16 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Your Greasy Hair, According to Dermatologists

De-slick your oily hair with these simple solutions.

Whether you got extra sweaty during your workout or went just a day too long without a wash, you’ve probably experienced greasy-feeling hair. But for some of us, that extra shine isn’t just a “now and then” sort of thing, but more of an uninvited visitor that’s seemed to have moved in permanently on our scalps. It’s true: “Some women naturally produce more oils than others,” says Amanda Doyle, MD, a dermatologist at Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York.

And that oil is ultimately what contributes to greasy hair. “Similar to the skin on our face, our scalps contain sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance called sebum,” says Jennifer David, DO, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Northfield, New Jersey. “Sebaceous glands connect to the hair follicles beneath our scalp and release sebum onto the hair shaft, forming a protective coat of natural oil that repels water and prevents hair from drying out.”

So although those oils are a good, natural thing, it is possible for your sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum and for your hair to get greasier as a result.

One culprit? Hormones. “Hormonal fluctuations are a common cause of over stimulated sebaceous glands, thus making adolescent and menopausal women most prone to noticing these changes in oil production,” says Dr. David.

But it’s also possible to point fingers at things like a dirty hair brush, humidity, a vitamin B deficiency, over-washing your hair, or simply just using the wrong products, says Annie Chiu, MD, a dermatologist at The Derm Institute in Manhattan Beach, California. “Buildup of products or using the wrong products can cause irritation or trap oil at the roots of hair,” she explains.

So in order to ditch that greasy look once and for all, start with these 15 at-home oily hair remedies.

Apply apple cider vinegar

Yes, the cooking staple can now be used to de-slick your greasy hair, too. “Apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that help remove excess oil from the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

But apple cider vinegar has other benefits for your scalp, too. “When properly diluted, an apple cider vinegar hair rinse may help balance the pH of the scalp, prevent hair product buildup, and maintain proper oil balance,” says Marnie Nussbaum, MD, a New York-based dermatologist.

To try it, says Dr. David, mix three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of warm water. After washing and rinsing your hair with a mild cleanser, apply the vinegar solution to the hair and scalp. Then, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Repeat the rinse 3 to 4 times per week for the best results.

Only condition the ends of your hair

General rule of thumb? Never apply conditioner to your scalp, as that will only increase product buildup, which will, in turn, make your hair oily. “The conditioner is for the hair, and the shampoo is really for the scalp,” says Emily Newsom, MD, a dermatologist at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Don’t overbrush (and clean your brush often)

Young woman brushing her hair

Although it can be tempting to brush when you feel that thick grease in your hair, avoid doing so too often. “It can produce more oil by spreading the scalp oils through the hair,” says Dr. Nussbaum.

Plus, a dirty brush is a common cause of an oily scalp. “The buildup of dust, old product, and bacteria will transfer to clean hair and cause it to look greasy,” says Dr. Chiu. Start cleaning your brush regularly.

Avoid products that promise shiny hair

Sure, shine serums might make your hair look beautiful for a little while, but if you suffer from greasy hair, it’s best to avoid them. If you do still want to incorporate some shine to your hair, though, don’t use them right at the scalp. “Start at the middle of the hair strand, and wash them off; the buildup can also cause greasy hair,” says Dr. Chiu. The same goes for your shampoo—anything touting “shiny hair” as a benefit is not the best option if your hair is naturally oily already.

Find your shampoo sweet spot

Not sure how often you should wash your hair? A good rule of thumb is about every other day, says Dr. Newsom. The important thing is to strike that happy balance between over-washing and under-washing it—which will be different for everyone. “If you’re over-washing, that can actually stimulate the oil glands to keep producing more and more oil,” says Dr. Newsom.

But if you’re washing every other day and you’re still facing an oily scalp, it’s okay to boost up to washing once per day. “Washing once per day is enough for most people to treat an oily scalp,” says Dr. Zeichner.

Search for natural oil-fighting ingredients

If you prefer a shampoo with more natural ingredients, look for one that contains tea tree oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties, says Dr. Newsom.

Seaweed extract is also helpful, since it will work to remove excess oil from the skin, adds Dr. Zeichner.

Try a dandruff shampoo

If you have more oil production, you’re also more likely to be prone to dandruff, says Dr. Newsom. That’s because a buildup of oil at the scalp can lead to the overgrowth of a natural yeast called malassezia. And although malassezia is found in small amounts on all of our hair follicles, an overproduction of it can lead to symptoms like itching, tenderness, and thick, greasy flakes, says Dr. David.

That’s why if you struggle with greasy hair, it’s best to start using a dandruff shampoo to work into your scalp. “The issue with oily hair and dandruff is more of a scalp issue than a true hair issue,” says Dr. Zeichner, who recommends Dove Dermacare dandruff shampoo. “Anti-dandruff shampoos contain ingredients like zinc pyrithione, which do not directly decrease oil but decrease levels of yeast to reduce dandruff levels.”

