What Is The Sebum Coating Method and Why You Should Try It?

Written by Shehnaz Shirazi

Updated on

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn from qualifying purchases.


The sebum coating method is a simple process that moves sebum (your scalp’s natural oil) from your roots to coat the length of your hair.

Coined by Rogelio Samson (author of the curly hair book), this technique is also widely popular among eco frugal circles like the No Poo Method.


Because the sebum coating method helps your hair and scalp in 3 crucial ways:

  • It prevents your roots from staying greasy
  • It helps you wash your hair less (fewer shampoo chemicals)
  • And it moisturizes your hair with its natural oil

Here’s the thing …

Shampoos, being the good detergents that they are, deplete the precious natural oil which keeps your hair in good health.

But I get it. If your hair feels greasy, you’d wash it.

Because no one likes to walk around with a greasy head. It grosses people out.

But listen:

The reason your hair feels extra greasy is that your roots are chronically oily.

And yet, no matter how greased up you feel, surprisingly your ends always look crunchy and dry.

So here’s what’s happening …

As soon as you wash your hair, your shampoo does a hard reset on your scalp.

Which means it discards sebum that was sitting there safeguarding your hair’s moisture and natural pH balance.

As a result, your scalp raises the white flag of “DRY” despair and pumps out more oil to come to the rescue.

Now, it’s important to understand that sebum takes some time, in fact, a few days to travel up the length of your hair to coat each strand. It needs to creep along the hair, then the scalp will halt its production of sebum after 5 to 7 days of not bathing.

But most of us wash our hair before 5-7 days.

Which means:

We are doing the hard reset over and over again.

This forces the sebum glands to produce oil twice as fast to regulate your dried-out scalp.

To stop this from happening your scalp needs help.

Enter The Sebum Coating Method

By distributing sebum along your hair shaft evenly, the sebum coating process helps with the greasing mechanism of your hair.

See the illustration below:

The sebum coating method
Sebum coating technique Infographic illustration

Essentially, you are using the glorious scalp discharge to lubricate the length of your hair and stop it from accumulating on the surface.

But why do you need the sebum coating method to do this?

Let me explain …

As you can see in the illustration above, there is an angle between the hair and the surface. This angle also depends on the length and the thickness of the hair.

Unless the hair touches the surface (when it’s flat), it cannot pick up sebum from the pool mechanically.

Therefore the pool of sebum accumulates on the surface of the scalp, which can cause a few problems.

For example:

  • Your head feels extra greasy
  • It clogs the pores and causes inflammations
  • Because of its greasy nature, it attracts dirt
  • And it can stop your hair from growing

That’s why you should use the sebum coating process to mechanically distribute sebum upwards towards the mid-length and ends of your hair.

And how do you do this?

It’s simple.

Use a Boar Bristle Brush To Coat Your Hair With Sebum

Boar bristles have been used for centuries and multiple cultures across the globe.

And here’s an interesting historical fact:

Before Hans Schwarzkopf invented the first shampoo in 1927, women cleaned their hair with a bristle brush. Simple.

Because sebum is what makes your head feel dirty. When there is too much on your scalp, it attracts dirt, dust, and invites bacteria to feast on.

However, if you spread the sebaceous oils from your scalp to the rest of your hair as a natural conditioner, a boar bristle brush works as good as a wash.

It gently swipes the sebum away from your scalp and redistributes it to the dryer ends. Therefore, training your scalp to stop overproducing sebaceous oils.

Once your scalp adjusts to this process, you can go days without shampooing.

This is also known as:

  • Sebum-Only Method
  • Total Sebum Coverage

in the no shampoo method community.

“Your hair can be taught to need less shampoo. After skipping a few washes, your scalp and hair will eventually get used to your new shampoo cycle. Train your scalp and hair to not want so much.”
– says hairstylist Shelby Samaria of Ion Studio salon

The benefits:

  • You stop using dry shampoos to soak your roots
  • Your hair stays well-conditioned throughout
  • Sebum creates a thin protective layer around your hair
  • The layer protects your hair from oxidative damage
  • It also protects your hair when heat styling
  • Less split ends and breakage
  • Less buildup on your scalp
  • Your hair feels softer and more manageable
  • Your hair feels more elastic and strong
  • Each hair strand appears more glossy and lustrous
  • And your head feels cleaner (with less itch to wash)

Ok, so now I hear you ask …

Why a BBB and not any other type of brush. What makes it so different?

What’s So Special About A Boar Bristle Brush Then?

The bristles in a BBB are almost identical to human hair in texture.

Boar bristles, for example, contain the same compound we have in our hair – keratin with a porous structure, and they have a higher affinity for oils than any plastic or nylon brushes.

So when you brush your hair, the porous bristles also soak up the excess oil while transporting it from your scalp to the individual hair strands.

The porous structure of the bristles also help to catch fuzz, dirt and waste material build-up on your hair and scalp like a magnet.

But having said that, it’s essential that you clean your BBB regularly. Otherwise, you’ll be putting the dirt back into your hair.

If you haven’t tried a boar bristle brush yet, now it’s the time. Because it does a lot more than just spreading sebum onto your hair.

A Boar Bristle Brush Is More Versatile That You Think

Did you know?

Brushing. Just plain, simple brushing.

Is one of the simplest and most effective old-fashioned hair care routine!

The simple act of brushing:

  • Stimulates the scalp to promote circulation
  • Remove loose hairs and cleans out dust and lint
  • Gives your hair a natural sheen that reflects light
  • Gives your hair more volume
  • Improves your hair texture
  • Reduces the need for heavy styling products
  • Keeps the pores of the scalp open to breathe
  • Transports oxygen to the scalp
  • Detoxes your scalp from product buildup
  • Normalizes your scalp’s pH balance

And most importantly:

It lubricates your hair strands with sebum to eliminate frizz.

Use it in the morning – it makes your curly hair settle into bouncy waves. Use it at night – it keeps the tangles and knots away.

Stand straight and flip your hair over, brush from the nape of your neck forward, it gives you a voluminous bouffant!

On the days when you feel bored …

Sit down in a quiet space, brush your hair, and feel every brush stroke on your scalp. It works as a personal masseur.

That’s right!

Boar bristle brushing can work as a meditative, therapeutic, and relaxing experience too.

You see, it’s a simple tool with so much to benefit.

You can skip a few washes by just brushing your hair to good health and see sebum as an ally for your hair rather than an enemy.

So make it work for you.

It’s Time To Stop The Hard Reset On Your Scalp!

The sebum coating method uses nature’s ultimate conditioner to sustain the quality of your hair.

  • It stops your scalp from going into panic mode
  • It regulates the pH of your scalp and hair
  • It conditions your hair to make it strong
  • Sebum protects your hair from oxidative damage
  • It makes you brush your hair to remove residues
  • Brushing stimulates your scalp (it’s therapeutic)
  • Brushing improves your hair texture and shine
  • It helps you go longer without shampoos

All you need is a simple boar bristle brush to do it.

Denman Boar Bristle Brush

References & Citations

  1. The No Poo method for Men – The Modified Guide to Shampoos ManlyCurls.com

About the Author

Shehnaz ShiraziShehnaz Shirazi

Shehnaz Shirazi has been writing in the beauty and cosmetics industry for over 8 years, sharing her expansive hair care and beauty knowledge. Shehnaz researches and tests new hair care trends and publishes her insights here.