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It’s tempting and easy to slip into all-out frumpiness as a mom. Priorities change, and taking care of our littles can replace many self-care rituals we once held tightly. What if I told you that making yourself look better will make you FEEL better and make you a happier mom, which will make you a better mom?! I’m not advising locking yourself in the bathroom for 3 hours every morning and ignore the banging, scratching, and little fingers waving under the door. It is possible to upgrade your look quickly and easily and then move on to the priorities of your tiny tornados. If you only have time to do the bare minimum, make sure your hair looks good! Think about it, you’ll look cute in lounge clothes as long as your hair looks nice, but if you’re in a trendy outfit and your hair is a greasy mess, you’ll still look disheveled.
I work two days each week, but on the five days that I don’t, it was easy to slide into a routine of waking up whenever our littles woke me up. Then I’d immediately start the reactive dance of responding to the immediate and eternal demands of motherhood. I wouldn’t pause to address personal hygiene, much less get dressed or do my hair. (I highly recommend reading this post about a morning routine to facilitate a much better day.) I made many excuses for my frumpiness, but my favorite was that I was too busy taking care of the kids. However, I learned you CAN do BOTH, and a quick hair routine takes hardly any time at all and changed my whole outlook on an upcoming day. I felt better about myself in general, if there was a last-minute invite we could join (whereas before it seemed like too much work to get ready to go), and Hubbs noticed ;-).
Over time I’ve discovered some ways to have great hair without daily washing, blow-drying, curling, and products (with loads of chemicals) galore! These 7 tips make great hair so simple and quick that you’ll look forward to putting in a tiny bit of effort for fantastic results! Perhaps it’s leftover from my career days, but I’m all about maximizing my return on investment (ROI).
1.Do NOT wash hair daily. It’s actually better for your hair to not strip the natural oils out of it daily. Not only will your hair be healthier, but when you start washing your hair twice a week (if you need to work up to this, that’s acceptable), your scalp will produce less oil and your hair won’t look greasy as quickly. If you suffer from a dry scalp, this can help reduce or eliminate that issue as well. An added bonus is that you can do a quick “refresh” of your hair and any styling from a previous day doesn’t have to be started over from scratch. Note: I plan my two intense workouts for shower days, and if I get sweaty another day from a micro workout, I’ll take a super quick shower and not wash my hair 😉
2. Shampoo and conditioner. Demand the real poo! Haha, sorry, bad joke. I have fallen in LOVE with Doterra’s Salon Essentials shampoo and conditioner. To be entirely honest, their products are pricey and I haven’t had a great experience with their customer service, but I love this shampoo and conditioner so much that it’s worth it. (I find that I do a great job of stretching the products so while they’re expensive, I don’t have to buy them often. A trick to help with this is to buy the largest container for the best price, but then repackage it in a smaller bottle to use in your shower. I don’t know what it is about feeling like you have less, but it will help you use less!) The conditioner will make your hair the softest it has EVER been. It’s amazing. Try it. I used to not think twice about chemicals in products until I got pregnant. I read way too much and slowly overhauled many personal products. This shampoo and conditioner work GREAT and are all natural; not always an easy combination to find. Another tip to reduce oily hair is to use the shampoo on your roots to wash away the oil without drying the rest of your hair. Then use the conditioner only on the ends of your hair to nourish the driest part of your hair without adding to the oiliest part, the roots. This is a random note but, the Doterra shampoo and conditioner don’t leave a slippery film on the shower floor. I’m not sure why, but several natural shampoo/conditioner/soaps that I tried did this.
