Why do so many of our most embarrassing moments happen in our junior high school gym classes? Please tell me I’m not alone in this? I mean, it’s probably because our gawky, clueless 13-year-old selfs get hit in the face with literal (and figurative) dodgeballs. But also, you’re figuring out that awkward dance of changing clothes in front of your classmates inside the locker room— while showing visible signs of puberty. Well, such was the case for one of my embarrassing moments when, standing in front of a locker room mirror, combing my hair, a classmate asked me if I had just showered. I had not. But my wet-looking greasy hair was clumping together in comb marks as I brushed through. A mortified me decided that it would never happen again, and I rigorously and frequently washed my hair after that.
But here’s the thing with over-washing your hair— it just creates more oil. Because stripping your hair of it’s natural oils only cues the body to produce more, trying to combat the problem. The greasy hair problem is a weird cyclical joke, where you wash your hair because it’s oily, but then it gets more oily— But guys, there is hope! I eventually grew up and figured out proper hair care in the form of “hair training.” Did you know you can actually train your hair to produce LESS oil? Ensuring that you can go four, five, even six+ days without washing it, and no one will notice? Here’s how:
Start off with using a clarifying shampoo, which will remove buildup and get rid all the bad stuff— a seriously deep cleanse, that won’t strip the good stuff. I love THIS one, or THIS one, or THIS drugstore option. *Use a clarifying shampoo no more than once a week.
Only condition the lower half of your hair. I use my ears as a reference point for this— I condition from my earlobes down to the ends. This is where you hair really needs some added hydration. Adding a thick, moisturizing conditioner to your roots will only weigh down your hair and add to the oil your scalp is already producing. Also, if you’re highly prone to greasy hair, use a hydrating but lightweight conditioner like THIS.
Get a good dry shampoo, but don’t overdo it! A dry shampoo can be your greasy hair’s BFF, especially on days 3-4. But too much dry shampoo can dry out your ends and can clog your scalps pores— yeah, that’s a real thing. You want those follicles to be able to breathe! So don’t grime-up your scalp with too much of a good thing. My favorite dry shampoos are HERE, HERE and HERE.
On the days right before you need a good wash, opt for wearing your hair up. A good top knot, boxer braids or a (on-purpose) slicked back ponytail are all styles that can mask greasy hair incredibly. Use the oil from your hair to your advantage— because it CAN be used as a styling tool. Get creative with it!
Going along with the last tip, if your hair is feeling a little too gritty by your roots, wear a hat. The lower half of your hair will last the longest— so showcase that! A good wide brimmed hat, or a fun Fisherman Cap are such great tools for prolonging a hairstyle.
My last piece of advice is to just grin and bear it— because this is hair TRAINING. Your hair will adjust to being washed less, but it needs to be trained first. After it’s fully adjusted, you’ll be able to go longer between washes because your hair will in fact produce less oil. But while it’s getting used to this new routine, you’re going to have to deal with greasy hair. So on the days your feeling too greasy for comfort, PRESS ON SISTER. It gets worse before it gets better.
Hair training IS possible, girls. I can attest that 5th day hair can be (almost) as beautiful as 1st day hair. So let’s train and flex those beautiful hair muscles!
Article and images by Amy Hutchens.