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Lady Smarts 'Help! My hair is oily at the roots and dry at the ends'

Raise your hand if you identify with this so-real struggle.

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fine hair problems oily roots dry ends play

fine hair problems oily roots dry ends

(Photograph by Getty Images)

Fine-haired ladies, this goes out to you. Seems counterintuitive, but women with thinner strands tend to have more hairs on their head, and the more hairs, the more oil glands.

To cope, grease sufferers reach for clarifying and volumizing shampoos—but the potent detergents that many contain can seriously dry out tips.

"Ends are the oldest part of your hair and have been exposed to heat and stressors longest, making them extremely vulnerable," explains New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D.

"That extra oil you're wiping away is necessary at the bottom to compensate for the damage you've done over time."


Treat Before You Shampoo

New-invention alert: A pre-shampoo mask with kaolin clay absorbs scalp oils, and its viscous consistency won't drip down and dehydrate ends. Try L'Oreal Paris Hair Expert Extraordinary Clay Pre-Shampoo Mask. Apply it once a week to dry roots for five minutes and rinse with a gentle surfactant shampoo; we like Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo.

Refine Your Technique

We're hardwired to shampoo and condition from roots to tips, but that's actually not great for hair. Instead, says KMS global hairstylist Simon Miller, massage shampoo into roots and let it rinse through ends to lightly cleanse them. Do the opposite with conditioner to avoid gunking up the scalp: Start at the ends and work toward the mid-lengths so the highest concentration of product hits tips, where you need it most.

Strike Oil

To repair brittle strands, apply oil, which "seals the cuticle of dry ends and adds shine," says Engelman. Pay attention to the formula, though, because many oils are too, well, oily (go figure). Once a week before bed, rub a few drops of a light one like argan—try OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Oil—into dry tips and rinse out with water in the morning.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Women's Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now!

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