We’ve all done it. Showered in the evening and blow-dried our locks into a soft, luscious mane, then woken up the next morning with slimy strands slapped firmly to our heads like needy 5-year-olds clinging to their parent’s leg on their first day at school.
BUT WHY? WHERE DOES THE OILY MESS COME FROM? I’M CLEAN! CLEAN, DAMN IT!
We’re sick and tired of grease (not the film, never the film) so we’ve done some digging to find out why it happens and how to deal. Scrape your hair out the way, you’ve got notes to take.
What makes hair greasy?
Believe it or not, all of us produce hair grease and it doesn’t make us dirty. Just under our scalps lie the sebaceous glands which produce sebum (seBUM not seMEN, thank you… ha ha, BUM…).
Sebum is a natural oil that keeps our heads healthy and hydrated, as well as keeping our hair waterproof. Who knew hair was waterproof? Anyway, this oil is normal and will build up if you don’t wash your hair for a while, naturally. But some behaviours, hair types, and – OH, LOOK WHAT’S TO BLAME AGAIN – hormones can cause overproduction or build-up.
BUT I WASH MY HAIR LIKE, ALL THE TIME
Yes, yes, it’s very unfair. Surely if you wash your hair regularly then that will kick the grease out of the door (down the plughole), right?
Turns out no. Sorry pals.
Here are some reasons you might suffer with Greased Frightenin’:
Oh look, here they are again, like an old aunt you can’t get rid of at Christmas. Puberty can send your hormone levels into controlled chaos, which increases sebum production because NO IDEA. Hormones like to get everywhere. We just accept it now.
The more hair you have, the more sebaceous glands you have. And the more sebaceous glands you have, the more sebum you have. You see where we’re going with this.
Sometimes you can’t win. Thinner hair means the oil has less area to cover, so just builds up like Buckaroo. Don’t worry though, a build-up won’t cause the grease to suddenly fling itself into someone’s eye.
Sebum can use straight hair as its own slip’n’slide. Easy access, straight down the strands.
Told you you can’t win. Curly or wavy hair will keep the oil near the scalp, causing build-up and greasy roots. Bleugh.
Just blame your family. It’s easier.
Well that’s… unreasonable. So how can I de-grease?
Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks to remember (or use, hello dry shampoo) to tackle greasy hair. Such as…
Only condition the ends of your hair
Conditioner makes your hair silky smooth but too much of it, especially near the scalp, will just feed the grease. So make sure you’re only squeezing out a small amount of conditioner, and lovingly applying it on the lower half of your hair.
Don’t frantically wash your hair every day
You might think that washing your hair more will ditch the grease, but no. Too much washing will panic your sebaceous glands into thinking it needs to produce more sebum, so it will. Oh, it will. So try to only wash your hair every other day at the most.
Use dry shampoo or talcum powder
ALL HAIL DRY SHAMPOO. A great substitute for washing your hair is using dry shampoo. Just spray it along your parting (or all over your head, we all do it), rub it in, and brush it out. Voila! Grease be gone! You can also use talc for this if you’re at your nan’s.
Warning though: dermatologists have been warning that dry shampoo is not a substitute for a proper wash with water. You still need to do that too.
Balance your brushing
Brushing your hair too much will stimulate sebum production and spread the grease down your hair, but not brushing enough will allow the sebum to build up on your scalp. It’s best to just brush your hair in the morning and then…
LEAVE YOUR HAIR ALONE
STOP IT. PUT IT DOWN. LEAVE IT. SIT ON YOUR HANDS. The dirt from your hands (we all have dirty hands, don’t be offended) will be best buds with sebum, so kick the habit of a lifetime and go solve a Rubik’s cube or take up crochet instead.
Curling is better than straightening
Although neither will stop the grease, curly hair will keep the grease to your scalp so it’s less noticeable on those especially slick days.
Rinse your hair, then rinse it again. And again.
A massive contributor to greasy hair is not rinsing properly, allowing conditioner and shampoo gunk to build up. We’re all busy people but MAKE TIME TO RINSE THAT SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER OUT. Just maybe buy some flowers for your parents to say sorry for hiking up the water bill.
And there you have it. Greasy hair is totally normal but sometimes you just gotta tame it… I SAID STOP TOUCHING.
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Image: Katie Edmunds