9 Non-Obvious Solutions To Make Oily Hair Less Of A Bummer

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Dry or damaged hair blows, but oily strands might be the worst woe of them all. Plenty of us have hair that looks like we've endured a two-a-day sweat session by 6 p.m. — when really, we've just been sitting at our desks all day. So, we sympathize with your frustrations and want to help.

Because no one should have to live with limp, weighed-down hair, we asked hairstylists and skin-care experts to share their lifestyle hacks and tips that will sop up grease fast. And there's so much more you can do than just use dry shampoo. Click ahead to check out the no-fail guide to fixing your oily hair once and for all.
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Stop listening to everyone else and wash when you feel you need to. According to celebrity hairstylist Harry Josh, hair needs to be washed, so if you're uncomfortable and feel dirty, it's time to suds up.

But — and this is important — keep in mind that your scalp can adjust to this frequent wash routine, which could lead to more oil production to compensate for what's being lost. Come up with a shower regimen that works for you.
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When it comes to the products you're loading up on, check what's in them. "The less alcohol, the better," explains Dove celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend. Alcohol may seem like a good idea for a mousse or mist, but it can be overly drying, and thus, a catalyst for more oil.

Stick to the basic necessities and focus every product at the ends, not the roots. Townsend says, "The only product you should be putting at the root is dry shampoo."
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If you see flakes on your scalp, don't classify them as dandruff right away. Dry scalps are most likely harboring some flaky pieces, but oilier heads are seeing something a bit different. Townsend explains that those aren't necessarily dry specks of skin, but hardened oil from the overproduction.

The flakes may look like typical dandruff, but don't assume so quickly — or stop washing. "[People] stop washing or decrease in washes, and [the flakes] build up even more," dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, tells us. She says you should continue to wash as normal and use the right product for your scalp type. "There are so many out there now. Reading the labels is the easiest thing to do," she suggests.
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Dr. Fusco says dry shampoo is helpful in a pinch, but anything in excess is usually not the best idea, so keep it light. Pull out the dry shampoo if you're training your hair to be shampooed a little less, but don't go spraying it every day.
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Townsend suggests using your natural oils instead of shampoo when necessary. If you want to skip a full cleanse, but still give your hair a good wash, use your fingertips to gently massage your scalp. This way, the natural oils are being distributed from root to tip instead of collecting in one area and appearing greasy.

And when you do wash your hair, it's important to be gentle, and not scrub, explains cosmetic dermatologist Marnie B. Nussbaum-Brown, MD. Overstimulation can actually lead to even more oil production, so steer clear.
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While there is no one answer as to why your scalp is producing so much more oil than that of someone with a more "normal" scalp, that doesn't mean you should give up. Dr. Fusco says her first questions for a client with an oily scalp are about their lifestyle and whether they take birth control. Hormones play a big role.

Think: stress-related and period breakouts. Go over your menstrual cycle, talk about the pill, whether you're spotting, and any problems that could indicate an underlying hormonal issue. "There is a cascade of hormones," Dr. Fusco explains. "And it can directly affect the oil production on your scalp."
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Consider brushing, always. Even if you want a textured look, your hair needs to get a taste of those natural oils — it really is good for you! Brushing allows the oil to move evenly from roots to ends, so every bit is shiny in a healthy way, says Dr. Nussbaum-Brown.

We suggest brushing before bed, so the oil doesn't coagulate in one spot while you sleep. That way, you can wake up with your hair ready to style and go.
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The best pro tip we've ever heard? Using salt spray for something other than texture. If you're prepping for an at-home blowout, pull out the salt spray. Except this time, aim it at your roots. Josh says that while he personally enjoys hair supplements, an easy hack is using the drying qualities of salt spray to control oil.

Spray sparingly, and gauge how much your scalp can take before it goes into an overproduction of oil to moisten up the dry spots. With a blowdryer and round brush, comb out the wet look and enjoy a long-lasting style.
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It's an age-old tip we hear over and over again, but it has major results: Watch where you put the conditioner. You may assume the opposite, but your scalp doesn't need that extra hydration. Focus your rich formula on the ends of your hair — where the oil has some trouble moving toward — and only aim to cleanse the scalp, not condition it.
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