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7 simple hair hacks that’ll combat greasy hair

If you've found yourself reaching for a can of dry shampoo to blast greasy hair into oblivion, you're not alone. After all, your scalp has the same oil-producing glands as your face.

On the one hand, this excess sebum keeps it hydrated and healthy so it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it makes hair lustrous, healthy and strong.

The downside, of course, is that this oil can cause a build up that leaves hair looking limp and overly slick, especially if your hair is on the fine side.

So, what can be done to help the issue? We reached out to the experts for some of their top greasy hair hacks, including the best oil-banishing products and how often you should be washing your hair.

What causes greasy hair?

The natural texture of your hair

Those with thick, coarse strands will be able to leave their hair for a few days before it starts to look less-than-fresh. But those with fine or thinning hair may find their strands look greasy after just one day. It all comes down to the amount of oil your scalp produces, as well as how well your hair can carry that oil.

“Every hair follicle on your head has an oil gland that produces sebum," explains Anabel Kingsley, brand president and consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley “Those with fine hair, tend to have more hairs per cm on their head than those with thicker, coarser or coiled hair textures and therefore more oil glands producing more sebum. This is the reason those with fine hair often feel their hair gets greasy quickly."

2. Not washing your hair right

“Greasy hair is a result of not shampooing frequently, or not taking your time when you cleanse your scalp with shampoo to effectively remove oil and product build up," Anabel notes.

“You should spend approximately one minute gently but firmly massaging your scalp when you shampoo and pay attention to all areas – people often forget to massage the back of their scalp, for example. Rinse well to ensure shampoo residue, and the dirt, oil and dead skin cells trapped in it are washed away.”

3. Hormones

Helen Reavey, trichologist and founder of Act+ Acre, points out that “fluctuating hormones can cause an imbalance of oil on the scalp,” which then travels down the length of the hair strand.

In particular, a week before your period there is a decrease in oestrogen and an increase in progesterone. “This hormonal change can stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce more oil," she adds. "Mixed with product buildup, sweat, and dirt, this can contribute to greasy hair.”

Depending on your hormonal makeup, some people will be more prone to stringy strands than others. “Some birth control pills contain progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone, which can increase oil levels, too," Helen explains.

4. The environment

The environment and weather can affect how quickly your hair gets greasy. “Many people find their hair is greasier in the warmer months," says Dominic Roach, Creative Director of Colour at Butchers Salon. "Higher temperatures often mean you sweat more, which mixes with the sebum on the scalp spreading more greasiness.”

You're up against extra humidity, too. “With increased humidity, there is more moisture in the air and therefore more moisture in your hair," he adds.

Even our summer accessories can exacerbate the problem. "Sunglasses pushed back onto the top of the head help transfer oil and grease. So do sun accessories like hats, which make the roots flatter and greasier,” says Dominic.

5. Diet plays a part, too

"Just like the skin on your face, your scalp can be prone to oiliness from the foods we eat, such as eating a fatty or sugary diet," says Anabel.

Gym-goers will need to wash their hair more after a sweaty workout while your styling routine can play into how quickly your hair gets oily, too. “Using heavy styling products can also make your roots greasy, as can using a dirty hairbrush,” says Anabel who recommends washing your hairbrush every 2-4 weeks.

Can you train your hair to last longer between washes?

“It's a myth that you can train your hair to produce less oil with less washes, as so many factors contribute to oil production,” Helen explains.

If you’re experiencing oily roots and hair, make sure to wash your hair daily, or every other day to ensure you are cleansing the scalp of excess oil and buildup, she recommends.

“It would be quite difficult to over-wash your hair,” adds Anabel. “'More often than not' is always a good principle to obtain the best scalp conditions for healthy hair growth." This she, says, translates into every day for fine hair, every other day for medium hair and no more than three days apart for coarse or coiled hair textures.

“You take your hair and scalp to the same places you take your face, and it gets just as dirty," she explains. “Your scalp is also a living tissue; it sweats, produces oils and sheds skin cells. You wouldn’t leave more than three days between washing your face, and you likely wouldn’t wear the same outfit more than a few times before washing it – apply the same thinking to your hair and scalp.”

Anabel also points out that you can't "train your hair to be less greasy by washing it less. Oil is produced on the scalp (not the hair), and once your scalp is cleansed it will simply continue producing oil at the same rate.”

What are the best shampoos and conditioners for greasy hair?

