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Can I train my hair to be less oily?

Many a hairstylist claims that if you wash your hair less often you can actually train your hair to be less oily.

The theory is based on the idea that shampoo creates a supply-and-demand relationship: It strips the hair of sebum (that oily substance that helps hydrate hair, as well as ward off bacteria and wetness). In order to compensate, our scalps produce too much of the stuff, which in turn creates the grimy, greasy hair look.

The “no 'poo” movement claims that, in order to get hair back to its purest, most stunning state, you have to wean your locks off the sudsy stuff. This often proves to be a painful process—particularly for the fine-haired flock—complete with itchy scalps, vinegar rinses, obsessive hair brushing and slick-looking strands.

But is all that suffering for the greater good of your hair? Some hair and scalp specialists believe that it’s more hairsay than reality.

“Your scalp produces oils at a constant rate, regardless of how often you wash your hair,” Pantene Senior Scientist Jeni Thomas told us.

Liz Cunnane, a tricologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City, has done extensive research on the topic at their New York and London clinics. In her studies, she found that healthy hair is a result of a healthy —and clean—scalp.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.