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How to Preserve a Hair Blow-Out

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,

Right now I am rocking the longest hair I have had in my life. It falls about 2 inches above my bra strap, but I am good about regular cuts and that sorta thing, so it is looking pretty healthy. Also, I lost 65 pounds about two years ago, dammit, and even if long hair is age inappropriate (I am 27), I want to look hot and sexy. I deserve it! My hair has always been my “thing”: I love it. It is shiny, very dark and I love trying new things with it. Hooray!

My problem is this…I know I should not wash every day and I think I could get away with it, except when I sleep…it gets all weird. Like, gets bendy and kinda all mussed up and matted. I have to wash it and blow dry it almost every day (though I wear it back at least once a week and skip the washing then) to get it sleek. Should I wear a wrap on my head? I know tying back while you sleep is bad; please help me! I know I should not be washing every day.

Also, while we are on it, how does one keep their hair non-skuzzy when they work out on a regular basis and do not want to wash. Is a sweat band really enough?

I have attached a recent photo (it is from a festival, I swear I usually look a little classier), but the hair is about three inches longer than you can really tell; the front layers are deceiving.

Thanks so much–you are the best.


Most hairstylists recommend wrapping your head with a silk scarf at night to preserve a blow-out. Tie the knot in front, over your forehead (NOT your hairline) to stay comfortable. For really long hair, braid it loosely before wrapping it — don’t use a rubber band to fasten the braid though, just let the scarf hold it.
If you don’t own a silk scarf, you can totally slum it up Steel-Magnolias style and wrap your head several times in toilet paper instead (though if you’re the restless toss-and-turn type at night, you’ll likely wake up in a sea of ripped-up toilet paper squares).

If you can at least manage to keep the flattening/mushing/matting damage down to a minimum, you can wear a cap in the shower (or just keep your hair mostly out of the water) and then freshen up with a round brush and just a teensy bit of blow-drying in the morning. Reshape the ends, flip your head upside-down and blast the roots really quickly. I actually prefer to not wear a shower cap and will let my hairline and ends get a little bit wet, just because it makes the morning freshening up a bit more effective. If your hair still isn’t as sleek as you’d like it, invest in a really good ceramic flat iron (or biiiig round curling iron) and use that for touch-ups. As long as you aren’t ironing it to all hell every day, a little heat styling is probably still better for your hair than the daily shampooing. (Says the girl with the scalp so oily that skipping the washing is so rarely an option it HURTS, because WAAAAH.) (And yes, I’ve tried going days without shampooing to see if that helped the oil production — disgusting, dirty, slimy-headed days. Didn’t work.)

(Except when I was pregnant, when my hair was magically awesome.) (*shakes fist*) (HORMONNNNNNES!)

As for keeping hair non-grody through a workout, the dry shampoos are your best friend here, combined with the freshening up process described above. Keep a can of one of the nicer spray versions (Ojon, Oscar Blandi, T3, Rene Furterer, etc.) in your gym bag and use sparingly wherever you need a little oomph or sweat absorption.

Another thing to remember if you’re not shampooing every day: KEEP YOUR HAIRBRUSH CLEAN. All that hair build-up in your brush will dirty up the hair on your head SO MUCH, since it’s full of oil and old product and lint from the air and ugh. Pluck the hair out of your brush daily, and shampoo the whole brush occasionally.

Also, long hair is SO not inappropriate for a 27-year-old, my lands. I really refuse to think it’s inappropriate for any set age, so long as you keep it healthy and not like, hanging in your face or down below your knees. I look pretty wretched with anything shorter than shoulder-length (thanks, neck-devouring chin!), so I plan to rock the long hair for probably the rest of my life. Actually, when I’m old I think I will just go full-tilt crazy and do it EXACTLY like Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, all big and teased and tied up with ridiculous headbands and bows and no one is going to stop me, because I will be awesome and crazy and probably drunk most of the time.


About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Robin

    May 21, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Yes, 27 is way too young to think long hair is not age appropriate 🙂 I think long hair looks classy on women of all ages, though.
    Anyway, I have wavy hair so braiding my hair in two braids is how I pull off the overnight without having it look like a dreaded mess in the morning. And a silk pillowcase.