Of course it's not just about how you're washing your hair, but whether you're using the best products for your hair.

Iain Sallis, trichologist and founder of Hairmedic, says it's essential to select your shampoo and conditioner carefully. He advises avoiding any shampoo and conditioner labelled with the words: 'dry', 'damaged', 'smoothing' or 'glossy'.

"They may all just be coating the hair in a fine film, which is good for what it states, but not good if your hair is prone to looking greasy," he explains. "The coating will add to the oil produced and cause the hair to become dull and oily looking." That said, you can apply glossy conditioners tactically to just the ends of your hair if you find they look very parched.

How can I clean greasy hair fast?

Nothing beats a full deep clean but we spotted this ingenious hack on TikTok where you simply wash the top layer of your hair where the parting gets greasy for a quicker hair refresh.

Here are all the greasy hair hacks to keep in mind…

1. Invest in a clarifying shampoo for greasy hair

"Use a purifying shampoo on a weekly basis and follow with your preferred shampoo and conditioner that best suits your hair type," says Mark Woolley, founder of Electric Hair. You could also try taking a hair growth supplement, such as Vida Glow Hairology, which nourishes hair from within helping to maintain healthy hair and scalp.

2. Only apply conditioner on the ends of hair

If you run out of conditioner faster than shampoo, you're doing it wrong. The smooth-maker in your shower should be used sparingly and on your ends only.

Many of us with dry or coloured hair fall into the trap of applying it higher and higher in order to de-tangle until it's basically at our roots. But the higher you apply it, the faster your hair will become greasy.

Instead, try using a Wet Brush to tame your tangles. The bristles are soft enough not to cause breakage, but strong enough to tackle the most stubborn knots.

3. Apply the right amount of shampoo

Jack Merrick Thirlway, senior stylist from Neville Hair & Beauty salon, says there's a specific amount of shampoo you should use to ensure hair doesn't get too greasy.

"When washing the hair, it is very important not to use too much shampoo as it can become heavy on the hair," he explained. "Generally speaking, a 10 pence piece amount of product is sufficient – and two quick washes rather than one long wash will work better."

He also stresses that you shouldn't use water that's too hot when washing your hair as it will strip the natural oils off the cuticle and the scalp will replace it immediately, leaving hair greasy.

"Be sure to cool the water for the last rinse to add shine," he advises. "A blast of cold water once it’s washed will also help the scalp and regulate blood flow,” says Paul.

The same rule also applies to styling products. Less is more to prevent too much build-up. Or, if you use a lot of product, make sure you deep-clean them all out.

4. Try apple cider vinegar to treat greasy hair

This method is popping off on TikTok and involves two ingredients: water, and apple cider vinegar.

Simply dilute apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and pour it through the hair. Leave for a few minutes et voilà: build-up is banished, and hair is left squeaky clean and 100% grease-free.

5. Dry shampoo is your best friend

To combat greasy hair between washes and to keep strands full of volume, turn to dry shampoo. “Add it to your root area to absorb excess oils, sweat and impurities. It can also create volume and texture in yesterday’s hair. My go-to is Aveda Shampowder Dry Shampoo,” advises Dominic.

Just keep in mind, if you use dry shampoo for too many days in a row, it can cause build up on the scalp leading to other hair problems like dandruff, hair breakage and a sore, irritated scalp. “Repeated scratching as a result can weaken hairs at the root and cause them to shed more than normal,” says Anabel.

So be sure to only use dry shampoo on second or third day hair and only use it alongside, not instead of, proper washing.

If you find that your scalp isn’t a fan of dry shampoo and can get easily irritated, Paul has this hack: “For sensitive scalps, I recommend spraying the product onto a brush first and combing it through the hair, making sure you get to the roots,” he says.

6. Go for a bun or braid

Turns out, that not all greasiness comes from the root. “Dirt from your hands can accumulate in the hair whenever you touch it. Putting your hair in a loose bun or braid will keep it away from an oily face or sweaty neck,” advises Dominic. And it’s chic too.

7. Incorporate a scalp treatment into your hair care routine

“Opt for a gentle chemical exfoliant such as salicylic acid to balance sebum and oil levels, while calming any irritation, inflammation, or itchiness,” says Helen.

Check out our round up of the very best dry shampoos, as well as these surprising hacks for your next hair wash.

The original article can be found on GLAMOUR UK.

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