Why is my hair so oily?

Our hair is often a reflection of our personality. How we style it can tell a person a lot about us. While a bad haircut can completely throw off a look, so can greasy or oily hair. Oily hair can make even a stylish haircut look messy. But what exactly causes hair to look this way? 

According to Healthline, healthy hair produces sebum (a.k.a. oil) in order to hydrate your scalp and protect your hair. Different types of hair can produce more sebum than others, and often this natural oil can build up at the roots.

An increase in hair oil can be caused due to an issue with your hair care routine, the products you use, what you sleep on at night — or even your genes. Hereditary or not, there are ways to control and prevent your hair from being oily. 

First, though, you need to understand what could be causing your hair to produce this excess oil, which can help you stop or minimize the problem.

Habits that could cause oily hair

Touching your hair too often can cause oily hair. This happens when the oils from your fingertips transfer to the strands in your hair, so try not to touch your hair too often to avoid adding extra grease (via Cosmopolitan).

Believe it or not, washing your hair could be causing it to produce more oil. While you may be washing your hair to avoid it from looking greasy, daily washing, Cosmopolitan reports, can strip your mane of its natural oils which results in your scalp producing even more grease to compensate. The magazine recommends washing your hair two to three times a week to avoid this issue.

Along with over-washing your hair, over-conditioning or over-brushing your hair can also make it look oily. Applying too much conditioner can cause it to stay in the hair and give a more oily look. To combat this, apply conditioner to the ends only. Brushing your hair too much can also produce more oil, as the scalp is stimulated to churn out more grease. 

Another important thing to remember is that it's not only vital to use the right products for your hair, but to make sure you're using them in the proper amount. Applying too much product can cause build up and make it difficult to come out, which — unsurprisingly — results in oil buildup. 

Now that we know what may be causing your oily hair, what ways can we get rid of it?

How to get rid of oily hair

There are both natural remedies as well as specific products available that can help lessen the look and feel of oily hair.

It is important to not only wash your hair less frequently, but it's vital to make sure you are washing it properly when you do hop in the shower. According to Medical News Today, the correct way to wash your hair is to massage a small amount of shampoo into the roots, and avoid squishing it immediately throughout your entire head of hair. You should also avoid scrubbing too aggressively, which could stimulate more oil production. Be sure to rinse your hair thoroughly and let the shampoo spread through the rest of your hair as you do, which helps clean it. 

Washing your hair less frequently will first be difficult, as you might be used to daily washes. For this reason, using a product like dry shampoo can allow for the transition to be easier and lessen the appearance of oily hair.

Use clean tools to avoid oily hair

To avoid having oily hair, clean your hairbrush frequently. Oil can also build up due to debris as well as the hair that's already in the hairbrush you're using. A dirty brush can cause even clean hair to become grimy, which you definitely do not want.

Not only can a dirty hairbrush cause your hair to get oily, but so can dirty sheets or pillows. It is essential to wash your sheets and pillowcases to keep these gathered oils away from your locks. "If you sleep with your hair on a pillowcase that hasn't been washed recently," your hair might look oilier than usual in the morning, celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko told Bustle.

The right products can help keep your oil production in control, but you should also actively look into what heat devices you are using. The way you style your hair and what you use can lead to excess grease. 

"Blow drying and hair straightening can lead to excess oil production," Sheel Desai Solomon told Bustle. But that doesn't mean you have to air dry forever — just make sure you use the cooler setting on your tools, because all that extra heat can trigger extra oils.