Does your hair start to look greasy and lank by lunchtime? Yep, there’s no doubt that having oily hair can be a pain, so what causes hair to get greasy and what’s the best shampoo for oily hair that’ll keep it looking clean and fresh for longer?
Why is my hair so oily?
First of all, it’s not the hair itself that produces oil – a lubricant called sebum is produced from within the hair follicles on your scalp. This then works its way down the hair shaft to help maintain your hair, keeping it nourished and protected. All perfectly natural stuff … unfortunately, in the same way that some people end up with oilier, problem skin on their faces, your sebaceous glands may be a little overactive and produce excess sebum, leaving your hair looking lank and oily pretty quickly after each wash.
So how do I choose a shampoo to keep my oily hair in check?
It’s definitely worth looking out for a good shampoo formulated specifically for oily hair. If you check out the ingredients lists (I know, fun times) you’ll see that they often contain either astringent herbs or citrus extracts. These ingredients are slightly acidic and can help to break up excess oil, helping the detergents within the shampoo to do a thorough job of cleansing. Good news for greasy hair.
It’s also best to look out for clear shampoos, as these are usually free of additional conditioning ingredients that can be great for dry, damaged hair, but just too much if you’re trying to keep the grease at bay.
But I have oily hair and a dry scalp – which shampoo is best for me?
If your scalp doesn’t actually tend to get oily, it’s worth thinking about whether excess styling products are building up on your hair, rather than your oily woes being down to overactive sebaceous glands. A good clarifying shampoo has a stronger detergent action so, when used every now and then, could be the answer to keep your hair looking and feeling fresh.
On the other hand, a very flaky, scaly scalp and oily hair could be a sign of seborrhoeic dermatitis (that’s dandruff to you and me), so try a specially formulated dandruff shampoo for oily hair to help ease your poor scalp and thoroughly cleanse your hair. Neutrogena T/Sal (that contains salicylic acid that helps to get rid of excess oil) has been shown to give good results, and Head and Shoulders also have a dandruff shampoo formulated specifically for oily hair.
What if I have thin, lifeless oily hair?
Greasy hair is a pain at the best of times, but if you’ve got thin, flat hair it can be a nightmare trying to keep it from looking stringy. Again, a clarifying shampoo will do a thorough job of removing traces of oil and styling products so can help to keep your hair squeaky clean, though will be too harsh to use every day. Although you might be tempted by volumizing, thickening shampoos, it’s probably best to give these a wide berth if you’ve got oily locks, as they usually leave a coating on hair to give a thickening effect and could end up making your hair look greasy even more quickly.
For touch ups, dry shampoo is your friend – I love dry shampoo for pure convenience, and it’s brilliant for adding volume to otherwise flat and lifeless hair.
Is there a sulfate free shampoo to tackle my oily hair?
If you’ve got sensitive skin, you may be trying to stick to sulfate free shampoo to avoid any potential irritation. The good news is that there are a good number of sulfate free shampoos out there formulated for oily hair – they rely on natural grease-cutting ingredients like herbs and citrus extracts instead of strong detergents to do the cleaning, so try them out to see what results you get.
Just bear in mind that it’s the sodium lauryl sulfate in shampoo that acts as the detergent in standard shampoo, so although plenty of people love their sulfate free formulations, others report that their hair just doesn’t feel as clean afterward, and this could be a real problem if your hair gets oily quickly.
So if you’ve got oily hair, there are plenty of shampoos out there formulated to beat the grease and leave you with super clean, shiny locks. Just keep a look out for astringent ingredients, try to stick to clear shampoo without added conditioners and make sure you’re using a formula that will soothe your scalp as well as keeping your hair looking healthy.
Have you found the perfect shampoo to keep your oily hair in check?