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Hair health and science

How to Prevent Greasy Hair

6 minutes

Greasy hair gets a bad rap, but what we call oily hair is actually a scalp problem and is simply the result of overactive sebaceous glands that are producing too much sebum. Although this oily substance has great benefits, like keeping hair healthy-looking, smooth and preventing it from drying out and breaking, too much can cause the hair to look slick and greasy (and not in a good way).

If it feels like you’re always washing your hair, it could be too much, and actually be contributing to your oily hair conundrum. As weird as it sounds, washing your hair too often can actually cause your hair to produce more sebum to counteract. How to prevent oily hair is as complex a question as how often to wash your hair, but it’s possible to stop hair getting greasy so fast and stop hair getting greasy overnight and between washes. Sadly, there’s no ‘cure’ for greasy hair as you’ll always produce sebum, but you can keep it under control and ensure it doesn’t stop you from looking and feeling great with a few simple tips and tricks.

Why hair becomes greasy

While greasy hair can be frustrating, at its root (quite literally!) it’s simply the hair’s protective and nourishing qualities gone into overdrive. The science behind it is easy; glands in the scalp next to the hair roots in the layer of skin called the dermis produce sebum that moisturises hair and keeps it healthy-looking and strong from the root through to the lengths. When they produce too much, too quickly, hair gets greasy between washes. The people most susceptible to a build-up of oil have fine or straight hair where it’s most noticeable, but with a few simple steps, you’ll go from greasy to glossy and learn to manage and control the problem on a day-to-day basis.

Hacks and tips to stop greasy hair

How to avoid greasy hair? Dry shampoo is those with greasy hair’s best ally – neutralizing odours and removing dirt to leave hair feeling fresh and looking cleaner in one swift action. Not only does dry shampoo save perfectly styled hair from a wash (and the subsequent wear and tear from prolonged contact with water), it also saves time and energy in the morning. There’s nothing worse than getting a bouncy blowout and having to wash it out the next day because of dirty roots. Thankfully, the hair gods created dry shampoo so that hair can stay hair fresh between washes.


It can be easy to fall into a daily hair-wash cycle - the appeal of shower-fresh hair day-in-day out is difficult to resist after all. But once you've trained your hair into a regular rinse, it can feel greasy when you try to eke an extra day out of it. As hard as it may be to resist, the more you clean your hair, the more oil your scalp produces to compensate. Use dry shampoo to help buy time between washes, and when you do shampoo, look for ones that include scalp-friendly ingredients. 

Not all shampoos were created equal and Pantene Micellar Cleanse & Nourish Shampoo is a silicone-free formula that blends Pantene Pro-V nutrients with Micellar complex to purify and revitalize hair from root to tip, leaving hair nourished and free flowing. As well as the type of product you choose, it’s also important not to use too much shampoo as it can become heavy on the hair. For most, a 10 pence piece amount of product is just about right - and two quick washes rather than one long wash is better. Also, avoid rinsing with water that’s too hot as this strips the natural oils from the cuticle encouraging the scalp to replace those lost, leaving hair greasier, faster.

Top reasons why hair becomes greasy

1. Seasons changing
As the temperature rises, so does our sweat production, which in turn makes it even easier for the natural oils to slide down the length of the hair follicle, turning even the cleanest head of hair into a slippery mess. Add in a nice sun hat, and you can only image what kind of sweaty follicle action is going in your scalp. Summer maybe be a season for drinks in the garden and boutique festivals with your mates but it’s also the perfect recipe for greasy locks.

2. Hormones
As hormone levels change – through anything from university or work stress, to periods and pregnancy - our body’s reaction can also cause the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive. Oil production becomes even more extreme when these hormones surge, so while some people will feel major effects of increased oil (cue greasy hair and breakouts) during this time, others won't. Nobody said life was fair, right?

3. Touching
If there’s one hair habit to make sacred, it’s this: Stop. Touching. Your. Hair! Even if you have applied dry shampoo to your roots, the natural oils in your hands and fingers will only make your hair oily again. If you suffer with greasy hair, it’s only going start the cycle again, so stop now.

4. Haircare routine
Choose your shampoo and conditioner carefully as the wrong products for your hair type only encourages greasy, lank locks. If you have a tendency for greasy hair or scalp, avoiding any shampoo or conditioner labelled with the words: 'dry', 'damaged', or 'smoothing,' and instead opt for ‘clarifying’ ‘purifying’ and ‘revitalising.’

For more tips, see our guide on how to care for greasy hair.

*does not contain ethanol

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