Having greasy hair is a cyclical problem: You wash you hair often to keep tresses looking fresh and clean, but over-washing ends up producing more oil. Is Mother Nature playing some kid of joke? How can hair get oilier from trying to keep it clean? Here’s the thing: Once you strip your hair of its natural oils, the scalp goes into oil production overload, undoing everything you’re trying to combat. Sigh. The world is an unfair place.
Unfair as this news may be, we come bearing relief: You can actually train your hair to be less greasy. How, you ask? It’s all about spacing out your washes. Sure, the first few weeks of your new hair-training regimen may be difficult—especially since the oiliness won’t halt right away—but we promise you’ll agree it was all worth it once you start seeing results.
Start off the first day of hair training by starting with—what else?—a wash. Allison Friedman, senior stylist at Warren Tricomi Salon in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, says to “choose a shampoo that’s clear versus a milky consistency shampoo; clear shampoos tend to be lighter and won’t weigh your hair down as much.” You can also try a clarifying shampoo, like Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo (£17), to give your strands a seriously deep clean (but don’t use this more than once a week, as it can be a bit harsh).
Fight the urge and skip your daily hair wash on day two. Instead, spritz some Batiste Dry Shampoo (£5) onto your roots to keep hair looking clean (even if it isn’t!). However, Friedman says if your roots get extra greasy, the trick is toapply dry shampoo immediately after a wash: “I apply some dry shampoo directly to my roots after a fresh blowout so that as the hours go on and your scalp starts to produce oil, the dry shampoo will start working immediately to combat that oil, and you can reapply as much as needed throughout the next days to keep the oil at bay and your blowout as fresh as possible.”
Your hair may be looking a bit dirty by this point, but the beauty is that you can really capitalise on the grease for don’t-care ‘dos. These styles are chic but purposefully messy, meaning a little grease and texture will only make it better. We love a low, loose chignon that you can either tie up with a hair tie or clip in place with a Claire’s 2 Pack Comfortable Fit Claw Hair Clips (£5). Pulling your hair back is especially important because it cancels the possibility of being able to run your fingers through your hair. Finger-to-hair contact conjures up oils, which is definitely something we try to avoid!
This is the last day of your shampoo-free hair! However, we’ll let you cheat a bit and wet your hair in the shower with warm (not hot!) water. While in the shower, pour a bit of apple cider vinegar into your hair, work it through your roots, and rinse it out. Raw, organic apple cider vinegar, like Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (£7), is acidic enough that it helps restore the pH balance of your hair, ridding the scalp of buildup, yet is gentle enough that it doesn’t strip your strands of essential nutrients.
Then, on day 5 comes wash day. Alas—shampoo and hair meet again. After washing your hair today, follow the four-day routine outlined above, but remember two key things: Touch it as sparingly as possible, and don’t overuse styling products. Loads of hair spray and creams cause buildup on the scalp, which then leads to excess grease, so it’s best to skip these if you can. Friedman suggests only applying one styling product to the scalp: “The only product you ever want to put on your roots when your hair is damp is a mousse or a root lifter before blow-drying.” We like Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse (£22).
Try this four-day stretch for a few weeks until you notice your hair is feeling less and less greasy. Once you reach this point, you can whittle your routine down to three days. Fewer washes means healthier hair and a more eco-friendly routine—the best of both worlds!