Many people suffer from oily hair. The cause is an increased level of sebum production on the scalp, also called seborrhea. The sebum your sebaceous glands produce to protect your hair and keep it supple is necessary for healthy hair. Sebum production isn't as strong in all people, however. Some people are lucky enough to only have to wash their hair every three days or even just once a week. Other people have to deal with washing their hair on a daily basis, using shampoos for oily hair, or just have to deal with excess oil in their hair. The causes of oily hair can be hereditary or could have to do with your hormonal balance. But what are effective ways to reduce excess sebum production over the long term? There is no universal solution to seborrhea, since everyone's hair is different, but people with oily hair can profit from a few tips on hair care that will help to free them from constantly worrying about excess oil and enjoy cleaner hair longer.
1. Should You Wash Your Hair As Little As Possible? No!
There is a wide-spread assumption that putting off washing your hair allows it to “get used” to not being washed and causes it to take longer to become oily. But usually the only result of putting off washing your hair is that sebum builds up and blocks your glands. You move your hair around while you wash it and massage your scalp, allowing the glands to clear out. That's why you should free your hair from newly-produced sebum by regularly washing it. It's important to make sure you protect your hair while you wash it and use a mild shampoo that doesn't dry out or irritate your scalp. Overly aggressive shampoos actually cause your hair to become greasy more quickly after frequent hair washing. Many baby shampoos are great for daily hair care, and they're easy to find on eBay.
2. Watch Water Temperature and Use a Gentle Massaging Motion
When you're washing your hair, the temperature of your water should be neither too low nor too high. If the water's too cold, you won't completely wash the oil out of your hair. Hot water doesn't make your hair more resilient, it just increases sebum production, exactly what you want to avoid if you have oily hair. Lukewarm water around your body temperature is the optimum solution for washing your hair.
Your water should be completely wet when you massage in your shampoo. Foam up a little shampoo in your hands – about the size of a hazelnut should be enough for shoulder-length hair; if your hair is longer you shouldn't use more than twice that amount. Spread the foamy shampoo evenly over your hair. The important thing is to gently massage the shampoo into your scalp as well, squeezing out the sebaceous glands and allowing excess sebum to be absorbed. You should definitely avoid too much pressure or scratching in order to not irritate your scalp, stimulating sebum production. Organic shampoos with herbal extracts are great for protecting your hair while you cleanse it, and many of these are available on eBay. You should allow the shampoo to sit in your hair a few minutes after you massage it in to make sure it can have its full cleansing and calming effect before you wash it out well with lukewarm water.
3. Finding the Right Shampoo: Yes to Herbs and Surfactants, No to Alcohol and Silicone
Choosing a shampoo adapted to your hair type will have an especially large effect on your hair care results. If you tend to have oily hair, you should, of course, not choose a shampoo for dry hair that weighs the hair down with creamy substances or oils. But not all oil-reducing shampoos are good for oily hair in the long term. It's absolutely essential to take a close look at the ingredients. Alcohol, for instance, does have the effect of removing oil, but it dries out your scalp and stimulates it to produce even more sebum. Alcohol types called “isopropyl alcohol,” “benzyl alcohol,” and “denatured alcohol” are especially damaging, since these are pure types of alcohol. Silicone also shouldn't be in your shampoo; it not only surrounds your hair, causing it to dry out from within, but also builds a non-water soluble layer on your scalp. Sebum production builds up and increases under this layer. Silicones are usually easy to recognize in a list of ingredients because they end with “-cone,” “-conol,” or - “siloxane.”
Ingredients which do have a regulatory effect on sebum production, on the other hand, include selenium, tar, and mild surfactants you might find on your ingredients list as “sodium laureth sulfate” or “sulfosuccinate.” Herbal extracts also have the same effect. You can find a wide range of this type of shampoo on eBay. Stinging nettle gently stimulates circulation in your scalp, allowing excess sebum to be easily cleaned out of your glands when you wash your hair. Thyme and rosemary extracts reduce sebum production; sage reduces oil without drying out your scalp. Chamomile disinfects and calms the skin of your scalp. Seaweed, horsetail, and chestnuts also have positive effects on both hair and scalp. It might also help to frequently change the type of shampoo you use or to alternate different shampoos, so your hair isn't always exposed to the same ingredients. Shampoo samples are one way to do this, since they also let you figure out which shampoo does the most for your hair.
