Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Greasy scalp and dry length - how to get rid of it

Greasy scalp and dry length are not uncommon. Many people experience this. I've talked about dry scalp before and how to avoid it, but this is another story. Greasy scalp happens when there is an overproduction of sebum in that area.
Overproduction of sebum on the scalp can happen when harsh shampoos are used to wash the hair.
- Sulfate shampoos will do this most of the time, so switching to a sulfate-free shampoo or going no shampoo can balance out the production of sebum over time.
- There is usually an adjustment period that can last a few weeks to a few months, after which the scalp should be less greasy and/or take longer to get greasy.
- For me it took a few months of using sulfate-free shampoo in order for my scalp to stop overproducing sebum. I used to get greasy scalp about 6 hours after washing, now it's more like after 5 days. It really worked for me. I also slowly spaced out my washing until I was able to wash every 5th day. Unfortunately I hit a snag because of Neeli oil, it only works if I use it every other day so I can't stretch washes anymore.
- Massaging, touching, combing or brushing the scalp also stimulates the sebaceous glands which can cause them to produce sebum. This is a good thing if done right before washing the scalp, because it encourages the sebum that has already been produced to come out and be washed off, but between washes it's not a good idea because it will make the scalp appear greasy. So it's a good idea to massage and comb the hair right before washing it, but not after. In order to avoid this between washes and still have nicely detangled hair, avoid the scalp and be gentle (do not pull) when combing/brushing the hair between washes.
Things to avoid if you have grease prone scalp:
- massaging the scalp (this includes brushing and combing the scalp) after washing or between washings
- touching the scalp
- harsh shampoos
- shampoos all together if it's really bad (conditioner only is a good option)

What about dry length?
- The length gets dry from washing it too often or using harsh shampoos. The length itself doesn't even need to be washed on a regular basis. If you don't notice build-up on the length you can just condition it and never let shampoo touch it, this is called condition-wash-condition method or CWC for short. Conditioner only washes are also a good choice for this.
- Speaking of build-up, it can make your length appear dry, so be sure to watch out for it.
- Deep conditioning treatments can also be beneficial, do it once a week or once a month or whenever you feel your length needs it. I personally like hot oil treatments with a penetrating oil and Cassia treatments, but there are deep conditioning treatments that can be bought at beauty and grocery stores as well.
- Blow drying and heat styling can also be very drying to the length (heat removes moisture from the hair too fast to be replenished).
- Pre-wash oiling can help prevent over drying it, protein loss and other such things, but only if it's done with coconut oil. This is done by applying coconut oil on the length and leaving it on for at least an hour (to overnight) before washing it out.
Things to avoid if you have dry length:
- build-up
- harsh shampoos on the length
- shampoo on the length all together
- blow drying (and other forms of heat styling)
- chemical dyes
- washing the hair without pre-wash oiling it with coconut oil

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