Finding a balance for dry and oily hair

Dry and oily hair types require different hair products for cleansing and conditioning. People with different types of hair may find that their hair care needs change over time.

The cuticle of a hair is an outer layer consisting of many overlapping parts that protect the inner hair shaft. When all of these overlapping parts lie flat, the hair looks shiny and healthy. Changes in the cuticle may result in dry hair. The overlapping parts of the protective covering no longer lie flat, but rather lift up and break. The hair eventually becomes brittle and difficult to style. People who do not protect their hair from the sun, wind, chemicals and other irritants may also have dry hair. Older people with dry skin, or people of any age with dark, curly hair or chemically-processed hair tend to have dry hair.

People with dry hair should shampoo no more than once a week if possible and should take extra care during and after chemical treatments such as perming or colouring. Rich, moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are recommended. An intensive cream rinse may also be useful. Styling products (gels, mousses) should be alcohol-free, as alcohol tends to dry out hair even more.

Family history plays a role in oily hair, as hormones affect oil-producing glands in the scalp. Teenagers with oily skin often have oily hair, but oil production may decrease to lower levels once they reach adulthood. However, one adult in five still has excessive oil production. Additional factors that may make hair oilier are other medical conditions, stress, and a poor diet.

Recommendations for people with oily hair include shampoos formulated to control and remove excess sebum (oil). Oily hair is difficult to style because it can be stringy and limp. It may be helpful to wash oily hair daily or even more frequently. A conditioner may not be necessary or you may only need to apply conditioner to the ends of your hair.

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