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Why is my hair so greasy?

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By Softulka, Shutterstock.com

If you struggle with hair that gets greasy regularly, you'll know the joy of lathering up and flushing away all that oil to be left with squeaky clean locks. But what you may not know is that every time you rub that shampoo into your scalp, you could actually be doing more harm than help? The theory is that although shampooing may remedy the greasiness for the short term, it can actually be detrimental in the long run. Let us give you an alternative point of view and make a suggestion about what you should be doing.

What is the most common cause of greasy hair?

Over-shampooing is actually one of the most common causes. That, and over-massaging the scalp whilst you shampoo. Doing so stimulates the scalp's sebum glands to produce more oils, which results in a greasy scalp and hair. Hair becoming greasy results from a chemical imbalance in the scalp, which can happen when we over-shampoo and massage daily. When we do this, we deplete vital moisturising elements in the hair and scalp. The body responds by triggering the sebum glands to produce more oils, leading to a greasy scalp that can damage hair.

What is sebum?

Sebum is an oily liquid the body produces via the sebaceous glands. It keeps the scalp hydrated and stops hair from becoming too brittle, but an excess of it can lead to limp roots, dandruff and visibly greasy hair. In addition to excessive product use, excessive sebum production can be caused by fluctuations of the testosterone and adrenaline hormones, and by certain lifestyle choices.

So what can I do about it?

Sulphates are strong chemicals that are put into many hair products to break down and remove all types of grease. When you use them on the hair, it can over-stimulate the scalp to produce more oils very quickly, making the greasy scalp worse and making your hair look dirty. The recommended solution is to wash your hair with gentle shampoos, and not do it more than necessary. If you start using a gentler shampoo, be aware that it could take between 2-3 weeks for your scalp to regain its equilibrium and produce only the necessary amount of oil to keep the hair healthy.

When searching for these so-called 'gentler' shampoos, the main thing to look for is low- or zero-sulphate shampoo. It's also a good idea to look for shampoos made with organic ingredients, using essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus that are known for their soft healing properties. Shampoos that are designed to protect colour are a good bet, as they are specially formulated to be less harsh on the hair and scalp so as not to risk diluting colour.

We are The Chapel, and we take a different approach to the conventional hair salon. We like to focus on how you want to feel and work on creating the look that is the best fit. Get in touch with us and we'll be happy to invite you down for a complimentary coffee and a chat about your hair.

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