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Why is my hair is so oily and fine?



I’ve struggled for months now with oily hair, usually only a day after washing, it seems to mainly be the parting bits that frame my face, day one they are full and soft and day two onwards they become thin, thread like, and oily...

I used to have thick full hair and it’s become very thin, recently described as thin but lots of it. It used to hold any style and could go a week without being washed, curls would last for days, now they don’t even last 5 minutes. It has always fallen out so nothing new there. I’ve tried double washing as recommended by hairdressers, but it seems to make it worse. My scalp is itchy, and residue comes off my scalp. I am at my wits end. I have tried different shampoos and I’m currently using Kerastase which seems to be better than most but still not great.

Hannah, Castleford

How to combat oily, greasy, fine hair

Why does hair change in texture and condition?

Having a change in your hair’s condition and not knowing why can be incredibly frustrating. Not being able to see you or your hair and scalp, I can only give you generic advice that will hopefully point you in the right direction. 

You say you used to have full, thick hair that is now fine. I’m not sure as to your age, but hair does change texture throughout our lives, and our hormones have a big part to play in this. Often thinning/fine hair is the result of either a natural decrease in your hair’s density (the number of actual strands on your head), or a natural change in the thickness of each strand (making hair feel and appear finer). There are several factors to think about when it comes to a change in your hair’s texture:

  • Genetics – this one is out of your control, but looking at your close family members may give you a clue as to the change in your hair.
  • Pregnancy – everything goes haywire during pregnancy, including your hair!
  • Hormones – the pill, perimenopause/menopause, weight gain and loss, anything that can affect your normal hormone fluctuations will have an impact on your body’s overall health and condition. Changes in hormones is also one of the reasons hair density changes with age. The older you get the thinner hair can appear.
  • Stress – stress can cause havoc on our bodies and our hair is no exception to this! If stress is playing a part, then adopt some mindfulness and lifestyle changes to help lower your stress levels.
  • Hairstyling and heat – excessive hairstyling with tight braids and ponytails can cause hair shedding as they pull on the scalp. Heat styling too can cause damage to the strands which can result in breakage, excess shedding, and thinning. Try to lesson heavy hairstyling and lay off the heat tools where possible. And when you do heat style, make sure you use a heat protection spray.
  • Diet – make sure you eat a balanced diet that covers all the food groups. Excessive dieting, weight loss and weight gain will all play havoc on your hair. Research has also shown that there are two things that really impact hair growth: Vitamin B12 and iron. So, load up on leafy greens for iron and, if you’re a veggie and can’t get your B12 from animal protein, try good quality supplements.
  • Medication – certain medications can cause issues with the hair. If you suspect this is the case, then book an appointment to see your GP.

So, changes to your hair’s texture can be either natural – hair does change texture as we age – or it can be caused by one of, or a combination of, the factors above. This change in texture can also be a reason as to why your hair no longer holds curls or styles that well. Fine hair is not that great at holding such styles. 

Treating oily/greasy hair 

Greasy hair is often caused by an excess build up of sebum, which the scalp produces naturally. This sebum build-up and production will always be more noticeable and felt more by those with fine hair. Thicker hair types tend to not notice it as much and can get away with minimal hair washing for longer. Because sebum travels down the hair stands coating them, again those with fine, straight hair will experience greasier hair more quickly. Those with curly/wavy patterns will often have a drier hair appearance and feel due to the sebum not being able to travel as easily down the hair strands. 

There are a few things to think about when it comes to combatting oily scalps and hair…

Using the wrong products

This is a very common cause and one that is very easy to fix! Hair can become too coated in moisture if you are using moisture-heavy products, and it can become overloaded with protein if you are using protein-heavy products. You need a balance of both.

