View Full Version : Help with sister's greasy hair!

July 14th, 2014, 09:06 AM
My 12 yr old sister is having some problems with her hair. Hair type probably 1a/F/i and length at SBL. Problems consist of terrible split ends all the way up to her ears from ponytails, and horrible greasies after just one day. Her hair feels relatively healthy (not dry, crunchy, anything like that). She wants help with her hair, and I want to help her too, but I have absolutely no idea where to start (Other than no more ponytails). Does anyone have suggestions? Should I give her a haircut to get rid of splits? What should she wash with? I'm lost!

July 14th, 2014, 09:50 AM
What you might try first is to clarify her hair (Neutrogena Anti Residue Clarifying shampoo has several recommendations here).

Be sure to do a conditioning treatment afterwards!

To aid in keeping her hair as grease free as possible, limit what she puts on her hair. Stay away from sprays, gels, creams, oils.

Sorry but I can't recommend any particular shampoo. When you do find a shampoo, try diluting it a little when you use it.

Do NOT use a combo product..i.e. shampoo and conditioner all in one. A shampoo is meant to cleanse, a conditioner conditions. Dilute both of them and rinse well.

Depending on badly her hair is split, it would be a good idea to trim the ends...at least one inch. Hard to tell w/o pics.

See if you can interest your sister in keeping her hair up (w/o ponytails) and using a silk pillowcase cover. The more gently she treats her hair (gentle detangling, combing from the ends, etc.) the better for her hair.

And don't forget...the more stuff you put on your hair, the more stuff it attracts. Good luck to both of you!

July 14th, 2014, 11:02 AM
Well, does she put conditioner on her scalp? I only condition the length. It's hard to stretch washes at first but the hair tends to produce less oil over time. I wonder if the shampoo she uses is harsh and overstimulates her hair to produce more oil to compensate.

July 14th, 2014, 12:00 PM
Is her skin getting oily, too?

Madora and woodswanderer give good advice.

Scrunchies for ponytails, changing where she uses the elastic, trim off any splits, either as a chop or s&d.
No shampoo other than the scalp, no conditioner near it, including the nape of the neck, unless she gets dreadlets.

Does she want length? Or just a care routine?

As for shampoo, I like simple formulas. No cones. I like to control those.
I use trader Joe's knock off of Giovanni Triple treat.
It's a tea tree shampoo, good for scalps that don't have the message to not overproduce oil.
Helpful since I stretch washes. Sometimes too long.
I also like Shikai everyday shampoo, SLS free. Light, good for more frequent washes.
I do dilute both, and keep them on the scalp.

For conditioner, I have one with cones, one without.
Diluted for both.

July 14th, 2014, 01:17 PM
When I was that age, I was constantly tightening my ponytails by grabbing two sections and yanking them forward. Caution her against that, because it roughs up the hair and encourages so much breakage. No one ever told me why I shouldn't do that....

A trim to get rid of the worst splits probably won't hurt.

See if you can get her to convert from ponytails to braids. It's way more protective, and it's a similar-enough style that people who like one usually don't mind the other.

Try to get her to pay attention to whether she's leaning on her hair in chairs or has it caught under her backpack straps. Have her make a point of looking at other girls' hair where it hits the chairs in school, because that's really informative.

Diluting the shampoo that she uses on her scalp might help fight greasies after a few weeks' adjustment, but it might also just be hormones kicking in right now. If she has to shampoo daily, she has to shampoo daily. Washing hair when it's greasy, instead of preemptively, is a good strategy long-term -- just let the body set its own schedule. Conditioner on the length (ears down) is good.

July 14th, 2014, 02:44 PM
Since she's 12, I'm assuming that with puberty her hormones are going a little crazy, so she's going to have to deal with a super greasy scalp and face for a few years. She's probably going to have to wash every day, but I would suggest a gentle sulfate-free shampoo, only on her scalp, to deal with the greasies but not to add further damage to her hair. I would plan a massive S&D session, I agree that she should start wearing braids, and now's a good time to learn French, Dutch, lace, and fishtail braids if she doesn't already, mainly because it's important to add variety, and because they're just good skills to have.

July 14th, 2014, 02:59 PM
Since she's 12, I'm assuming that with puberty her hormones are going a little crazy, so she's going to have to deal with a super greasy scalp and face for a few years.


It may just be something she'll have to put up with (or deal with, e.g. by daily washing) until she gets through puberty and her scalp (and skin in general) normalise somewhat.

That said, you've had some good suggestions re. routines and styling. Definitely try to get rid of the splits - either a trim or maybe S&D (depends if she is desperate to conserve length or not). Diluting the shampoo with water can help make it less drying (and often works just as well as undiluted). Consider hair styles - get rid of hairbands that have metal/glue joins; don't tighten ponytails by splitting the ponytail and tugging the two sections forward; consider other, more protective styles (this will depend on what she's happy wearing - also bear in mind that protective styles really aren't necessary for most hairtypes when growing to about waist or less provided you're not doing lots of other damaging things).

The most important thing to consider is what else is she doing to her hair? Most importantly, has it been bleached? dyed? does she flat iron? curl with tongs? have a perm? have keratin treatments? hair dryer used very hot and very close to the hair? (Yes, I know she's 12 ... but some 12 year olds do those things.) Those are super-damaging and if she wants to improve quality then she's best to stop most/all of them.

July 14th, 2014, 05:27 PM
She does nothing to her hair except wash it. No heat, products, bleaching, whatever. She's starting to use a claw clip instead of ponytails. So far we've tried going SLS free (hasn't seemed to work) and just tried a CO wash (hasn't helped either). We're also getting her a new hairbrush (she'd been using a round brush!) And she doesn't want length, she really wants to keep her hair at the length it is now. I guess I'll have to give her a good trim. And I'm wondering if y'all are right, panth and molljo that it might just be puberty. :shrug:

July 14th, 2014, 05:36 PM
If SL(E)S-free doesn't work, then don't force the issue for much longer. I, myself, need harsh sulfates to clean, and there's nothing wrong with that!

July 19th, 2014, 12:49 PM
Puberty is likely highly relevant, but good diet and lifestyle choices can help mitigate against this to some extent. Many need to stick with co-washing/ sulphate surfactant free for some weeks before they see results, I was lucky to have happier skin and hair the first week. Be aware that other anioics such as olefin sulfonates can be as harsh and irritating as some of the sulphate family. Also try washing the scalp in cooler not hot water, ideally with a *cold* shot beforehand to empty the sebaceous glands.