Oily Hair Guide: Signs, Causes, & Fixes

March 11, 2021

Oily Hair Guide: Signs, Causes, & Fixes

Oily hair is a concern to many and can be an insecurity for those who experience it. 

Discovering the signs of oily hair, along with its causes, can help you find ways in which you can combat it. We have all the information you need to rid yourself of oily tresses, and restore your hair to its luscious glory.

Is Oily Hair Good or Bad?

Everyone’s scalp naturally produces oil, it is excreted by the sebaceous glands and is commonly known as sebum. Sebum helps to keep our hair hydrated and healthy. However, sometimes excess oil can cause our hair to look greasy and weighed down. As our crowning glory, we want our hair to look its best at all times and having oily hair can be a barrier to this. A buildup of oil can cause dandruff to occur and clog our hair’s roots. So it’s best to tackle the problem and get the oil under control to avoid those unwanted consequences!

what causes hair to become oily?


5 Signs of Oily Hair & How to Identify It

The main sign of oily hair is in the appearance of your locks. If your tresses appear greasy, lank, and lifeless you are most likely suffering from oily hair. Some people may find they suffer from oily roots, but dry and damaged hair towards their tips. However, if you’re still unsure there are a few methods you can use to determine if your hair is oily.

  • Check glass surfaces - if you have oily hair and rest your head against a glass surface (like a window), you will most likely leave an oil mark.
  • Run your fingers through your locks - if you have oily hair they will feel oily afterward.
  • Check your pillow when you wake up - oily hair leaves a thin layer on the pillowcase making it feel greasy to the touch.
  • If your scalp is often itchy this can be a sign of oily hair.
  • Place a tissue to your scalp when hair is dry, inspect this tissue under a light, if you can see grease on the paper you have oily hair.

If you find you do have oily hair, don’t worry. Many people have excess oil production and there’s lots of ways to stop your hair from being so oily. 

Why is My Hair Oily?

There are many common causes of oily hair, and a lot of them may be things you do on a daily basis without a second thought. Knowing these causes will empower you with the knowledge to fix your oily hair. 

do I have oily hair?

  • Touching hair too often can transfer oil from your hands to your locks, making hair appear oily.
  • Washing hair too often can cause a vicious cycle of stripping the hair of its natural oils. This stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum ultimately making hair oily. 
  • Not washing hair often enough means sebum has time to build up causing oily hair.
  • Using the wrong products with too harsh ingredients, such as sulfate. Harsh products can leave the scalp too dry, which to compensate will stimulate oil production.
  • Using an excess of styling products can cause a build up which can lead to oily hair.
  • Hormonal changes such as puberty, menopause, or pregnancy can make hair oily.
  • Genetics plays a large part in how much oil your scalp produces.
  • A poor diet e.g. excessive consumption of fried foods can over-stimulate your oil-glands, as can sugar and salt.
  • Climate and temperature also have an impact.
  • Lifestyle can also have an impact. Those who are more active and sweat more may find this is a cause of oily hair.

So there are many things that can result in oily hair. From the products you use, to diet, and even small habits you may have that you don’t even notice - like touching your hair! For the most part these are practices we can amend to help control oily hair.

Can Curly Hair Be Oily?

Curly hair types are often discussed as being those that suffer from dry hair the most. However, this doesn’t mean that curly, wavy, and coily hair can’t become oily. Everyone is susceptible to oily hair regardless of hair type. Due to the twists and turns in curly hair, sebum struggles to move down the hair shaft. This can lead to a build up on the scalp, ultimately ending in oily hair around the roots. At the same times as having oily roots, the ends of your hair could be dry!

how to stop hair from being oily

How Can I Stop My Hair Becoming Oily?

Luckily there are many solutions you can use to combat oily hair! Once you’ve identified what you believe to be the causes of your own oily hair, you can start working on restoring your locks back to their very best! 

  • Experiment with how often you wash your hair. If you’re leaving washes too far apart, try washing more frequently. Or if you are washing your hair everyday try and prolong the time between washes. 
  • If you’re using harsh ingredients, such as sulfates, try switching to sulfate-free shampoo. This is more gentle on the hair and scalp, so won’t strip your tresses of their natural sebum. 
  • Using a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month can help remove build up.
  • Don’t overuse styling products - keep to lightweight products that won’t leave a build up.
  • Avoid oils. Whilst products like coconut oil can help high porosity hair, and other hair types, keep moisture locked in, they can leave oily hair even more greasy. 
  • Keeping your hands out of your hair is a simple way to tackle oily hair. 
  • Eat a balanced diet & drink lots of water. Keeping your body healthy and hydrated has lots of benefits, including controlling sebum production.
  • Only brush curly hair in the shower whilst wet and with the aid of a conditioner. This will stop you overstimulating the scalp.

With so many ways to fix oily hair, there’s no reason you should put up with it any longer! Remember when switching up your haircare routine it’s important to give your new system time to work!

Why is Curlsmith so Special?

We create cruelty free formulas that really work for your curly hair. Our ranges were created in collaboration with curly hair stylists, trichologists, and curly girls, with their specific needs in mind. Our moisture range will give dry locks an added boost of hydration, whilst our scalp range will detox and melt away build up. Our color range can help you add a pop of fun to your locks, whilst our strength range targets hair bonds to reinforce them. Whatever your hair concerns are, we have the solution at Curlsmith.





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