Finding the best shampoo for oily thin hair is not easy unless you know what you are dealing with.
Greasy thin hair is often the cause of over-washing, but there could be other reasons for oily thin hair as well.
The right shampoo and the correct type of haircare can help combat greasy thin hair.
Here’s everything you need to know about greasy and thin hair, how to maintain it, and the best shampoo for your hair.
Table of Contents:
- What is the oil on my scalp?
- Is sebum a bad thing?
- What causes my fine hair to become greasy?
- What caused my thinning hair to become greasy?
- Why is my scalp oily but my hair dry?
- Health conditions that can cause greasy hair
- Symptoms of thin oily hair
- Why is my hair greasy even after washing it?
- How should I treat thin oily hair?
- Tips to prevent greasy hair after washing
- What shampoo ingredients does the best shampoo for oily fine hair contain?
- The best shampoo for oily thin hair
What is the oil on my scalp?
The natural oil on your scalp is sebum produced by the sebaceous glands. Each hair strand has a sebaceous gland attached to it, which produces sebum – the substance that makes your hair and scalp oily.
The main components of sebum are cellular debris and fat, which, when mixed with pollutants, sweat, and grime, make your hair greasy.
Excess sebum can cause the scalp to look greasy and oily, while the hair looks heavy and stringy.
Is sebum a bad thing?
Sebum is not bad. All hair produces some sebum (oil) to keep the hair and scalp nourished and healthy.
However, excessive sebum production can lead to very oily and greasy hair. People with overactive sebaceous glands are very conscious of their oily hair and scalp and might suffer from low self-esteem.
What causes my fine hair to become greasy?
If you have fine hair, it will naturally get greasy faster than those with thicker hair. The reason is this: with fine hair, there are more hairs on your head per square centimetre. Each strand has a sebaceous (oil) gland attached, meaning you have more glands per square centimetre. As a result, your scalp produces a lot more oil.
What caused my thinning hair to become greasy?
If you have thinning hair, there is a reduced surface area of hair on your scalp. There is not enough hair surface area for the sebum produced by the scalp to spread over.
That makes thinning hair and scalp look greasier than they would have been if you had thicker hair.
Genetics, ageing, and damage to hair follicles are some other reasons you might have an oily thin hair alongside hair loss.
Why is my scalp oily but my hair dry?
The shampoo is designed to clean your hair, but it must be used only on the scalp. The lather that works down the hair shafts gently and naturally cleanses the hair when you rinse the shampoo out.
However, if you over-wash your hair or work shampoo all the way down the length of your hair, you could strip your hair of essential oils and leave it dry.
Using shampoos and other hair products loaded with artificial chemicals can be incredibly drying in people's 40s and 50s. These conditions strip away the goodness from hair, leaving it dry.
Certain skin conditions and genetics also play a role in causing an oily scalp with dry hair.
Health conditions that can cause greasy hair
Here are some of the more common reasons for oily hair.
Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff)
Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the skin. Pink, scaly patches develop in areas with many oil glands – like the scalp.
Hair follicles or pores that become clogged with dirt and oil can lead to acne. Scalp acne can, in turn, cause the scalp to become very oily. That can become a very vicious cycle. Scalp acne can develop from improper and incomplete washing and rinsing of hair.
Your genes might be a contributor to your oily scalp. Genes can determine how much sebum the sebaceous glands produce and how thick your hair is. So, if you have oily, thin hair, it might be hereditary.
Other health conditions that cause oily and thinning hair
- Hormonal disorders
- Certain medications
- Unhealthy eating habits and imbalanced nourishment
- Improper hair care
- Environmental factors, including changes in the weather
- Chemicals treatments for hair
Symptoms of thin oily hair
When checking the condition of your scalp, it is crucial to assess partings regularly at 3 cm or 4 cm intervals. Rub the scalp gently with your fingers to check for sebum production. Redness, dandruff, and scaling are other signs to watch out for.
1. Oily scalp
The scalp area is rich in sebaceous glands, and if you have weak greasy hair, the first tell-tale sign is an oily scalp caused by overactive glands. The oiliness is restricted to the scalp because these glands have the highest concentration on the scalp.
2. Oily dandruff
A large amount of fungus causes oily dandruff. In extreme cases, oily dandruff can cause hair loss and even extend to the forehead.
3. Hair loss
Hair loss can be a sign of oily and thin hair. Thinning hair alongside an oily scalp can result from damaged hair follicles, ageing, or genetics.
Why is my hair greasy even after washing it?
Overproduction of sebum (seborrhea) can make the scalp and hair greasy even if you have just washed your hair. Here are some reasons you might have seborrhea.
- If you suffer from hormone imbalance, you might suffer from seborrhea. You might find your hair and scalp getting greasy just one day after washing.
If you have thin hair, there is not enough surface area of hair to cover the natural sebum produced by the sebaceous glands. That will make your thin and fine hair look greasy a day after you wash it.
