There are many different hair types – thin, thick, fine, coarse, curly, dry – but often the most difficult type of hair to take care of properly and keep looking good is oily hair. However with the right hair care products – especially a good shampoo for oily hair – and a little extra time spent caring for your hair oily hair can look every bit as good as any other hair type.
What Causes Oily Hair?
Oily hair begins at the scalp level. There are sebaceous glands in the skin of the scalp and they produce a substance known as sebum which is essential for the growth of healthy hair. However if too much sebum is produced it “leaks” down into the hair, given it a dull, greasy look and feel. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Genetics - Unfortunately just like you get your Mom’s nose or your Dad’s eyes you can also inherit their oily hair.
- Hormones - Various hormonal changes can cause all kinds of problems for your hair, including making it greasy. Puberty, pregnancy and various hormonal medications can all contribute to an greasy hair problem.
- Thickness - Fine hair has fewer hair follicles so coats with excess oil more easily than thicker, coarser hair will.
- Disease and Illness - Certain diseases and illnesses can cause an oily hair problem, even just a temporary one, especially if they involve the adrenal or pituitary glands.
- Styling Products - Some people do not really have oily hair at all, they just use a great many different styling products that their regular shampoo may not always wash out completely. This build up alone can make your hair look greasy and drab.
Finding the Right Shampoo for Oily Hair
Walk into any store that sells hair care products and you will see a large variety of different shampoos that are all labeled for use on different types of hair. The idea behind such a product being labeled for oily hair is to minimize the oils in the hair to a manageable level without drying the hair out too much.
Unfortunately because we all all different and there are a number of different reasons why you might have greasy hair there is not really one single offering for oily hair that will suit everyone. Most of the haircare products designed for oily hair tend to have citrus extracts or other astringent herbal extracts that help break up excess oils allowing the detergent part of the product to do its job more efficiently.
If you have greasy hair, a clear clarifying shampoo may be a great choice. These types of products contain no dyes or perfumes which can contribute to an oily hair problem.
One of the biggest mistakes you make when it comes to choosing the right shampoo for oily hair is to assume a product that is designed for a different hair type will be fine. Many of the offerings designed for dry or “normal” hair contain extra conditioning agents which are just too much for oily hair and can make the problem worse instead of better!
See list of the Best Shampoos for Oily Hair
Are Sulfate Free Shampoos Better for Oily Hair?
Most “regular” shampoos contain sulfate based cleaning agents. Some people feel that these sulphates are bad for the skin, including the scalp, and are switching to sulfate free versions instead.
There are some sulfate free shampoos that are especially formulated for greasy hair. These replace the sulfate based detergents with cleansing herbs instead. Whether they will work for you may be something you would have to experiment with as while some people love their sulphate free shampoos and swear that they have the best hair ever since using them others feel that without the sulphates their hair just does not feel clean enough.
Other Ways to Combat Oily Hair
Using a good shampoo for oily hair is a great start but it may not always be enough to keep your hair looking great all day. Here are some additional tips for helping keep the oil at bay:
- Wash Your Hair Daily - Often stylists will advise against washing your hair every day because doing so might dry it out too much but that is not really an issue for those with oily hair! A daily washing with a good, gentler shampoo designed for oily hair is often a great way for those with oily hair to start the day looking their best.
- Use a Styling Wax Instead of Gel or Mousse - One problem that those with greasy hair have is that even they wash it in the morning by the time the afternoon is half way over it looks rather flat and the oily look begins to creep back. For this reason many people with greasy hair tend to try all kinds of styling products to give their hair the “body” they want. The problem is that gels and mousses are oily in themselves so using them might only make the problem worse. If you do still want to use a styling aid then wax is probably a better idea and many people who do have oily hair find that this is a great option for them.
- Don’t Brush or Comb Too Often - For those who have oily hair their is a big temptation to try to fix the “flatness” by continually brushing or combing it. That can be a big mistake though as all you are really doing is spreading the oil across more of your hair, making it look even oilier and limper than ever.
- Consider Trying a Hair Powder - Hair powders are an older solution for greasy hair that are making a comeback because they are being produced by some of the trendier hair care companies and also because people are finding that they are very effective for both controlling oil build up through out the day and adding extra volume to limp hair.