Ew. Ew. Ew! Greasy hair. It is, perhaps, one of the worst things to happen to hair since hair was invented. Combine that with flaky, troublesome dandruff, and you’re probably having the worst possible hair day. The disgust and embarrassment that comes with having greasy hair can be somewhat hard to overcome. Even though most people might not be able to actually see how greasy your hair is, you still know. You can feel it.
The best remedies for greasy hair are not nearly as dramatic as you might think. We’re here to let you learn about methods for how to get rid of greasy hair fast that don’t actually involve (more) pain and anguish. You can get rid of that greasy hair with showering, without showering, with dry shampoo, without dry shampoo -- it all depends on what works best for you.
First, a little consolation. Chances are, your greasy hair is not your fault. You could be a hapless victim of an unfortunate, genetics mashup. You can cry on our shoulder, we don’t mind. Yes, your parents might be the real culprits here. Fate may have brought them together in a whirlwind of passion, but their chemical romance created your chemical imbalance.
...your body excretes [sebum] from your pores as a means of helping to prevent you from losing too much water, while also acting as a shield against your skin and hair absorbing too much of H2O.
It all comes down to your body’s love-hate relationship with sebum. Located within your epidermis and below the hair follicles, sebum is a waxy, oily substance your body secretes for advantageous purposes. As many of us learned early on, oil and water do not mix. This, indeed, is the purpose of sebum. Your body excretes it from your pores as a means of helping to prevent you from losing too much water, while also acting as a shield against your skin and hair absorbing too much of H2O. It’s a win-win, right?
Wrong. When genetics and other factors play a role, that sebum production can go into hyper drive, making your sebaceous glands act like open faucets. The worse news? Except for the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet, you have these little glands pretty much everywhere. Your head has the most, and in the highest quantities as well. Go figure.
What Did You Mean by “Other Factors?”
Although genetics play the largest role in your woes, they’re not your only concern. There are additional factors that could be leading to your oily hair. These include:
Hormone Changes. You might not be a teenager anymore, but hormones can still throw your sebaceous glands into chaos. Women in particular must suffer from somewhat regular sebum production changes. Monthly cycles will cause sebum production to increase (yes, that’s why you get acne around that time), and pregnancy will send your body through a of hormonal changes that see sebum production increase and decrease in rather dramatic shifts.
Monthly cycles will cause sebum production to increase (yes, that’s why you get acne around that time)...
Hair Quality. We admit, this one is partially genetic. After all, whether you’re born with fine, normal or coarse hair is definitely not something you can choose at conception. But for those with fine hair: Sorry. You’re more likely to have the worst kind of oily hair. Those with fine hair have thinner strands of hair. Your body’s sebum production cares little about what type of hair you have. It cares more about how much hair you have. Those with fine hair can easily produce just as much sebum as those with curly or thick locks. But with finer hair for just as much oil, your hair is going to look, feel and simply be oilier than everyone else’s -- yes, sometimes all the way down to the tips.
Body Mass. This might be a little uncomfortable to admit or talk about, but what you eat will have a direct impact on your body’s sebum production. This is because diet and exercise directly impact hormone and hormonal balances. This means that having a higher body mass as a result of poor or unhealthy eating habits is directly related to sebum production. We love burgers and fries as much as the next person, but it could be giving us oily hair.
Pros and Cons
Remember what we said about sebum’s benefits? We weren’t kidding! That protection from losing and absorbing water is extremely important for the skin, but also for your hair. Hair is extremely sensitive to moisture changes. Having too little moisture in your hair can make it extremely brittle. When your hair keeps absorbing more water than it should, it will have the same overall effect, weakening its strength. Water can also contain a lot of thing that you don’t actually want your hair to absorb, such as pollutants. You can thank your lucky sebum that it’s keeping most of that stuff out.
But oily hair does have distinct disadvantages, besides just an icky look and feel. Oily hair can actually cause dandruff, which we realize may seem . After all, dandruff is more related to a dry scalp, right? Sadly, that’s not the case! Overproduction of sebum in the scalp can lead to it blocking pores. This creates a happy home for the types of fungus (you read that right) that love the lipids in sebum. So, too much sebum = fungal buildup = dandruff. As if oily hair weren’t gross enough.
Oily hair can actually cause dandruff...
Yes, oily hair is a nightmare, and yes, it can feel like it’s causing more problems than it’s solving. Nevertheless, you do need that sebum. Thankfully, prevention is one of many ways to avoid having hair that is too greasy. And there are many remedies that exist for those who want to solve their oily hair problems right now.
Despite what you may have heard, methods for how to get rid of greasy hair fast do often involve the use of shampoos. There are a wide variety of shampoo solutions available that will simply wash the excess sebum out of your hair. There are others, however, that will help encourage the correct levels of sebum production in the long run. Regardless of what type you use, there’s little that’s more important than actually maintaining a proper shampooing schedule.
Have a schedule that makes sense. If you’ve struggle with oily hair for a long time, chances are you’ve been cleaning your hair far too often. If you’re constantly shampooing out your natural oils, your body will attempt to make up the difference by overproducing what it believes you need. Solution? Wash your hair no more than 3 times a week.
