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I am encountering an issue where my hair gets dirty very quickly, only staying clean for the day it was washed. Part of the issue might be that I have very thin, blond (think Nordic European) hair which is also really long.

For multiple years my hair-care routine has been washing it 2-3 times a week. Most likely the issue has persisted for longer time but I have been keeping the hair tied up so it has not bothered me as much. These days though, I have grown to like keeping my hair untied so I need to find a solution. The issue is so bad that if I wash my hair just before bed in the evening it will appear greasy when I wake up. If possible I would like to avoid showering every morning since my routine already includes daily evening showers.

I have tried multiple shampoos and conditioners specifically for thin hair without significant benefit.

In short; what hair-care product or routine would work keeping thin long hair looking clean for multiple days? Preferred solution would be implementable into the existing hair wash routine to prevent greasing instead of adding removal steps.

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  • Hi JJuntunen, Welcome to Lifehacks! We hope you enjoy your visits here and sharing tips an tricks with us.
    – Stan
    Mar 10 at 20:43
  • You say that your hair gets "dirty" but I wouldn't call your natural oils to be characterized as dirt nor do I share your feeling that your thin hair is related to the issue. It might be noticeable due to the texture of your hair. Your body generates necessary oils to protect your body. Some might argue that washing your hair to remove such protection would produce dry and brittle hair—thus damaging it—and recommend using conditioners to fix the resulting damage caused by excessive washing. Tough call !
    – Stan
    Mar 10 at 20:54
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I can report from recent experience that the greasiness of your hair is like a habit. You got your skin used to become very greasy by washing it too often. If you don't wash it for a longer time (say, once a week), you break the habit and it will gradually become less greasy.

I used my time during Covid lockdown to look (and feel) disgustingly greasy for a week at a time and now I don't need to wash my hair as often as I used to.

Dry shampoos and hair powders also make your hair look fresher. You can use simple corn, rice or potato starch as a substitute to commercial dry shampoo. Either put it into a container with an opening like a salt shaker and sprinkle it onto your hair, or put a small amount onto a small plate and use a dry cotton pad like a powder puff to transfer the starch into your hair. You need to comb the already powdered hair aside to apply powder to the layers below for a uniform fresh look.

When you comb your hair after the application of the powder, the starch gets less visible as it absorbs the oil from your hair. This oil won't disappear the way it would if you washed your hair, but it will be much less visible. I have dark brown hair and it looks a tiny bit grey right after applying the powder. I assume you won't notice much of a difference on blond hair.

Some sources on the internet claim that you can use flour as dry shampoo. I strongly advice against it, because flour has much bigger particles than starch and stays very visible in your hair. Some claim that you could use other powders like talkum, but that doesn't absorb the oils. It just sits on top of the greasy hairs and adds to the discomfort.

If you need to leave the house and the powder is not enough to make your hair look fresh, certain hairdos, hats or bandanas can hide the greasiness.

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  • Baby Powder seemed to work well for me, but otherwise good answer!
    – ava
    Apr 30 at 15:38
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Wash it less often and use a fine comb daily or even twice daily.

When you wash your hair regularly it gets greasy half a day to one day before you wash it. By washing it every day your skin works very hard to provide the natural oils which protect the hair but which we see as 'dirty, greasy'.

The trick is not to trigger that 'more oils' reaction and still keep your hair look and feel clean.

When you comb you spread the natural oils to the lower parts of your hair and you remove dust and other unwanted things. In a TV programme I watched recently the lady used a very fine comb, the kind I know as a dust comb, but in 19th century books they brush the hair, '100 times' each day. You do this after you have brushed or combed out the knots.

It is even possible not to wash your hair at all but most people will want to wash it once a week or once every second week, use a mild shampoo when you wash. A good rince, just water, will feel good in between or instead of washing.

There will be a few weeks of adjustment time. Putting your hair up, fancy ways if that suits your style, and hats will hide a lot.

