Men's Articles

De-Grease Your Hair


An oily scalp can ruin the best hairstyles. Here's how to keep shine in its place - on your hair (not your scalp). Does your carefully styled hair become greasy, dull, and limp in just a few hours? Oily scalps aren't just embarassing and unsightly, they can also create breeding grounds for bacteria. Fortunately, the right products and habits can turn your oil slick into an easily-manageable problem.

What Counts As An Oily Scalp?

A rule of thumb: If your scalp turns greasy in under 24 hours, even if you have been indoors the entire time, you have an oily scalp. Don't just look at your hair, feel your scalp then touch your fingers together to make sure it's grease, not sweat.

What Causes All The Goop?

Chiefly, it's overactive oil glands and dependent on hormones. It could be a genetic condition, due to stress, or caused by overuse of hair pomade or hair oils. Zinc deficiency and thyroid problems may also cause oiliness.

My Face Is Oily Too - Is It Related?

People with an oily scalp usually have oily skin as well. Did you know there's the same density of oil glands in the forehead as on the scalp? That's 400 to 900 glands per square centimetre! The glands on the scalp also tend to be bigger, which means more oil production.

My Scalp Smells, Is That Normal? 

Your scalp could be dirty, with sweat after exercise perhaps, and there's excessive microbial activity which can lead to an unpleasant smell, and which can cause oiliness. Try a shampoo that contains a mild antiseptic, such as natural citrus oils. Wash frequently to keep scalp clean, rinsing all residue out after shampooing.

My Scalp Seems Oilier When I'm Having My Period. Is It Hormones?

Most of the rime, hormones don't actually fluctuate enough to alter the scalp's oil production perceptibly. However, if you get PMT, or experience agonisingly painful periods, the stress might increase oil production.

The Weather Doesn't Help, Right?

No, it doesn't. Because it's hot, sebum is more liquid and spreads more easily along the hair shaft - plus, sweat spreads the oil around.

Any Hairstyles That Hide It Better?

The main problem with excessive sebum is that it weighs hair down. Volumising shampoos and products, which is used on the roots before blowdrying, may help counter this. Short styles also work better to hide oily scalps as hair isn't as heavy. However, avoid cuts which are so short that your scalp is visible - the gleam of oil is not stylish.

How Often Should I Shampoo?

Experts can't agree. Some say you should wash daily, others say shampooing too often doesn't help the scalp restore its natural sebaceous functions. The answer probably lies in experimenting and finding a shampoo that's just right for your level of oiliness. Don't use harsh shampoos too often, or you may find that your scalp produces more oil to replenish the oil your shampoos strip away. The ideal shampoo is a gentle product which helps regulate oil production. Also consider using a shampoo that removes residue from hair products once a week to bring back bounce, and ensure the oiliness isn't aggravated. Washing daily is not the solution.

Do I Still Have To Use Conditioner?

Overconditioning irritates any scalp. Even conditioners in twoin-one shampoos may be too much for oily scalps, so you might not need one. For daily use, pick a good shampoo that cleanses thoroughly and nourishes hair without over-conditioning. If you feel you still need conditioner, pick a light rinse-out formula and don't apply it close to the roots.

What If I Have Combination Hair - Oily Scalp And Dry Ends?

This is a common problem. Never use too hot water as it dries hair out. Apply a shampoo designed for normal hair to your scalp, keeping the lather mostly on it. Rinse, then apply conditioner only to the ends.

Any Other Habits I Should Break?

Excessive scalp massaging or brushing can stimulate already over-active oil glands. Try not to touch hair all the time as you may introduce bacteria to your scalp and develop an infection.   

Will I Go Bald?

Oily scalps rarely cause baldness, but they could create a breeding ground for bacteria and increase the risk of other scalp disorders, which may lead to hair loss.

Does Oily Food = Oily Scalp?

Fried food does not make your scalp or skin oilier. A well-balanced diet will help improve the condition of your skin and scalp over time.

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