Does your hair get oily a mere 24 hours after washing it? Are you forced to wear your hair up most days because your hair looks lank and greasy when it is left down? If yes, then you are just one of millions who have greasy hair. Greasy hair, also known as oily hair, can develop for a number of reasons. You may never have had greasy hair but it can suddenly affect you if your circumstances change. Or maybe you have been struggling with greasy hair your whole life and are finally fed up of it. Fortunately, there are several home remedies for greasy hair that you can easily incorporate into your hair care schedule to finally take back control of your tresses. But first, let’s take a look at some of the main causes of greasy hair.
Causes of Greasy Hair
Greasy hair derives its oil from the scalp. Under the skin of your scalp, sebaceous glands are producing sebum – a substance which blocks moisture and prevents it from escaping, thereby providing your skin with the moisture it needs to be supple and healthy. But if the glands over-produce sebum, then the hair absorbs the exrta sebum, which is what leads to greasy hair. Now this is the main cause of greasy hair, but there are several triggers or factors which provoke the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. We’ll take a look at these below.
- If you already have oily skin, you are more likely to suffer from greasy hair as it is your body’s natural system to produce too much sebum.
- Oily skin sufferers are not the only ones who have to tackle greasy hair. A too dry scalp can also lead to greasy hair as the sebaceous glands are triggered to produce more sebum so as to provide moisture to the scalp. This problem can affect people who have dry skin, but it can also affect people with normal skin if they use harsh shampoos or hair products that cause their scalp to dry out. Frequent shampooing can dry out your scalp, as can the heat from hair straighteners and curlers. To compensate for the dryness, your scalp may produce extra sebum, thus causing greasy hair.
- Using too many haircare products leads to a buildup of the yucky chemicals in these products (which do not wash away) thus leading to greasy hair.
- Another reason for a buildup is poor hair hygiene. You sweat on your scalp too, there is dust, smoke, and dirt all around you which gets deposited on your scalp, which makes the sebaceous glands produce more sebum, which makes the dirt and sweat stick to the scalp even more, which leads to more sebum production. Its a vicious cycle that will give you greasy hair.
- A hormonal imbalance can cause your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive. That’s why greasy hair is a common problem during pregnancy and puberty. Women may suffer from greasy hair when they are menstruating.
- Excessive heat can also lead to greasy hair. Since the normal levels of moisture on the surface of the skin and scalp can dry up easily because of the heat, the sebaceous glands feel the need to produce extra sebum to compensate, and you end up with greasy hair.
- Pollution too can lead to greasy hair as the sebaceous glands feel the need to protect the scalp when it comes in contact with the disgustingly high levels of smoke that are normal in most cities today.
- Over-brushing can sometimes lead to greasy hair, especially if you have an oily scalp. When you brush or comb, the tips of the brush/comb pick up oil from the scalp and distribute it to the rest of your hair as you groom.
- In some cases, greasy hair may be the symptom of a disease. Any medical condition relating to the pituitary gland, ovaries or testicles can lead to over-production of sebum, which will cause greasy hair. Initial research has shown that even Parkinson’s disease may cause the sebaceous glands to produce extra sebum, thus leading to greasy hair.
- Stress triggers certain hormones which in turn stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce extra sebum. So surprising as it may seem, stress can also cause greasy hair.
- An unhealthy diet full of fatty, oily foods can lead to greasy hair too.
Complications of Greasy Hair
Yes, greasy hair gives you more bad hair days than is normal – your hair feels dirty and looks unhealthy. But that’s not the only thing you have to worry about if you have greasy hair. If it is not brought under control, greasy hair can bring about a couple of annoying problems.
The main complication of greasy hair is that is can raise your risk of developing acne on the areas of skin surrounding the hairline along with scalp acne . This means you have a higher chance of breaking out on your temples, forehead, neck, and behind the ears.
Having greasy hair makes your scalp more prone to dandruff. We shed dead skin cells every single day all over the body and scalp, practically by the minute. The dead skin cells normally get washed away when you have a bath or shampoo. But when you have oily skin or greasy hair, you have a higher rate of dead skin cells than others. The problem is that the stickiness created by the skin or scalp texture causes the dead skin cells to just stay there and not slough off. That’s why those who have greasy hair will tend to have more problems with dandruff.
Treatment for Greasy Hair
Greasy hair treatment will being by analyzing which of the causes are within your control, and then coming up with effective solutions for each.
Tips on Cleaning and Managing Greasy Hair
- Washing hair everyday is NOT the solution to greasy hair. It is a common misconception that washing the hair often will wash away the grease and thus treat greasy hair. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your greasy hair can actually get worse with frequent shampooing, as we have already seen that it is in fact one of the causes of greasy hair. Shampooing is only a temporary solution to greasy hair. If you need a quick fix for an emergency, then you can use this option. But it should not be considered a long-term solution and should definitely not be applied all the time. However, some experts suggest that washing everyday is the only option when it comes to treating greasy hair. The best thing to do is try out both suggestions and see which work best for you. Switch to a mild or clarifying (oil-reducing) shampoo, and wash every other day. If your greasy hair is particularly bothersome, you may find that you have no choice but to wash everyday. In this case, your choice of shampoo is crucial so that the scalp does not dry out. Choose shampoos with natural ingredients like rosemary and seaweed for greasy hair.