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  • As my post states, I have been washing the hair 2-3 times a week for a long time. This doesn't seem to have a noticeable effect on me unfortunately.
    – JJuntunen
    Mar 10 at 15:05
  • Two or three times per week is too often for many people and reading your question you are one of them, just as I was before I started this routine.
    – Willeke
    Mar 10 at 15:52
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My hair is dead straight, blond & fine, so this is something I've worked out over many years of similar issues.
If you have long hair then it cannot possibly be getting greasy right to the ends in a couple of days unless you brush it like an old Victorian school teacher, 100 times before bed.

Hair has 'scales' - as they love to show you in all the shampoo adverts. Shampoos & conditioners' job is to smooth these 'scales', curing all kinds of percieved issues such as 'fly-away' hair etc. They do this using silicones, which coats each hair to flatten the scales, reduce static build-up & provide a non-grip shiny surface, like a teflon pan. They also help to reduce friction & therefore will detangle your hair easily… thing is, dead straight fair hair doesn't actually really tangle all that much anyway. Mine used to be well past shoulder length & still didn't.

If you have really fine hair which really needs more 'body' then you actually don't want this scale-smoothing, slippy effect, otherwise your hair ends up looking flat & greasy. It's no more greasy than anyone else's, it just doesn't retain body, which makes it look & feel limp & by association, greasy.

So, try an experiment.
Wash your hair with washing-up liquid [dish soap]. This should strip oils [& eventually the silicones] without replacing them with more silicones that shampoos contain. Don't worry, it won't kill your hair, washing-up liquid these days isn't as vicious a grease-cutter as it used to be, because it's "kind to hands".
Rinse the soap out, then instead of conditioner, use a bath salt mixed in warm water [not a liquid bubble bath type, a box of powder] - I use Radox simply because I like the smell; you don't need anything expensive. Don't make it too strong - the mix on this you might need to experiment with. The more you use, the 'dryer' the result.

Rinse again in clean water, dry as normal.

The action of those will actually lift the scales on your hair & make it appear thicker. It will also be resistant to looking greasy because of the scale lift.
Note that it may take a few attempts at this before you manage to get rid of all the silicones the regular shampoos have in them.
If you ever think it's gone too far the other way, too dry, try one wash in just shampoo; because this method is not adding anything that one rinse in plain water won't remove.
If the method still feels a bit 'greasy' after maybe a couple of weeks of this method, then next time don't rinse the bath salts out, leave that as your rinse stage.

If you need even more body, then use a matt paste styling product. I use Label M matt paste, after many years' search for a good non-shiny, non-greasy product, but I'm sure there must be others that will do the same job.

I now only wash my hair once a week using this technique & it really doesn't look greasy in between.

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  • I have the exact hair-type!
    – ava
    Apr 30 at 13:59
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I have the same hair type, same color, and have suffered from the same issues, so I can share what worked for me.

-Stop Brushing It. Brushing hair causes it to secrete grease, or natural oils, brush it once a day, and steer clear from touching the top of your head as well, as any dirt or oils on your hand will transfer to your hair.

-Avoid using detanglers, hair sprays, hair masks, and gel, as these add to the natural oils.

-Don't use any shampoos/conditioners that are coconut scented or have coconut extracts.

-Avoid using anything labeled "moisturizing" Instead, switch to shampoos or conditioners that say "For oily hair"

-Don't put conditioner on top of your head.

-Avoid using too much conditioner. A dime-sized amount will do on the ends of your hair.

It's a lot, I know, but it is effective.


Grease Already There?

Sometimes, when grease is already there, a bit of Batiste Dry shampoo or a small amount of baby powder thoroughly brushed through.


What To Use?

Here are some shampoo and conditioner sets that work well for me:

-Pantene

-Head and Shoulders

-Fructis Shampoo

When I was very desperate for a solution to my grease issues, I tried a two-in-one, and that worked well too, so any two-in-one!

There are a lot of "do-nots" that come with this hair type, but I promise it works!

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