If you’ve got greasy hair, you’ve probably given in to the fact that daily hair washes are just part of life. Few women I know actually enjoy washing, drying and styling their hair every single day. Who has the time for that?
Not to mention that daily shampooing can irritate your scalp, leave your skin dehydrated and fade colour more quickly… (WomensHealthMag)
By learning more about what causes greasy hair and the simple mistakes in our haircare routine that can actually make things worse, I’ve managed to cut down my hair washes to two or three times a week.
Trichologist Anabel Kingsley explains that each one of our hair follicles is attached to an oil gland. People with finer hair often have more follicles, which means more oil glands producing a natural substance called sebum.
Sebum is essential in hydrating our scalp and hair, but unfortunately overproduction can create an unappealing look and feel, especially for people with very fine or straight hair.
So, is there anything you can do to get rid of oily hair? Although the results will depend on your skin type and the cause of an oily scalp, the short answer is yes. There are a few things you can do to try and improve this issue, and I’ll take you through them step by step.
Things You’ll Need To Help Get Rid Of Oily Hair
Good Quality Clarifying Shampoo
If you’ve got oily hair, you might find yourself washing your hair every day. However, this can strip your hair of its natural oils, dry out your scalp and actually stimulate oil production.
Basically, shampooing so often sends your oil glands into overdrive and you end up in a vicious cycle which is hard to break.
It’s best to avoid moisturising hair products and leave in conditioners, as these can make your hair more greasy and attract particles which make your hair look dirty (WomensHealthMag).
Try using a gentle clarifying shampoo such as Tru Maroccan Oil instead, and start by adding a day between washes. It might take a few weeks for your scalp to adjust to your new routine and produce a more adequate amount of oil, but it will be worth it.
Remember to thoroughly rinse your hair after shampooing to make sure there is no residue left, as this can attract more oil and make your hair look greasy.
Spending at least 30 seconds under the shower will help make sure all your shampoo is washed out (NaturalBeautyTips). This was quite a revelation to me, as I realised 10 seconds was about the maximum time I devoted to rinsing, and it made a big difference.
Products that contain plant based oils such as peppermint can actually help break down sebum, so you don’t need to stay clear of all shampoos that contain essential oils.
Another product you could try is Virgin Essentials Peppermint Clarifying Shampoo, which is a light formula that protects your skin’s moisture, and works by using one type of oil to dissolve another.
Dry Shampoo For “In Between” Days
If you’ve been washing your hair every day, but have decided to try and leave more space in between, you might be feeling self conscious about your locks as your skin adjusts to your new routine.
It’s normal for your scalp to look more oily than usual, and using a dry shampoo between hair washes can help absorb any excess oil and make your hair feel cleaner without drying out your scalp.
This should help maintain the natural hydration levels needed to keep your hair healthy but not over greasy, and get you on your way to a better shampooing routine.
Celebrity hair stylist David Angelo Pisacreta suggests the secret to getting the best results from dry shampoo is to brush your hair before and after applying it to your roots.
If you skip brushing your hair after, your pores can become clogged and in turn produce more sebum, so it’s important to remember this step. PRO TIP
Using a boar-bristle brush which is naturally porous will help pick up oil from your roots and disperse it through your hair. Not only will this help moisturise hair follicles towards the ends where they need it most, but it will also help you get better results from a dry shampoo (Shape).
Scalp Toner With Astringent Properties
Using a scalp toner after washing and towel-drying your hair can help keep oil at bay by constricting the sebaceous glands which are responsible for oil production (Shape).
Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner contains a natural ingredient called Witch Hazel, which is a mild astringent and is often used in facial toners. By absorbing excess oil on your scalp, your hair should feel cleaner and fresher for longer. It has the added benefit of stimulating blood supply to the scalp, and protecting your skin against flaking due to any lingering bacteria.
For best results, massage a few drops into your scalp after every hair wash, or use it to help get another day out of a blow out by applying it to your roots and briefly blow drying again.
The production of excess oil on your scalp can be due to many factors such as genes, skin and hair type, hormonal imbalance, humidity, diet, or conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis.
