Just because you want to be one with nature doesn’t mean you want to go completely au naturel. Many of us still want to stay clean and look semi-presentable while camping. Washing your hair is one thing that can make you feel fresh and ready for the day. However, shampoo and rinse may not always be available while you are camping.
Thankfully, there are a variety of products and methods that can be used to eliminate greasy hair and build-up while camping. For the truly desperate you can even consider a portable camp shower.
Whether you have to conserve water or don’t have access to water, don’t let the lack of a thorough hair washing make you an unhappy camper. The tips and tricks below can be used for girls and guys alike!
So how do you keep your hair from being greasy while camping?
Ideally, you can wash your hair using a solar shower or comfort station but if that isn’t an option there are other ways to keep your hair from being oily. Using dry shampoos is a great way to keep your hair from being oily while camping but you can use home remedies like rubbing baby powder in your hair. Baby powder and even baking soda will soak up the oils in your hair.
Changing Your Habits
The first tips have to do with how you wash your hair before you go camping. It may not be new information, especially for those in the beauty trend know, but we generally wash our hair way too frequently.
If you have oily hair it is only natural to want to wash it to rid your locks of all the greasy build-up. However, you may actually be making the situation worse. When you shampoo your hair it strips all of the oils from it. This leaves you feeling clean but your hair is feeling dried out.
Therefore, it signals to your body to produce more oils and in short order, you end up with just as greasy hair as you started with. The key is to not wash your hair as often.
If you change your showering habits to only shampooing your hair every other day or every three days, your body will eventually adjust to produce fewer oils. This way, when you have to go without washing on a camping trip, your hair won’t get as greasy as fast.
The second pre-trip tip is to save your “last wash” for the latest hour possible. By this, I mean waiting to wash your hair until you are either ready to leave or just about to lose access to your water.
By doing this you will be able to decrease the amount of time you have to endure between shampoos compared to if you washed it hours earlier, for instance, the morning of your departure.
After washing, it isn’t advisable to use hairspray, gel, mousse or any other product. These things instantly add a build-up to your hair that can make it look greasy after a day or two. Additionally, the “hold” grips onto dirt and oils, only increasing your problem.
By altering your habits you are setting yourself up for success. Still, your hair may end up looking a little greasy if you have to go for an extended period between washes. Fortunately, some great products can help you out.
Commercial Products to Cut Down on Grease
Dry shampoos are possibly the most popular product on the market for when you have to go without a wash. These shampoos consist of a sprayable oil-absorbing powder that can be used without water.
When you spray on dry shampoo, the powder covers your hair. You then distribute the powder through your locks by brushing or massaging your head in nearly the same way you would in the shower with actual shampoo. The dry shampoo will then begin absorbing any excess oils.
Because the powder is typically white, it may leave your hair looking a little dull. Some brands do offer colored dry shampoo that can cut down on the dull, grey appearance. Nevertheless, dry shampoo is a great way to get rid of greasy hair when you are camping.
Shampoo caps are less well known, but some campers swear by them. Essentially, a shampoo cap is a fabric cap pre-moistened with all the products you would use in the shower. This includes shampoo, conditioner, and detangler.
You put the cap on (some even allow you to microwave them for a warm experience) and gently massage your hair and scalp. The products are worked into the hair and the fabric cap works to absorb them along with any excess oils. When you are finished you simply towel dry your hair. There is no need for water or rinsing!
After you use dry shampoo or a shampoo cap, try to leave your hair alone. Putting it up, if possible, is best. The more you stimulate your scalp the more oils are produced.
If you brush your hair, using a paddle brush will help the oils to be evenly distributed. Don’t brush too often though. This will increase oil production as well, leaving your hair looking greasy once again.
A final product you may want to purchase is a silk or satin pillowcase. Typically cotton or cotton blend cases pull the oil from your hair and skin and trap it in their fibers.
This leaves your hair feeling dry, so naturally, it produces additional oils to combat this. Furthermore, the trapped pillowcase oils and debris may be redeposited in your hair the next time you hit the hay. Slippery silk or satin pillowcases prevent this.
Home Remedies That Can Alleviate Oily Hair
If you forgot your dry shampoo or shampoo cap at home, don’t worry! There are a few things you may have lying about the RV or campsite that can help get rid of greasy hair.
Baking soda and cornstarch are both common baking ingredients that you may have on hand. These powders work much like dry shampoo.
Simply sprinkle a little on at your hairs roots and then distribute using your fingers or a brush. The baking powder or cornstarch will help to absorb oils and leave your hair looking fresher than before.
Baby powder can also be used, but due to recent health warnings, it may not be advisable.
A newer popular remedy is apple cider vinegar, although, you will need a small amount of water.
Alternative Water Sources
If you simply can’t go any longer without a rinse and repeat, consider finding an alternative water source. One method is to bring along a camp shower.
Camp showers usually consist of a hanging bag or a reservoir with a pump. Occasionally, they may also include a heater, a pressure system, or a stall. Some camp showers need to be warmed by the sun, while others are self-heating. Additionally, hanging bags will need to make use of gravity while pressurized showers can give you a 3-4 minute stream of water.
The type of camp shower you take along depends on your camping accommodations and how you plan to arrive at your destination.
Another alternative source is a river or stream. You can go for a quick dip or just dunk your hair. Make sure that whatever shampoo or products you use are environmentally friendly and safe for wildlife.
Finally, if you must have clean hair, you can sacrifice one of your water bottles. Either dump the water from the bottle, or if it is reusable poke a hole in the cap to form a makeshift pressurized stream.
When all else fails, either put your hair up or use a hat.
What Not To Do
We have a few tips for what not to do, as well as a few unusual items not to try in your hair:
- Flour is not a good alternative for dry shampoo, baking soda, or cornstarch. Instead of absorbing oil it will just become cakey and lumpy.
- Makeup will also not work well. Even though oil-absorbing makeup may sound like it is worth a try, it usually just clumps together and looks odd.
- Don’t brush it or style it frequently. Brushing your hair too much stimulates oil production. Styling does as well and can distribute oils from your skin throughout your hair.
- Don’t straighten it. If you have naturally curly or wavy hair then consider yourself lucky. Straight hair provides oil with an easy path from the root to tip. If you have natural texture, embrace it!
- Don’t use products. As mentioned above, other than dry shampoo products cause unwanted buildup that attracts dirt and oil.
Don’t Let Oily Hair Get You Down
When you are camping, updo’s and particularly braids, are your best bet. Wash your hair as late as possible before you leave and don’t put in any products. You will likely be able to get a few days of “fresh” looking hair. This is especially true if you don’t regularly wash your hair every day.
When you notice your hair getting oily, try plaiting it or wearing it up in a ponytail or bun. Guys or girls can also resort to wearing a hat. When all else fails, try using some products such as dry shampoo, cornstarch, or no-rinse shower caps. If you are truly desperate, a water bottle, bucket, or nearby river should provide you with enough water to get in a quick rinse.
Having greasy hair isn’t exactly glamorous, but likely worth it for an amazing camping experience out in nature!