The reality is, if you are dealing with greasy hair you’ve probably felt frustrated because of it at some point. Because oily hair is basically caused by an oily scalp, it feels heavy and flat. It can also lead to acne around the hairline. And ultimately, it can affect self-confidence.
You’ve probably also tried various remedies that may or may not have worked. However, you can’t skip directly to a solution without first understanding the root of the problem. Keep reading to learn more about what causes oily hair and how a few changes to your haircare habits can lead to better, fresher hair.
Hair can become greasy due to various reasons – some are health related, some haircare related, some even lifestyle related.
When we talk about oily hair, we’re actually talking about an oily scalp caused by excess sebum being produced by the sebaceous glands. Although sebum is necessary for the health of the hair as it prevents it from becoming dry and breaking, an increase in sebum will make the hair look oily and even lead to dandruff.
The hair can become oily due to hormonal changes, for example during puberty, pregnancy or when you’re on your period. If the excessive oiliness comes from an underlying health problem (a skin condition for example) there will be other hair-related symptoms, such as itchiness, hair loss or even dryness. It’s always best to speak to a doctor who can treat whatever health concern you might have first, then address the issue cosmetically. Stress can also increase the level of oil produced by the scalp.
Despite contrary belief, washing the hair too often can actually make your hair oilier as it can increase sebum levels. It’s easy to fall into a cycle where you keep washing your hair more and more often, perhaps even daily, because it’s greasy. But washing it too much will strip the scalp and the hair of moisturising elements, and so the sebum glands will feel the need to over-compensate.
We know it’s hard, but try to go a day or two without washing your hair as it might require some life planning around your washing schedule. There are “hacks” you can try to do this: using dry shampoo, putting your hair in a bun or wearing a hat. Just bear with it – an oily scalp doesn’t disappear overnight.
If you do have to wash your hair daily, choose gentle washing products with a scalp-compatible pH. Our range of sulphate free shampoos are formulated with conditioning ingredients that care for the hair whilst cleansing it.
Not using the right shampoo for your hair can also lead to an oily scalp. For example, using shampoos formulated with oils or other rich ingredients might weigh down the root area and will intensify that oily hair feeling. Instead, choose shampoos with purifying ingredients and less conditioning benefits. Our No Plastic Shampoo Bar contains red clay, a natural ingredient known to be beneficial for purification.
How you shampoo your hair also matters. If you have oily hair, it’s important to focus on cleansing the scalp properly, as that is where the sebum sits. Apply the shampoo on the scalp and massage it gently while lathering. If you’re using a shampoo bar you can rub the bar directly on your scalp. The lengths and ends don’t need that much shampooing – you can just cleanse with the lather.
You can also lather the hair twice if it’s oily. The first wash will remove most of the sebum and dirt and you can use a little amount of product. Rinse and repeat, only this time massage the shampoo in properly and enjoy the bubbles – during the second lathering shampoos foam more because the hair is cleaner. This will remove the rest of the impurities.
Applying too much conditioner can also lead to oily hair. In fact, the root area is normally healthy and it doesn’t need any conditioning. So if you are dealing with greasy hair, apply conditioner or hair masks only on the lengths and ends. This will keep the root area lighter and more volumised, with less sebum from the scalp “travelling” towards the hair lengths. Side note: this is why hair gets oily quicker when you straighten it. It’s laying too close to the roots area.
If your hair tends to go oily, be gentle with your scalp and careful with the blow dryer’s heat. Your hair does benefit from blow drying more volume into roots because less sebum will travel down to your lengths, but avoid using maximum heat on the scalp. Heat can stimulate the sebum glands so when possible, let your hair air dry. Also try to reduce the water temperature slightly when washing your hair.
Styling products can also be a culprit so, where possible, reduce the amount of mousses or gels you use. Try to resist the temptation of using products that make the hair “shiny” because they usually contain oil or other smoothening ingredients– which is what you want to avoid.
Avoid touching hair too much during the day, as hands often have oil in them and it transfers into hair!
Your diet can also play a part in having an oily scalp. Avoiding oily foods and refined sugars might help, as well as eating foods rich in B and E vitamins. Vitamin B is known to help regulate sebum production so boost up your intake of beans or leafy green vegetables.
We know that having oily hair can be frustrating at times but with just a bit of care and patience, you’re situation will improve. For more advice on various natural hair concerns, go to our blog. Discover our range of products designed following a minimalist formula for high performance.