Having an oily scalp can be so frustrating—you’ll wash your hair in the morning and later that night, look in the mirror only to wonder how it’s possible that your strands already look greasy. But that isn’t a sign that you should be washing your hair more frequently; in fact, it might be the exact opposite.
“A normal, healthy scalp is constantly producing sebum, a thick waxy substance that is also our body’s natural moisturizer,” explains hair transplant surgeon Dr. Craig Ziering. Usually, the excess oiliness occurs when we overproduce sebum. That said, it can be hard to suss out the cause of an oily scalp because, as trichologist Bridgette Hill explains, “all abnormal scalp conditions result from one or a combination of these factors: genetics, lifestyle, diet, hair styling habits, environment, health, stress, hormones, and medications.” When it comes to managing an oil-prone scalp on a day-to-day basis, remember these nine tips from Ziering and Hill:
1. Work on training your hair to be washed less. “Skip a daily wash,” Ziering suggests, explaining that in the beginning it will be hard but will ultimately help “break the cycle.”
2. For fine hair, try conditioning first. “Apply conditioner 10 minutes before you shampoo to dry, dirty hair—[then] shampoo, and rinse. This allows the hair fiber to receive the humectants, lipids, and proteins necessary to keep the hair healthy from conditioning, while preventing any additional buildup on the scalp,” Hill says.