In the big world picture (political divisiveness, disease, injustice), oily hair isn’t the worst thing that can happen. But if your strands tend to become greasy and stringy by the end of each day (or sooner) it’s a pretty big deal to you. Excess oil causes your hairstyle to fall flat, your skin to feel oily and your confidence to droop.
What Causes Oily Hair?
As mentioned, most of the time oily hair is something people are prone to genetically. Each pore in your skin, and most importantly, your scalp, contains a tiny sebaceous gland that produces an oily fluid called sebum. Sebum keeps your hair and skin moisturized, and your strands shiny. But if your sebaceous glands are a bit overzealous, producing too much sebum, your hair, skin and scalp will look and feel oilier than you’d like. Some oiliness might be temporary, due to hormonal changes like puberty or pregnancy. Or it could be caused by a seasonal change—hot, humid weather, for example.
Lifestyle and inappropriate hair care practices can also contribute to oiliness. Frequent workouts, not shampooing enough, choosing and using the wrong hair care and hair styling product can all exacerbate oily hair and scalp.
So here’s what you can do.
Six Strategies To Transform Your Greasy Hair
Use a shampoo for oily hair that removes excess oil.
Shampoos that add too much moisture to hair are the worst for oily hair. Instead, look for lightweight cleansing formulas like Biolage CleanReset Clarifying Shampoo that cleanse hair without stripping it of the natural oils it needs to look healthy. Clarifying shampoos also remove buildup from styling products that can clog up your scalp and actually cause your hair to produce even more oil.
Treat dandruff with an anti-bacterial shampoo.
Dandruff is caused when your body has an inflammatory response to an overabundance of yeast production on the scalp. It can be caused by a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, or by a fungus called malassezia. The latter fungus lives on the scalp normally, but if you have too much of it, it causes the skin cells to multiply more quickly than normal. Dandruff flakes will stick to the scalp and to your hair brush. Dandruff flakes are large and look oily. Dandruff also causes your scalp to become oily, red, scaly and itchy.
Matrix pros recommend a shampoo with anti-bacterial and calming ingredients like pyrithione zinc and mint leaf. Shampoo your hair frequently to prevent oil from building up. There are also natural origin-based shampoo formulas containing active salicylic acid and willow bark. These ingredients purify and help dissolve the protein cells that collect on the scalp.
Condition with care.
Let your dry-hair friends use rich, moisturizing conditioners. Yours should be airy and oil-free. Look for conditioners that feature the new conditioning gel technology. These formulas offer light-weight, silicone-free conditioning that’s perfect for oily hair. Try applying your conditioner just where it’s most needed—typically the ends and mid-sections—and keeping it off your scalp. Another strategy for oily hair that needs conditioning? Use a leave-in conditioner spray that can be targeted precisely where it’s needed.
Use dry shampoo but not too much.
Time-starved women cite dry shampoo as one of the decade’s most important inventions, and people with oily hair second that emotion. Dry shampoo is a great stopgap measure for absorbing the excess oil produced by the scalp—it can prevent strands from getting limp and greasy during the day. But here’s a warning. Too much dry shampoo can begin to clog up the pores on your scalp, which leads to an array of scalp and hair problems. So if you are a frequent dry shampooer, Matrix pros recommend using a deep cleansing shampoo a few times a week to remove build-up. Also, don’t think dry shampoo is a substitute for washing your hair—if you have oily strands, you’ll still need to shampoo frequently to keep that bouncy hair look.
Style your hair with mousse or gel instead of styling cremes or lotions.
Mousses and hair gels are generally free of the oils which can cause your hair to go limp. Regardless of what type of styling product you prefer, try to concentrate the application on the lengths and ends of your hair and avoid applying them on an oily scalp entirely.
Keep your hands off and your tools clean.
Touching your hair all the time can not only add oils from your fingers to your hair, it can also spread the excess oil being produced by your scalp. So try not to run your fingers through your hair too much or twirl and play with your strands. Also, be sure your combs, brushes and styling irons stay clean to avoid transferring oil and debris back onto your hair.