Train Your Hair to Be Less Oily

Washing hair every day is such old news.

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Model with Short Hair
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the more you wash your hair, the more you need to. Daily shampooing actually strips your hair of healthy oil, which causes frizz, split ends, and—maybe worst of all—the overproduction of sebum (or your own natural oil). The sebum is what's behind that urge we get to wash our hair. Don't worry, you can break the cycle by "training" your hair to be less oily. Depending on your hair type, you can wait three to five days between washes, and we've got the scoop on how to survive the process while you're waiting for sebum production to slow down. We'll admit, the first two weeks are the most difficult, but after about week four, you should see a significant difference. Here's how to get rid of oily hair:

Day 1: Start with a clarifying wash, and then a careful condition. Hit the reset button for scalp and hair with a clarifying shampoo, which is the best shampoo for oil-prone hair. This will remove any product and oil buildup that might already exist in your locks. It's a deep clean, but also harsh on your hair, so don't overdo it. Use this no more than once a week for naturally oily/fine hair, and no more than once a month for coarse/thick hair. Do condition, but keep the conditioner far away from your scalp. As a rule of thumb, massage conditioner from midshaft to ends. We love Neutrogena's Anti-Residue Shampoo, which works wonders on every hair type.

Days 2-3: Lean on dry shampoo. In the days that follow, don't hesitate to rely on dry shampoo to keep your hair looking fresh. It soaks up oil and adds enviable texture and volume. Start by using a paddle brush to distribute your natural oil evenly through your hair moving it as close to the ends as possible. Remember, it's good for your hair–just not for your style–so redistributing to the areas that are lacking moisture is key. (For extra hair credit, use this tip before bed, too.) Next, spray in a light layer of dry shampoo into the roots. For those of you that start to show signs of oily hair within 24 hours of a wash, go ahead and apply dry shampoo immediately after your blowout. As your scalp starts to produce oil through the day, the product will be in place ready to soak it up. You'll likely find that the longer you follow this regimen, the less dry shampoo you need. Our favorite version, Batiste, can be purchased at your local drugstore. These are also great days to heat style. The extra oil and product in your hair will actually help hold your style, just be sure to add a pea-sized drop of hair oil, like Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Oil, before exposing your locks to heat.


Days 4-5: Embrace the updo. By this point, you likely have a good bit of both oil and product buildup in your hair. But not to worry, you can still look put-together without a fresh shampoo. This is the ideal time for your favorite updo. The buildup will actually help your hair stay in place, and pulling it back will disguise the dirty factor. We love a side braid, messy chignon, or a sleek low bun.

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