If you're a night time hair washer, you're about to become a morning one...
Greasy hair – I hate it. And yet I’m plagued by it. Greasy hair has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure that it really kicked in when puberty hit and my hormones were on overdrive. As my father always says, ‘I could cook chips with the grease from your hair.’ Disgusting right? A classic Papa T joke right there.
I could easily wash my hair every day, but try not to because my ends are also super dry and feel like my hair needs a break. So I wash every other day with the best shampoo for greasy hair instead and arm myself with one of the best dry shampoos for the days in between.
I wanted to find out more about what causes my greasy hair and if there’s anything that I can do to alleviate the issue. So I spoke with hair-supremo Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist from the Philip Kingsley clinic who revealed all about greasy hair…
What causes greasy hair?
AK: People with naturally fine hair tend to get greasy hair faster than those with other hair textures. This is because individuals with fine hair have more hairs per square centimetre – and each hair has a sebaceous (oil) gland attached to it. As a result, the scalp produces more oils.
Those with thinning hair are also more prone to getting greasy hair. This is because there is reduced surface area of hair for the oils produced by the scalp to spread over.
The grease you see on your hair and scalp is mainly sebum – an oily substance produced by sebaceous glands. The main components of this are fat and cellular debris. However, this ‘grease’ will also consist of sweat, dead skin cells and environmental pollution (i.e. dust and dirt).
How can you prevent greasy hair?
AK: To help soak up excess oils, and to calm itching between shampoos, use a dry shampoo with scalp benefits. We have a very lightweight dry shampoo that contains Zinc PCA, Allantoin and Bisabolol, all of which help to sooth the scalp.
You can also use a daily scalp toner after shampooing and an exfoliating scalp mask once a week to help regulate oil production and prevent build up. Our Scalp Toner contains Witch Hazel to help soak up excess oil, as well as anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory ingredients And our Exfoliating Scalp Mask removes dead skin cells and helps keep your scalp in optimal condition. Again, Zinc is an excellent ingredient to look for as it helps to control sebum (oil) production.
I would avoid applying conditioner too close to the roots as well, as this is one of the most common causes of lank and dull looking hair. Only apply it to the mid-lengths and ends where the hair is older and needs moisture the most.
However, if you leave more than 2-3 days between shampoos, your hair is going to start looking greasy no matter what you do.
Why do some people, who previously didn’t suffer from oily roots, suddenly develop greasy hair? Can hormones affect things?
AK: Whenever hormone levels change, scalp secretions can change too. The scalp usually becomes oilier during puberty, in times of intense stress and also during ovulation. Medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can also cause an overly oily scalp. However, PCOS will almost always be accompanied by other symptoms, such as acne, weight gain, irregular periods and increased growth of facial and body hair. After menopause, sebaceous glands on the scalp tend to produce less sebum.
How often should someone with greasy hair wash their hair?
AK: Generally speaking, shampooing daily to every other day is ideal. It keeps the scalp clean and healthy, and in turn this supports hair growth. Frequent shampooing also removes daily grime and product debris from your hair. If washing your hair more means you are heat-styling more often, you may encounter problems with the condition of your hair. It is about finding a balance. As a general rule, do not leave more than three days between shampoos. However, if your roots are looking oily, it’s really best just to wash your hair. It doesn’t take long and you will be doing your hair a world of good. Hair grows best from a clean and healthy scalp.