Oily scalp and dry ends. How to deal with combination hair?

Someone asked me recently how to care for combination hair– with oily scalp and dry ends. Should it be washed more or less often? What about oil and oily masks?
First of all, you should know that greasy scalp and dry, matte length is a really common problem, especially if the hair was coloured or bleached in the past.
My tips can look a little complicated, but when you make them your routine, it’s gonna be super-easy.

  • Oil is always a friend of hair, not an enemy, although in that case it should only be used on the length and ends of hair, not on the scalp. Coconut oil or shea butter are not the greatest choices in the beginning because they are good for hair with lower porosity. If your hair is damaged and dry, those oils will probably make it more frizzy.  Try with olive oil, walnut, linseed or almond oil first.
  • You can wash your hair as often as your roots need it. Your shampoo could be a little stronger than I usually recommend, but it shouldn’t contain oils and silicones.  Basically, these ingredients build up on hair and can make it more greasy. Silicones will also stick to hair and block it against conditioner’s benefits.  What do I mean by stronger shampoo? It’s a product that contains one of the detergents with SULPHATE in the end, for example:

– Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS),
– Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES),
– Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)

  • OK, but as you know, these ingredients can make your hair even more dry and brittle. There is an advice for that issue as well:) Before washing hair with shampoo, apply any conditioner onto the length (it will protect your ends against shampoo’s detergents). So the method is simple:

(number 3- again only for length and ends). The last conditioner could be really rich (it should contain emollients and moisturising ingredients).


  • Remember to only use warm but not hot water for washing hair, it could even be cool for the last rinsing.
  • It’s also important not to keep a towel on the head for a long time after washing- otherwise, it can increase sebum production by the scalp.
  • Always protect your ends with a drop of silicone serum.

These are just a few things, but I believe they will help! The method I mentioned (1.CONDITIONER, 2.SHAMPOO, 3.CONDITIONER) is good not only for combination hair, everybody can follow it. I DO! :).

41 thoughts on “Oily scalp and dry ends. How to deal with combination hair?

  1. Jo says:

    I’m definitely going to have to try the conditioner-shampoo-conditioner thing, I’d heard about that before but now I’ve heard it from someone else I’ll have to try it.

  2. Natalia says:

    Great post! I think my hair is pretty much like this. I use shampoo+conditioner but I like the idea of conditioner+shampoo+conditioner 😀 I’ll give it a try x

  3. Sofi B says:

    It was a really helpful post. 🙂 Long time ago I can use any oil, because I scared that my hair will be more greasy. :/ But now I know – as you said – oil is my friend. 🙂 And I think we will friend forever.

  4. R U S S says:

    This has been informative. There are some stuff that I’ve been doing for years and turns out they’re not good. Yikes. Starting tomorrow, I’ll work on changing my habit of keeping the towel on my head / hair. And I’m gonna try the conditioner-shampoo-conditioner trick. These + I need my regular hair treatments.

  5. Rose says:

    I didn’t know that oil is better for your hair versus the scalp. I don’t wash my hair everyday and don’t think I have a problem with oily hair but I liked some of your tips. I try the conditioner first and follow up with the shampoo then condition again. Maybe it is something seeing how one shampoo brand just said to reverse the order!

  6. Gracie says:

    Woah, I was just having this dilemma the other day and I bumped to this post! I was even thinking of getting a treatment from a hair salon before my big day… and I am soooo guilty of leaving my towel on my head for a long time. Now I know it is also a factor. Thank you for this, very helpful! x

    • Kat says:

      You should read about leave-in conditioners for scalp only. In your case I would advice to avoid these products which contain alcohol. You can still use oil on your ends:)

  7. Erin says:

    I have super-long combination hair and I remember how it was such a pain trying to figure out which regimen worked best for me. Today I use sulfate-free shampoo and it does an amazing job of keeping my hair clean for over 2 days (whereas before, it was maaaaybe a day!). I’ll follow with conditioner and once I get out I use oils on the tips.

    Sometimes if I need it, I’ll tie back part of my hair and only wash the crown area in between full washings. I never thought that I would be able to go more than a day without washing but it’s all part of finding which products work best for you!

  8. Michelle Catallo says:

    I tell people all the time that adding oils are actually helpful not only to your hair and scalp but, facial skin too. I have not heard of silicone serum though and after reading, going to add it to my regimen. Thank you so much for your posting; easy to read and flows very well. Thank you!

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