Why is it Easier to Style Unwashed Hair? Or is it?

Guy with wind swept hair & stubble beard

Attending an all boys private school for the duration of my schooling was interesting, to say the least. I was a bit of a dick to my teachers, enjoyed playing sport and made some friends that I’m still quite close with. There were several things I didn’t like about the private school experience.

One of those was the uniform. We had to wear a blazer, pressed white shirt, tie and polished, leather shoes. If our attire did not meet the standard of our teachers then we would be reprimanded. Everyone wore the same thing, so there was no real room for expression. As facial hair was not allowed to be grown the only thing we could do to differentiate from each other an express some semblance of individuality were our hairstyles. Even still, hair products were also banned. With all these rules we quickly learned that unwashed hair was a lot easier to style than clean hair. We didn’t know why it worked but all we knew is that it did.

school boy

Unwashed hair is more malleable, pliable and will stay in the intended style longer over the course of the day relative to freshly washed hair. This is due to the buildup of oil, dirt, grit and salt that occurs through sweating. This buildup offers more texture to the hair follicles, allowing them to grip to one another and keep their form, thus giving greater styling capabilities. When you wash your hair you are removing this naturally built up texturizer and hair oil.

This oil is called sebum and when washed a lot of this oil is removed making the hair feel more silky and smooth. Freshly washed hair is harder to style as this silky smooth hair follicles are more inclined to slip and slide away from the intended styling position. Removing of oil and grit makes your hair harder to styling as there is nothing for you hair follicles to grip onto and support itself. This results in a flat, feathery looking hairstyle that lacks body and height.

Seinfeld bad hair day

Interestingly, washing your beard hair can have the opposite effect. This is because your the hair & skin on your face is different to that of your scalp. Your scalp produces a lot of an oil called sebum, which occurs naturally to protect the head hair and skin.Typically, facial skin makes relatively less of this oil and as a consequence, facial hair is dryer and more brittle. These properties make the beard hair more stubborn and harder to style. 

soap with beard

For those wanting to achieve a beard that looks longer and straighter then a specially formulated beard wash is also the best way to prep the hair pre-styling. Our beard wash contains an ingredient called Polyquaternium-7 which interrupts the chemical bonds which make the hair curl up, and our other activate ingredients help to soften the hair follicles. This combination is perfect before applying a beard oil or balm, as it makes more stubborn facial hair more manageable. The beauty of this was as well is that you can wash your facial hair and it has less of a drying effect that conventional shampoos which are designed to be more aggressive in removing naturally occurring oils.

bearded and tattoo man

Everyone's hair is different. Even without washing, some people's hair can look healthy and have a natural shine. For other people, unwashed hair turns greasy. As a result, more frequent washing is needed to make the hair appear clean and healthy. If you have a greasy scalp but avoid washing because you don’t want that dreaded flatness, then a trick you can do to add texture, body, and depth to your hair is to run some talcum power or dry shampoo through it. This is also a great way to soak up excess oils in your hair which will increase the time needed between washes.

man with long hair and smoke

In summation, the rules you follow for hair styling are different to that of beard styling. Put simply if you want head hair that is easier to style then do not wash it as often. If you want beard hair that is easier to style than washing will allow for easier styling. If you have any styling tips or hair recommendations we would love to hear them.

Other articles that might interest you:

1.  Five Style Tips to Make you more Confident

2.  Interview with Vikings Chief Beard Master

3.  Tips for Patchy Beards

4.  How to Straighten your Beard

5.  5 Dishes Every Guy Should Know

6.  9 Facts About Coconut Oil that will Blow your Mind

Or go to our BLOG ARCHIVE



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published