- Use less conditioner when trying to avoid greasy hair. Apply only on the ends and the body of your hair. Avoid the scalp. Also try to reduce your use of deep-conditioning products that you need to leave on the hair for a long time. If you must use them, try to avoid the scalp as much as possible.
- Here’s something really simple you can do in your battle against greasy hair. Take the time to thoroughly wash out the shampoo and conditioner from your hair. Cultivating this habit will eventually prevent buildup in your hair and can help you avoid greasy hair in the future.
- Do not rub or massage hair too vigorously while shampooing. This can aggravate the sebaceous glands and lead to greasy hair.
- Wash your hair in lukewarm or cold water, the latter is preferable. Hot water strips your scalp of its natural oils, which will lead to over-production of sebum and thus greasy hair. Cold water not only helps you avoid greasy hair, it also gives your hair extra shine.
- Use fewer hair products on the whole. If it is not possible for you to cut down on the number of hair products you use, at least try reducing the number of times in a month that you use them. The most damaging hair care products are serums and hair sprays.
- Don’t brush or comb your hair unless it is really necessary. As we have seen, brushing and combing can distribute the excess oil from scalp to hair and just make your greasy hair look worse.
- Limit your use of curlers, hair straighteners, blow dryers and any other haircare appliances that generate heat and cause the hair to dry out.
- Use a clay-based hair mask once a week. This can really absorb the oil, clean the scalp, and reduce the severity of your greasy hair.
- Make sure that your hair is well-groomed and detangled at all times. Tangled hair is more prone to turning into greasy hair.
- If you have greasy hair, avoid bangs which hug the forehead. Two things may happen if you don’t. Oil from your greasy hair can get transferred to your skin and cause pimples, or oil from skin can migrate to your hair and make your greasy hair look even worse.
Other Ways to Manage Greasy Hair
Your hair and skin are a reflection of your physical and mental health. You should ideally be striving for overall good health and fitness to have healthy hair and skin. But if you cannot do that, at least aim for those aspects of a healthy lifestyle that will treat and prevent greasy hair.
- Find ways to reduce the stress in your life. The more stressed out you are, the worse your greasy hair will get.
- Avoid processed foods, fast foods, oily foods, and foods with preservatives. These in particular can cause the sebaceous glands to over-produce sebum, thus leading to greasy hair.
- Include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, cereals and fruit in your diet.
- Take vitamin E, vitamin A, and zinc supplements to better the health of your hair.
- Avoid using oil-based makeup and skin care products as long as you suffer from greasy hair. The oil from these products can seep into the scalp and make your greasy hair greasier.
- Avoid sun exposure as much as possible. The heat can make your greasy hair worse.
Home Remedies for Greasy Hair
The answers to most beauty problems lies in our kitchen cabinets or gardens. Fortunately, there are plenty of home remedies for greasy hair which are simple to use and easily accessible.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Anyone who has ever resorted to home remedies for anything from cleaning furniture to taking care of skin has discovered and marveled at the versatile uses of apple cider vinegar. It can come to your aid in treating greasy hair too. Use an apple cider vinegar rinse to effectively rid your hair of buildup, and to add shine to your hair. Mix two table spoons of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. After shampooing and conditioning, soak hair in this mixture for about ten minutes, then rinse it off.
Take a few sprigs of lavender – around 8 should do – and let it soak in a cup of hot water. Use this to rinse out your hair in the same way as the apple cider vinegar to help with your greasy hair.
Some people find that apple cider vinegar is too smelly, and that lavender is not something they can easily lay their hands on. Well, here’s something you can find in any kitchen around the world and which is much nicer to smell – lemons. A lemon rinse is one of the best home remedies for greasy hair. Mix the juice of two fresh lemons in two and a half cups of water. Use this to rinse out your hair in the same way described above.
Salt can help with greasy hair too. There are several ways you can apply salt on your hair. One is to simply apply it directly on your scalp, leave it there for a few hours, and then wash it off to get rid of greasy hair. Another way if to add salt to your bath water. Do this just once a week and you will notice a marked difference not just in your greasy hair but the texture of your skin too.
Mix witch hazel and any mouthwash in equal parts and use this as an astringent for your scalp. Do NOT pour this on to your scalp. Use a cotton ball soaked in the mixture to gently dab it on to the scalp only. Do not apply it on your hair as these ingredients together are too harsh and will damage your tresses. This homemade scalp astringent will ease the production of sebum and make the greasy hair less obvious.
Quick Fix with Baby Powder
If you have no time to wash your greasy hair and have to rush out the door, some baby powder can come to your aid. Sprinkle a little baby powder directly on your scalp. Now let it just sit there for about five minutes or so. Then simply run a comb or brush through your hair so the powder is not visible. The powder will absorb the oil and you will not have to worry about greasy hair for a few hours after this. Remember to just sprinkle that powder though, don’t throw on gobs if it.