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A greasy scalp can often result in lank, lifeless hair: a nightmare to style, and seemingly impossible to prevent. But all too often it is our hair routine and the steps we take to keep our hair looking ‘fresh’, that is the root cause of the problem. Over washing and styling tends to encourage the overproduction of sebum, which works to protects your scalp and hair against pollutants. It is this sebum which gives the ‘greasy’ look. But with a few simple changes to your routine, you can not only restore the balance of sebum production, but effectively reduce the risk of your hair from looking greasy. Understanding why your hair is greasy is essential to evaluating what the best route to take may be, so here’s our guide on how to keep your hair looking fresh.
Roots before a colour service at The Chapel, Tunbridge Wells
Hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and the menopause can all alter hair texture and the levels of oil, so take note of changes you may notice, these may just be temporary. A stressful lifestyle can also affect hormones and drive up the rate of oil levels being produced. Exercise can be a great way to destress, try yoga to relax and promote a relaxed state of mind.
Another factor to note is your diet. What we put into our bodies doesn't only affect our weight, but also has an effect on our hair, nails, and skin. A diet with too many processed fats and sugars can often lead to the skin creating excess oils, making the scalp and hair appear greasy. To avoid this, ensure that you are fuelling yourself with foods that are nutritionally dense. For fat sources, look towards oily fish, avocados, and nuts which all contain ‘good fats’. These are more readily digested by the body and used effectively for growth and repair, rather than used as excess.
Often run your fingers through your locks? This is another key reason why your hair may be greasy. This often mindless, perhaps flirtatious habit transfers oils from the fingertips to the hair, resulting in greasy roots. To avoid temptation, try wearing hair your hair up and away from your face at those times when you might be most likely to touch your hair.
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If you are exercise queen and love nothing more than building up a sweat at the gym or your local combat class, you will need to adjust your haircare routine to avoid over washing hair. Overwashing can cause the sebaceous glands to overproduce grease, as they try to replace natural oils washed away which keep the scalp healthy. Work your wash routine around your workouts, and look for styles such as twists and braids which are great for keeping the out of reach from sweat. Dry shampoo and hair texturising powders will be your gym bag heroes: mopping up excess grease in between washes. For shorter styles that may require more products to style, particularly waxes and pomades, wear your hair in its natural state to the gym, then style once you’ve finished your session.
Perhaps you commute daily, and find that your route to work is the greatest cause of unwanted grease? Unfortunately, there is little way to avoid the clammy conditions of public transport, but there are several ways you can prevent your locks from harbouring excess grease. Choose a classy up-do between wash styles such as a chignon, or tidy bun to eliminate the hair from touching the face or skin. If you prefer your hair down, however, curl before pinning into a loose bun. This will prevent your hair from kinking or curls from dropping, whilst simultaneously protecting hair from unwanted humidity on busy public transport. Keep a spare dry shampoo, and a little serum at work to effectively restyle once you reach the office.
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You’ll often notice your fringe will become greasy quickly compared to the rest of your hair; this is from constant touching and being against the skin. To combat this, you may find an easier way to maintain a great looking style is to wash the fringe separately. Blow dry up and away from the face to help it sit slightly away from your forehead.
If you are wearing hair up, go for styles with volume such as beehives, backcombed textured buns, and top knots. Heated rollers are a perfect way to boost volume and give bounce when hair may feel a little flat. Dry shampoo can really help to give life to lank looking hair between washes and is a great way to banish grease. Flip hair upside down and spray at roots with dry shampoo, use fingers to massage lightly into scalp. You can freshen hair further by blasting with a hairdryer on the cool setting. Ladies with thick, unruly hair that may feel heavy and lank, invest in a salon blow dry which will help hair naturally adjust levels of oil produced.
Those that colour, particularly using bleach, will find hair often feels dry after certain services. Whilst this seems helpful to those who struggle with greasy hair, the sebaceous glands will often overcompensate to replace the natural oils stripped from the colouring process. To avoid this, use specially designed colour care shampoos and conditioners, and keep heated tool temperatures low when styling to avoid damage.
When washing you may have overlooked moisturising shampoos and conditioners, worrying they will just add to the levels of oils and exacerbate the issue. Whilst you should avoid ‘heavy hydrating’ or ‘super moisturising’ shampoo and conditioners, it’s still vitally important to shampoo and condition. The key is looking for lighter options, or those designed for greasy hair. Beware of anything that lists additional oils, such as argan oil, and look out for silicone based products. To reduce build up use a clarifying shampoo once a week, as this will eliminate any excess build up.
When washing try to avoid using hot water. Instead, use a tepid temperature to rinse clean and finish with a cold blast of water. Avoid over stimulating the scalp when applying shampoo and conditioner, using a gentle sweeping motions using your full palm, rather than your fingers. Finally, ensure that you only concentrate conditioner on the ends of your hair, avoiding the roots at all costs.