How to Color Oily Hair

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Color your hair when it is clean so the color can penetrate the hair evenly.
Color your hair when it is clean so the color can penetrate the hair evenly. (Image: mohawk hair collage image by Tamara Kulikova from Fotolia.com)

Oily hair must be cleaned and conditioned before you can chemically color it. There is a misconception that if hair is oily no conditioner is needed. When hair is conditioned, it strengthens the hair and ensures even distribution of the bleach or hair color. When hair is oily, the oil actually blocks the penetration of hair color products and cause uneven hair color. Products like gels, hairsprays, oils, greases and waxes form a coating on the hair. If the hair is not washed and conditioned before hair color is applied, you may not get the color you desire.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild shampoo
  • Hair conditioner
  • Wide tooth comb
  • Microfiber towel

Pretreat your hair with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar and 1 cup water before you color to reduce oil buildup. The oil weighing your hair down is sebum. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous gland, and its purpose is to moisturize the skin and hair. Sometimes it becomes overactive due to a hormonal changes such as pregnancy or adolescence.

Shampoo your hair the night before you color. Washing your hair the same day may dilute the color. According to Teens Health, choose a mild shampoo instead of of one that is designed for oily hair because products used for oily hair can be too harsh.

Condition your hair to strengthen the hair shaft the night before you color. Only apply the conditioner to the hair and not the roots. Conditioners should only be added to oily hair when using chemicals because conditioners protect the hair from damage.

Sprinkle baby powder on your hair before you color. Let it sit for a few minutes and then gently comb the powder through the hair evenly. The hair will absorb the powder, and you can color your hair as directed. Baby powder is gentle and will not cause a chemical reaction when you apply the color.

Avoid brushing your hair too much prior to coloring. Brushing your hair will overstimulate the sebaceous glands that secrete sebum. Use a wide tooth comb, and gently comb the hair while avoiding contact with the scalp. Wrap your hair in a microfiber towel after combing. Microfiber towels absorb oils from the hair better than cotton towels.

Wash your hair less often. While you think that washing your hair often will result in less oily hair, the exact opposite happens. Rubbing your head vigorously promotes sebaceous gland activity. Waiting to wash your hair every two to three days will decrease the oil build up in your hair.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep oily hair away from your face. Oily hair can clog the pores and cause acne.

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