How To Keep Wavy Hair Looking Fresh—Never Flat—With Fewer Weekly Washes

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Those with naturally wavy hair understand the struggle of waking up to find your once-bouncy waves looking flat and frizzy and having to decide what to do about it. Should you wash it all over again? Or brush it out and throw it in a bun? Admittedly, neither one feels like an ideal option.

Thankfully, there are ways to salvage second-day waves without having to undergo a full shampoo session. Below, Leigh Hardges, stylist and natural hair expert, shares her tips on restoring your natural texture to its former glory.

Why second-day wavy hair falls flat

How your hair looks and feels can depend on lifestyle and environmental factors (like whether you've worked out or pollutants in the air). But the most common cause for flat waves, according to Hardges, is your cotton pillowcase. "Cotton is a hydrophilic fiber, so that means it absorbs moisture," she explains.

When your hair comes into contact with cotton, it absorbs the natural oils in your scalp and causes friction, leaving you with frizzy, less-defined waves. Worth noting? Your pillowcase isn't the only culprit—hats, bath towels, and any other cotton your hair is exposed to can have the same effect.  "When we come in contact with all of those different natural fibers, they create a lot more frizz and destruction to your hairstyle," says Hardges.

To keep wavy hair fresh (and avoid damage), Hardges recommends sleeping on a pillowcase made from satin, silk, polyester, or nylon, as these fabrics allow the hair to slip across that surface and won't absorb the oils. Anyone with long hair can also wrap their hair in a scarf for extra protection. When drying your hair, swap your bath towel for a microfiber towel or t-shirt to reduce frizz.

How to style day 2 waves

The easiest way to fix second-day wavy hair is with water, says Hardges, because it will reactivate any product you've already used in it. The good news? You don't have to lather and rinse to get the job done—there are two simple, shampoo-free methods you can try instead.

The first, which is Hardges' favorite, is to pull your hair into a tight bun or braids and hop in the shower without sticking your head under the water. You'll want to simply stand there and allow the steam to dampen your hair, which will get your strands moist but not wet. "It'll help that curl to kind of come back to life by rehydrating it slightly," she says. As an added bonus, steaming your hair in this way will leave it softer, more hydrated, and more susceptible to product penetration.

The second (and, admittedly, easier) method is to fill a spray bottle with water and use it to spritz your hair until it gets damp. Then, gently scrunch to restore your waves. While it may be tempting to apply more gel, Hardges says there's no need for it—the water will revive whatever products you used the day before, so you should be good to go without adding more stuff to your strands.

Best products for wavy hair

Speaking of products, the ones you use to style your waves on day one can make all the difference on day two. Starting with your conditioner, you'll want to use a hydrating and reparative formula, and the one you choose should depend on your hair porosity. If you have high porosity hair (hair that's more prone to frizz and dries quicker), you'll want to use a hair mask, like Oribe Moisture Control Hair Treatment Mask ($63), which will "help seal more moisture into the strand so that it doesn't fall flat so quickly," says Hardges.

For those with low porosity hair (hair that holds on to moisture and takes forever to dry), she recommends using a leave-in, like the Kérastase Curl Manifesto Leave-In Styling Cream ($42).

And to define your waves, Hardges is a big fan of the Aveda Confixer Liquid Gel ($30) for both hair types because it's lightweight, giving your hair a more natural, less-crunchy look.

One last pro tip: When applying product, Hardges says to stay four inches away from the scalp. That way, the hair stays full and will continue to have some lift throughout the day.


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