells SELF. “And because co-washing allows the scalp to preserve its natural oils, your hair will see a wealth of benefits, including the removal of excess product and moisturizing of the scalp,” she says.
L’Oréal just launched a line of 6-in-1 Cleansing Balms ($10 each, target.com ) that work for sleek and kinky hair alike. And in May, Joico is introducing a new line of mousse co-washes ($24 each, joico.com ). The whipped formula allows even distribution from root to tip. When my hair dried, it didn’t feel sticky or heavy either—important since I have fine hair.
If your hair is fine, straight, or wavy, you really owe it to yourself to try dry shampoo.
“Because a flake-free scalp helps to optimize our hair growth, our hair and scalp require daily cleansing—but not shampooing,” Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist (that’s a scalp health specialist) at Philip Kingsley Salon , tells SELF. So, dry shampoos are a great choice to keep strands clean between washes. “Choose one that contains soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients that are beneficial to the scalp, like zinc, allantonin, and bisabolol,” Kingsley says.
However, skip the powders, which Thompson says are a throwback to the old-school, baby powder beauty hack. Try Shu Uemura Art of Hair Color Luster Dry Cleaner ($39, shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com ), which has oil-busting aluminum starch and only needs to be held one or two inches from the scalp instead of six to eight. (Let’s be real, I never nail the six to eight inches quite right.) A great budget-friendly option is Dove Refresh and Care Volume Dry Shampoo ($5, walgreens.com ), which actually gave my limp roots the most lift of any of the dry shampoos I tested.
To make the most of your dry shampoo application, spritz through roots and hair, making sure not to concentrate on any one specific spot. After waiting a minute or so, massage the product into your scalp using your fingertips to spread it evenly. (Bonus: This will also add tons of volume!)
If you’ve got thick curls or braids, skip the dry shampoo in favor of a scalp tonic.
“Using scalp tonics in between washes will help tone, soothe, and moisturize," says Kinglsey. They should have astringent properties to soak up excess oil, so look for ingredients like witch hazel; or if your scalp is irritated, a soothing compound like camphor. Try Carol’s Daughter Lisa’s Hair Elixir Fortifying Scalp Spray ($22, carolsdaughter.com )—love the targeted nozzle—or Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Toner ($36, philipkingsley.com ) if you’re fighting some serious winter flakes. “Scalp tonics are designed to stimulate bloodflow, open hair follicles, and ultimately promote healthy hair growth,” McLemore tells SELF. Follow up every application with a massage for maximum absorption.
Add an extra day or two to any kind of style with a refreshing spray or reviving mist.
Enlivening products have one goal: To stretch the state of your current hairstyle. For example, Dark and Lovely Anti-Shrinkage Twice-as-Nice Curl Refresher Spray ($10, at drugstores nationwide) is great for making second- and third-day styles look as fresh as the first few hours. It's got ingredients like mango oil and bamboo milk to help rehydrate dry curls. WEN Lavender Replenishing Treatment Mist ($27, qvc.com ) is similar but is a bit lighter and works on a multitude of hair types.
No time to dry shampoo or refresh? Spritz on a hair perfume.
No, hair perfumes will not make hair cleaner. But they will make your mane smell better because greasy hair tends to, well, kinda stink. If you don’t have the time to spend a few minutes polishing your hair, these designed-for-your-strands mists will help mask the dirty scent. I can’t get enough of Frederic Fekkai L’Air St. Barths Hair Fragrance Mist ($20, fekkai.com ), which smells like summer and has frizz-taming ingredients. I also love CLEAN Original Fragrance Hair Shine Mist ($24, cleanperfume.com ) which has UV protection and a sexy scent.