Whether or not you have an oily scalp, sometimes greasy hair comes out of nowhere. You may have thought you had everything under control or even that you didn't do anything differently, yet your hair still became prematurely oily. While this can be annoying to deal with, there are some reasons your hair becomes randomly greasy. And if you can rule some of these reasons out, you may have a better grasp on how to ensure that your hair stays balanced for as long as you'd like. So to find out what some of the factors are that can make your strands randomly oily, I emailed with a couple of experts.
Christyn Nawrot, PHYTO's National Educator, and JB Shelton, Bosley Professional Strength Educator, both let me in on some of the reasons you may not have realized are causing your locks to fall limp. But the good news is that if any of these factors are contributing to your having randomly greasy tresses, they can be pretty easily corrected. So your hair won't surprise you by requiring a wash earlier than you anticipated, here are seven reasons your strands can become randomly greasy and what to do about it:
1. Using Heavy Conditioners
Especially if you have fine hair, the type of conditioner you use could be causing that dreaded, greasy feeling. Shelton explains that using a product that is too heavy or moisturizing could cause "limpness in the hair strand." It is therefore important to make sure the way you keep your locks hydrated isn't too potent. Try a weightless conditioner or one formulated specifically for your hair type so your strands don't feel randomly greasy the same day you washed them.
2. Using Harsh Shampoos
Your conditioner isn't all that could be causing your hair to feel surprisingly oily, though. Your shampoo is just as responsible. Shelton explains that using a shampoo with harsh detergents and surfactants could cause sebum glands in your scalp to go into overdrive. "Those detergents strip the scalp of all the good oil as well and signal the glands to produce more oil," she says. But ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate aren't the only ones to be wary of. Nawrot also warns against using shampoos that contain waxes and silicones as these could disrupt the balance of your scalp. To make sure your shampoo isn't the cause of an oily scalp and hair, always read the label before switching your shampoo to make sure the ingredients will play nicely with your hair.
3. Touching Your Hair Too Much
While running your fingers through your hair once or twice shouldn't cause it to become totally greasy, Shelton explains that if you have a habit of playing with your hair or otherwise frequently touch it, the "dirt and oil from your hands can add residue to your hair." Even if you don't think you touch your hair that much, try to keep track and pay attention to whether it's something that you unconsciously do, for instance, when you're stressed or nervous. Recognizing the times when you tend to pass your fingers through your hair and stopping yourself from doing it could help cut out some of your random, greasy-hair days.
4. Hair Touching Your Face Too Much
It seems reasonable that any natural oils on your face could cause your hair to become greasy on contact, but this isn't actually the only reason hair can feel oily after touching your face. Nawrot explained to me that the bigger culprit is actually the products you put on your face— the makeup and skincare— that can cause your hair to feel particularly greasy if it touches your face. "[The] types of ingredients in cosmetics leave a residue and they attract dust, debris, and particles in the air that can cause an oily effect," she says.
5. Air-Drying Your Hair
If you've noticed your hair becomes randomly greasy when you air-dry it, it's not just your imagination. According to Shelton, "heat from [a] blow dryer actually plumps the cuticle of your hair strand, which can better absorb any scalp oils." If you don't have time to fully dry your hair after you shower though, try just blow-drying your roots to see if it makes a difference in how greasy your hair feels throughout the day.
6. Using The Wrong Products
Because different scalps and hair react differently to various types of hair products and ingredients, it's important to manage what you put in your hair whether it be a styling aid or a leave-in product, says Nawrot. If you suspect that a product or styling system could be causing your hair to become greasy faster than it normally does, try weeding out which product your hair doesn't agree with. Then, take note of the ingredients to help you figure out what may be causing your oiliness so you know what to avoid in the future.
7. Using A Dirty Brush
While brushing is actually healthy because it helps distribute your natural oils, Nawrot explains that if you don't routinely clean your brushes, combs, and other hair tools, they could leave behind old dirt and oils on your strands, causing them to seem randomly greasy. If cleaning buildup from your brush seems like a pain though, try a liner like the one shown here. Once it becomes dirty, all you have to do is replace it— no soap or water necessary.