How to Deal with Oily Hair

Oily hair and hair goals are arch enemies and for good reason. Greasy hair can ruin a look and turn hair into a flat, stringy mess. Apart from being an eyesore, greasy hair feels gross and doesn’t smell the best, and if left unchecked, it only gets worse.

Luckily, we’re here to give you the rundown on oily hair, its causes, and what you can do to prevent it.

What Causes Oily Hair?

Before we discuss how to care for oily hair, we need to understand the cause of the problem. Every pore on your skin has a sebaceous gland, including your scalp. The sebaceous glands secrete an oil-like substance called sebum, which helps maintain your hair’s natural shine.

Sebum keeps your hair healthy and smooth and prevents it from becoming brittle, and breaking. However, overactive sebaceous glands sometimes produce an excess of oil. This not only leads to oily hair, but it is also the main culprit for blemishes and breakouts of acne.

Overactive sebaceous glands occur for several reasons. Internal factors that cause excess oil production include genetic heredity and hormonal changes due to puberty or pregnancy.

External factors can include lifestyle, climate poor diet, and improper skin and hair care. Some medications can also trigger increased sebum production.

But the number one culprit for greasy, heavy hair is your own hands. The more you touch your hair, the more oil transfers from your hands.

How Can I Prevent Oily Hair?

First and foremost, keep your hands off. You should also take care not to overbrush your hair, as this can distribute oil from the roots over the rest of the strands.

Oily hair is also a vicious cycle. Excessive shampooing, and scrubbing too hard can irritate the scalp, triggering your sensitive sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Once you strip your hair of its natural oils, your sebaceous glands go into overdrive.

Hair care professionals all agree that you shouldn’t wash your hair every day, as this can not only lead to oily hair, but it can also cause cuticle damage, leading to split ends and breakage.

When you shampoo, you should rinse your hair in cold water for a minimum of 30 seconds to ensure that all shampoo and conditioner is out of your hair. Hot water opens the pores and stimulates the sebaceous glands, while cold water helps snap pores shut and minimize oil production. After showering, you should always let your hair air dry naturally, or keep the heat to a minimum when blowdrying. Just like hot water, hot air can stimulate oil production.

If your hair starts to look a little greasy between washes, you’ll probably notice that it doesn’t smell great either. Don’t fret. You can use a natural hair deodorizer in the form of a dry shampoo to absorb excess oil, renew it with volume, and leave your hair with a much more pleasing scent.

Tips for Managing Oily Hair

Believe it or not, you can train your hair to be less oily by maintaining a proper hair care regimen. Here are some tips that you can add to your beauty routine that will help your hair look and feel sleek, silky and smooth.

  • Use a mild shampoo and lightweight conditioner to replenish and balance the moisture on your scalp without sending it into overproduction mode.
  • Space out your washes. An oily scalp is a cyclical problem made worse by attempts at reversing the problem. Ideally, you should be able to go 2-3 days between shampoos to get oil production under control.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo or treatment twice per month to remove any excess buildup that your normal routine may not be able to remove.
  • You are what you eat, and diet can greatly affect oil production. Avoid greasy foods and those high in sugar. Your intake of B vitamins also directly correlates with your level of sebum production. Make sure you’re getting your proper daily values of B vitamins to help combat greasy hair.


Use the information in this article and add the above tips to your beauty regimen and start the journey toward beautiful, healthier hair, and a much happier you.

If these suggestions don’t work, it may be time to consult a doctor to find out if excess oil is the result of an underlying health issue.

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