Greasy hair, don't care? No freakin' way! You bet your butt I care about having greasy hair and do whatever I can to avoid it. My usually shiny locks feel super oily when I wake up, probably because I toss and turn when I sleep. Despite using only a few products, I still have to wash my hair daily or it's a total mess. However, all I hear about is how we over-wash our strands and that we need to reduce daily washes to a mere few times per week. That's a terrifying thought to me, since my hair is a grease pit when I skip a wash.
Even though I have people constantly telling me the opposite, I feel like an anomaly when it comes to cleansing frequency. And I'm sure you've felt that way too.
I know the basic science behind less washing: Harsh detergents in shampoos strip hair of natural oils, so we have to use conditioner to put those oils back in. Things get greased and gunked up with product, not your natural secretions. The cycle is never-ending. I get it. I decided to do further research and to poll experts, since it seems like everyone is telling me that I am wrong about my level of greasiness.
Here is what I learned about why my hair probably isn't as greasy as I think it is. Plus, I gained some tips for how to remedy that slicked back look, if you so desire.
1. You Aren't Being Patient
Edward Tricomi, Master Stylist and Co-Founder of The Warren-Tricomi Salons, taught me two follicle facts. First, I need to be patient and learn to forego a couple of washes at first, since hair will look oilier to you than it really is.
"When you have oily or greasy hair, most people tend to wash it a lot, thinking it will help," he says. "In truth, this oftentimes makes it worse! The trick is to wash your hair every other day or even every two days, depending on your hair thickness. At first, it will still look oily. But after one-to-two weeks of following this pattern, you should see a difference."
I wondered why there is a visible difference. Tricomi continues, "By washing less frequently, you give your oil glands a chance to slow down."
2. Your Hair Is Actually Just Fine
The second truth Tricomi shared is that a lot of "greasiness" actually has to do with your hair texture. "If your hair is limp or fine, oil/grease will seem more prominent than it truly is," Tricomi says. "This is when dry shampoo is your friend! It will also help you feel comfortable in between washes, to ensure your hair does not appear as greasy as it may feel."
3. Your Hair Is Extra Healthy
Gordon Gekko of Wall Street famously said, "Greed is good." Well, Kérastase Artistic Director Nina Dimachki believes why grease is good, too. "If you are feeling greasy, but there's no apparent oil in the hair, it could be because your hair is just really healthy and shiny," she says. "But if your hair isn’t really greasy, but just feels or appears to be, there are a few solutions."
She recommends teasing roots to give a "soft cushion effect, leaving hair off the scalp longer."
4. You're Touching It Too Much
Dimachki also recommends keeping the hair hands-free. "Try as best as you can to stop running fingers through your hair," she warned. "Especially [during] this time of year, when we load up our hands with moisturizing balms and salves, this just makes the oily situation from bad to worse!" So your hair isn't actually greasy in this case — your hands are.
5. You're Placing Your Products Wrong
Dimachki also suggests thinking about product placement. The general rule is to leave roots alone. "Apply both your hair conditioner/masque and your leave-in oil only from the ears and down the hair," she said. "Any hair that sits above the ears is generally healthy and isn't excessively dry, so this will keep the product from making the hair feel oily or overly soft." Plus, most anti-frizz/shine products you put near the roots will just make them look dirty.
She recommends Kérastase Powder Bluff for use after hair is dry and when "roots need a quick matte fix."
6. You're Not Doing Enough Detox Days
Alterna Haircare's Nate Rosenkranz digs the dirt, saying, "These days, I recommend embracing the grit. It’s essential for that undone, textured look we're seeing on all of the 'cool girl' Instagram stars." But he notes that hair may also feel greasier than it is due to product build up and therefore encourages the greasy-haired to detox with a clarifying shampoo, which removes build up.
He continued, "One of my favorite and easiest tips is this. When your hair is a little greasy or it's been a few days since you've shampooed, spray Alterna Haircare’s Caviar Perfect Texture Finishing Spray, scrunch hair with your fingers, and go. The look is effortless and badass." Rosenkranz warned that too much build up and too much dry shampoo can compound the problem, which is why detoxing is so critical.
Grease be gone!