Stories Feature

Emma Corrin for The Cut, 2022

An excess of oil on the scalp is super common yet that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for anyone dealing with the resulting limp and stringy bangs, itchy scalp, and self-conscious feelings. If you have thick, curly hair it can be a boon, helping to nourish and protect hair as it grows. If you have fine, straight hair it can be a real downer.

Sebum is produced by sebaceous glands in your skin and scalp and performs an essential function acting as a protective barrier and a natural lubricant, helping to retain moisture in your skin and scalp and prevent inflammation. When our sebaceous glands get a little too excited this can lead to clogged follicles and dull lank hair.

Sebum is made up of lipids that include cholesterol, fatty acids, glycerides and squalene which are all good things. When treating an oily scalp, we don’t necessarily want to remove all these good helpful fat molecules. Without them our hair and skin are more prone to brittleness, infection and chaffing – ouch.

Regular cleansing of your hair with a gentle shampoo will help to remove excess oils while still retaining the benefits of all those fatty molecules. If you are a daily washer one shampoo application will most likely do the trick but don’t be shy to go in for a second or third shampoo if you feel you need it or if you prefer a 3- or 4-day wash cycle.

It’s a no brainer to reach for dry shampoo when you are experiencing an oily scalp. Because the combination of dry shampoo and oil on your scalp can lead to clogged follicles, we recommend saving it for the day before wash day to get you through that last stretch without the risk of creating congestion on your scalp.

Brushing your hair can help to distribute oils along your hair shaft and prevent a build-up of oil on your scalp. Try not to overbrush your hair as brushing won’t prevent oiliness and could be over stimulating for your scalp. Do use a boar bristle brush to get the best from those good oils.

If you are a daily hair washer you may find your strands need a little extra nourishment. Use a moisturizing mask once a week on your scalp and hair to replenish those lost oils and keep strands healthy and supple.

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