3. Dry shampoo. Of course, dry shampoo is essential, a staple of modern motherhood. To make it three or four days between washes, you’ll most likely need dry shampoo to not look like a grease-monkey. Remember we’re trying for easy, but also to look good and the greasy hair trend isn’t in right now 😛 Did you know a little corn starch is all you need? Again with eliminating as many chemicals (not to mention cheap) as possible, I found this solution. A frequent issue with dry shampoo is the white streaks, and the corn starch is no different. A trick for fixing this, especially if you have dark hair, is to add cocoa powder to it! (Yes, sometimes when I’m working out it smells like someone is baking brownies, but I’m okay with that LOL!) I’ve found the cocoa powder actually reduces the appearance of gray hair, as well! Depending on the shade of your hair, add more or less cocoa powder. I use a small plastic container and had two tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 one tablespoon of cocoa for my hair. (A little bit goes a long way!) I used to dip a make-up brush into the container and brush the powder on my roots. This worked well EXCEPT that it was quite messy, so I’d lean over the bathroom sink and then clean it afterward. What works better is pouring my mixture into an old bottle of Puff Me. I had an empty bottle of Puff Me volumizing powder, which comes in a non-aerosol pump bottle. While focusing on the roots, I spray a cloud mist two inches from the hair. I spray it around my face and then part my hair up the sides in 1-inch sections and spray each part. I work the powder through with my fingers and comb it through- then BAM, I’m good to go! Another trick is to do this right before you go to bed so that the powder works its way in a bit better. If you don’t realize you have oily hair until after you wake up, that’s okay, too. (If you’re not in the mood for even this level of DIY, Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo works pretty well, too. The bottle is slightly awkward because you gently shake it and then squeeze the bottle to dispel the powder. This experience is reminiscent of the bottle of baby powder that is squeezed when it shouldn’t have been, but you get the hang of it after a few applications. My all-time favorite, if you’re not worried about chemicals is Living Proof.)
4. Blow-dry. After I shower I let my hair air-dry until it’s about 80% dry and then blow-dry it. This makes blow-drying much faster, and it’s healthier for your hair to not subject it to heat for as long. I tried eliminating blow-drying entirely, but my hair just looks so much better when I do it. I get a little volume, and it eliminates weird kinks if I’m going to wear my hair straight. (New to blow-drying? Kate at thesmallthingsblog.com is my go-to gal for all things hair.) I have thick hair so waiting for it to be 80% dry takes quite a while and because of that I typically shower later in the day when I know we’ll be home for a few hours so that I can wait to blow-dry it. I know this hair dryer is expensive, but it’s also AH-MAYYYY-ZING! It dries hair super fast and makes it smooth and beautiful. I never thought the kind of hair drier you use could make a difference, but apparently, it does!
5. Curl or style. I typically wear my hair straight for the rest of the day on a wash and blow-dry day. This way I can break up the process a bit so that I don’t need a ton of time in the bathroom on any given day. Typically the morning after a wash I will curl my hair before the kiddos wake up. I can usually get a second day out of the curls- zero effort days, my favorite! I use a light hairspray to hold the
6. Haircut. I hate to admit it, but having less hair does make everything faster. The mom cut has become popular for a reason, folks! It’s not a requirement, but consider trying a shorter hairstyle to cut down on time. (Pun intended, har har ;-)) Also, go for a simple cut that doesn’t require a lot of styling to look good. (The above photo is me before and after I took the plunge! I do miss the long hair some days, but I never miss the maintenance.)
7. Postpartum issues. Ugh, the dreaded postpartum balding after having luscious, goddess-like hair during pregnancy! All of the hair that didn’t shed for 9 months comes out at the same time, PLUS some 🙁 Balding is most common at the temples, making it difficult to hide. The best tip I’ve found is “coloring in” the scalp beneath the bald spots with matte eye shadow that’s a shade or two darker than your hair color. It’s much less obvious (especially for darker hair) that your hair is wispy when it’s not contrasted against a light scalp. When this hair does start growing back in and the short stubs are popping out all over the place, it can be equally annoying! Instead of attacking the short hair that likes to stick out with a stream of hairspray (which doesn’t work well and makes the rest of your hair look crunchy), spray the hairspray on your FINGERS and smooth down the rebellious hair.
Great looking hair CAN be quick and easy to accomplish, even with young children. The trick is washing it only twice each week and making small daily tweaks to keep it looking fab. Great hair is an easy way to look and FEEL like the polished put-together mama you want to be!
What are your favorite shortcuts in your hair routine? What are your favorite SUPER simple styles (that don’t require practice)?