Why Does My Hair Get Greasy So Fast?

Unlikely culprits are lurking at every turn.

Few things are more frustrating than investing time to wash and style your hair only to be met with oily or greasy strands the same day. Whether it's your shampoo or conditioner choice, your nervous habit of playing with your hair, or the fact that your pillowcase hasn't seen a good wash in, well, we'd rather not say, there are plenty of reasons why your hair isn't maintaining its freshness. We're here to shed light on the tricky little things that might make your hair greasy so you can extend the time between shampoos without sacrificing your style. Here are some mistakes to avoid to prevent greasy or oily hair.

Greasy Hair in Bun on Top of Head
Softulka / Getty

Shampoo Mistakes

Not Getting Your Hair Clean in the First Place

It might be a surprise, but some of us are not washing our hair correctly. There's a reason your hair stays fresh for so long after a trip to the salon, and it's probably because the stylist works the shampoo through your hair, scrubbing your scalp and ensuring not to miss an inch.

Add Water, Not More Shampoo

You might have also noticed another little trick that sets professional washes apart from your thrice-weekly scrub: Instead of adding more shampoo if the lather isn't sufficient, stylists usually add a quick splash of water. That one little pro tip can save you money and ensure you're not adding unnecessary product, which can weigh down your hair (yes, even if it's shampoo).

Overwashing Your Hair

It's not your imagination—the more you wash your hair, the quicker it may seem to need another wash. If you rinse your hair of its natural oils too frequently, it could be trying to overcompensate. Your scalp could be amping up oil production, which means greasier strands in record time. Instead, plan your hair-wash schedule for your workout days, social calendar, etc. That way, you can give your strands the day off when they're not going to be front and center.

Conditioner and Product Mistakes

Conditioner-Related Issues

Using too much conditioner, the wrong conditioner, or misapplying conditioner can all lead to greasier hair. Your hair type, texture, length, and more should factor into how you approach the post-shampoo process. A good rule of thumb is to apply conditioner from mid-strands to ends and always ensure it's thoroughly washed out unless it's a leave-in product—in which case you'll probably be using it post-shower.

Using the Wrong Product for Your Hair

Your best friend told you about a miracle product you just have to try, so you use a serum that leaves your hair dirty by day two. Newsflash: not all products are universal winners. There likely isn't one that will work on every hair type, texture, and thickness. You can undoubtedly look for advice from your trusted inner circle, but at the end of the day, you might have better luck talking with your stylist about which products are best for your specific hair needs.

Your stylist may also have a product line sold in the salon that they point you towards, which isn't the best fit. If those products aren't within your budget, you should let your stylist know so they can suggest other options you can pick up on your next grocery or Target run.

Don't Rely on Dry Shampoo

The answer isn't necessarily reaching for the dry shampoo instead of a wash either, as overusing the product could lead to scalp buildup with side effects ranging from hair with increased oily tendencies to even hair loss in the most severe of circumstances.

Routine Mistakes

Touching Your Hair Too Often

We know those fresh-from-the-salon tresses are tempting but keep your fingers out of your mane if you want to make it last. Our skin holds all kinds of oils (not to mention dirt, germs, and other not-so-pleasant things), which you're passing on to your strands the minute they meet.

Dirty Linens

So, you finally invested in a silk pillowcase? First, congratulations. You're about to embark on some good hair days. Second, it's time to read up on the proper care. You likely won't be able to throw it in the machine with the rest of your linens. It will probably require a run on the gentle cycle at the very least, perhaps with a hand-wash recommended instead.

Whether you have a standard cotton pillowcase or have splurged for a silk option, you'll need to keep your pillowcase clean to keep your hair clean too. Residual makeup (yes, even if you double cleanse), skin-care residue, sweat, and more lurk between those fibers (even more so if you're still using a cotton pillowcase). This residue makes your strands greasier as the clock beats toward wake-up time. Wash your pillowcase weekly, and you'll be in the clear.

Maintenance Mistakes

Not Brushing Enough

Are you of the "100 strokes" generation? Or maybe that was a beauty rule passed down to you from Mom or Grandma? The fact is that finding a good hairbrush and regularly passing it through your strands can increase blood flow to the scalp, potentially promoting hair growth while keeping tangles at bay.

Brushing Too Much

This tip might seem counterintuitive to the recommendation you brush more often, but it depends on where you are in your hair-wash schedule and the results you want to achieve. A good brushing routine can also help disperse the oils from the scalp throughout the rest of the strands, keeping those locks healthy-looking and shiny. But, if you're trying to stretch out the time until your next wash, it's probably best to keep the brushing to a minimum.

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