How to Not Wash Your Hair on Vacation — and Still Look Great

Whether you’re headed to the beach or hitting the ski slopes for vacation, no one wants to spend their relaxation time worrying about their hair. Half the pleasure of no work is skipping a hair wash (or three). But just because you don’t feel like shampooing, blowing, and styling doesn’t mean you don’t want to look good, obvs. So Yahoo Travel checked in with top hair stylists to get tips and tricks to keep your hair looking fresh and stylish, without all the work. Don’t worry, no one will know, and we won’t tell.

1. Prep before you leave with cleansing conditioner.


Pureology’s cleansing conditioners. You can buy travel size versions at (Photo: Pureology)

Two weeks before you leave on vacation, start conditioning your hair with cleansing conditioner, suggests Emily Heser, a senior stylist at Cutler Salon in NYC. “Your hair will be less oily and less frizzy,” which will help your blow-dry or hairstyle stay longer, she says. “It’s the ultimate low-maintenance-hair tool.” Heser likes Pureology’s Cleansing Conditioners — you can choose from hydrating, strengthening, and smoothing formulas. And if you do wash once or twice on vacay, they come in travel sizes you can take with you.

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2. Make dry shampoo your new your best friend.


Dry shampoos like Pret-a-Powder can save your style. (Photo: Batiste)

“Start using it on clean hair on the first day,” says Heser. “That way doesn’t get greasy to start with.” If you go with an aerosol (Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray and super affordable Batiste Dry Shampoo are professionals’ faves and come in travel size), shake it up, hold it few inches from your head, spray onto your roots, and brush. If you prefer powder so that you don’t have to worry about bringing travel size, Bumble and Bumble’s Bb. Pret-a-Powder is a good one. Just apply to the roots of your hair and then massage it in with your fingers. Since it absorbs the oil in your hair, you should get an extra two days out of your hair before you even have to reapply. “You can use it progressively,” adds hairstylist Christine Healey of Rita Hazan Salon in NYC. And it adds body and hold so you won’t have to use as much hair spray or other product, says Healey, which is also good when you’re trying to avoid washing.

3. Sleep in buns.


Photo: Thinkstock

It helps preserve any styling or blowouts and keeps your hair looking more put together and less tangled and frizzy, says Heser. Before bed, just create two small buns at the nape of the neck. Secure each with a French pin (the kind that are open, not closed and tight like a bobby pin). That will prevent the kinks and weird indents you can get when you secure a night bun with elastic.

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4. Use the right hairstyle for the level of, er, dirtiness.


Our editor Brittany Jones-Cooper opted for a full head of braids when she went to Fiji, and it worked like a charm. (Photo: Brittany Jones-Cooper)

Start with it down, maybe freshly blown out for a smooth and bouncy look on day one, says Healey. For day two, Healey says wear it down, but softer and embrace more texture, like beach waves (sea salt spray like Bumble and Bumble’s travel size Surf Spray can help with this). When it starts to get greasier in front on day three, braid the front section and pin it back with a bobby pin, suggests Heser. The next day, Heser says, go half up half down with old-school barrettes (the look is hot this season). Day five can be a low pony — it’s ok if the front looks a little more sleek (where it’s oilier), and your ends are drier, so they will still look good. After that, it’s time for a topknot, which is stylish and pretty much hides anything. If you don’t want to deal with washing or styling at all, try a hairdo that will hold for days, like a full head of braids or micro braids.

5. Refresh when necessary.


Photo: Thinkstock

If you have straight or wavy hair, add tiny bit of essential oil (like almond or bergamot) to some water in a spray bottle, says Heser Brush through your hair (preferable with a Mason Pearson brush — designed to distribute the natural scalp oils through your hair) and mist on the mixture. It resets your natural texture to add body.

If you have curly hair, Heser suggests mixing a bit of leave-on conditioner (like It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product) with some water in a spry bottle and mist your hair with it to unlock the bounce in your curls again.

These techniques also work to release any kinks you’ve put in your hair from wearing it up in an elastic, says Heser.

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6. Switch up your part.


Photo: Thinkstock

This is probably the easiest way to give unwashed or flat hair a boost. (Great for hat head if you’re skiing!) If you usually go right, go left or middle, and vice versa. Your hair gets used to a certain direction, and changing it gives the roots a lift, says Heser. Another easy way to get some quick volume is flip your head upside down and blow dry your roots, says Healey.

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