Personal Hair Advisor: Oily Scalp, Dry Ends

Per sonal Hair Advisor: Many women struggle with "combination" hair. Just as your skin might be oily in the T-zone and dry on the cheeks, your hair can be oily at the scalp and dry at the ends. A few simple changes in your hair care routine, though, and your tresses should be of one mind in no time.

Oily scalp is usually caused by shampoos that are too strong. Many shampoos contain harsh detergents that strip hair of its natural oils. The scalp reacts by producing even more oil to protect itself from further irritation. We notice our roots getting oilier, so we wash our hair more frequently. The scalp again responds by increasing oil production, and a vicious cycle emerges.

The key to overcoming this pattern is to switch to a plant-based shampoo. All-natural shampoos contain much gentler detergents. They will help rebalance your scalp and decrease oil production. Choose shampoos that are specifically formulated for oily hair. You should also try not to wash your hair too frequently. Especially in the summer, once a day is acceptable if you're using a gentle shampoo. Try not to wash your hair twice in one day.

Dry ends are often the result of over-processing your hair. If you color, perm or straighten your hair, talk to your stylist about the best way to keep it healthy. Maybe you can switch dyes or cut back on processing. Regular deep conditioning treatments at home will also help moisturize and smooth your ends. Applying shea butter or hot oil for an hour a week should work wonders. Just make sure you only condition from mid-length to ends. On a daily basis, use a very moisturizing conditioner and leave it in for a couple of minutes after you shampoo. Again, never apply the conditioner at the roots -- only work it through from mid-length to ends.

When it comes time to style, avoid products like mousse that contain alcohol. They will further irritate your scalp and encourage oil production. They are also very drying to your ends. A natural, alcohol-free styling gel will be much gentler on your hair.

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