Greased Lightning, Oil Slick, Olive Oil. However you want to spin it, I’m a greasy haired gal. Some people are nail biters and others are scab pickers, but whether I’m sitting in class or waiting for the T, hair touching is my go-to pastime. I run my fingers nervously through my hair, each time feeling the slight pull of oils. I’m the kind of person that likes their hair to look A+ all the time, and flipping it forward and backward, brushing it out, pulling my fingers through it comforts me in the most satisfying way. In the moment, it may feel good to have it fluffed out and voluminous, but it comes at a price: oily locks.
My hair is a source of embarrassment even when I’m told that it looks “the right amount of messy” and “bed head sexy.” I touch it, twist it, twirl it. I, for one know that it’s one of the worst things that I can do for my ombre locks, but I just can’t help myself. I’m always terrified that people will think I’m not taking care of my hair because of how quickly it turns into an oil spill.
Hair needs oil like I need chocolate or Netflix, which is to say, a lot. What people often forget is that your hair makes natural oils to nourish itself. We like to think that our strands are their healthiest when they slip effortlessly through our hands, but that isn’t always the case. Oils need time to make their way down each individual strand, especially considering that almost everything past the root is dead. Those parts of our hair need the most TLC. Skipping that second day wash can actually be a godsend for your mane.
Learning to embrace your oily hair can be extremely tough. It might make you feel weighed down or a little bit dirty, but finding what works for you may change the way you look at your oils. One of the best discoveries that I have made in my quest for innovative hair products has been dry shampoo. The sacred spray has become a staple piece to my beauty arsenal. When I met Batiste, a weightless scented spray that made me see my locks in a new way, I knew I had found true love.
Dry shampoo is kind of a miracle. The product, regardless of brand, eliminates oils without the full wash and rinse that you would normally do in the shower. By washing your hair every other day or every couple of days, it lets your hair soak up the essential nutrients that it needs without stripping the strands of things that keep it healthy and hydrated, like sebum. Sebum is the fatty oil that is secreted from almost every inch of your skin, including your scalp. Some people produce more than others and some people don’t produce enough. This is where products like dry shampoo and oil treatments take the stage. If you’re like me and produce excess oil, make dry shampoo your closest pal.
Dry shampoo will usually come in a spray or a powder. It’s an alternative to washing hair everyday, so feel free to use the product liberally. It’s easiest to comb out your hair first and section it off piece by piece and layer by layer. This will help for even distribution of the product.
Apply the spray or powder to the roots of your hair section by section starting from one side and making your way to the other. If it’s a spray, make sure to hold the bottle 7-10 inches away from the roots to avoid build up. Once applied, go to town tousling your hair. Scrunch and crumble it in your hands to add volume and texture. The bonus to using dry shampoo is that it adds endless body to your look after it’s been applied and you can style it as usual.
In addition to using dry shampoo and waiting out the time before your next wash, use this period to try out hairstyles that require a bit more structure. Oil and grease may be an uncomfortable and embarrassing subject for some, but they do lend themselves nicely to completing interesting French braids, fishtails, and victory rolls. The grease in your hair adds the extra hold necessary for more complicated updos without an excess of hairspray.
Sometimes my hair leaves my fingers feeling inescapably gummy, but knowing that this is a normal part of my body’s routine gives me a sense of comfort and relief. Whether you embrace your grease or want to hide it, natural oils are a fact of life.
Photo by: Sabrina Ortiz