There are also supplements and vitamins that have been found to control excess sebum production, such as vitamins B6 and B2 (riboflavin). You can find B vitamins in poultry, fish, shrimp, milk, cheese, lentils, beans, sunflower seeds, whole-wheat products, wheat germ, spinach, carrots and bananas, according to Prose, a hair and skin care company that formulates products and supplements with the vitamins.
Kim also notes that high stress levels can affect hormonal balance and, in turn, oil production (stress is also not great for hair growth, for what it’s worth). “Engage in stress-reduction activities like yoga, meditation, or exercise,” she says. Another trick? Take supplements with ashwagandha, which has been shown to reduce stress, support healthy cortisol, and enhance sleep quality. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may protect the scalp from environmental stressors and reduces inflammation around the follicles, and thus helps promote healthy hair, according to Dr. Green.
Choose the right hair products.
“Selecting the right ingredients for your hair density, length, and texture all factor into the buildup, moisture retention, and longevity of your hairstyle after cleansing and conditioning,” Kim reiterates.
Labrecque agrees and recommends using a shampoo specifically for oily hair types. He points to Biologique Recherche’s Shampooing Traitant Sébo-Rééquilibrant as his go-to choice. One easy way to find products that work for you? Look for “oil-free” options that are specifically formulated for greasy hair.
Use a clarifying cleanser.
On that note, you’ll want to wash your hair with a clarifying cleanser once a week. “Incorporate a clarifying shampoo or a cleansing conditioner into your weekly routine to remove product buildup and excess oil,” says Kim. Just be careful not to overuse it, as it can strip the hair of moisture (remember, oily doesn’t equal hydrated, and vice versa). “L’Oréal Professionnel Curl Expression for curly or coily hair has an amazing clarifying shampoo that can be used for all hair types and textures,” she says.
Dr. Green agrees and recommends Bumble and Bumble’s Sunday Shampoo as her weekly clarifying cleanser of choice. “Use it once a week to remove any excess oil, dirt, and product residue from the scalp,” she says. “Additionally, this shampoo has a lightweight formula to avoid weighing down hair.” For a color-safe nonstripping option, try K18 Peptide Prep Color-Safe Detox Clarifying Shampoo, and Odele for something more affordable.
Don’t condition your roots.
You should still use conditioner, but only apply it to the ends if your hair is greasy. “Applying to the roots is unnecessary as this is newer hair that doesn’t require conditioning, and can leave hair feeling flat especially if you’re on the fine or greasy side,” Kim explains.
“Those with buildup of excessive oils on the scalp can also develop seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition that causes dandruff, inflammation, and scaly patches,” says Dr. Green. “Individuals experiencing these symptoms can use Nizoral shampoo, an excellent over-the-counter product that contains Ketoconazole to fight dandruff and control flaking and itching.”
Don’t overstimulate the scalp.
You’ll also want to be especially gentle on your scalp, since being too rough with your hair can cause oil production. “Increased stimulation can signal the sebaceous glands to produce more oil,” says Dr. Green. “Overbrushing or vigorously rubbing at the scalp can all lead to increased oil production.” If your hair gets especially tangly, try swapping your hairbrush out for a more gentle alternative, and always use a wet brush when your hair is wet to prevent pulling, such as the Tangle Teezer detangling brush.
Try blotting sheets.
If your hair has already gotten greasy, try using blotting sheets on the scalp. “These can be a quick fix to absorb excess oil on the scalp and hair between washes,” says Kim. Plus, they’re super compact and can fit into a pocket or small bag.
Use dry shampoo.