Oily hair feels unpleasantly sticky, like it has a greasy film on it. Thick-strand and kinky hair may be capable of bearing up under the weight of excess oil. Hair that is thin and straight, however, is limp and difficult to style when it is oily. If your hair becomes oily even the day after washing it, a few changes to your hair-care routine can help.
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Your scalp has sebaceous, or oil, glands that produce oil or sebum to moisturize and protect your hair naturally. When these oil glands are overactive, they produce too much oil for your hair, says Pamela Ferrell, author of "Let's Talk Hair." When oil builds up quickly on your scalp, you’re also likely to suffer from dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. Apply an over-the-counter or medicated shampoo specifically for oily scalp or seborrheic dermatitis -- for instance, one that contains zinc pyrithione -- to help to control oiliness on your scalp and in your hair.
Heavy greases or creams can leave your hair oily and limp the next day. Some pomades or greases -- for instance, Sulfur8 -- are used to control scalp conditions such as itchiness and dandruff, so you may be reluctant to limit your use of them. Try a lighter formula of these products or liquid oils, which may result in less oiliness. Wash your hair regularly with the right shampoo for your scalp condition, and you should be able to rely less on heavy, medicated greases. Also, limit your use of oily-styling sprays, gels or foams.
When you have oily hair, wash it often enough to remove oily buildup in your hair. Focus on cleansing your scalp rather than scrubbing and washing your hair, says Anthony Dickey, a stylist based in New York City and author of “Hair Rules!” A simple way to do this is to let your fingers -- rather than the palms of your hands -- do the work. Shampoo often enough to control oily buildup, but not so frequently that you send the oil glands into overdrive, Dickey says. Experiment with schedules to find the one that works best for you.
Applying a cream rinse or conditioner after shampooing makes hair smooth and supple. Frequent conditioning, however, can cause residues to build up on your hair, leaving it oily and limp. For oily hair, use these products as seldom as possible, and follow the instructions for application, rinsing and frequency of use, says Ferrell.
- “Let’s Talk Hair”; Pamela Ferrell; 1996
- American Academy of Dermatology: Seborrheic Dermatitis
- “Hair Rules”; A. Dickey; 2003