curly hair = Greasy Hair?

One of the most common issues I see in the curly hair community is greasy hair. Some people say it is just your hair "getting used to it," but I don't think so. I think a lot of is caused by using products that are too heavy for your hair. If your hair is any of the following:

  • Fine
  • Wavy
  • Low porosity

You may need lighter products. Think about last time you spilled oil on clothing. Hard to get out right? When you use oily products you're doing the same thing to your hair.

Some common oily product lines include:

  • Shea Moisture (with some exceptions listed below)
  • Cantu
  • Carol's Daughter
  • Adding plain oil to your hair

Using lighter products will help your hair curl or wave better, and prevent it from looking greasy.

Some people (like me!) also have naturally oily skin, which means that oily products just contribute to the problem. Removing them and adding in a sulfate-free cleanser (often called a low-poo) can make a huge difference.

Another way to lighten up your routine is limit your styling products to 1-2 products. Lighter products are mostly gels and mousses rather than creams and leave ins. My own routine is:

  • Low poo
  • Conditioner
  • Either two stylers: Styler: curl enhancer and Styler: hold
  • OR just one Styler with both curl enhancement and hold

Could Hard Water Make Buildup Worse?

Another thing to consider is hard water. If your water is hard, it can turn products that are normally pretty light into oily buildup. Visit our hard water page for more info.

* = I've tried this and like it.

Oil Free Products

These are the lightest products. They provide ample slip and moisture without oils or butters.

Verelle $$$

Verelle sent me some of their products to try and even though some of them contained some oil, I found they worked quite well on my oily wavy hair.

Moptop $$$

Innersense $$$

Jessicurl $$

Kinky Curly $$

Not Your Mothers Naturals Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals $

Devacurl $$$

Devacurl's Delight line is targeted for fine/wavy hair, but personally I find the low-poo and conditioner still too oily for me and I know a lot of others who have had issues with them. That said these two products are great:

Budget Option

DIY Options

  • Conditioner/cleaner: Hair rinses* : my own personal fav is just marshmallow root pieces (1 tbsp) steeped in 1 cup of water overnight.
  • Styler/conditioner (curl enhancer): Marshmallow root gel* - I sometimes add a dash of slippery elm (half teaspoon) while hot for extra frizz control
  • Styler (curl enhancer + light hold) : Flax seed gel*

Oil Light Products

These are lighter products that still contain oils/butters, but in smaller quantities. They work well for many people, especially under drier conditions or in small amounts.

Moptop $$$

Giovanni $

Jessicurl $$

Not Your Mothers Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower and Mango Butter $

Some ingredients in this line have been known to build up. I recommend you use a weekly clarifying low-poo if you use this line like Kinky Curly Come Clean

Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless $

Warning some items in this line may not fit with most curly hair recommendations(the spray has drying alcohol) and in general it is one of the heavier lines on this list.

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