How can I Deal with Oily Hair?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2019
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Oily hair is caused by an overproduction of oils in the glands near the hair follicles. Many people find this hair type distasteful, since it often has a strange texture and it tends to get limp and lanky. Although it is largely linked to genetics and hormones, there are some techniques which can make hair less oily. You may have to experiment with a variety of products and regimens, so taking notes can be helpful.

To begin with, you can attack the oil at its source: the scalp. Use an astringent like witch hazel on a cotton pad to gently pat the scalp, drawing oil out and removing it. Try to avoid getting too much astringent on your hair, as you can cause it to dry out, which is not desired. Combining this technique with daily hair washing can be highly effective.


In the shower, use a clear, simple shampoo formulated for oily hair, and rinse thoroughly. As a general rule, this hair type needs an alkaline shampoo, so look for a shampoo which lists its pH balance, or a shampoo which is especially for oily hair. Detergent-like dish soap actually works rather well also, if you do not mind a few drops of detergent in your shampoo. In some cases, you may need to shampoo twice. Avoid conditioner, or use it in very small amounts on the ends of your hair if you start to experience split ends. Conditioner will simply coat this type of hair in slick goo, which will make it seem even more oily.

There are also a number of rinses which work well on oily hair. Vinegar rinses are an old classic, but you can also use black tea, lemon juice, or even alcohol. Dilute the rinse in water, run it through your hair after shampooing, and rinse again to remove all of the residual material and odor. These rinses will help to draw out oil, keeping your hair brighter longer.

You should also brush your hair minimally, since brushing brings up oil and drags it through the hair. For people with dry hair, this is great, but oily hair does not benefit from more oil. For a quick fix, dust talcum powder over your hair and comb it out. The powder will absorb oil when you're in a hurry, although you will probably want to shower later. A combination of these techniques should help to keep your head less oily, and your hair much happier.


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Post 4

I've been going 'shampoo-free' for years; I just have thick hair that does not need it. However I have to warn you that talc is not a good product to put on your hair, or indeed to use under any circumstances: magnesium silicate is a nightmare for the respiratory system, so unless you use a professional mask when you apply talc, you will breathe it. Use chocolate powder (no, you will not smell like chocolate; it will dissipate) or (my favorite) strawberry body powder (or your favorite flavor). You still should be careful not to get crazy and put too much: you won't be able to get it all out and you may breathe it (not as bad as talc, but still not advisable). Enjoy! (and save water!)

Post 3

surflover00- Make your hair not as accessible. Pull your hair back into a ponytail or braid. Pull the sides back with a clip or an elastic band. You can also try pulling part of your hair back with a headband or bobby pins.

The best suggestion is to keep your hair off your face. You are more likely to touch your hair when it is near your face.

Post 2

ilovejapan5- Thank you for the tip. I agree with you that not touching your hair can help combat oily hair.

Does anyone have any suggestions that helped them to stop touching their hair excessively throughout the day?

Post 1

People with oily hair should avoid touching their hair. Don't twirl your hair and avoid touching and playing with your hair when you are bored at school or work. The oils from your hands will transfer to your hair and can make it become oily quicker.

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