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Terence Lai, senior stylist at Hairloom, handles this week’s hair query.

Atzin G. asked:

“My hair gets really oily way too fast, so I would like to know if there is something I can use to make my hair less oily, I have tried some products but they didn’t work for me…And also I want to grow my hair a bit faster, is there a trick or something to make it grow?”

Part 1: Oily Hair

First of all, oily hair usually starts with a dry scalp, where sebaceous glands then produce oil to compensate for the dryness. This is usually caused by hormones, as well as eating habits. While we can’t advise on the hormonal part, here are some tricks you can use to manage your oily hair/scalp.

  1. Wash your hair no more than once a day. We recommend once every two days, if possible. Washing your hair too often strips your hair of its oils and causes your scalp to dry out. This dryness will only prompt your sebaceous – or oil-producing – glands to go into overdrive, producing even more oil as a result and making your scalp even oilier.
  2. And, avoid using hot water – as this would further strip the oils from your hair and scalp.
  3. Wash gently. When washing your hair, don’t massage your scalp with too much force, as this may trigger the sebaceous glands into producing more oil.
  4. Use a targeted oily-scalp treatment shampoo. Such shampoos are clinical shampoos, which have stronger ingredients than the average off-the-shelf shampoos and will be more effective in treating your oily scalp. It’s very important that you focus on lathering the shampoo only directly onto the scalp, as these shampoos will dry out your hair ends. You’ll need to use a shampoo that has a more moisturizing effect on the rest of your hair, as well as a conditioner or treatment masque if necessary.
  5. Avoid foods that are too oily, spicy, or deep-fried.

The ideal hair-washing routine to treat oily scalp

Chinese tea can help to adjust the pH level of your scalp. (photo from
Chinese tea can help to adjust the pH level of your scalp. (photo credit)
  1. First, boil a pot of chinese tea. Yes that’s right – tea. Tea – like chinese tea, black tea or herbal tea – is acidic, and can lower the pH level of your hair and scalp while adding softness and shine. (Oily hair is more alkaline, while the natural pH level of our scalp is from 4.5 to 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Water is neutral – 7.) Let the leaves/herbs steep for at least 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. Pour it over your head and scalp. Massage it into your scalp and let it sit for at least 2 minutes.
  3. Rinse the tea off completely until the water runs clear.
  4. Apply your scalp shampoo directly onto your scalp. Let it sit for 2 minutes.
  5. Rinse it off completely.
  6. Apply moisturizing shampoo and conditioner onto the rest of your hair. Rinse thoroughly.

Part 2: Hair Growth

Hair is basically protein – and promoting quicker hair growth usually starts from within. Eat more protein rich foods – beans, fish, meat, seeds. Taking supplements or food that contain Vitamin A, B, E, K and Omega-3 will also help.

You can also massage scalp every night to stimulate hair growth, or use a soft-toothed comb to comb your hair, thoroughly from front to back to promote blood circulation, which in turn stimulates hair growth. However, if you have an oily scalp, you might want to skip this step as doing so might bring the oil from your scalp onto your hair, making your hair oilier.

Lastly, avoid foods that are too spicy or deep-fried as these also affect rate of hair growth.

More resources we find useful for managing oily hair:



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