4. Tea For Your Hair – Homemade Herbal Infusions
You can also try brewing your own hair infusion out of herbs, then refrigerate it and use it as a conditioner. You can buy good quality dried herbs on eBay in various amounts. Pour hot water over dried stinging nettle, sage, or thyme and allow the tea to cool. You can also use peppermint leaves and chamomile blossoms. You can use the cold or lukewarm brew as a conditioner for your hair which doesn't have to be washed out. If you use herbal tea conditioners once a week, they can help regulate sebum production in your scalp. A special home recipe recommends a mix of burdock root, thyme, couch grass root, birch leaves, fumitory and rosemary. This recipe is not intended to be drunk, and doesn't claim to have any effect on sebum production when consumed. Exterior use is recommended.
5. Healing Clay Masks or as a Shampoo Replacement
A treatment with healing clay can also help bring your scalp into balance. The clay absorbs excess sebum and skin flakes and opens stopped glands. Mixed with a large amount of water, you can use it instead of shampoo. You can also mix it into a mask to massage into the scalp. Cover your head with a hand towel and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. To use healing clays as a replacement for shampoo, mix three tablespoons of healing clay with one liter of water; a mix of one part healing clay to two parts water or herbal tea will give you the right ratio for a shampoo replacement. There are a wide range of different healing clays on eBay, each specialized for different uses. It's also available as a ready-to-use paste. Wash out the clay with lukewarm water after it has dried. A healing clay mask works best if you use it daily for an entire week.
6. Be Careful With Dryers, Fingers, and Combs After Washing Your Hair
While it's good to use a massage to open up your sebaceous glands while you're washing your hair and help them release excess sebum, after washing you should not encourage them to release sebum to avoid making your hair oily. Heat strongly stimulates glands, which is why you should dry your hair with cold air or allow it to air dry if possible. Moving your hair around also squeezes sebaceous glands. Frequently twisting your hair or running your fingers through it makes it more oily more quickly, even if your fingers aren't greasy. When you comb or brush your hair, you should be sure not to scratch your scalp. It's best to try not to touch it, and you'll need to get a good comb or a gentle brush. Even tugging on the scalp while you comb your hair can cause sebum to be released. This is one reason among many that you might want to comb your hair from bottom to top, holding on to the tips of your hair with the other hand to avoid putting stress on your scalp.
7. Strategies for Stopping Oily Scalp – Avoid These Products
You can achieve quite a bit by just avoiding certain types of products which are unsuited for oily hair. Besides shampoos which contain silicone, as we've already mentioned, many hair cures and treatments also contain oils, parabens, proteins, and lipid agents you should avoid either by only rarely using hair treatments or by only treating the tips of your hair with them.
8. Acute Treatments With Dry Shampoos and Baby Powder
You can use dry shampoos without any reservations if you're having an occasional problem with your hair quickly becoming greasy again after you wash it. Although it doesn't give the same feeling as a real wash, dry shampoos bind oil to hair without drying out your scalp or encouraging it to produce sebum. Baby powder also has the same effect. You can find many different dry shampoos and baby powder options on eBay. You need to use a blow dryer to work both of these carefully into your hair – using cold air is best – to make sure they don't leave any white residue. Besides the danger of residue, your hair will look like it's just been freshly washed. Dry shampoos can help you extend the time between washes, if you don't have the time to do it on a daily basis.
9. Everyone's Hair is Different – Consult Your Hairdresser
To find out which products and treatments are best suited for your individual hair type, you should get personal advice from a hairdresser. Hair stylists can evaluate your hair and judge what products will be best for you.
10. Treat the Root of the Problem
If exterior hair treatments don't seem to be affecting your hair, even though you've used everything as indicated, the root of the problem with your oily hair might be, for instance, a metabolic problem or a hormonal imbalance during puberty or while you're taking contraceptives. A doctor can personally diagnose any possible causes and write you a prescription if necessary. While male hormones stimulate sebum production, female hormones regulate it. Dermatologists will also be able to give you medical advice on hair care.
Different Hair Types, Different Solutions
You'll only be able to figure out which of these tips will improve your hair by trying them out. You will need some patience in this process, since some methods work slower than others but have long-lasting effects. It will take time to develop good shampooing habits and stick to them. No matter which method you decide on, try to use it consistently for several weeks in a row. You'll be kissing your oily hair goodbye in no time.