Then, once you’ve applied the dandruff shampoo to your scalp, let it sit long enough for you to sing the alphabet. “It needs contact time on the scalp for it to do its job,” says Dr. Zeichner.

Blow dry your hair instead of letting it air dry

You don’t want to over-dry your hair, but blow drying can be helpful if you want to get rid of greasy hair. “Blow drying hair helps eliminate oil as the heat absorbs the scalp’s oils,” says Dr. Nussbaum. “I always recommend drying the hair at the root as it can plump the hair follicle which can, in turn, absorb oil.”

If you do choose to blow dry, make sure you use the lowest heat setting possible to avoid heat damage, says Dr. David. That goes for other heated hair products like flat irons and curling irons, too.

Stop touching your hair

Another quick way to prevent greasy hair? Get those hands out of your tresses. “Over-touching your hair can stimulate more sebum production,” says Nazanin Saedi, MD, director of laser surgery and cosmetic dermatology at Thomas Jefferson University. “Also, similar to touching your face too much, you are transferring more oil from your fingers, too.”

Let your hair down

If you’ve constantly got your hair in a bun or ponytail, try keeping it down more often to reduce greasiness. “Natural oils become trapped and concentrated at the scalp when you always wear your hair in a ponytail,” says Dr. Chiu. “Oils don’t move down the hair shaft. You develop an oily scalp and dry and split ends.”

Combine aloe vera and lemon juice

Drink with aloe vera and lemons

Try this easy oily hair remedy at home: Mix aloe vera and lemon juice together, which acts as an astringent to help control sebum production and make your hair softer, says Dr. David.

To make it, add one to two teaspoons of aloe vera gel to a tablespoon of lemon juice, then add a cup of water to the mixture and mix well. Use the mixture to rinse your hair, preferably after shampooing, says Dr. David. Leave it on for a few minutes and wash off with cold water. Repeat weekly.

Avoid putting any oils on your scalp

Since our scalps already make their own oils naturally, adding any other oils into the mix can really just create a buildup and, therefore, greasiness. “My general rule of thumb when educating patients is to tell them to avoid applying oils—including olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil—directly to the scalp,” says Dr. David.

Plus, if you struggle with dandruff, these added oils can exacerbate that problem. Even though they may tout nourishing benefits, it’s best to avoid them altogether, says Dr. David.

Use a clarifying shampoo

If regular or dandruff shampoos don’t seem to be enough to calm the oiliness, try incorporating a clarifying shampoo every now and then. “Clarifying shampoos remove buildup from hair products and mineral deposits from hard water,” says Dr. David.

Just be careful if you have sensitive skin or color-treated hair, as these shampoos can be harsher than regular shampoos and alter the color of your hair, says Dr. Zeichner.

Use a clarifying shampoo about once or twice a month, says Dr. David, who recommends Bumble and Bumble Sunday, Neutrogena Anti-Residue, or Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo, which are gentle enough for color-treated hair.

Sprinkle on some baking soda

Baking soda can actually help remove oil and product buildup, says Dr. David. Bonus? It works great as a substitute dry shampoo.

To use it, sprinkle a small amount (about half a teaspoon) into your scalp and brush it to spread it out. Or, if you’d rather try it while washing your hair, mix 2 tablespoons with ¼ cup of warm water and apply into wet hair, says Dr. David. Then rinse after letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat 1 to 2 times per week to avoid overuse. “Don’t use too often or its alkaline properties can damage your hair cuticles and cause dry, frizzy hair,” says Dr. David.

Add epsom salts to your wash routine

Epsom salts make for another easy at-home solution. “The magnesium salts reduce inflammation and reduce product buildup,” says Dr. David. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt crystals with your shampoo and use 2 to 3 times per week for best results.

Reduce stress

Although easier said than done, the culprit of your oily hair might just be that stress you’re facing at work or at home. “Higher cortisol levels can cause sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum,” says Dr. Chiu.

Plus, stress might lead you to fidget and touch your hair more, which contributes to greasiness, as well, says Dr. Saedi. “Interestingly enough, stress reduction helps reduce hormones that can contribute to oil production,” says Dr. Doyle.

So do more of what relaxes you, and you might see your greasy hair go away in turn.

What if these oily hair remedies don’t work?

It’s probably time to visit your dermatologist. Your dermatologist can determine what’s causing the greasy hair (whether it’s eczemascalp psoriasis, dandruff, or another issue), says Dr. Nussbaum, and treat it from there with oral prescriptions or prescription shampoos.

He or she can also talk to you about other options, like hormonal treatments or botox injections, which may help reduce oil production in the scalp, says Dr. Zeichner.

“A benefit to seeing a derm is that you’ll be given a full evaluation and a review of your treatment options so you can proceed in a way that you feel comfortable,” says Dr. Doyle.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a20428078/15-home-remedies-for-oily-hair/

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