Urgh, greasy hair! It makes me feel gross.
I’ve spent a long time researching reasons for my greasy hair, and I can tell you one thing:
Shampooing every day or every other day will not help you.
In fact, it makes things worse.
“Over-washing strips your hair and scalp of natural oils. The body remedies this by producing even more oil to make up for lost oils, which then creates a buildup and makes your hair feel and look oily.”Joshua Zeichner, M.D. director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology. Self.com
Most hairstylists also agree that the trick to fix greasy hair and oily roots is to wash your hair less or without shampoos.
But I get it.
If your hair feels greasy, there’s the natural itch to reach for your shampoo, and lather the hell out of your head to make it feel fresh and airy again.
Simply put – having greasy hair:
- Is embarrassing
- Limits your styling options
- Makes your skin feel oil too
You don’t want to be soaking your roots with a gallon of dry shampoo every day!
So why does your hair become greasy and how can you stop it?
The Most Common Reasons For Greasy Hair
Understanding what causes greasy hair in the first place, is the best way to start tackling the problem.
“Knowing where is the problem is half the battle won.” Albert Einstein
So let’s get to the root of the problem.
Causes of greasy hair:
- Hard water
- Too much conditioning
- Product buildup
- Touching hair too much
- Using the wrong products
- Sulfates in shampoos
- Your diet
Now, let me show you why each of the above contributes to oily and excessively greasy hair, and how you can work to fix them.
1. Hard Water From Your Shower
Have you ever checked what’s floating at the bottom of your kettle?
Are your taps and showerheads covered with white calcium-like stuff that always there?
If so, you have a hard water problem, and it’s doing a number on your hair too!
Look at the photo above. Do you see the white calcium like stuff on the tap?
And here’s the thing:
Regular shampoos cannot break down hard water minerals. They make your shampoos useless. And when your shampoos are not washing your hair as they should, the dirt in your hair stays there.
And dirt on your scalp is what makes your hair feel greasy.
Here’s what you can do to fix the problem:
- Use a clarifying hard water demineralizer treatment
- Use a hard water clarifying shampoo
- Use a hard water shower filter
Products I recommend:
Malibu Crystal Gels
Removes hard water minerals buildup that makes your hair greasy.
Malibu Hard Water Shampoo & Conditioner
Clarify your hair and scalp with the Malibu minerals and grease removal shampoo and conditioner.
T3 Shower Filter
Prevent minerals from depositing into your hair with this shower filter.
The next potential cause for greasy hair is how you go about conditioning your hair.
2. Too Much Conditioning Causes Greasy Hair
Conditioning your hair is good, right?
It keeps it soft, smooth and moisturized. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!
I love how my hair feels after I’ve conditioned it, but if I do it too often, it makes my hair feel flat, limp and heavily weighed down.
And it’s even worse if you apply conditioner too close to your scalp.
Here’s why …
Applying too much conditioner near the roots of your hair causes buildup on your scalp. Product buildup is one of the reasons why your roots feel grimy and gross.
To fix this problem:
Apply your hair conditioner from mid-length, and distribute it towards the ends of your hair with a wet comb.
How often should you condition your hair?
Celebrity stylish Marc Mena says it’s not about how often, but about getting the right product. He says that if you get the right conditioner for your hair that doesn’t leave behind residues.
3. Product Buildup
Other than greasiness, product buildup also weighs down your hair to make it feel flat.
You can use so many different products in your hair. Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, mousse, heat protection spray, and many others. They can all help your hair, but potentially hurt them too.
All these products can clog up your hair and your scalp. Don’t worry though – it’s easily solved.
Firstly, an anti-buildup clarifying shampoo is an excellent choice. Just using it a few times a month can help your hair to recover. It removes built-up products so your hair isn’t oily, greasy, or limp.
4. Touching Your Hair Too Much
Are you always touching your hair?
Styling it several times a day, running your fingers through it, or curling it around your fingers? Stop that now!
Fiddling with your hair transfers oils from your fingers to the strands. You might not think it makes a huge difference, but it really can. Touching your scalp too much can stimulate oil production.
So hands off!
Have you ever been told that you should brush your hair one hundred times? You might have been misinformed!
Too much brushing can make your hair greasy. It can cause your hair and scalp to produce more oil. This might make your hair look nice and glossy at first, but it can quickly turn to grease.
You only need to brush your hair enough to detangle it. There’s no need to keep going once you’ve smoothed out your locks! If you need to brush more than once a day, stay away from your scalp.
Or use a Boar Bristle Brush that does enough to distribute sebum from your scalp to your hair (sebum coating method).
6. Using the Wrong Products
Always buy hair products that suit your hair type.
If your hair struggles to absorb moisturizers, it may be a sign of low porosity hair.
Let me explain this …
When your hair struggles to soak in moisturizers, the product sits on top of your hair instead to cause buildup.
What happens next is, it accumulates and becomes a dust magnet to make your hair feel dirty all the time.
So listen to your hair. If a product doesn’t work for you, don’t stick to it. Read reviews, and see what other people with your hair type have to say, and then make a decision to buy.
7. Sulfates In Shampoos
Although sulfates in shampoos strip your hair clean from every wash, they also strip natural oils from the scalp.
Sulfates disrupt the natural oil and sebum production on your scalp, therefore sending your scalp into panic mode to overproduce sebum to compensate for the loss.
Fact is: Your hair needs the right balance of sebum to protect your scalp from infections and keep your hair lubricated.
To fix this problem, adopt a sulfate-free shampoo that can help maintain a healthy balance of natural oils in your hair and on your scalp.
Product I recommend:
Ah, humidity! It plays havoc with your hair! It can make it frizzy, huge, hard to control – and greasy.
Too much humidity can make your hair greasy with all the moisture. If it’s humid because of the weather, you can’t change that. But you can use products that help you cut down on the oil in your hair.
You can also avoid humid environments – use a dehumidifier in your home, and don’t go into saunas!
Did you know that your diet can have a huge effect on your hair? Well, it can!
The things you eat affect your hair, your skin, and your nails. If you’re not getting the right nutrients, it can mess up your hair completely.
One of the things you need is B vitamins. There are lots of these, and they do lots of different things to help you stay healthy. Two of them, in particular, can affect how greasy your hair is.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) can both help you to tackle over-production of oil in your hair.
Where to get these vitamins? You can get B2 in:
- Natural yogurt
B6 is in:
- Soya beans
Now that you know some of the main reasons for greasy hair and how to fix them, you can keep your hair looking sleek and shiny without the need to over wash.
Take it easy on the hair conditioner, check if you have hard water, figure out your hair reacts to certain products, and keep an eye on your diet.
Say no to greasy hair and get that voluminous, sexy bounce again.
Laura is a UK-based freelance writer who occasionally writes for this blog.