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Is there anything worse than waking up and realizing your roots have once again betrayed you during the night and become a grotesque, oily mess?
It's devastating. You just washed your hair the day before and it only took a mere 24-hours for your locks to resort back to their previously greasy state. No matter how hard you scrub your scalp in the shower, you still wake up with shiny roots. You've tried everything — from changing shampoos to attempting every possible home remedy you found in the deepest corners of Pinterest. Nothing works.
I've struggled with greasy hair my entire life. It's something that has had a significant effect on my confidence levels as well as on my social life. I've avoided sleepovers out of fear of the way my hair will look in the morning, despite my friends halfheartedly insisting it "doesn't look that bad." I've endured embarrassing salon visits during which my hairdresser will lift my hair and grimace and remark on how I need to wash it better. As if I don't already spend hours under the spray in my shower, desperately attempting to clean my hair to perfection.
Before we get to the solutions, we must first understand what causes oily hair.
The roots of our hair have something called "sebaceous glands." These are basically the cause of all your greasy problems. These glands secrete oils called "sebum," which are intended to keep hair healthy and smooth. Sometimes, though, there is an excess production of sebum. This causes oily hair. We simply have too much sebum being produced in our scalp.
It took me a long time to establish the perfect hair routine specific for greasy roots. I spent a lot of time combing the hair product aisle at my drugstore, only to find a severe lack of products targeted to greasy hair. It seems every product out there is intended to remedy dry hair and add moisture, but we don't need more moisture, we need less!
So here are my top 10 tips for combating oily hair. I have personally tested each one of these methods/products and can confidently assure their validity. They've all worked for me, and hopefully, they'll work for you too.
1. Don't touch your hair.
This one seems obvious when you really think about it. If you're like me, you spend a great deal of time raking your hands through your hair, fluffing, adjusting, combing, whatever. But when you do this, you are transferring natural oils from your hands into your hair. The more you touch, the more oil you transfer. So do yourself a favor and learn to resist the urge to fluff.
2. Wash your brushes.
I was taking out the stray strands of hair from my brush one day when I realized that this wasn't actually "cleaning" it, so much as it was tidying it. I use this brush on my hair every morning before I get into the shower. That means any excess oils from my hair are now on the same brush that I will later use to comb through my dry "clean" hair. Think of it this way: you wash your makeup brushes, right? And why do you do that? Because they're dirty, and you don't want what's on the brush transferring onto your face later. Same thing applies to your hair brushes. Try cleaning them every few days or so to get rid of any oily residue.
3. Wash your pillowcases.
While you're sleeping, your hair and face are in constant contact with your pillowcases. As disgusting as it is to think about, those cases are a breeding ground for oil and bacteria. It will truly benefit you to get in the habit of washing your pillowcases weekly. Your hair (and face) will thank you. Not only do dirty pillowcases cause greasy hair, they also can cause facial acne. And that's a bonus tip.
4. Keep your hair up at night.
This one was a little hard for me to adjust to doing, simply because I've never slept with my hair up before. I've always kept it down. But believe me when I say it will actually help keep your hair clean if you put it up. You don't have to do anything fancy, either. Sometimes I braid it into one ponytail, sometimes I make a top bun. It's really up to you. But you will notice a difference in your morning hair if you do this, I guarantee it.
5. Dry hair shampoo at night.
Wait, what? Dry hair shampoo at night?? Don't worry, you read that right. While many people consider dry hair shampoo a daytime product, I have come to find it absolutely essential for my anti-oil routine. The purpose of the shampoo is to soak up the oils in your hair. If you spray it into your roots before you put your hair up for the night, you'll find it actually soaks up those oils your hair naturally secretes while you're sleeping. In the morning you'll have fresh, clean, and not to mention lovely smelling hair. I've tried dozens of different dry hair shampoos with no success, but I finally found the best one that I think will work perfectly for you too. "Batiste" is a brand so many YouTubers and beauty bloggers have recommended, and it really does do wonders. You can find it in your local drugstore or even at Walmart, and it comes with a decent selection of sweet scents.
6. Train your hair.
So for this tip, you'll want to find a few days (ideally a week) where you know you won't have to see anyone or really do anything. Don't wash your hair. It'll be so hard and you'll want so badly to dip into the shower and clean up your roots, but you must resist. Braid your hair, dry shampoo it, wears hats -- do whatever you can to ignore your greasy hair. This is all in the effort to train your hair to not require washing every single day to be clean. Your scalp is fairly smart and it will catch on. It's just a matter of training it to do so.
7. Skip the conditioner.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Wash your hair normally with your shampoo, but only condition your ends, not the roots. When you condition your hair, you're adding a lot of moisture and product into your roots. You need this in your ends where they get dry and damaged, but certainly not at the top where you have the most oil issues.
8. Invest in new shampoo/conditioner for greasy hair.
I recommend the L'Oreal Extraordinary Clay system, which you can find at your drugstore or wherever you buy your hair products from. It's a three-step system: a pre-shower clay for your roots, shampoo, and then conditioner. When used together, you'll see a significant difference in your scalp. The product promises 72-hours of clean hair and it certainly delivers. It'll be worth the switch.
9. Change up your hairstyle.
This was another hard one for me because I'm not particularly creative with my hairstyles. I typically wear my hair down, but since I started switching things up a bit, I've noticed a difference in my scalp. Some days I curl my hair, which helps lift the roots so they're not lying flat against your head and allows for less oily contact. Also, if you experiment with some up-dos, you'll notice you touch your hair a lot less during the day which, as I mentioned in tip number 1, definitely helps prevent oil. So get on Pinterest and find a cute style that works for you.
10. Blow-dry, don't air-dry.
In my experience, when I leave my hair to air-dry, it gets greasy and unsightly. Some beauty bloggers actually recommend air-drying, but I have found it is not a tip for my hair whatsoever. The back of my head becomes especially greasy, as well as my roots. If you insist on air-drying, at least dry your roots. Otherwise, I would stick to manually drying your hair.
I sincerely hope these tips work for you. Try them out, see which work better than others. Oily hair is a nuisance but not a curse. You can learn to combat this problem and live a perfectly happy, healthy, and gorgeous life.