Get rid of your oily hair for good! We bust the most common myths in our comprehensive guide full of tips and tricks.
For some unlucky souls, ridding yourself of greasy hair can be a challenge. Getting the facts on how to maintain clean, healthy hair is only made more confusing by the stream of mumbo-jumbo that comes from hair beauty companies.
In the year 2015, the Daily Mail reported that a whopping 86% of claims made by the beauty industry were found to be untrue or misleading. There is also no shortage of bad advice online. Some of the wackier theories include using mayonnaise as the conditioner. The good news is that we’re here to help. This is your guide to the causes of oily hair and what you can do about it.
The Science – what causes greasy hair?
Sebaceous glands are located in your scalp, connected to your hair roots, and produce a greasy substance called sebum. Sebum adds moisture and stops your hair from getting too dry.
Whilst well intentioned, sebum can make hair appear oily and is also responsible for acne. Teenagers are the classic victims, as the hormones that trigger sebum, androgens, increase dramatically during puberty. So if you’re a teen suffering from spots and greasy hair, just remember that it may not be forever and that it is just something that everyone has to go through.
6 Prevention Tips
And now, the one you’ve all been waiting for, the answer to the million dollar question: how do I prevent greasy hair? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer and you should take all advice with a pinch of salt. Greasy hair depends on the person’s genetics, age, lifestyle and type of hair. Everyone’s body works in different ways and there is no easy fix. Everyone’s body works in different ways and there is no easy fix.
Tip 1 – Do not wash your hair every day
The shampoo is designed to clean your scalp and remove excess oil. People who wash their hair every day may develop dry scalps and unhealthy looking locks. The hairs are deprived of moisture and, ironically, this will cause your pores to produce even more sebum to compensate! It’s also been suggested that warm water is better than very hot water. Hot water is thought to stimulate the sebaceous glands, once again, dramatically increasing the amount of the oil produced.
Tip 2 – Shampoo at the right time of day
Sweating dramatically increases the amount of sebum spread through your hair. People who sweat more, therefore, need to make sure they wash or rinse their hair after a workout, lest they develop what experts are calling ‘smelly hair syndrome.’
You also sweat the most during the night, meaning that your hair will be most full of sebum, dirt and dead skin in the morning. It therefore makes sense to wash your hair in the morning rather than before you go to bed.
Tip 3 – Do not touch your hair too often
This sebum stuff you are hearing so much about, it is on your hands too. And your partner’s. Playing with your hair may feel nice but will transfer extra oil to your hair. Brushing your hair also counts as touching. Excessive brushing, especially with a brush that’s dirty or full of hair, may alter moisture levels, kicking those pesky sebaceous glands into action once again. It may also push oil from the roots of your hairs to the ends, making your hair appear greaser than before.
Tip 4 – Consider where you apply shampoo and conditioner
Remember, shampoo cleans off dirt and grime, conditioner enriches and moistens. The ends of your hair are normally drier than your roots and therefore may require more conditioner. The roots are more likely to get dirty from sweat and therefore require more shampoo. Try them out and see what works best for you as not everyone is the same. For example, conditioning the roots may be appropriate for people with a dry scalp.
Tip 5 – Healthy diet
Just like when treating acne, many believe that fatty foods (burgers, fried chicken, fried eggs), crisps, sugar and fatty dairy products contribute to excessive sebum production. Fruits, vegetables, lean meat, oats, seeds, fish and nuts are all thought to reduce the amount of oil produced by glands.
Tip 6 – Experiment
Just like with diets, you shouldn’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Everyone’s lifestyle and genetics are unique. What might be a miracle cure for a friend might be a disaster for you. Here are some of the latest trends that have gained traction online:
Water only – although lacking sufficient scientific grounding, many people claim that rinsing their hair with water (no products at all) produces results in the long term. They claim that you will endure greasy hair initially, but it will subside around week four as your glands learn to balance the quantity of sebum produced.
Dry shampoo – very popular at music festivals and camping trips, it doesn’t actually clean your hair but absorbs some of the excess oil and will prolong the time in between washing.
Co-Washing’ – these products, used instead of shampoo, come without detergents and are becoming increasingly popular with the big brands.
Keep the faith when trying alternative methods! Do not abandon a new routine too early just because you’re not getting the results you want. Experts believe that your scalp and hair will take at least a month to adjust.
get rid of greasy hair! (without dry shampoo)
You should always see a doctor or dermatologist for extreme cases – especially if sweat glands become inflamed or excessively itchy. A doctor will be significantly more informed than a random, unqualified, self-proclaimed beauty guru that you’ve found online.
Inevitably there is a lot of advice online including hours and hours of YouTube tutorials. Some of them are hands on solutions where as some offer ways to cover up or disguise greasy hair. The best ones are posted below for your viewing pleasure. Good luck!