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Hair Care Tips For Oily Scalp And Dry Ends

In a world full of unique hair types, lengths and styles, finding the perfect maintenance and hair care routine for your locks can be a process of trial and error. While there are some straightforward solutions (like getting a stimulating shampoo for hair loss, a specialized leave-in for dandruff, or moisturizing products for dry scalp and fine hair), it’s common to have different needs for your roots, lengths and ends. One hair type that needs this kind of targeted attention is the case of an oily scalp and dry ends.

How to know if you have an oily scalp and dry hair

You’ll know you have an oily scalp if you’re seeing excessive sebum within 1 or 2 days of washing, and brittle, damaged or split ends. Dealing with a combination hair type like this can be confusing — first, how to get rid of oily hair without stripping nourishment from your dry ends? And how do you ensure your ends are getting the rich product that might also make your oily roots even more flat and lifeless?

What causes oily scalp and dry ends?

While we know that a big part of your hair type has to do with genetics, here are some common factors that can leave you with dry ends and an oily scalp.

  • Bleaching or coloring
  • Your hair type
  • Excess sebum or build-up
  • Overwashing
  • Using the wrong hair products
  • Weather

How to care for an oily scalp and dry ends

Now that you’ve established you have an oily scalp and dry ends, let’s discuss the best way to care for this combination hair type to give you the best hair possible.

Brush properly

If you’re anything like me, it probably took a while to connect the dots between “frizzy, frustrating hair” and a less-than-good-quality hairbrush. Just like with makeup, hair brushes are important tools that help evenly distribute your hair’s natural oils from root to tip. If you have an oily scalp and dry ends, it might be a sign that you’re not effectively moving these oils from your scalp down the hair shaft to nourish the driest bits of breakage at the ends. Boar bristle brushes are especially great at this, so consider investing in a nice brush to help improve the look and health of your hair.

Change how you shampoo and condition

The best shampoos and conditioners will work with your specific needs. Even after picking the right hair products, your in-shower routine can have an effect on how oily your scalp is and dry your ends are. The main idea here is to concentrate the “treatment” of each part of your hair to that area only, as much as possible. So when you’re massaging in your clarifying or dandruff shampoo, try to keep it concentrated to your scalp — this will fix greasy hair and help curb the effects of over-stripping your already dry ends of needed essential oils. And the same goes for your dry ends: when using a super nourishing or rich conditioner, that same formula that softens your ends might be too heavy on an already oily scalp.

Davines MOMO moisturizing hair products

Wash your hair less frequently

When dealing with an oily scalp, your first instinct might be to over-cleanse. But this often makes things worse: your scalp will generally end up amping up oil production more than before, in an effort to restore lost essential sebum and nutrients. Overwashing also has a negative effect on already dry ends and overall hair look, further stripping your strands of the oils they need to be shiny, soft and healthy. On average, it’s suggested to wash your hair three or four times a week: more frequently if you have fine or thin hair (which tend to look limper faster due to build up) and less frequently the thicker or more textured and curly your hair is. To learn more about how often you should wash your hair, check out our blog post.

Use dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is an amazing resource to help extend the time between washes, which is also great news for dry ends. Using dry shampoo will allow you to absorb excess oil from the scalp, without needing to wash your hair, which can run the risk of over-stripping already dry ends. As a bonus, dry shampoo can also be a great pick-me-up for second or third-day hair: applying it to your roots often has a volumizing effect, giving you the extra movement and body that oily hair can be lacking.

Try a hair oil

Just how dry shampoo can provide targeted attention to an overly-oily cuticle and scalp, hair oil is one of the best hair products to take care of your dry ends. Avoiding the scalp (which would only make an oily situation worse) apply a few pumps of a nourishing hair oil through your lengths and ends. This will add needed moisture, as well as smooth down any frizz and flyaways that can result from dry and damaged hair.

Stop touching your hair

What might just seem like a harmless way to fidget might actually be making your oily scalp worse! Running your fingers through your hair isn’t the issue, it's the oils naturally produced by your hands — the more you touch your hair, the more likely it is that these oils are transferred onto your hair and scalp.

Use less heat

Here’s something you might not have considered when it comes to oily scalp care: when you use heat styling products, they can melt the oils in your hair. When heated they become more liquid and malleable, meaning it’s easier for them to glide down your hair shaft spreading oiliness around. And on the other hand, frequent heat styling also won’t be doing already dry hair any favors. Even with heat protectant products, repeated exposure to heat can make dryness and damage worse. So to give your hair and scalp a break, check out our blog post on how to achieve heatless curls if you’re looking for a little stylish hair inspiration!

Try a hair oil

Just how dry shampoo can provide targeted attention to an overly-oily cuticle and scalp, hair oil is one of the best hair products to take care of your dry ends. Avoiding the scalp (which would only make an oily situation worse) apply a few pumps of a nourishing hair oil through your lengths and ends. This will add needed moisture, as well as smooth down any frizz and flyaways that can result from dry and damaged hair.

Use the right products

Finding the right hair care products are the first step to giving your hair and scalp the targeted attention that it needs. First, let’s address the oil: a rebalancing shampoo will help reverse an excessively oily scalp (which can lead to further issues such as dandruff), helping to keep your scalp clean and clear without over-stripping it of essential moisture. To target your ends, a conditioner for dry hair or rich hair mask adds in needed nourishment, softness and shine. If you’re interested in exploring different products, be sure to check out our complete guide to sulfate-free shampoo to learn more about picking the best possible products for your hair.

Shampoo formulated to remove excessive build up or oil. The rich and airy foam leaves the hair extremely clean.

Shampoo formulated to fight excess sebum production, clarifying and cleaning the scalp.

Moisturizing conditioner for dry or dehydrated hair. Designed to detangle, hydrate and leave hair soft and silky.

While having a combination hair type means you have to take a little extra care to find the right products and routine to attend to your locks, it doesn’t have to be complicated! Making simple adjustments such as finding a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, washing less frequently, using less heat and applying nourishing oils and dry shampoo on the scalp are all effective to help you care for an oily scalp and dry ends. Some at-home remedies like aloe vera are also effective, so try out different things to see what works best for you. And of course, every healthy haircare routine needs regular salon visits. We hope these tips and tricks make a difference for your hair — and if you have any additional suggestions that have worked for you, be sure to let us know in the comments!

by Lauren Hannel, staff contributor

Photos by @goldandglowco

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1 Comment

1 Response

Lily Pearce
Lily Pearce

February 24, 2022

what shampoo/conditioner is best for normal to oily hair?

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