The perils of greasy hair are not to be underestimated. It's beyond frustrating to step out of the shower, blow-dry your hair and then feel that familiar slick setting in within a day. Not only is oily hair unattractive, but it can be physically uncomfortable, too. If this sounds like a familiar struggle, you're in the right place. We talked to a hairstylist and scalp dermatologist to find out exactly why our scalp and hair is so oily all the dang time—plus, what we can do to remedy it (and finally retire the baseball hats!).
Image via Imaxtree
The Issue: Your Hormones
"Oil production, whether it be on the scalp or the face, is mostly influenced by a person's hormones," says Dr. Francesca Fusco, a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in hair and scalp health. "If you're experiencing excessive oily skin and scalp, look for a shampoo and conditioner that is formulated for an oily scalp." Try L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo, $2.97, and Conditioner, $3.94, which are specifically designed to rebalance the scalp to reduce oil production while keeping ends hydrated.
If persistent oily scalp is an issue, it's best to speak to your dermatologist who can order lab tests to help identify if there is a major imbalance in your hormones, Fusco says. "Birth control pills, spironolactone or a mild diuretic may help to correct the imbalance and you will notice a decrease in oil production."
The Issue: You're Washing Your Hair Too Much
Every time you wash your hair, you're stripping away the natural oils. You may be thinking that's a good thing—and it is, but only to an extent. Washing your hair too frequently sends a signal to your body to produce more oil to compensate for what's been lost.
You should wash your hair once every other day max, but ideally once every three to four days. There will be a slight adjustment period as you reduce frequency (yep, your hair will get extra greasy) but a little dry shampoo can help.
"Dry shampoo is an excellent option for treating an oily scalp in between washes," Fusco says. Try Drybar's award-winning Detox Dry Shampoo, $23, which quickly soaks up oil for a true, freshly washed finish without feeling gunky.
The Issue: You're Over-Conditioning
The co-washing trend has hit peak popularity. If you're not familiar, it's essentially the process of washing your hair with only conditioner. This can have a great effect when done sparingly or for drier scalps. However, if you're naturally oily, you may be left with limp, greasy hair. Another culprit might be deep conditioning your hair too frequently or using a deep conditioner on your scalp instead of isolating it to the mid-shaft and ends.
Opt for a clarifying shampoo, such as Neutrogena The Anti-Residue Shampoo, $5.29, to nix buildup and oil and then get yourself on a regular hair-washing regimen.
The Issue: You're Using Too Many Oils
With all the styling products out there that are formulated with heavy oils and butters, you may not even realize how much oil you're adding to your scalp. For example, styling butters and creams, thick blowout balms and heavy serums or shine sprays could be contributing to your greasy hair.
"These products can easily over-saturate your hair and scalp," says Jesseca Dupart, a hairstylist with over 10 years of experience in the field. "If you're trying to overcompensate for a dry scalp, the fix is to moisturize instead with a lighter oil, which will help to give you the moisture and balance you may be searching for." Try Kleidoscope's Miracle Drops, $29.95, which lightly hydrates while strengthening weak hair and boosting hair growth.