Beauty & the Brush: oily hair

Maria Saadat June 10, 2010

It’s 8 am and you’re already running late. As you grasp your morning coffee you groan - you just caught a glimpse of your oily bangs in the mirror. There’s no time for breakfast let alone a wash and blow-dry. Would it really be so bad if you went to work with your hair plastered against your forehead?

Sound familiar? Check out this week’s burning question from a reader who, like you, battles oily tresses on a daily basis.

I have an extremely oily scalp and can’t go without shampooing every day in the summer. I’ve read that daily shampooing can be harmful for one’s hair, but my greasy hair is such a dirt attracter and it’s difficult to style it so I have no choice. I want to know what causes a scalp to become oily - could I be using the wrong type of hair product? What is it that I should look for before buying a shampoo? Also, would you recommend using a conditioner?

Unfortunately, there’s no panacea for oily hair. Mostly, the cause is genetic, which means eating right and stress therapy won’t curb the grease. Other reasons include environment (pollution as found in Pakistan), hormonal changes, and using the wrong kind of shampoos and finishing sprays. However, there are products you can use to prevent the “just got back from a tayl maalish” look.

Unless you have dry tresses or are prone to hair loss, most experts will tell you shampooing every day is not too harmful. If you can’t skip a day in between, focus your attention on sudsing up only your scalp - your actual strands don’t need to be cleansed every time you wash.

When choosing a shampoo, ignore the commercials with the stunning model flipping her silky mane. Shampoo works differently for everyone. Go for a mild bottle that says “daily clarifying,” - it will remove any build-up of oil. Steer clear of volumising shampoos or those for thick hair that contain unnecessary silicones. And for God’s sake, throw out your 2-in1 shampoo; we have no idea why these awful products were invented in the first place.

If you feel the shampoo you chose has made no difference, switch it up. Sometimes the most expensive brands are not necessarily the ones that work best. It’s really all about trial and error. The right shampoo will control your sebum production even if only slightly.

There is no reason why oily-haired girls can’t use conditioner. Start out by using it once a week and see how you fare. What many ladies don’t realize is, conditioner is meant to moisturize and protect your strands, not your roots. Apply to the lower end of your hair, no higher than the tops of your ears.

Another option, one that may sound absurd but is a secret of the stars (we promise!) is to apply baby powder to your hair on the days you don’t shampoo. The powder soaks up the excess oil and works as a root lifter! However, we don’t condone the use of this product as a replacement for hygiene. It should be reserved for use by ladies who are exhausted by their overactive oil glands or for those who are in a rush.

A final tip - if you’re like us and love running your fingers through your hair, you’re causing your scalp to produce more oil, and worse, spread faster through your tresses. Fight the urge, ladies, or you’ll end up resembling Sri Devi from one of her famous rain scenes, except in this case - it won’t be water gleaming on your hair.

Maria Saadat is author of the popular desi beauty site Lipstick Masala


Do you have a question about make-up? Can’t figure out a hairstyle for an upcoming wedding? Do your attempts at smoky eye make-up leave you looking like a raccoon? Have no fear! E-mail your questions and issues to [email protected] and Maria Saadat will respond to them in an upcoming column.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 11th, 2010.


ayesha hassan | 11 years ago | Reply nice!
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