Hairstyles that Look Way Better on Second-Day Hair

Some days, we wake up with the boundless energy and productivity levels of a thousand Energizer bunnies. Most days, however, are not like this. No, most days, we form a close bond with our alarm’s snooze button, and forgoing our morning shower seems a small price to pay for a precious few more moments swapping hair secrets with Mr. Leto (in our dreams, obvi).

On mornings like this, you have two choices: leave your second-day hair down in its dirty, raggedy glory, or take advantage of its textured state and try a cool new ‘do. (We recommend the latter). Need ideas? We’ve got 20. Bonus: pro tips and tricks from hairstylists Bradley Leake and Joanna Zee.

Meet the Expert

  • Bradley Leake is a celebrity hairstylist and the founder of Basic B Beauty. He is based in L.A.
  • Joanna Zee is a stylist with more than 20 years of experience in the hair industry. From cutting to coloring to consulting, she does it all.

Looped Half Bun

The ultimate lazy hairstyle, this looped half-bun is perfect on mid-length hair. Spray some dry shampoo on your roots and rub it in with your fingers. Then, loop the top third of your hair into a mini bun and you're done. It's simple and so much more interesting than your go-to bedhead waves.

Twisted Bun

A twisted bun is universally flattering, especially on day-two hair and beyond. Leake explains why: "Working with the hair’s natural oils allows more control and generally, there are fewer flyaways." Although he dishes that this style works best with medium to thick manes, those with fine strands can add some extensions to feign fullness.

  • Create a ponytail at the crown of the head and then split it into two sections.
  • Use Color Wow One Minute Transformation ($24) to eliminate any frizz and control texture.
  • Twist and wrap one section of hair to the right.
  • Twist and wrap the second section of hair to the left and pin (FYI: This creates texture and makes your bun look fancy without very much effort).

Texturized Ponytail

Stylist to the stars Jenny Cho coiffed this style, which is all about texture. Apply some sea salt spray to hair before tying it back into a high ponytail, slightly teasing at the crown. If you've got bangs, spritz them with Freeman Psssst! Dry Shampoo ($18) before swiping to the side and dazzling with a rhinestone pin.

Beach Waves

Day-two hair can get a bad rep given its propensity for excess grease, limpness, and frizz, but Zee tells us not to worry: "Most people can pull off day-two hairstyles regardless of texture or thickness. [Compared to day-three or -four hair], it's the easy messier hair day. I like to use a little dry shampoo like Igk First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo ($29) and a waving wand and tousle my hair. "

Twisted Messy Fishtail

Some fishtails are perfectly braided—this one isn’t. After all, it's all about intentional imperfection these days. Gather your hair into a low ponytail, leaving out two face-framing tendrils. Braid your low pony into a messy fishtail, then wrap the two strands left around the hair elastic. Congratulations, it-girl status achieved.

Low Ponytail

Second-day hair doesn't always have to be mussy. Granted, we love ourselves a good banana bun, but there are plenty more options to choose from. Take this chic low-slung style, for instance. Do like celeb stylist Vernon Francois and part hair to the side, pull it back into a low pony, and then tease the crown slightly for instant volume. A metallic hair cuff will add a touch of refinement.

Sleek Topknot

Everyone from New York to L.A. is rocking the topknot. It's not hard to see why: the sleek and stylish hair trend looks great on everyone (i.e. Jasmine Sanders here and the rest of us mere mortals). And did we mention that it takes a mere 30 seconds to style?

Rope Braids and Waves

Bradley Leake

Day-two hair goes boho chic with romantic waves and decorative braids. "This hairstyle is great for those with naturally straight hair. I recommend this look for day two because if you can skip the blowdry, you will save yourself time, and the less heat styling, the better," comments Leake.

  • Use Color Wow Style on Steroids Texture Spray ($26) for flexible hold, to pump up the volume, and protect hair before heat styling.
  • Add texture to hair using a flat iron or a curling iron.
  • Create micro rope braids to add a little fun to your everyday waves.
  • Use Fekkai Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Creme ($20) while creating the rope braids and secure with a clear elastic.

Bubble Braid

This bubble braid is ideal for second- (or third-) day hair. Just spray texture spray or dry shampoo from the middle of your hair shaft to the roots, then secure clear elastics along your low ponytail, pulling each section apart to create a “bubble” effect.

Wet Look

Updos are the bread and butter of second-day hair, but Tessa Thompson makes a strong case for letting your hair down. She owns the wet, slicked-back hair look, and as for those shaped baby hairs? They are nothing less than gorgeous.

Curly Updo With Headband

If you haven't invested in a silk bonnet yet, what are you waiting for? Waking up to a hot mess of curls is not the "I woke up like this" vibe that you want to give off. Still, don't distress. Just throw hair up into a messy bun and leave out a few hanging face-framing tendrils. Finish with a headband to mask that dirty mane and add some pizzazz while at it.

Slicked-Back Ponytail

Cara Delevingne's hair is utter perfection—even in between washes. And while she has a penchant for shocking hair transformations (shaved head painted in silver, anyone?), here, she goes for the slicked-back ponytail that is taking Hollywood by storm. Just slick back with Bumble and bumble Sumogel ($31), tie, and go.

Classic Chignon

A chignon is a classic style that is incredibly versatile. While we are blown away by Jennifer Hudson's chic rendition, you can also opt for an undone bun if that's more your speed. Just use the tail of a comb or your fingers to loosen up hair at the crown and in your chignon. Finish with a scrunchie for good measure.

Hair Scarf

Hair scarves are not only ace at protecting strands overnight but they also make for a killer second-day hair accessory. They work double-time by masking oily tresses and looking cute while at it. Consider them a mainstay in our hairstyle playbook.


Braids are cool, versatile, and, according to Zee, a style that transitions well from day-two to -three hair. "Simply dry shampoo to help get rid of excess oil and braid however you like," she says. "Sleep with your braid in, the next day take it out, add a little texture paste or cream (I like L'anza Sculpting Paste, $21), and boom: beautiful waves."


If you've got a short mane you know that (depending on your hair type), this can sometimes exacerbate day-two hair. This might manifest in the form of an unwanted hair flip or excess oil, but fortunately, that's nothing that a pompadour can't fix. Work in a product like SexyHair Style Control Maniac Styling Wax ($19) to slick back sides and lift limp tresses.


If you've got coily or curly locks, one of the best and easiest ways to style your hair is using the "pineapple" technique. Simply gather your hair into a high ponytail and let your tendrils do the rest. Try spritzing a bit of Devacurl Mister-Er Right Curl Refresher Hairspray ($16), too, since it will work to rehydrate, redefine, and revive curls.

Center-Parted Messy Bun

If a quick and easy second-day hairstyle is what you're after, look no further than the messy bun. "Just put your hair up in a loose ponytail and wrap your hair around the hair tie. Pull out a few pieces in front, and voil !", instructs Zee: instant model-off-duty hair.

Half-Up, Half-Down

A half-up, half-down style is the best of both worlds. Get Gemma Chan's look by first prepping hair with dry shampoo and then dividing it into two sections (top and bottom). Loosely gather the top section into a messy bun and pull out a few face-framing strands. Curl hair with a wand and douse with budget-friendly, yet effective, Tresemmé Premium Styling Dry Texture Finishing Spray ($5).

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