If you’ve struggle with oily hair for a long time, chances are you’ve been cleaning your hair far too often.
Pick the right shampoo for the job. One of the worst things you can do to your hair is put just any old thing on it. Walking into your closest store and picking up the first thing you see in the shampoo aisle is a bad idea. And for the love of follicles, definitely don’t just buy a shampoo because it smells nice! Your hair deserves better than that. Instead, find a shampoo that is specifically designed for oily or greasy hair. This includes the use of clarifying shampoos. These are shampoos with a larger number of surfactants, meant specifically to clean out all the buildup that collects in your hair. That includes all of that excess oil.
Try a dry shampoo. Often containing talcum powder and baking soda, dry shampoos are made to clean out excess oil. This is because, unlike water, dry powders will soak oils right up. Just be careful with how you use them! Dry shampoos, like other shampoos, can cause more problems if you do not use them correctly.
Take care with conditioner. Keep in mind that conditioner serves one, real purpose: moisturizing your hair. We think you can see the problem here. You’re trying to get rid of the excess moisture, not add to it.
No so fast, Goldilocks! We’re not quite done with you yet. You may have found a few, great solutions to help get rid of that oily hair, but remember: Prevention is easier and more stress-free. Consider all of the following methods to help prevent developing oily hair.
Reduce the amount of hair products you use. Using too many hair products is ultimately bad for your hair. Every product will have different ingredients, some of which are designed to stay in the hair. The more that’s on your hair, the worse your hair’s quality will be. Beautiful hair does not need a load of products -- just a few that help keep it healthy and happy. Find a small number of products that work well for your hair and stick with them.
Treat dandruff which can be triggered by an overproduction of sebum or scalp oil. Greasy dandruff is a tell-tale sign of overactive sebaceous glands. If you’re seeing dandruff, just expect that you have oil issues, even if you don’t realize it. Treating your dandruff problems could mean treating your oil problems as well. Staying on top of the dandruff could also mean staying on top of the excessive oil.
Apply a clay mask. Clay is probably a miracle substance. We can’t verify that, but it’s been used throughout history for so many different things, we can probably assume (safely) that it’s a panacea of sorts. It’s also good for hair. There are clay masks for all types of hair, but you can find plenty that are designed specifically for oily hair. The good thing? It absorbs oils without making your hair or scalp overly dry, as long as it’s used correctly.
Keep your fingers away from your hair. Stop. Fiddling. With. Your. Hair. We know, it’s tempting to just run your fingers through your hair all the time. That’s a habit that needs to go. Not today; yesterday. Invent time travel if you must. Constantly toying with your hair will break it, among other things.
Avoid high temperatures. Your hair follicles hate heat. If they could talk, they’d scream every time you hopped into a shower that was too hot. High temperature causes your follicles to get inflamed and irritated. Hot water also pulls away your natural oils. Yes, your sebaceous glands will attempt to make up the difference. Remember, the point it to maintain the proper levels, not to simply tear it all away.
Thankfully, nature is pretty much a great source for all things hair care. That includes maintaining levels of sebum and washing away excess amounts of those natural oils. If you’re going au naturel for your hair, try these simply (and easily obtained!) solutions for cleaning your hair of all that extra oil:
- Aloe Vera. An effective antioxidant, it can also be used to get rid of excess oils in your hair. Mix it with your regular shampoo for great results.
- Lemon juice. If mixed in with your regular shampoo and aloe vera, you’ll see great results. Even better: Lemon juice helps bring out a natural shine!
- Apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is one of the first things mankind produced from plants. It’s also been used as a cleaner for just as long. The benefit for your hair? The encouragement of a better pH level, reducing sebum secretion. If you do use vinegar, make sure you dilute it first. A good method is to use a few tablespoons per cup of water. Use this solution as a rinse after you wash your hair normally.
- Witch hazel oil. Witch hazel bark and leaves yield a wonderfully effective astringent that is great for getting oil out of hair. It’s best to combine this one with an antiseptic, such as mouthwash.
- Healthy diet. The benefits of a healthy diet are almost incalculable. But, we’ve said it once already and we’ll say it again for good measure: Eat healthy! Your body will produce more oils if you eat a diet full of them, and this will have a direct result on how much oil your sebaceous glands produce. Additionally, increase your zinc and vitamin B and decrease your sugar intake.
- Egg yolk. The benefit of egg yolk is in the proteins. Egg yolk will absorb those oils with ease. Then you can just squeeze it out and make an omelette! (Just kidding. Please don’t do that. That’s gross.)
- Baby Powder. You can use baby powder in a similar fashion to baking soda. Both will have similar results. Of course, baby powder usually smells a lot better.
- Baking Soda. We already mentioned this one earlier, but baking soda absorbs oils. Apply a bit to your hair and see excellent results. Just don’t overdo it and completely dry out your scalp.
Taking care of your hair should always be a priority. But having naturally, or unnaturally oily hair can feel like the pits. Thankfully, there are many preventative methods to both prevent and clean those oils right out. From cleaning with dry shampoo to using natural methods with showering, you’re living in a world of solutions. No need to cut it all off after all!