22 Dirty-Hair Hairstyles for When Washing Is Not an Option

We've all been there.


@zendaya / Design by Zackary Angeline

We're all for adding an extra day or two in between shampooing. It frees up our mornings, adds a cool second-day grit to our hair, and even helps hold certain styles in place better than clean hair. The only issue is, after a day too many (depending on your hair), things start to look a little less effortless and a little more, well, greasy. But here's the silver lining: There are cool, on-trend styles that look better with dirty hair and disguise the fact that you've forgone a wash entirely. Lazy girls, rejoice.

With that in mind, we did a bit of stalking on our favorite celebrity and hairstylists' Instagrams to find our favorite greasy hairstyle picks. Below, find the nine most covetable (all of which you can do at home on your own) styles and why they're perfect for second (or third-day) hair. Keep scrolling for your next hair inspiration.

The Bedhead Bun

Turn your bedhead into a chic bun. Swept back with a hint of product will hide any lingering grease, and pulling out a few face-framing pieces will help maintain that undone feel.

The Accessorized Braid

Braids add enough texture to your hair to disguise grease and they're a great way to keep your hair off your face when you just can't. Add a few barrettes to mask how dirty your roots actually are—we promise, no one will be able to tell.

The Tousled French Twist

A smooth French twist on shiny, clean hair feels a bit too prim and proper. Instead, work with the natural texture you get with day-three hair, and sweep it over into a slightly undone twist.

The Twisted Low Bun

Simply pulling your hair back when it isn't at its best may be the oldest trick in the book, but only because it is so effective. However, this look ups the ante by twisting two sections of a low ponytail, then pinning them back up into the nape of the neck for a funnel-cake type look.

The '60s Half Pony

Camila Coelho's sleek, tight half ponytail is given the perfect amount of retro flare with flipped-out ends. Use a flat iron and gradually tilt upwards as you get to the ends to recreate the look.

Space Buns

A dirty hair day is no match for space buns, especially if you're sporting curly hair. Make them oversized for a more playful vibe (and to conceal oily ends).

Half Space Buns

Coarse, curly hair doesn't necessarily need dry shampoo, especially as this hair type tends to be dryer and therefore only requires about one wash per week. However, vlogger Bianca Renee found that IGK's Jet Lag and First Class Dry Shampoo gave even her already voluminous curls mega volume at the root (watch the video and see the difference for yourself).

Boost your own roots with a few spritzes, then part the hair down the middle and gather buns on either side of the part just at the top of the head while leaving out the bulk of the hair around the face and on the bottom half of the head.

The Sleek Ponytail

Dry shampoo can be a godsend for silk-pressed hair, but rather than trying to hide that oily sheen we get when our hair is dirty, this style proves that it can look sleek—not greasy. Fight the urge and opt to work with the oil, which will make it easier to form into an architectural ponytail like this one. The result is chic, sleek, and extremely flattering.

The Half-Bun

Gather the top layer of hair into a messy knot and tie it at the crown of your head (where it is most oily) to fake volume. For more grip, use a little dry shampoo beforehand. (We love Jen Atkin's innovative new Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam, $28.)

The Everyday Accessory

Sometimes, adding a barrette or pin can not only distract from your dirty hair, but it can also help give it some volume. Use your fingers to loosely pull back half of your hair and secure it with a pretty barrette and metal accessory.

The Sleek and Free

Slicked back hair isn't only appropriate for ponytails, particularly if you're getting ready for a night out. Just brush and (if necessary) straighten, and slick down with a layer of your favorite loose-hold pomade. Don't brush through again once things are slick—it'll show up as little lines.

The Bubble Braid

Bubble braids give all the Princess Jasmine vibes. Best part? The style is so easy to achieve—after creating a ponytail, mark off even sections with a hair tie (or pieces of fabric, like in the photo above) until you get to the ends.

The Top Knot With Face-Framing Pieces

A little extra grease on your roots will actually serve you well with this style. Gather your hair into a ponytail at the top of your head, leaving out two small pieces on either side of the face (a rat-tail comb will help you expertly separate the pieces). Then, secure with a bungee elastic (they hold a much tighter ponytail than a regular hair tie) and twist the ponytail into a top knot, securing it with bobby pins.

The Accessorized High Side Pony

A '90s-esque high pony worn off to the side with snap clips gives all the nostalgic feels.

Dutch Braids

To achieve this look, simply part your hair in the middle and create an inside-out French braid down both sides. And don't worry—any mess will look intentional.

Low Pigtails

Slicked-back low pigtails and beautifully laid edges? Yes, please.

Pinned Back

Embrace the grease and slick back your style, creating a deep side part that's pinned back with several bobby pins on the side with less hair. Use a curling iron to wave out the opposite side, and your unwashed hair will look like a red-carpet moment.

The Headband Tuck

This one is easy, particularly if you have thin hair. Just put a headband on, roll your hair starting from one side, and tuck the rolled hair over and around into the headband. If it falls, use a bobby pin or two to secure it.

The Voluminous Ponytail

Dry shampoo has the power to really boost your roots, even when your hair isn't dirty. Use the product to your advantage to help create a super voluminous wavy ponytail by first wrapping small sections around a curling iron to create chic waves, then spritz your roots with dry shampoo, fluff up your hair with your fingers, and finally gather into a high pony.

The Side Braid

For this low-effort style, just start a french braid on one side of your head and let it swoop to the other side, working across.

The Double Twisted Ponytail

Pull back the underside of your hair into a ponytail with an elastic, and separate the top into two separate pigtail-like sections. Twist the sections, crossing them over the elastic on the ponytail, then under. Tuck both sections into the elastic.

Surprise Accessory

How do you jazz up a basic low ponytail? With a pearl-encrusted barrette, of course. Snap one of these on right at the top of the ponytail for a little extra flair that will take about 0.5 seconds tops.

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  1. Go Ask Alice! How often to wash hair? Updated June 21, 2019.

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