Whilst there is no quick fix to completely alter your skin type, using the products I’ve mentioned above as well as following the easy steps below should help you see a great improvement if you suffer from oily hair.
Step by step guide for getting rid of oily hair
Between washing, drying, colouring and styling, we end up devoting a large amount of time to our hair care routine. As hair is such a key component to our identity, we take care in making it look the best we can. But did you know that some of your daily habits could be contributing to making your hair look greasy more quickly?
1. Wash your hair less
This may seem counterintuitive if your hair feels greasy and dirty the day after shampooing. But washing your hair less will help the oil glands on your scalp regulate and produce a healthier amount of sebum between washes.
Applying a light shampoo such as Virgin Essentials Peppermint Clarifying Shampoo two or three times a week should be enough to keep your hair clean and hydrated. If you do go ahead and change your routine, allow a few weeks to start seeing an improvement.
2. Only apply conditioner to the ends
Conditioners can have heavier moisturising properties which can make roots look oilier, so you want to stay clear of your scalp area even if your hair feels very dry. Apply it from the middle of your hair right down to the ends.
3. Rinse for longer and in cooler water
If you don’t spend long enough rinsing out your shampoo and conditioner, you risk more product buildup which attracts dirt and grease. This is a sure way of making your hair look more oily between washes, so go on, enjoy a few more minutes in the shower.
Sebaceous glands can be stimulated by hot water, which means more oil production throughout the day. I’m usually not good in cold water, but rinsing your hair in a cooler temperature can close hair follicles and help keep your hair looking cleaner for longer. It’s time to end your shower with a refreshing jet of cool (or warmish) water.
4. Choose Natural Products
Natural products don’t contain harsh chemicals that can strip your scalp’s natural oils and lead to an overproduction of sebum to compensate. Whenever possible, choose products which are sulfate free and gentle on your skin.
Just because you have oily hair doesn’t mean you need to dry your scalp out, you just need to aim for a more balanced production of natural oils.The same goes for styling products. The more cream, mousse or gel you apply to your hair, the quicker it can become greasy.
5. Brush your hair from root to tip once or twice a day
This can help prevent natural oils building up on your scalp, and distribute it throughout your hair so that the drier ends can gain some benefits too. If your hair tends to get very tangled, you can brush out the ends throughout the day as needed, as you don’t want to stimulate your scalp too much. As I mentioned before, it’s all about creating a careful balance.
6. A change in style
Different hair types and hairstyles can also contribute to how oily your hair seems. If you always style your hair straight, for instance, it can appear more oily because your strands are closer to your scalp. Curly or wavy hair tend to have more volume at the roots, and are therefore usually less oily (LiveStrong). You could try styling your hair differently a few days a week so that it has less contact with your scalp. Ponytails are also a great way of disguising a greasy hair day, and using a dry shampoo such as Pillow Proof by Redken can help spruce up your style and hold it in place.
7. Don’t touch your hair
As I’ve been writing this article, I noticed I have the habit of running my fingers through my hair, which really doesn’t help. Our fingers accumulate oil and dirt throughout the day, and by playing with your hair you’re spreading more grease into the very place you’re trying to keep clean. I must try and find a habit which doesn’t interfere with my (now) healthier looking hair!
8. Try to eat a healthy diet
It can be easy to forget that what we eat has a direct effect on our hair and skin. Maintaining a balanced diet can help provide essential nutrients to keep your hair looking healthy. For instance, salmon and walnuts are a great source of omega-3, spinach and carrots provide Vitamin A, and protein and iron can help defend against hair loss (NaturalBeautyTips).
Some of us are resigned to deal with daily annoyances such as oily hair, but following these simple steps really can make a difference to how much oil your scalp produces.
I used to be quite self conscious about my hair, but I didn’t realise that things like shampooing too often and not rinsing out product buildup properly were actually contributing to the problem.
A few adjustments in your beauty regime could help you achieve lusher, healthier looking hair, and a happier you with more time on your hands. I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and share it with your friends if you found it useful. Please leave any questions you have in the comments section, I always enjoy hearing from you.