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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.


Published May 21, 2009. Last updated December 14, 2017.
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 [email protected].

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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