Being out and about in summer will surely cause the scalp to sweat more than usual. Here are a couple of things that you can do to deal with oily hair and scalp without damaging your hair.
First: what causes sweaty oily hair?
During physical exercise or in the sun, we all sweat more, and soon after we also notice how the hair starts to look oily as well. Why does that happen? Well, first sweat and grease come from two different sources on the scalp.
Sweat (perspiration) on the scalp is produced from sweat glands. Their primary purpose is to dissipate body heat (cool) through evaporation and prevent further water loss from the body. This type of sweat is a clear solution composed mainly of water with dissolved components such as sodium chloride, proteins, urea, glucose etc.
Grease as we call it, is actually sebum. This oily, waxy secretion comes from the sebaceous glands which on the scalp are connected to the hair follicle. Sebum is also a contributor in helping to regulate the body temperature. It will emulsify sweat and produce a more viscous (less runny) layer on the scalp to protect the scalp from sunburn and dehydration among other things.
How to care for sweaty oily hair
The first response for many people with oily hair is to shampoo the hair everyday ( several times a day for some). This is one the worse things that you can do for your hair. Shampooing too often can create much mechanical damage to the hair and strip the hair/scalp of its natural oils. If you style after, the damaging effects become even more pronounced.
- However, it is a fact that your shampoo frequency will (should) increase in summer. So, to avoid dehydrating your locks, use milder shampoos and condition the lower half more than usual. Be gentle when lathering and use the best care possible with your hair after shampooing.
- Your dry shampoo will probably become your best buddy during summer. Dry shampoo in particular is great because it can delay your need for actual shampooing. The key however is to get good products. [Read here for reviews on the best dry shampoos]
Treating the hair with dry shampoo before you head outdoors in the heat/work out, can absorb the oil as it gets produced. Reapply after (if needed) to get rid of the extra grease.
- Next you might need a refreshing spray/cream to reset your curls, or your style. What these do, is that they simply allow you to restyle your hair so that it looks fresh again. One example is the Ouidad Botanical Boost Curl Energizing and Refreshing Spray. Leave-in conditioners are also great options to retouch styles.
What to avoid when you have sweaty oily hair:
- Avoid applying products near the roots, they will weigh the hair down further.
- Don’t use the refreshing spray/cream too close to the dry shampooed area. You will negate the volumizing/cleaning effects of the dry shampoo if you do.
- Touching, and brushing your hair will cause stimulation to the sebaceous glands and produce more sebum. So avoid doing these as well unless you need to.
- Avoid delaying shampooing for too long. Too much oils on the scalp can cause unnecessary skin issues. The sweat/grease mixture will trap bacteria and dirt which can start to create problems for your scalp.
In the end, you need to achieve a good balance in your shampooing schedule to keep your scalp and hair clean, but at the same time to avoid creating damage to your hair.