Greasy hair can prevent you from looking and feeling your best. Like oily skin and acne, it may make you feel self-conscious. It can be especially hard if you don’t know the cause or how to get it under control. We all want our hair and skin to look healthy when we go out into the world!
Read on to learn more about what causes greasy hair and what you can do to tame oily tresses.
Get grease-free hair
In general, a few changes to your beauty routine can help your hair maintain its natural shine without extra grease.
1. Shampoo daily
It’s possible that your personal hygiene habits are to blame. Shampooing too little or even too often can contribute to greasy hair. Typically, if you have greasy hair, you should shampoo daily. Washing more than once a day can cause your glands to overreact and produce more oil to make up for the extra shampooing.
You’ll also want to choose a shampoo that’s made for oily hair. These products are designed to clean the scalp and hair without adding extra moisture. If dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis is contributing to your scalp issues, go for a product with zinc pyrithione, like Head and Shoulders, to kill bacteria and fungus, or one with salicylic acid to help get rid of excess oil and flakes.
2. Be gentle
When shampooing, concentrate on scrubbing the scalp — but not too hard. Scrub moderately, enough to rub in the soap, but not so hard that you’re irritating your scalp. The irritation can overstimulate your glands and cause them to make more sebum.
Rinse thoroughly before getting out of the shower. Leftover shampoo or conditioner can create a film on your hair, making it feel greasy.
3. Condition carefully
Conditioner helps add moisture back into your hair as well as keep it from getting tangled. Your ends may need a little extra love, but your scalp doesn’t need help getting greasy. Don’t apply the conditioner to your scalp, massage it into your ends instead.
4. Hands off
Try not to brush or touch your hair more than needed. Brushing frequently can stimulate your glands to make more sebum. Handling your hair can not only help more sebum move down the follicles, it can add oils from your hands to the hair.
5. Go dry
Over time some products can cause a layer to stay on your hair, even if you’ve washed it. This might be contributing to your hair feeling greasy. A clarifying shampoo is made to remove any buildup or film from your hair. This product should be used once or twice a month to get rid of residue from styling products or other shampoos and conditioners.
7. Avoid products adding moisture
If your hair is already making extra oils, using an oil-based styling product isn’t the best idea. Use a hair spray or mousse to style without weighing hair down or adding more grease.
The oils in your hair come from sebaceous glands attached to each hair follicle. The glands produce an oily substance called sebum that travels up the hair follicle to moisturize the skin and hair.
When these glands are not functioning normally, it can cause problems with your skin and hair. For example, acne forms when the body makes extra sebum, causing dead skin cells to stick together and clog pores.
Another condition caused by too much sebum is called seborrheic dermatitis. Patches of scaly red skin appear on the scalp and face. They look oily and may be flaky and itchy.
Hormones can cause your sebaceous glands to make more sebum. That’s why teenagers often struggle with oily skin and acne. Women may also notice a difference during pregnancy or menstruation. Your body may just be genetically more likely to make extra sebum than others. This can change with age. As we get older, our bodies make less oil.
There’s a reason the beauty aisle has products dedicated to different hair textures. Sebum travels more easily through straight hair than it does through curly hair. So if you have thin, straight hair, you are more likely to struggle with greasy hair. People with curly hair often need to add more moisture with products because the sebum doesn’t reach their ends.
In some cases, you may need a little extra help to get an oily scalp under control. If you’re dealing with dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis and haven’t had luck with over-the-counter products or self-care, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist. They can help you figure out the root cause of your scalp troubles and prescribe a medication or prescription skin products as needed.