Some have it all their lives, others can suddenly suffer from it later – greasy hair – one of the most common hair problems. Certainly not elegant for your outward appearance and certainly not for your sense of self-confidence. You’ve started the day with a freshly washed hairstyle, but halfway through the day your hair feels greasy again and can no longer be styled.
You may tend to wash your hair more often. It is true that you combat the symptom with this, but only for a short time. By washing your hair, the sebum dissolves and is washed away, so the skin will respond to this by producing more sebum. This quickly creates a vicious circle! The same effect is achieved by using too hot water.
Obviously, a professional hairdresser can advise you on the most suitable shampoos and how and when to wash your hair, to get the problem under control as quickly as possible.
But what actually causes greasy hair and, more interestingly, how do you get rid of it? Let’s take a closer look at that and provide you with tips on how to deal with it. Ultimately, you know best how your skin reacts and which options can be of advantage to your specific situation. Here we go:
How exactly does greasy hair develop?
Oily hair is actually the symptom of an oily scalp, so the cause is not with the hair itself. Our skin has pores all over the body, small openings from which the hairs grow and which at the same time serve as a passage for sebum, a fatty substance produced by the underlying sebaceous glands. Sebum keeps both the epidermis and hair oily, protects against dehydration and makes skin and hair water-repellent. In addition, it increases the skin’s resistance to (toxic) external influences, fungi and other pathogens.
Sebum is very useful. However, problems arise when an excess of sebum is produced, resulting in an oily scalp, and an increased risk of oily hair. Possible causes may be genetic predisposition, age, underlying conditions, dietary habits, improper hair care or the use of certain hair care products. In addition, hormones and certain (temporary) conditions also have an impact on your skin, such as:
- menstruation, pregnancy, PMS and menopause;
- stressful period;
- higher outside temperature;
- eating too much fat.
Although the problem can be more persistent under the influence of hormones, in most cases there are a number of things you can do to at least reduce the problem, and at best it is a permanent solution.
How do you fight greasy hair?
Synthetic products are of course suitable for removing oil and sebum from your hair, so your brain receives a signal to produce new sebum. Under normal circumstances it is a very natural process. However, frequent washing of oily hair can actually lead to increased sebum production and thus perpetuate or even worsen the problem.
This natural circumstance can in many cases be controlled by a few (surprising) everyday things, such as:
Washing the hair – preferably not too often (2 or 3 times a week is sufficient), use the right shampoo and conditioner and always rinse well. While most shampoos de-grease well, in many cases they are not so kind to your skin and the environment. The natural (and eco-friendly) options available to de-grease your hair are just as good.
Apply the conditioner mainly to the hair lengths and ends, where your hair needs the most care and so you do not have to massage/stimulate the scalp unnecessarily and you prevent residue from remaining on the skin.
Lukewarm water – water that is too hot stimulates sebum production on the scalp. More sebum production means greasy hair faster!
NO head massage! – as unfortunate as it may be: massage stimulates blood circulation, good blood circulation promotes sebum production and too much sebum causes greasy hair. Conclusion? Do not massage your scalp, try to avoid this as much as possible while applying a shampoo to combat oily hair.
Comb/brush – brush your hair less often. You may not realize it, but you also massage the scalp unnoticed while combing or brushing. In addition, you spread the grease over the hair, making it look greasier quickly.
Styling products – Minimize the use of products such as gels, waxes, pastes, etc. to avoid washing your hair more often.
Clean comb and brush after each use – remove the hair from your comb or brush immediately and also clean them regularly to prevent the dirt and grease from ending up back on your hair later.
Clean pillowcase – the same applies as when cleaning comb and brush: prevent dirt from getting back on the hair and scalp. In addition, it can help to wear longer hair in an airy bun or ponytail, even when sleeping, to avoid friction and the spread of oil as much as possible.
Nutrition– some foods contain simple carbohydrates that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. This triggers a series of reactions that lead to an increase in the androgen (IGF-1) hormone, which in turn stimulates sebum production. The culprits can be found in white bread, sugary drinks and snacks, including chips. Milk and dairy products also have an effect on the production of oil. It is wise to avoid these.
Oil on greasy hair… that almost sounds like throwing oil on the fire. As unbelievable as it may be, some oils naturally contain certain substances that can help regulate sebum production.
Argan oil contains a high level of essential fatty acids that reduces the overproduction of sebum to a manageable level.
Oil treatment – the natural pre-shampoo
In this simple ritual, you massage only the hair lengths and ends with a natural oil or a mixture of natural and essential oils. Depending on which oil you choose, an oil treatment strengthens and nourishes the hair.
How do you proceed? After applying the oil, wrap the hair in a (warm) towel, let it rest for 20 minutes or even overnight. Wash with a gentle natural shampoo.
Traditionally, vegetable vinegar has been used for hair care. For example, apple cider vinegar helps against tangles, dandruff, dry and dull hair, but is also the product for greasy hair! The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps to restore the natural pH level without disturbing the natural balance. Healthy hair has a pH level between four and five.
How do you proceed? Dilute 30 ml of apple cider vinegar with about 250 ml of water, spray this mixture over the hair and scalp after washing and spread it gently. Wrap your hair in a towel and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing with water, although this isn’t absolutely necessary, the vinegar smell will dissipate quickly.
Enrich this apple cider vinegar mixture with a few drops of essential oil such as rosemary, lavender or chamomile. For oily hair, the essential oils of peppermint, thyme, lemon or rosemary are suitable. Essential oils have antiseptic properties making them ideal for treating oily hair.
How do you proceed? You simply add 1 to 3 drops of essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner, mixing well before applying to your hair.
Oily roots and dry ends?
This is also a well-known and troublesome problem for many: hair lengths and ends that are dry as straw, but a scalp that quickly becomes greasy. How can these opposites coexist on the same head?
If you use a shampoo for oily hair when only the roots are oily, the ends will only dry out more. In that case, it is best to choose a shampoo that contains as little alcohol as possible, and is free of sulfates and parabens. Coloring your hair, using styling products, straightening iron or hair dryer can also dry out the hair.
Solutions are so often found in choosing the right haircare products and possibly adjusting your usual grooming habits.