How to Get Rid of Greasy Hair — Besides Using Dry Shampoo
Any greasy-haired person will tell you that there are few things more annoying than having to wash your hair everyday. Forget stretching out a great blowout or being able to skip shampooing after spin class — daily sudsing is a non-negotiable part of life. But does it have to be this way?
If you've long wondered how to get rid of greasy hair, you've likely heard some folks claim that you can actually "retrain" your scalp to produce less oil. The premise: Daily hair washing dries out your scalp, which, in turn, stimulates oil production. By forcing yourself to forgo daily shampooing, your scalp will eventually be less oily, or so the legend goes. Unfortunately, this theory is too good to be true. "You can't change whether your scalp is greasy, normal, or dry," explains trichologist Anabel Kingsley.
In other words, skipping a few days of hair washing isn't going to have any kind of long-term effect. The state of your scalp, just like your skin type or eye color, is just part of the cards you're dealt, and is largely related to the natural texture of your hair, Kinglsey explains. "Every hair follicle on your head is attached to an oil gland," she says. "When you have finer hair, there's more room on your head for more follicles." More follicles equal more sebum glands equal — you guessed it — more oil. (This is why you'll rarely see someone with coarse, thick hair complaining of greasiness.)
While a little oil keeps hair healthy and smooth and prevents breakage, there is such thing as too much of a good thing, and extra grease can leave roots with more slick than they can handle. The good news: There are things you can do that — while they won't permanently alter your scalp type — can help tamp down excess greasiness and, just maybe, let you go at least one extra day in between shampoos. Here's the game plan to how to get rid of greasy hair. (Related: The Only Products You Need to Make Second-Day, Dirty Hair Look Freshly Shampooed)
Soak Up the Sweat
A quick fix for how to get rid of greasy hair? You likely already know it. Dry shampoo is the go-to for days you're not washing — but overuse (more than once or twice per week) can make hair dry and vulnerable to breakage, says Elizabeth Houshmand, M.D., a dermatologist in Dallas.
Do a Deep Clean
If your roots are super oily, dry shampoo may not cut it, and you might need to wash more frequently than those with dry hair.
"Try to wash hair with regular shampoo every other day. Then, once or twice a week, swap it for a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup," says Dr. Houshmand. Try Ouai Detox Shampoo (Buy It, $30, sephora.com).
Target the Source
If you're looking for a longer term solution for how to get rid of greasy hair, take note: Moroccan Oil Oily Scalp Treatment (Buy It, $38, sephora.com) is a pre-shampoo serum that you can apply to dry hair to control excess oil, sweat, and product build-up. Part hair into sections so you can apply the argan oil blend all over the scalp evenly, then massage it in. After five minutes, wash and condition.
Add Hydration Without Heft
You may think more moisture equals more grease, but a conditioner formulated for oily roots can help curb excess sebum production. Headquarters Hydrating Conditioner for Oily Roots and Scalp (Buy It, $7, walmart.com) detangles and hydrates without weighing hair down — and the fresh grapefruit-and-basil scent is perfect for post-workout showers.
Fight Oil with Oil
"Peppermint oil has been shown to help break down the sebum your scalp produces," says stylist and scalp expert Philip B. It may seem like a counterintuitive step when it comes to how to get rid of greasy hair, but since oil dissolves oil, using this lighter, plant-based oil is an effective way to remove heavier skin sebum and keep your scalp moisturized and healthy, he explains.
Try Philip B. Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo (Buy It, $34, amazon.com) or Avalon Organics Peppermint Strengthening Shampoo (Buy It, $7, amazon.com).
Try Scalp Brushing
When it comes to how to get rid of greasy hair, soaking up the oil is only part of the solution. "Scalp brushing is a great technique when you want to forgo shampooing," says B. Using a boar-bristle brush, brush your scalp for two to three minutes, closely enough so that you can really feel it against your head. "Because the natural bristles are porous, they pick up the oil at the root and then disperse it down the hair shaft as you brush," he explains.
Do it correctly, and you can actually move 3/4 of the oil on your scalp away from the root and towards the ends (which are innately drier and can benefit from the oil), he adds. This technique can also make a huge difference in the efficacy of dry shampoo. "When you don't move the oil away from the root, the dry shampoo gets thick and gloppy," he says. Try Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo (Buy It, $14, sephora.com) and RAINCRY Boar Bristle Paddle Brush (Buy It, $90, anthropologie.com).
Apply Scalp Toner
You've likely used toner to help balance the skin on your face, so why not try the same for the skin on your head? "Just like a toner for your complexion, a scalp toner with an astringent ingredient, like witch hazel, will help dry out excess oils and leave your scalp feeling cleaner and fresher," says Kinglsey. As for how to get rid of greasy hair, try Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner (Buy It, $33, amazon.com).
Hydrate Your Ends
Getting rid of moisture (as in, sweat) at the roots while adding hydration to the bottom half of hair is a delicate balance. Focus Pantene Sulfate-Free Hydrating Glow Thirsty Ends Milk to Water Serum (Buy It, $7, target.com) on mid-lengths and ends. The fast-absorbing, vitamin E–infused oil prevents split ends from forming.