Of all of the common hair concerns out there, dealing with oily hair may be one of the most frustrating. Hear us out now. While there’s no shortage of frizz-fighting serums and shine-enhancing sprays out there, there are still relatively few solutions for those of us dealing with greasy strands— especially if those strands also happen to be on the flat and thin side. That’s because the last thing you want when your hair is an oily mess is to weigh it down with even more products. Trust us—the results are never good. So, what’s an oily-haired girl to do? Hide under a baseball hat? Dry shampoo your hair into oblivion? Think again. We caught up with our team of in-house hair care experts to get the scoop on the eight daily habits every oily-haired girl should live by in order to achieve a healthy, balanced mane. Here’s what they had to say.
What causes oily hair?
Before we dive in on how to properly manage oily hair, it’s important first to understand what causes it. Greasy hair is most often brought on by a buildup of excess sebum, which is a naturally occurring oil produced within our oil glands. While our body is usually able to tell precisely how much oil it needs to produce in order to keep our skin healthy and hydrated, it is sometimes kicked into overdrive, resulting in an overproduction that can leave our skin and hair feeling oily. Sometimes, this is caused by internal factors, such as a hormonal imbalance, while other times, it can be a direct result of your everyday beauty routine. How often you wash your hair, the types of products you use, and how you style your hair can all contribute to its oiliness, which is where the below tips come into play.
Apply conditioner the right way
Fact: conditioner is not only okay for oily hair types to use but also necessary, as it provides a healthy dose of hydration, nourishment, and protection that your hair can’t get from shampoo alone. The key, however, is to find one that works for your individual hair needs. Our suggestion: Function of Beauty‘s customizable formulas, which are individually formulated according to your unique hair type and hair goals (oil control is one of them!). Instead of applying your conditioner all over though, we advise using it just at the ends, avoiding the scalp entirely, which will help keep your hair from looking flat and greasy. And whatever you do, don’t forget to rinse your hair thoroughly. Sometimes, what you think is grease is actually just shampoo or conditioner that hasn’t been rinsed out completely.
Wash less often
You heard us right. As counterintuitive as it sounds, washing your hair too frequently may actually be to blame for your greasy roots. Here’s what happens: You wake up with an oily scalp, so you wash your hair to fix it. In the process though, you end up stripping your hair of its natural sebum. Your body’s response then is to replace the oil that it’s lost with more oil, which can sometimes lead to an overproduction of sebum. The result is a never-ending cycle that leaves you with nothing but oily hair. To combat this, try skipping the shampoo at least once or twice a week (if you’re already washing your hair every day), as this may help ensure you’re not overdoing it. Just don’t expect to see results overnight—it may take a couple of weeks before your body is able to rebalance itself.
Switch up your brush
While it’s still widely believed that brushing oily hair will only make it worse, the fact of the matter is that with the right brush you can actually remove and distribute some of that oil so that your roots appear less greasy. Boar bristles brushes (or faux boar bristle brushes, if you’re into using vegan products) are a particularly good option for those with greasy roots, as the fibers help pick up and distribute the natural oils throughout the hair. Just be sure that you’re not overbrushing, as that can actually stimulate oil production. As is the case with most things in life then, it’s all about finding the right balance.
Choose your products wisely
While some products can work wonders on your oily hair (hi, dry shampoo!), there are others that only help exacerbate the problem. That’s why, when choosing your styling products, we recommended staying away from any products that are labeled “shine-enhancing” or “anti-frizz” as they are usually made with some type of oil, which may just end up weighing your hair down and making it look more greasy. Instead, look for products with volumizing properties, which will help lift your hair and keep it from coming in contact with your oily roots.
Don’t touch your hair
It may not seem like a big deal, but all of that finger twirling and raking you do throughout the day can really affect the look and feel of your hair. That’s because, like your hair, your fingertips and face also produce oil, which can easily be transferred to your hair, making your grease problem even worse. So, in other words, hands-off!
Avoid straightening your hair
Bad news for those addicted to their flat irons: straightening and blowing out your hair can actually make your strands look even more oily. That’s because straight hair gives grease and oil a direct path down your hair shaft, making it much more noticeable. Our hair also tends to sit a bit closer to the scalp once it’s straightened, which makes it more likely that it will come into contact with oils in your scalp and face. Instead, try opting for a curly or wavy style, which will help add volume to your hair so that it doesn’t become too oily too quickly.
Go easy on the dry shampoo
While we’re all for embracing dry shampoo when we’re in-between washes, there is such a thing as using too much dry shampoo. As is the case with any product that sits on your hair, using too much dry shampoo can result in product buildup, which can dry out your scalp, causing it to produce even more oil. To combat this, try cutting back on the dry shampoo and adding another wash day into your schedule instead, if you’re not already washing your hair every 1-2 days. This will not only help rid your hair of all that oil you’re trying to cover up but also help reduce any harmful product buildup in the process.
Use a scalp scrub
To help further reduce buildup, we also suggest implementing a scalp scrub or exfoliant into your hair care routine once or twice a week. Look for something consisting of finely ground textures such as sugar (not microbeads) and be sure to apply to a wet scalp, as the water will act as a carrier for the product. When applying it, be sure to also use small, circular motions with the tips of your fingers (never your fingernails) to gently massage the exfoliant into your scalp–just as you would with a facial exfoliant. For an easy DIY (and vegan!) scrub, we like to mix together two tablespoons of sea salt, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and two tablespoons of olive oil. The salt helps rid your scalp of any dead skin, dirt, or buildup, while the olive oil will help provide your strands a healthy dose of hydration. Your oily hair may as well be considered a thing of the past!
Ready to ditch your greasy roots once and for all? Find the perfect shampoo and conditioner for your oily hair now by taking the hair quiz here!