- If your hair looks greasy immediately after washing it, it is most likely caused by the hair products you use. Waxy hair products can leave a residue on your hair and cause a buildup of skin cells, oil, and sweat over time, which can leave you with oily greasy hair.
- According to a 2015 study, air pollution can cause oily hair.
- According to a 2016 study, a high-glycemic diet and dairy products can affect androgen hormones, and that could influence the level of sebum your skin produces.
How should I treat thin oily hair?
- If you have thin oily hair, the first step is to find the underlying cause of the greasy hair.
- Washing your hair daily to remove the excess oil can help prevent a buildup and clogged pores.
- A clarifying shampoo can help remove any residue and buildup. However, use a clarifying shampoo only occasionally.
- Some ingredients are better than others. Try a green tea shampoo if you are looking for the best shampoo for oily thin hair. Green tea hair products help reduce oil on the scalp significantly if used regularly for at least a month.
- Avoid hair products with harsh chemicals that could strip your hair of its natural goodness, leaving your hair excessively dry.
Tips to prevent greasy hair after washing
- If you don’t wash your hair often enough, try washing your scalp once daily.
- Sometimes, the problem might be that you are washing too frequently. In that case, the over-washing might be stripping your oily greasy hair of its natural oils, causing more oil production. If you have oily hair even after washing your hair every day, try washing every alternate day or every three days.
- If you have damaged hair, wash your scalp less frequently.
Improve your washing technique. Use only a tiny amount of shampoo on the scalp, and then rinse your hair thoroughly.
- Alternate using your regular shampoo with a clarifying shampoo.
- If you don’t wash your hair every day, try using dry shampoo on the days you don’t wash your hair to get rid of excessive grease.
- Use a lightweight conditioner, using it sparingly and avoiding the roots.
- Stay away from wax-based styling products and oil-based hair products. These products are hard to rinse out and quickly build up on your scalp.
- Clean your hair-styling tools, including brushes, combs, straighteners, and curlers, regularly.
- Wash your hair towels, headwear, and pillowcases regularly.
- Switch to a low glycemic diet to see if that will reduce sebum production.
What shampoo ingredients does the best shampoo for oily fine hair contain?
Shampoos that contain anionic surfactants are the best shampoo for oily thin hair. These shampoos help bind sebum and water to easily rinse the excess oil. Some examples of anionic surfactants that shampoo for oily hair must contain are:
- Laureth Sulfate
- Lauryl sulfate
Those with damaged hair or hair prone to breakage should use milder shampoo for oily hair.
To add volume to thin hair, try a volumizing shampoo.
When choosing the best shampoo for oily thin hair, look for natural ingredients like lemon juice, tea tree oil, and apple cider vinegar. Soothing botanicals like chamomile flowers, sage leaves, fennel fruit, and aloe vera are excellent. They calm and refresh the scalp while leaving your hair fuller, softer, and healthier.
Vitamin B6 helps control sebum production and balances the scalp’s oil levels. It also fights irritation and dullness.
Provitamin B5 is excellent for color-treated oily hair as it strengthens each hair follicle.
The best shampoo for thin oily hair is lightweight products with deep cleansing agents, natural ingredients, and minimal conditioning agents.
The best shampoo for oily thin hair
WOW Sin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is a plant-powered clarifying formula for stressed and oily hair. Infused with raw apple cider vinegar known to help clarify hair, this gentle formula helps remove excess oil and buildup. It also restores shine and vitality to your tresses. Sweet almond oil provides your hair and scalp with nourishment, strength, and shine, while antioxidant-rich nettle leaf extract soothes your scalp.
WOW Skin Science Green Tea & Tea Tree Anti-Dandruff Shampoo clarifies and refreshes your scalp and hair. If you are looking for the best shampoo for thin oily hair, this one has a powerful pH-balanced formula. It is loaded with soothing botanicals like tea tree oil, green tea, rosebay, and sweet almond oil. This shampoo for oily thin hair helps combat dandruff caused by an oily scalp, while Provitamin B5 helps fight and prevent dryness of the hair and scalp.
WOW Skin Science Activated Charcoal and Keratin Shampoo is specially designed to remove oil, dirt, impurities, and any buildup while repairing and restoring strength to damaged hair. This shampoo for oily thin hair bursts with nourishing and fortifying botanicals, including aloe vera extract, argan oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil that work together to detoxify and restore your hair to its natural beauty. The shampoo for oily thin hair can be safely used on color-treated hair, giving you a color-safe cleanse.
Oily or thinning greasy hair results from excessive oil production of the sebaceous glands. The thinner your hair, the oilier your hair can get. The best shampoo for oily thin hair is one that cleans your scalp and hair without drying it out. Oily thin hair requires special care, but the first step is to under why your hair is oily. That way, you can ensure you tackle the root of the problem and successfully manage your oily thin hair.
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