We all get greasy hair from time to time; it’s a natural process. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you have greasy hair after one day, and you find you have to wash your hair every single day to keep on top of things.
If you find yourself exasperatedly asking: “Why is my hair so greasy when I’ve only just washed it?” or if this isn’t the norm for you, it’s worth taking a closer look at why you have suddenly greasy hair.
Don’t panic, as there is likely a very simple explanation for why your hair is suddenly on the greasy side and always a solution. Keep reading as we learn more about the hair-greasing process and what could be caused by the sudden speeding up of your hair’s oiliness.
What causes greasy hair?
Greasy hair is caused by an excess or build-up of sebum, the natural oils produced by our scalp to support our hair health. These natural oils help to support the outer layers of the hair and protect the delicate proteins inside.
Within a couple of days after washing your hair, these natural oils build up and leave the surface of your hair looking dull, darker and ‘glued down’. Of course, we all produce sebum, but hormonal changes such as puberty or pregnancy can increase or decrease sebum production.
As well as the physical appearance of greasy hair, an overload of sebum on your hair can actually cause long-term damage. Sebum is an unstable substance that degrades and oxidises when exposed to UV, which can cause damage to both your hair and scalp.
Also, your hair type or hair condition, plays an important role on how fast your hair can get greasy. Fine hair, for example, is much more likely to get greasy quickly, as it ables to absorb less sebum and moisture than thicker, coarse types.
Why is my hair greasy all of a sudden?
If you’ve experienced a sudden change in how quickly your hair gets greasy, there are a number of potential culprits. Let’s take a more in depth look at them below.
If you’ve experienced any dietary or lifestyle changes in the last couple of months, this could be a reason for your hair is getting greasy so fast. The best way to find out and fix the issue is by speaking to your doctor, before adjusting your haircare routine to compensate for more grease.
Using products that are too heavy
Changed up your hair routine recently? We all want our hair to be well-moisturised, as moisture is the key to healthy looking and feeling hair. That said, not all hair types require the same amount of moisture from products – thick, coarse or curly hair can absorb far more moisture than fine types. As a result, if you have fine hair you’re using heavy moisturising products, it might be that your hair is getting greasy more quickly because there’s an excess of moisture. For fine hair types, getting the optimum level of moisture that won’t overload your hair is a fine art.
Styling products are leave-on formulas that aren’t rinsed until your next wash, which means that you won’t get rid of any residue after applying. Over time (sometimes few hours later), these will build up on your scalp, creating the greasy look you’re trying so hard to avoid. The easy solution is to be to be mindful when applying styling or leave on products to your roots – sometimes less is more!
Another possible culprit is that the shampoo and conditioner you’re using could be too heavy for your hair, meaning your hair can’t absorb all the moisture it’s being provided with. For hair that gets greasy easily, a clear shampoo that doesn’t contain weighty conditioning agents is a must – our Classic Clean Shampoo will leave your hair fresh with nothing to weigh it down post-wash.
Changes in your hormones: puberty, pregnancy and menopause
Sebum production is controlled by our hormones, so a sudden surge in scalp oil production could be down to hormonal changes. If you’ve recently gone through a major life event that’s known to have an impact on your hormone levels, this may be having a knock-on effect on the amount of sebum your scalp is producing.
Hormonal changes at different life stages, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, have been found to impact sebum levels, and so most of us experience this change at some point in our lives. Puberty is the step that’s most likely to see an increase, as the levels decrease from your twenties onwards. Don’t panic, as it’s possible to manage a shift in levels by taking precautionary steps in your hair care regime.
Sebum levels may also be affected by certain diseases, so if you’ve noticed a very unusual change or surge in oil levels, be sure to discuss with your doctor to get to the bottom of the issue.
Mother Nature and changes to the environment
It’s possible that the changing of seasons (or climate if you’ve recently travelled) has caused your scalp to go into overdrive and think it needs to produce excessive oils. The sebum glands will adapt to help protect the scalp, often increasing the levels of oil they produces – but often, your hair can’t absorb all this extra oil produced, leaving it looking greasy.
Regularly touching your hair
Whether it’s a nervous habit, something you don’t consciously think about or something you get joy out of when you’ve just styled your hair, touching your hair can cause to become greasy.
It sounds like a simple one, but touching your hair or even moving your part from one side to another increase the distribution of the sebum through your hair, leading to a greasier look. Been touching or fiddling with your hair a lot lately? Your suddenly greasy hair could be in part down to this. The same logic applies if you’ve recently started wearing hats; your greasy hair may be in response to this change.
The solution? In times where you’re tempted to fiddle with your hair, tie it up to prevent you from playing with it.
How to stop hair getting greasy so quickly
Switch out your shampoo for a clarifying option
Now you’re more aware of the importance of using a shampoo that won’t overload your hair with unnecessary moisture, it’s time to take a deeper look at the one that’s going to cleanse your hair for a longer, fresher feeling without leaving it dry and over-cleansed.
A clarifying shampoo will not only fully cleanse your hair of any dirt and sebum build-up, but also of any excess product residue, leaving you with hair that’s deeply cleaned. Our Micellar Cleanse & Nourish Shampoo lifts away all impurities and build-up to deeply cleanse the hair for a fresh finish, without being so harsh that they strip hair of all its natural goodness.
Switch to a lighter conditioner
For hair that gets greasy easily, you might be thinking, why would I want to use a heavy moisturising product like conditioner? The fact is that every hair type needs moisture for healthy, shiny and flexible hair, so it’s just a case of finding a formula that’s going to strike a balance with your hair type.
Foam conditioners offer all the moisturising benefits of a traditional conditioner in an air-light formula that rinses cleanly, so you don’t need to worry about overloading your easily greasy hair. These formulas deeply infuse your hair with moisture without leaving any residue, for lighter hair that bounces.
There are different options depending on your hair concern, but we recommend the Volume & Body option for hair that’s sitting flat and greasy and needs a bit of ‘oomph’. Apply to the mid lengths and ends only to avoid the greasy roots conundrum.
Top tip: When rinsing your hair, turn down the temperature of the water – hot water stimulates your sebaceous glands, so this will help to seal the cuticle and stop your hair from going into oil overdrive.
Be smart with your hair styling
It’s important to remember that styling products are often very heavy and can add unnecessary weight and substance to your hair; things that will contribute to that greasy and lifeless look. Stick to lightweight styling products that won’t add too much weight on your hair, avoiding heavier, leave-in conditioners and styling creams. Our Mousse Perfect Volume gives fine hair a boost that lasts all day with the added bonus of protecting hair against humidity so it doesn’t frizz. If you favour sprays over mousses, or you like additional hold on your style, our Hairspray Perfect Volume gives a sheer volume and body finish that’s lightweight.
Avoid over brushing your hair, too – no more than 2 or 3 times a day – and use a natural bristled brush that’s gentler on the scalp.
Keep your styling tools and brushes as clean as possible to prevent grease transfer, and also change your pillowcase regularly for a clean environment for your hair while you sleep.
See your doctor
If you suspect your suddenly greasy hair is down to a hormonal, dietary or other medical problem, you should always make an appointment with your doctor to discuss further and get advice that’s specific to you.
So, you see, suddenly having greasy hair doesn’t need to be the end of the world for you and your hair. A little investigation and tweaking of your routine here and there, and your hair will be back under your control before you know it.