Two Counter-intuitive Ways of Dealing with Oily Scalp (with Added Benefits for Your Hair too!)

Aargh oily scalp and the problems that come with it… I suffered from such problems until very recently, and I know they are not pleasant! If you are struggling with oily scalp, I am proposing two counter-intuitive ways of dealing with it. The bad news? There is no instant fix. The good news? They cost next to nothing, and if you have a little patience, you will see improvement. Even better news? Your hair will also benefit from these tips!

(Since I can’t really show you in pictures how less greasy my scalp is nowadays, I decided to show you how much shine it got from the new regimen in the picture above!)

First of all, pick a good shampoo, preferably silicone-free (my current favorites are Vichy Oil Control Treatment Shampoo), and REDUCE YOUR SHAMPOOING FREQUENCY. I had short hair as a teenager, and being the hygiene freak that I am, I used to shampoo my hair on a daily basis. I started growing my hair out at university, but still I would shampoo every other day. With the perm I had 7 months ago, I’ve had to dry my hair with a diffuser every time, which means the ends have it the hardest. At some point, my hair basically couldn’t take the every-other-day shampooing anymore. I had to reduce the frequency. I wouldn’t lie to you, the process was tough. For someone who used to shampoo every other day, not doing so felt pretty wrong and gross. My scalp would look so very greasy and hair limp and lifeless, but I knew I had to hang in there. I can’t tell you exactly how long this process takes, because I believe it’s different for different people, and the change happens slowly. However, I guarantee that one day you will suddenly realize your hair looks quite OK even when you’re not shampooing so often. Nowadays, I shampoo twice a week, and my scalp no longer greases up like crazy after a day or two. The thing is, the more frequently you shampoo your scalp, the more it feels the need to produce sebum. If you go all zen and laissez-faire however, gradually your scalp will also relax and stop producing sebum at top speed. Give it at least 2 weeks. You will start seeing the difference. If I may say so, it’s a good time to start now. The temperature is lower, so the sebum production is likely to be less active than it is in summer. Also, you sweat less, which substantially reduces the need to shampoo your hair.

The second counter-intuitive way of dealing with oily scalp? Olive oil. I know you are probably thinking about turning away from this crazy blog forever, but listen to my story! I once asked an Indian friend what was the secret of her beautiful, luscious hair. She eyed me up and said:” promise you won’t think I’m gross.” After I solemnly swore I wouldn’t, she said:” oil.” Apparently, there are some hair oils one can purchase in India (some people use coconut oil too). If you put the oil in your hair and then shampoo it off, it does amazing things to it. She explained olive oil would do in the case of lack of access to these commercially available oils, so I gave it a try. The result was pretty impressive on my manes! However, I didn’t use it on my scalp because I thought it was already too greasy. The next time I saw her, I reported my experience, and an Italian friend overheard. “Oh yeah, girls back home use olive oil like that. But why don’t you try it on your scalp? It works pretty well!” I thought it was insane, but since it sounded like a well-kept Mediterranean beauty secret, my curiosity got the better of me. I rubbed some olive oil on my scalp when I did the olive oil treatment next time and guess what? MY SCALP HAD NEVER FELT SO CLEAN BEFORE! Apparently olive oil benefits scalp by nourishing it and taking away the build-up at the same time. Now this is what I do: I pour some olive oil out in a bowl, start by massaging it into the ends of my hair and then moving up. At the end, I use just the tiniest amount (think one teaspoon or even less), rub it between my palms, and smooth it over my scalp (note: don’t go too crazy, because there is a point at which it can’t be effectively shampooed off in one go). I would recommend a minimum of half an hour with this treatment, but you can leave it in for as long as you want. If you are enjoying an idle Sunday morning at home, why not give this a go? I personally still need a conditioner/treatment after shampooing the oil off, but it contributes significantly to scalp/hair health! My scalp always feels very “light” after this treatment. It might sound a bit abstract, so you just have to try!

As I said, it might take a little while for that sebum production to calm down, but in the meantime you’ll probably already notice improvement in your hair. It’s killing two birds with one stone!

Now tell me, if you have oily scalp, would you consider dealing with it in these counter-intuitive ways?

Sunny xx

PS: TGIF! What are your plans for the weekend? The MAC spring collections have finally made their way to Belgium. I know I want Added Goodness and check some other pieces out, so it looks like I’ll be in Brussels tomorrow! On Sunday I’ll work on backup posts for the blog, because next week looks like a busy one!