  • Lemmonex

    May 21, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Thanks Amy! I actually asked this question about a year ago. Since then, I chopped 9 inches off, but 4 have grown back. I use a dry shampoo a lot–I am a fan of the Bumble and Bumble. It costs a ton, but lasts forever.
    Also, yes yes yes to the quick touch up blow dry. It has become my friend. I do need to get better about cleaning my brushes, though. Thanks for the reminder.
    As a now 28 year old, I can happily say I love my long hair and screw anyone who says otherwise.

  • Lisa M

    May 21, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I have been wondering about this exact same thing for ages now! I have finally stopped abusing my hair, and it looks great. I can usually skip washing my hair for 2 days (sometimes 3 days in winter); but it looses volume by the second day, and the ends no longer curl under. Hmmm. now I must hunt on Amazon for a silk scarf.

  • Molly Chase

    May 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I like the looks of my blown-out hair more on the second day than I do with it freshly blown out, to be honest, with a little touch-up from one of those hot blowy-brush things. It’s smoother and calmer and things tend to fall a little more naturally.
    Day three looks like I’ve been wearing a bacon hat. I try not to push it.

  • Jess

    May 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I have long hair, am 27 years old and regularly blow out my hair (it’s veeeerrry curly otherwise) and then don’t wash it for DAYS….I’m almost embarrassed to tell people how long I can go without washing it (7 days is my max…don’t be grossed out)…and it’s a combination of not having oily hair or skin and a variety of techniques I have mastered over the years.
    I use a blow dryer with a brush attached…like this one- to get my hair straight (I’m totally uncoordinated and can’t blow out my hair using the brush and dryer) and it works amazingly for those morning touch ups. I just turn my head over and brush it out with the hairdryer and it gives volume and gets rid of those weird kinks that happen overnight. I have a Revlon flat iron that I love too if I ever need it and I do use the dry shampoos. I’m a bigger fan of the spray on ones rather than anything that’s a powder…but in a pinch, I’ll just some baby powder….and if it get greasy on the hairline I’ll just get that part wet in the shower and blow dry just that part. In the shower I use a small hair towel to keep my hair dry….once I started living with my boyfriend I tossed the shower cap…too “grandma”.
    What’s funny is that I get more compliments on my hair after three days of not washing it than I do on day one.

  • Jenno

    May 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    “Actually, when I’m old I think I will just go full-tilt crazy and do it EXACTLY like Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, all big and teased and tied up with ridiculous headbands and bows and no one is going to stop me, because I will be awesome and crazy and probably drunk most of the time.”
    Why wait until you’re old to be awesome and crazy and probably drunk most of the time?

  • Anonymous

    May 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Yo, Cher just turned 63 and I think she still rocks the long hair!
    And way to go you for losing 65 pounds. That is awesome.

  • Darcey

    May 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Ok, so I’ve tried just about every single dry shampoo out on the market. I used to love the Ojon stuff… but? I fell in love with one you can buy for under $8 in most circumstances.
    SAMY Dry Shampoo… I found mine on, though my sister has bought it on buy one/get one 50% off in the actual retail store.
    I find the smell is better than most, and the white residue that they all leave blends MUCH better than an other.

  • Lisa M

    May 22, 2009 at 8:30 am

    OK, I tried the satin pillowcase method last night, except because of the sick baby, I didn’t have time to pick up a satin pillowcase, so I put a slip (yes, a slip) over my pillow.
    Anyway, in spite of the methodology, my hair looks awesome today. Not quite as bouncy as yesterday, but still smooth and frizz free.

  • Kim

    May 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I think it is very telling about my life that I saw this title and thought, “Did she mean prevent rather than preserve? Because, ew.” My mind went immediately to diapers. Ok, going back to the post-partum blog now…
    Editor: Good catch Kim. We’ve changed it. Two words on preventing a poop blow-out: Duct Tape.

  • charlotte

    May 22, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Hm. I had a blow out only once in my entire 42-year-old life, and I hated it. So, I’m sticking with my long curls …