How to Make Your Freshly-Washed Hair Look a Few Days Old

Or as Lorelai Gilmore would say, "Dirty!"

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With few exceptions, I've found that we as women don't love our hair the same day it's washed. It's always some time later—whether it's day two, three, or seven—that we're most in tune with our texture.

For too long I was doomed by my freshly-washed hair, thinking that you just can't replicate the lived-in magic that comes from our natural oils, a sprinkle of sweat, and bedheaded strands. But then celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway, who counts perpetual good-hair-day-haver Olivia Palermo as one of her clients, showed me the light.

You can, in fact, fake lived-in texture. You just have to have the right products and tricks in your repertoire. Here, find the four steps to making your hair look dirty while being squeaky clean.

Sop Up Some Product

"Use a towel to soak up some of the products in your hair that would allow it to appear shiny or greasy," says Redway. But don't use the same towel you use to dry off your body. Instead look to a microfiber towel that's made for hair. DevaCurl's DevaTowel (opens in new tab) ($20) may have been created for curly girls, but all hair types can benefit from its less-abrasive texture. Plus, it's anti-static, for extra definition in the strands. 

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Rough Dry Your Hair

Air-drying is ideal when it comes to avoiding frizz, but if you're going to blow dry your hair, do it without a nozzle and brush. "This will restrict you from smoothing out the cuticles too much, which will leave your hair appearing too silky," explains Redway. You can also muss up the cuticles by blasting your hair from underneath the strands in an up and down motion with a lightweight blowdryer. "Use your fingers to rough up your cuticles," she adds.

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Try1907's Lightweight Hair Dryer, $114.16; (opens in new tab).

Add Grittiness with Texture Spray

Redway swears by texture spray for a days-old feel and her go-to is Kérastase's Styling V.I.P Volume in Powder (opens in new tab) spray. "It not only gives body to your hair, but it creates texture and grip," she says. "This effect makes the hair look more lived in."

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De-Shine with a Dry Shampoo

"Taking down the shine in your hair or decreasing the way light reflects on the hair can create a more lived-in effect," she explains. Now you don't want to give George Washington a run for his money (opens in new tab), but the matte, non-slippery finish from dry shampoo will mimic a few days of wear and allow better hold for your styling.

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Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.