Hair-Care Tips

This Common Shower Mistake Could Be Behind Your Greasy Scalp

Your scalp produces natural oils, and when too much product accumulates on top of them, those oils essentially have nowhere to go—which is the main culprit behind greasy hair. We know that overdoing it on dry shampoo and skipping out on a scalp massage can exacerbate these problems, but there's one other part of your routine that could be making it even worse.

According to pros, if your hair isn't wet enough before you apply shampoo, conditioner, and masks, it can lead to more buildup on your scalp. "Applying product when your hair isn't fully wet risks the chance of the product not fully emulsifying and not properly rinsing out," Garrett Markenson, a hairstylist and founder of REVERIE. "Over time, this can lead to buildup on your strands and your scalp, making your hair look oily."

Certified trichologist (a medical and cosmetic expert who focuses on the hair and scalp) and founder of Advanced Trichology, William Gaunitz, FWTS, corroborates this notion, and says, "It is ideal to use wet products on thoroughly wet hair."

The reason? "If your hair is not thoroughly wet, you do not emulsify the product correctly, and you certainly can leave behind extra oil that is not carried away," agrees Gaunitz. "Just like using soap and water, when you're cleaning anything, you would not simply use soap and not water. The water carries away the dirt and debris that the soap breaks down; otherwise, you would leave soap residue behind, creating other issues due to the high density of material within the soap."

So before you apply your in-shower products, Markenson says to make sure your hair is thoroughly soaked. "Ask yourself, 'Is my hair wet enough? Could it be wetter?'" he says. "While a once-over rinse might be enough moisture for some, thicker hair requires more time to really drench."

Certain beauty beliefs suggest that using product on dry hair could allow for 'better' absorption, but pros say this isn't necessarily true. While it might not be harmful to your tresses, if you're noticing scalp buildup or oily roots, this may be why (This is particularly true for those who have thick hair, as Markenson pointed out).

In this case, it's best to heed the advice from the experts: get your hair drenched! Once it's thoroughly soaked through, >then apply product, and be sure to rigorously rinse when you're done. Et voilà: clean, shiny, grease-free hair for days to come.

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