“Grease” typically refers to some type of oil-based products. Frequently, such products contain ingredients like petroleum, mineral oil, or lanolin. Greasing the scalp, especially with very heavy or products, can lead to clogged hair follicles. When you apply heavy hair oils or pomades, the products can build up over time. This might lead to hair sheen, but ultimately it can cause problems for your scalp.
First, let’s understand a bit of the science of hair. Hair follicles are connected to sebaceous glands. These glands produce sebum, which is the body’s natural oil, if you will. The sebum travels up the hair shaft to moisturize the hair and skin. Ever wonder why some people have more oily hair and/or skin? Or conversely, why they have drier hair and/or skin? All other things being equal (diet, hygiene, lifestyle), it’s usually tied to their sebum production.
When you apply heavy grease or oil to the scalp, they can mix with the natural oils and create residue. This residue can block the hair follicles and pores and prevent the natural flow of sebum.
How to Find Grease That Works
So if you’re looking for hair products that won't clog hair follicles, go with something that is lightweight and (non-pore-clogging). Also, be sure it’s suited for your hair type and scalp condition. This is especially true if you have sensitive or “problem” skin. Check the ingredients for heavy or pore-clogging substances. Avoid products that contain mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and lanolin.
Instead, look for water-based products, which are less likely to clog pores. Go with products that list water as one of the main ingredients–ideally, the first ingredient. Greases that have natural oils (grapeseed, coconut, etc.) are also a good choice. Remember, everyone's hair and skin is unique and what works well for one person may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the right product that works for you.
Is Oil Better for Your Hair Than Grease?
Should you use oil instead of grease on your hair? Like many things in life, it depends. Whether you go with oil or grease depends on your hair type, texture, and individual hair care needs. Hair oils are generally lighter and less likely to weigh down your hair. If you have fine or straight hair, you may prefer oils as they provide moisture without making your hair look greasy.
Many hair oils such as coconut oil or argan oil have deep conditioning properties. They are also effective at taming frizz and adding shine to your hair. If you prefer natural hair care, there are pure, unrefined oils that are free from additives and chemicals, especially if you have a sensitive scalp.
If you want styling control, try a grease or pomade. It helps hold the hair in place and adds shine. Grease can be particularly useful for people with coarse, thick, or curly hair. These hair types can benefit from the added weight and control it provides.
What Types of Oil Should You Use on Your Hair?
Some of the best oils to use are jojoba oil, argan oil, safflower seed oil, and coconut oil. Ultimately the choice between hair oil and hair grease depends on your hair type and styling goals. Experimenting with different products can help you determine what works best for your hair. However, use these products in moderation to avoid buildup on the hair and scalp.