Oily Scalp, Dry Ends — The Saga Stops Here

Your scalp is made up of oil glands and your ends are the oldest hairs on your head. So this oily scalp x dry ends thing makes perfect sense. Let’s chitchat:

Your scalp is oily for a few reasons — the weather, hormones, your diet, your daily hair habits and the products you’re using. 

Your ends are dry for a few reasons — damage from heat styling, chemical treatments, over-processing, coloring, highlighting, the sun, chlorine, and probably just because they are old and need to be trimmed.

Our scalp — over-washing with suds will just train your hair to produce more oil and need more suds.

Our ends — when we strip our hair of natural oils and don’t give them a chance to replenish, this can lead to dry, brittle ends.

Side note — silicones coat our ends and create a build-up, which blocks natural oils from healing our hair.

Side note — your scalp and ends need two different things.

So, when you shop for shampoo and conditioner, you might not need the two that go together. You don’t need a smoothing shampoo — sorry, you just don’t. Shampoo is on your hair for 30 seconds, it’s not exactly doing any real heavy lifting. You need a gentle shampoo that cleans your roots. And a conditioner that treats your ends. Try to think of your scalp and strands (especially ends!) separately.

The lesson here is to go easy and be gentle on our hair and scalp. Think of your scalp, what does it need? What’s it doing? And your ends, poor little guys, they’re so old — what do they need?

Here are my two-cents as product developer and a retired (emphasis on the tired) hair stylist:

Your scalp and roots need less suds — this will help rebalance scalp and overtime, your roots will actually be less oily.

Your ends need more care. Your ends need less fake-hydration, like the kind that comes from silicones. Instead, they need a highly plant-packed conditioner, a weekly hair treatment and a strict schedule for trims and upkeep.

The plan for your scalp:

On shampoo days: use a sulfate-free, clean shampoo. My two favorites brands for clean shampoo are Captain Blankenship and Acure.

Alternate shampoo days with a gentle rinse. So you’re still getting clean, but skipping the extra suds and stripping. A Quick Clean is literally made for this. 

Put down the dry shampoo. When you use dry shampoo, you are literally putting powder on top of sweat, dirt and oil — layering product on top of product and creating build-up on your scalp. Dry shampoo just does not promote a healthy environment for scalp to thrive and hair to grow.

The plan for dry ends:

If you are maintaining your length and hair health, aim for a trim every 12 weeks. If your hair is super fine, you might want to trim every 8-10 weeks.

Don’t shampoo your ends. They’ll get clean enough form the suds rinsing off your scalp — and definitely don’t rub them or rub shampoo onto them.

Skip products with silicones. Silicones are too good at softening! They’ll seal your hair shut and won’t let your natural oils in — the opposite of gentle care.

Use a weekly hair mask and focus on your mid-lengths and ends. Your ends are the oldest hairs on your head. They’re fragile and need attention.