Oily hair is like oily skin. Sometimes that's just how it is. And other times it's that way because of the habits we keep. Of course, hair-type also plays a role in how oily strands will appear. All my fine-hair ladies (and I'm sure some with coarser hair too) know the slick hair struggle all too well; we're constantly trying to find ways to make your hair look less greasy. It's planning at exactly what time during the day hair needs to be washed so it will still look good during your evening date. It's trying to avoid touching it and flinching away when others do. It's extended time in front of the mirror wondering if an up-do is good enough or if today is just a hat-day. But greasy hair tends to be like most other insecurities: It always seems worse on yourself than how others see it.
If you're feeling like your hair is just too oily regardless, there are certain things you can do to keep the oil production under control. While these methods will help make your locks less greasy in both the short and long term, it is important to fully evaluate and understand your current habits so you know how to properly fix them. Here are eight steps you can take toward having balanced hair:
1. Only Condition The Ends
Applying conditioner all over can totally weigh hair down, causing oily roots. Instead, just apply conditioner from mid-shaft to ends.
It also pays to find a conditioner designed for oily hair types, like this one from CHI. It was specifically developed for fine hair to add body and fullness, without leaving residue behind. Just make sure use a small drop so you don't overburden your hair.
2. Use Baby Powder
If you prefer to go the old-fashioned route, opt for baby powder instead of dry shampoo. It will work the same way if you sprinkle some on your roots and rub it in. If you have dark hair and the baby powder causes too much of a white cast, just brush some bronzer onto your roots instead or mix the baby powder with cocoa.
3. Use Dry Shampoo
An obvious one, yes, but dry shampoo will not only suck up oil from your roots making your hair appear less greasy in the moment, but it will also allow you to spend more time between washes which will make your hair less greasy in the long run too.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk has earned something of a cult following for being ultra gentle and not leaving behind an annoying white residue.
4. Wash Less Often
I know, I know. This sounds totally counterintuitive. But if the scalp is constantly being stripped of oils, the more forcefully it tries to replace those oils. This makes hair greasier in the shorter term than necessary. So if you're washing your hair everyday, try to take it down to every other day. If you're already doing that, try washing every three-four days.
Also try to use a clarifying shampoo once every so often to make sure there is no buildup in your hair that is weighing it down. Just don't use one too often as it can strip too much oil, sending production into overdrive. Kenra's Clarifying Shampoo is especially great for color-treated hair, or if you have hard water. It removes dulling deposits and brightens highlights.
5. Balance Your Brushing
Not brushing enough keeps natural oils from being distributed, and they just build up on the scalp. Over-brushing, on the other hand, can stimulate oil production. So just make sure to find a healthy balance for your hair.
Boar bristle brushes are particularly good for those with oily hair, according to Fox & Jane Co-Founder Lorean Cairns, in a previous interview with Bustle. This bristle brush from GranNaturals is great at distributing oil from roots to ends, all while stimulating the scalp.
6. Choose Your Products Wisely
Make sure you don't use too many mousses and gels that can cause buildup. Also try to avoid products that make hair "shiny" as these can make oily-prone hair just look greasier. If you can, just cut out styling products altogether.
7. Try Not To Touch Your Hair
That means with your hands or your face. Because your fingertips and face both produce oil that can easily be transferred to your hair, avoid playing with it or using styles that allow too much to touch your face.
8. Avoid Straightening Hair
The more closely your hair lies to your head, the more oil it comes in contact with. Curled hair (whether natural or not) gives a little more volume at the roots which keeps hair from becoming too oily too quickly.
The Double Ceramic Curling Iron from Conair is great for adding long-lasting classic curls, without frizz. Plus, it has a cool tip for safe handling and 30 different heat settings.
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This post was originally published on 2/20/2015. It was updated on 6/24/2019 Additional reporting by Kate Miller.
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