Why Is My Hair Flat and Greasy? How to Fix Flat Greasy Hair

A black woman with oily hair styled with natural oils and aloe vera gel to treat her fine hair and oily scalp.

Flat, greasy hair is something many people struggle with. Since it’s not as serious as hair loss or split ends, it doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves.

But today, we’ll shed light on this issue and help you discover why it’s happening to you and what you should do about it. Let’s get right into it!

Why Is My Hair Flat and Greasy?

Flat, greasy hair can be caused by various factors, including the improper application of conditioner to the roots, overuse of conditioner, sebum overload, heavy hair products, product residue left on the hair, shampooing too often, and wearing hair straight.

Oil-reduction techniques such as using dry shampoo and avoiding over-brushing can help manage oiliness. It’s essential to address the cause of flat, greasy hair as it can lead to more severe issues such as dandruff and scalp infections.

You Aren’t Applying Conditioner Correctly

Though most manufacturers don’t specify exactly where to apply conditioner, everyday users have discovered that applying it to your roots can be problematic.

The conditioner softens your hair, makes it more moldable, and can also add weight to fine strands. If you apply conditioner to your roots, it could cause your roots to lie flatter than they would otherwise.

Instead of applying conditioner all the way down to your roots, start the application at least an inch or two away from your scalp. That way, your roots will retain their volume.

A cute black girl with healthy hair has greasy hair due to an oily substance called sebum, leading to oily roots.

Another thing to be aware of is how often you use your conditioner or deep conditioner. Overusing it can quickly lead to weighed-down, limp strands that don’t respond well to hair care and styling.

As a rule of thumb, you should only use rinse-out conditioner after a shampoo session, and deep conditioners should be used no more than once or twice per week.

You Have Sebum Overload

Some people naturally produce more sebum (scalp oils) than others. If your scalp is wired to produce a lot of oil, it’ll run down your scalp and make your hair lie too flat.

Those who tend to produce lots of sebum can use oil-reduction techniques. One of the most commonly used methods is dry shampoo.

It’s a product that soaks up the excess oil in seconds. You’ll spray it on your roots and then massage it in most of the time, but we recommend following the instructions on the packaging for the best results.

A black lady with oily buildup on her hair because the sebaceous glands on her scalp produces too much oil.

You Use Heavy Hair Products

As you might imagine, heavy hair products cause flat and greasy hair by putting too much weight on your strands. Hair creams are notorious for being heavy and causing this issue, though not all hair creams are formulated to be rich and weighty.

In addition to weighing hair down, heavyweight products often contain ingredients that can flatten the hair. Some of these ingredients include:

  • Petrolatum
  • Wax
  • Butters

To remedy this issue, avoid heavyweight products and opt instead for water-based products that don’t contain ingredients like the ones we mentioned earlier.

Lightweight products will usually have the word “light” or “lightweight” somewhere on the packaging. But you should do your due diligence before putting any product on your hair.

A beautiful black girl with damp, wet hair caused by excessive oil production and the overuse of styling products.

You Have Product Residue in Your Hair

Product often leaves behind residue that doesn’t get washed away with regular shampooing sessions. The longer product residue is left to accumulate on your hair, the more weight it’ll put on your strands.

In the most severe cases, the build-up can leave a greasy cast on your strands.

It almost goes without saying that you have to get rid of the product build-up if you want to fix this problem. To do so, you’ll need a good clarifying shampoo.

It’ll break through the product buildup so you can rinse it out of your hair. It’s basically a shampoo with extra cleansing power!

The shampoo may leave your hair super dry, so you’ll want to use a deep conditioner afterward to replenish that lost moisture.

A light-skinned black girl with thin hair and greasy strands incorporated a gentle shampoo into her hair care routine.

Shampooing Too Often

It’s logical to think that shampooing your hair more often will keep it from being greasy, but that’s just not how scalp chemistry works. The more you wash your hair, the more oil your scalp will produce.

If you wash your hair every day or even every other day and your scalp becomes dry as a result, your scalp follicles will get to work producing oil in an attempt to balance out your moisture levels.

If you’re someone who overwashes their hair, you’ve got some work to do.

Scale back on your hair-washing routine so that your hair follicles can get out of overdrive. When you do so, you’ll notice less flatness and greasiness.

It’s not always easy to reduce your shampoo sessions because it takes time for your hair follicles to adjust to your new washing routine. This is the reason why many people go back to overwashing their hair. We urge you to stick to it, and you’ll see results eventually!

A black girl with dark brown and black balayage curls styled with a deep conditioning hair mask on her type 3 hair type.

You’re Using the Wrong Water Temperature

Hot water is known to dry out your hair and scalp. If you wash your hair with super hot water, you could be making your greasy, flat hair problem worse. Recall that removing oil from your scalp (or drying out) stimulates the hair follicles to produce more oil.

The best temperature to use for washing your hair, especially if you have a greasy hair problem, is lukewarm.

It’s neither too cold nor too hot and is less likely to prompt your scalp to produce sebum. This may be an uncomfortable change if you’ve gotten into a routine of washing your hair with hot water, but it’s worth it.

Your Styling Tools are Dirty

Did you know that your styling tools need to be cleaned on a regular basis? If you didn’t, you know now. When you use styling tools that are caked in grease and product residue, some of that gunk could come off in your hair and make it flat and greasy.

If it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned your comb, flat iron, brush, curling iron, etc., it’s time for you to get busy cleaning them up. With clean tools, you won’t have to worry about them ruining your style.

A beautiful black girl takes a selfie after washing her hair with a clarifying shampoo and styling it with essential oils.

You Wear Your Hair Straight

Even if you have the curliest hair in the world and usually suffer from chronic dryness, things will change when you straighten your hair. With curly hair, your scalp’s oil won’t be able to travel down the hair shaft to moisturize it.

The twists and turns of the curls prevent that from happening.

But with straight hair, there are no kinks, curls, or other obstructions to stop the scalp oils from moisturizing your strands. As a result, you could wake up overnight with greasy flat hair due to how well your scalp is able to lubricate your hair strands.

This effect is exacerbated by over-brushing or combing your hair. You might not have thought about it, but each stroke pulls more and more of your scalp oils down the length of your strands.

Oiliness is normal for straight hair, and there’s very little that you can do about it outside the following:

  • Use dry shampoo to absorb excess oils.
  • Avoid over-brushing or over-combing your hair.
  • Limit the use of oily products when your hair is straight.
  • Wear your hair in a curlier state.
An African American female sitting in a coffee shop researching the scalp's oil production on her laptop.

Is Flat, Greasy Hair More Than an Annoyance?

The truth of the matter is that flat, greasy hair can definitely be more than a simple annoyance.

First, excessive scalp oiliness can lead to dandruff, which leads to scalp flakes, itching, and even secondary infections from scratching your scalp. You’d do well to find out what’s causing your flat, greasy hair and fix it as soon as possible. 

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You now have all the most pertinent reasons why your hair is flat and greasy. Use the remedies we’ve presented in this article to put this problem in the past. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best with your hair! Good luck!

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