5 steps to curing a hair hangover (because yes, they're real)

Your strands are on struggle street too

Editor / January 05 2023

You know when you wake up after a big night with a desperate need for a McDonalds hash brown and all the electrolytes on planet earth? Well, even though you’re most likely thinking of your stomach at the time (fair, it’s queasy as all hell), your hair is actually feeling just as dusty.

And here’s the kicker about party season: you usually wake up on struggle street knowing you’re gearing up to do it all again just a few hours later. So how do you rescue a hungover head of hair and turn it into a majestic mane once more before your next soirée? Luckily the steps toward recovery for your hair are much the same as for your body. Here's how to cure a hair hangover...

Step 1: Drink up

Let’s replace that wine with water for a few hours, shall we? Alcohol (as we all know) causes the body to become super dehydrated, and that definitely extends to our hair. Down a bottle or two of water when you first wake up to alert your hair that help is on the way, then try to stay consistent with the water intake (perhaps gulping down some Powerade as well) in the hours following. If you’re going out again tonight, try to alternate between an alcoholic drink and a glass of water throughout the night (and down at least one glass of water before you hit the hay for the sake of future you’s hair).

Step 2: Find fruit

Okay, we know you want the greasy goodies! And we understand, believe us. But you’re going to have to make a decision here between your hotcakes and your hair. If you’re going for the latter (proud of you), you’ll want to reach for as many nutrients as your plate can fit. Bananas, oranges and oats are all perfect potassium and iron-rich foods for replenishing dry, brittle hair. You can curb your cravings tomorrow!

Step 3: Cleanse & treat

Nothing is going to freshen you up like a full shampoo, conditioner and mask combo. Plus, a long, hot shower may also work wonders for your general state, so a full hair wash is generally a winning idea. Take extra time on the lather-ups and the comb-throughs to eliminate all impurities and tangles; there’s bound to be extra knots on a day like this!

Extra nourishing formulas are essential on days like today, so reach for options that tick off hydration, strength and shine, even if you've got to mix and match formulas. We recommend the JVN Nurture Hydrating Shampoo ($32 at Sephora), JVN Undamage Strengthening Conditioner ($32 at Sephora), and the A'kin Daily Shine Hair Mask ($18.49 at Chemist Warehouse). Don't forget to blast hair with cold water just before you exit the tub; it may not sound ideal but it'll give your hair the shine boost it's in desperate need of.

JVN Nurture Strengthening Shampoo

JVN Undamage Strengthening Conditioner

A'kin Miracle Shine Conditioning Hair Mask

Step 4: Double down (or dry-style)

More is more in the hydration game, especially when your hair's looking/feeling worse for wear, so be sure to put a little extra life back in post-wash with a leave-in conditioner or a nourishing oil (or hell, both). The Moroccanoil All In One Leave-In Conditioner ($58 at Sephora) and the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Glossy Nourishing Hair Oil ($51 at MECCA) are two formulas up to the detangling, de-frizzing and moisturising challenge.

However, we know not everyone feels their best with freshly-washed hair, so if you prefer yours with a little extra texture and grit, apply a light coating of the same leave-in or oil to dry hair, comb through and leave to sink in. This way you'll reap the benefits of the nourishment without having to style from scratch.

Moroccanoil All In One Leave-In Conditioner

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Glossy Nourishing Hair Oil

Step 5: Beauty sleep

Chances are you’re probably feeling a tad tired (to put it lightly), and considering you might be backing it up tonight, you’ll want to get as much rest as possible before you head out – for your hair’s sake as well! Beauty sleep is a genuine thing – sleep is important for your hair to repair and replenish itself, so whether you’re waiting for your hair to air-dry, are letting your leave-in conditioner soak in, or just need a nap in general, use the time you've got before primp o'clock wisely. In other words, get some extra shut-eye in an attempt to wake up with hair as strong, smooth and shiny as possible!

Main image credit: @allanface

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Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.

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