Protein overload is very common. We have an article on protein overload that you can view here. I’m not sure on the exact type of Kerastase shampoo and conditioner you are using, but you want a couple of options that you keep on rotation. The first shampoo you want to invest in is a clarifying/cleansing shampoo. You will use this once every two weeks (you can use it once a week if you feel you need it, but you don’t want to use it too often that it strips your hair of its natural oils) to fully cleanse your hair and remove any build up of product or protein. It basically gives your hair and scalp a fresh canvas to work from. Then, as you have fine hair, you want to use a lightweight, moisture shampoo and conditioner – anything heavier is going to weigh your hair down. Shampoo your scalp only, giving it a good scrub, and condition only the lengths and ends. Now, if you colour your hair and use heat on it, you will also want to use a protein treatment/shampoo and conditioner. On fine hair, I would say you use this once a month – every six weeks. If your hair is dry and damaged, you can use it every 3-4 weeks, but you want to be careful not to use it too often as you will overload your hair. Types of protein treatments include Olaplex and K18. Great at helping to repair damaged, dry hair, but their use needs to be minimal.

You might want to look at the products and styling products you are already using, as if the products you are currently using contain protein ingredients such as: amino acids, Hydrolyzed collagen, Hydrolyzed rice protein, Wheat quinoa, Soy protein, Oat flour or keratin, then you hair may already be heavily overloaded, in which case it is best to put to one side any protein products for now and focus on moisture. When you’re ready to use them again, start adding a protein product slowly to see its effect on your hair. To start, opt for a lightweight styling product instead of a concentrated protein treatment.

I will recommend a couple of product brands that I personally use for your main shampoo and conditioners:

Authentic Beauty Concept: Their Amplify range is fantastic for fine hair, no weight at all! The only issue with ABC is it is usually sold only through ABC salons, but you can buy from some salons online. A quick Google search will help you with this one!

Maria Nila: Their Pure Volume range is great for fine hair as it is very lightweight. and their Purifying Shampoo is a fantastic cleanser: 

What I like about ABC and Maria Nila is that they are both natural haircare brands, with no nasty chemicals that can often make our hair issues so much worse! Your scalp may also be quite sensitive, and so using more natural haircare with less sulphates and chemicals could help.

The final brand is Philip Kingsley: The best products for scalp care and health! A healthy scalp will give you healthy hair. Anything from their scalp range is fantastic: Their Scalp Jelly is brilliant, and to help soothe your flaky/itchy scalp, their Flaky/Itchy Scalp shampoo and toner is a worthy investment! You would use these between your normal shampoo and conditioner. 

I hope I am not overloading you with all this information Hannah!

Styling products are another factor to look at. Any styling products you use stay on the hair until it’s next washed, and so these tend to weigh the hair down with residue. Over time, these will build up on your scalp, creating the greasy look you’re trying so hard to avoid. The easy solution is to be to be mindful when applying styling or leave-in products to your roots - less is always more, especially with finer hair! If you feel completely lost, you can always pop into a salon and ask to speak to a stylist to recommend products for you. They will be more than happy to help.


Sebum production is controlled by our hormones, so a sudden surge in scalp oil production could be down to hormonal changes. If you’ve recently gone through a major life event that’s known to have an impact on your hormone levels, this may be having a knock-on effect on the amount of sebum your scalp is producing. Hormonal changes at different life stages, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, have been found to impact sebum levels, and so most of us experience this change at some point in our lives. 

Illness and chronic conditions

Sebum levels may also be affected by certain diseases, so if you’ve noticed a very unusual change or surge in oil levels, be sure to discuss with your doctor to get to the bottom of the issue.

Regularly touching your hair

Touching your hair constantly will cause it to become greasier by distributing the sebum throughout your hair. So, if you can, try touching your hair a lot less throughout the day. 

Visit a trichologist/doctor

If you have tried everything and have exhausted your options, or you feel that your change in hair texture and behavior has a deeper, underlying cause, then a visit to a trichologist/GP is a good start. A trichologist, you can search for a GSG recognised trichologist here, will examine your scalp more deeply to see if there are any underlying issues at play, such as skin conditions or allergies, and then they will be able to provide you with a proper treatment plan.

Most of the time when it comes to our hair misbehaving, we need to cut back on all the products we are using and have tried, strip it back to the basics, tweak our haircare routines here and there, and before you know it, your hair will be back under your control!

I hope this helps Hannah, or at least helps to point you in the right direction!