Ever wondered why your hair is so greasy? Honey, you are NOT alone. According to Melbourne-based hairdresser Sofia Basile, greasy strands and an oily scalp are a super common problem. And, unfortunately, we can’t really lay all the blame on our parents.
While our genes do get the grease-ball rolling, our workout habits, styling products and favourite foods are just as likely to leave our hair lank, dull and oily.
So, to get to the root of your hair slick-uation, read on. Here are 11 reasons your hair is greasy – and the hairdresser-approved fixes that’ll give you a clean slate.
Life’s a bit of a lottery, and unfortunately some of us are just genetically more prone to greasy strands. “Oily hair is caused by sebaceous glands in your scalp,” says Basile. “These glands produce sebum, which is carried down the hair shaft. In some people, these glands are overactive, leading to an excess of sebum that results in greasy roots and limp strands.”
2. The wrong shampoo & conditioner
If you’re grabbing any old shampoo at the checkout, stop right now. It’s important to choose a shampoo suited to your hair. And to avoid exacerbating an oily scalp, that means steering clear of super-nourishing moisturising formulas.
However, remember that even oily scalps need hydration!
“My advice to clients is to use good quality products that don’t strip the hair of natural oils – we need those to keep our locks healthy and strong,” says Basile. (Our tip? Try our new Super Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner for 26 times more hydration and a 65% reduction in damage.)
3. Your fried food addiction
Sorry, fast-food fans – for shiny, healthy, happy strands, you should probably break up with that doughnut. “Diet can play a big part in oily hair,” says Basile. “Fried foods in particular.”
Instead of mainlining greasy and sugary snacks, she recommends sticking to a balanced, Mediterranean style diet. And keeping hair hydrated by drinking plenty of water. She also sings the praises of Vitamin C for renewing the cells and keeping hair balanced and healthy. So, put down that pizza and tuck into some sweet potato!
4. Harsh ingredients like sulfates
As cheap and effective detergents, sulfates are great at cutting through oil and creating an amazing foam. However, Basile doesn’t recommend their use in shampoos, even for oily hair.
“The problem with sulfates is that they can be very drying to the scalp. This might sound like a good thing if you’re greasy, but by stripping out natural oils, these harsh ingredients actually send the sebaceous glands into overdrive.”
The good news? You won’t find any sulfates in our Like A Virgin prods! Instead, our Super Hydrating Shampoo creates a gorgeous and effective cleansing lather thanks to soap nut, coconut oil and pineapple enzymes.
5. Your daily workouts
If you’re working up a sweat on the reg, your hair’s going to get dirtier a whole lot sooner – especially if you have fine hair and an oily scalp. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do to avoid this – other than invest in a good quality dry shampoo.
Basile strongly recommends storing dry shampoo in your gym bag, and maybe keeping one in your handbag as well. Convenient and affordable, it’s the ideal product to mop up sweat and sebum and refresh those post-spin class strands.
Pro Tip: With all that product, sweat & oil build-up, remember to treat your scalp to a refreshing detox at least once a week. This helps ensure your scalp & hair are in the pink of health. Psst, our Deep Clean Scalp Scrub is the perfect fit for the job.
6. Washing your hair too often
You’ve probably heard about ‘training’ your hair so you can go an extra day between washes, and it’s actually a pretty good idea.
“Over-washing the hair stimulates your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum,” says Basile. “This is even more the case if you’re using a harsh, moisture-stripping shampoo.”
For most hair types, she recommends washing no more than every second day. She’s also a big fan of mini blow-outs in between washes – washing and styling only the fringe area to freshen up and feel less oily.
7. Using your hair to flirt
Constantly play with your hair on dates, or absentmindedly twirl your ends while you work? Here’s a hot tip – leave your poor strands alone! If there’s one thing Covid’s taught us, it’s that our hands are filthy. And Basile advises against constant hair touching – and over brushing – if you want to keep oil under control.
8. Being heavy handed with your styling prods
Another haircare mistake that’ll give you a one-way ticket to grease town? Using too much styling product OR applying the wrong product to your roots. While shampoo and volumising mousses belong up close and personal to your scalp, when using conditioner, a hair mask, serum or styling cream you should give your roots a wide berth.
Focus these products only on the mid lengths and ends and use only as much product as needed, advises Basile. Be aware that more does NOT give better results (but it probably will create more grease). Instead, always consider YOUR hair length, texture and condition when deciding how much to apply.
9. Skipping the second shampoo
How you shampoo also matters and it’s important to take some time to get all your strands nice and wet before applying your shampoo. This ensures a really good, cleansing lather.
Just like double cleansing your face, it’s also a good idea to double cleanse your strands, especially if you have an oily scalp or use a lot of prods. In fact, Basile sometimes even recommends a sneaky THIRD wash – but only if you’re using a gentle formula (like our Super Hydrating Shampoo with thirst-quenching hyaluronic acid).
10. Using dirty brushes
Can’t remember the last time you cleaned your brush? You’re not doing your oily strands any favours. According to Basile, we should all be cleaning our brushes once a week. Yes, seriously!
Start by removing any trapped strands, then use shampoo and warm water to wash your brushes. Rinse, place brush bristle side down on a clean towel and leave to dry.
11. Not changing your pillowcase enough
Sleeping on a dirty pillowcase isn’t just crap for your hair – it’s also the fast-track to an unwanted breakout. So, change your case every few days – and consider changing to a satin non-slip pillowcase to reduce hair breakage, greasiness and pimples.
Written By: Pip Jarvis
Edited by: Vidhya