We’ve all been there: even the most healthy head of hair has had a greasy day or two. When the sebaceous glands in your scalp produce sebum — aka oil — it’s absorbed by your hair to nourish and add shine. But when too much sebum is produced, this excess of oil can leave you with a greasy-looking scalp and limp, lifeless and oily hair. While this can be a pretty common occurrence for many people, sometimes you might see that your hair is looking noticeably greasier than usual. So… where is this coming from?
This is a relatable issue for most people at some point in their lives. Here are some of the most frequent causes of greasy hair.
See you later, limp and lifeless strands! Here are some simple ways to prevent and treat greasy hair.
To combat greasy strands, you need to start at the scalp. Avoid overly rich products or serums: these will just weigh your hair down and make it look extra lifeless. A clarifying shampoo will remove excessive oil and build-up, leaving you with clean and refreshed hair and scalp. If a noticeably greasy scalp has been a problem for a while, you might want to try a rebalancing shampoo which is specifically formulated to help scalps that have sebum hyper-production. When choosing your conditioner stay away from anything too heavy: look for one that will lightly moisturize to keep your strands from falling flat. But you can swap in a deep conditioner once a week with your regular conditioner to give your strands a little extra nourishment (be sure to check out our blog post to learn how often you should deep condition your hair). And as a general hair tip: finish your shower with a cool rinse to help the cuticle lie flat, giving you shinier looking hair before you blow dry or use other styling products.
Certain foods can cause an oily hair and scalp: eating too many fried foods, dairy, fatty meat products and sugar can have a negative effect on the cleanliness of your hair. Aside from what to avoid, there are also specific things that you can add to your diet to help prevent greasiness in the first place. Foods rich in B vitamins (like beans, poultry and fish) as well as those rich in zinc (found in oysters and red meat) are excellent choices to help keep your sebaceous glands in check.
Not ready to run to the store for the latest anti-grease remedy for your oily hair? Some at-home remedies for greasy scalps can probably be found in your pantry right now.
When applying your conditioner, try to avoid the roots as much as possible. Applying a nourishing product can weigh down your hair at the root, especially if you’re already dealing with an oily scalp.
Even if you go to bed with a freshly-washed face every night, eight hours of rolling around means your pillowcases are still a hotbed of shedded dead skin cells. So if you’ve noticed a recent acne breakout or a noticeably greasier scalp, it might be your pillowcase that’s to blame. Start washing your pillowcase at least once a week to remove any unwanted residue and build-up that can contribute to a greasier scalp.
We’ve discussed the issues that can come from washing and brushing your hair too frequently — try lessening the frequency of both and see if that helps make a difference in the amount of oil on your scalp. By not triggering your sebaceous glands to go overboard with sebum production by overwashing and brushing, you can help make your hair less greasy.
Did you know that it’s generally recommended to wash your hair brushes every one to two weeks? Build-up on your brush could be contributing to a greasy scalp making your hair dirtier, as well as spreading trapped oil around. Once you start seeing residue on the bristles, it’s time for a brush bath. After using a comb to pick out any stray hairs that are tangled in your brush, swish it around in a bowl filled with warm water and a mild cleansing shampoo. Rinse, and set it aside to dry.
All of the previously mentioned tips will help you get less-greasy hair, but sometimes you just need to degrease your hair in a pinch. Here are some of the easiest ways to remove excess oil from your scalp when you’re pressed for time.
Even though most people have probably had to deal with it at some point in their lives, greasy hair doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle. Start by making easy adjustments to your beauty routine: use the right products, wash and brush less frequently, and be mindful of how you apply conditioner or other at-home remedies. If you’re noticing that the problem is continuing, it might be worth looking into adjusting your diet and increasing the frequency that you wash your hair brushes and pillowcases. And if all else fails: you can’t beat the customized advice that comes from a visit to a professional hairstylist or dermatologist. If you have any additional tricks that have helped curb your excessively greasy scalp, let us know in the comments!
by Lauren Hannel, staff contributor
Photos by @goldandglowco