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Dirty Hair Tips for the Perfect Updo

Here's the 411.

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Many people wonder if their hair should be dirty before attempting an updo. This is likely the most asked question and the biggest source of confusion in the wide world of special occasion hair. The easy answer is no. We know—that probably goes against everything you've ever heard about getting an updo, or doing one on yourself. But here's why.

Freshly washed squeaky clean hair, as a rule, is not the easiest to work with, but that definitely doesn't mean that you should go days without washing your hair before an updo, especially if you tend to shampoo frequently. You know if your hair gets greasy and oily if you don't wash it daily, and you know if your hair dries out too much if you wash it every day. Everyone's head is different. The idea is that your hair is not "dirty" but that the moisture and oil in your hair should be properly balanced so that your hair will hold a style.

Updo Advice

  • If you wash your hair every day, then, by all means, wash your hair the day of your event. It's best to wash your hair a few of hours before your hair appointment so it's fully dry by the time you arrive in the stylist's chair.
  • If you don't wash your hair every day, then we recommend that you wash your hair the day before your event. Overnight should give you plenty of time for the moisture in your hair to balance.
  • Do not sit in your stylist's chair with three-day-old, unwashed hair, unless that's your normal routine. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Other Tips to Ensure a Great Updo

  • It's best to add some product to your hair after you wash it. Mousse or gel will help prepare your hair to hold a curl and the style. Work the product through your hair with a comb and dry.
  • If you know where you want your hair parted for your updo, place your part before it dries all the way. It can sometimes be hard to "replace" your part once it dries.
  • If your hair is curly and you want to wear it curly, allow your hair to air dry or blow dry with a diffuser to preserve your curl. Use curl friendly hair products to ensure that your curl behaves itself and does not become frizzy.
  • Prior to styling, add body and volume to naturally straight hair by blow drying it with your head tipped upside down.

Product Recommendations

Here are some suggestions for styling products that you can apply after washing or before your appointment to facilitate the updo process.

full dry volume blast
Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast $29
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This styling spray adds texture and volume to fine hair, making it grippy enough to hold an undo.

surf spray
Bumble and bumble Surf Spray $24
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A sea salt spray can also do wonders for making slippery strands easier to work with when styling.

ouai dry texture foam
Ouai Dry Texture Foam $28
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A modern take on mousse (no crunchy strands to be found here) gives hair the necessary "grit" to hold onto your style. The brand calls this "like a pomade without the weight."

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