Why does my hair get greasy overnight

Shiny hair is good until it’s not. 

We wish our hair would just hold on to that appropriate amount of shine. But the world isn’t perfect, and neither is our hair. 

While greasy hair is not the worst affliction, it keeps us from feeling our most confident. 

Seizing the day doesn’t feel doable when we can’t even win the battle against our greasy scalp. Needless to say, excess oil weighs down more than our hair—it also dampens our spirit.

It’s easy to understand that oil can accumulate on our scalp as we grind through the day. It's normal for our hair to get a little dirty. 

But what can we do when greasy hair is the first thing that greets us in the morning?


Why is my hair so greasy when I wake up?

Why is my hair so greasy when I wake up

Often, greasy hair is just a case of misunderstanding our body. 

This leads to habits that can affect hair growth in the long run. 

Excess oil, when ignored, contributes to the likelihood of hair loss. This happens because the overproduction of oil encourages the clogging of hair follicles.

We develop habits that promote healthy hair growth when we know our hair better. After all, we can only address and attend to concerns that we know about.

There are many reasons why hair gets oily overnight. But something as common as what we will discuss can just slip under our noses. So it’s helpful to point them out. 

Haircare gone wrong

Oil or sebum keeps our hair soft and shiny. When we shampoo, we also wash the oil away along with the dirt and grime. 

Overdoing this can strip our hair of its moisture and natural oils. So, our body produces more oil to make up for the loss. Otherwise, our hair would become too unmanageable.

How does this natural process give us greasy hair overnight?

More oil means more dirt. This also means stronger urges to shower more often because of the greasy feeling. 

No matter the time of day we showered, we would still be trapped inside this exhausting cycle of overwashing and overproduction of sebum. 

But if most people are washing their hair daily, shouldn’t more people have overly greasy hair?

Overlooking genes and lifestyle

An oily scalp isn’t always a sign that something is wrong with you. Some people are predisposed to have an oilier scalp than others. 

Sebum production is controlled by our body’s hormones influenced by our genes. But the narrative doesn’t end there.

The changes in your body and your environment also influence how much oil your scalp produces. Oil overproduction is just one of your body’s responses to these changes. 

If you’re under a lot of stress from work or school, your hair also suffers with you. You may even have worn your hair in a bun during these times. 

And if you also skip wash days, it can worsen the oily dilemma. 

You may identify with those people asking, “Why is my hair greasy after 1 day?” This means you have to reconsider how often you shampoo your hair.

When you’re already prone to having an oilier-than-normal scalp, the kind of greasy hair you have doesn’t stick to a schedule. 

Maybe you only notice this unsightly sheen when you wake up since you would be paying more attention to how you look. 

If you fall under this category, tweaking your diet and lifestyle may normalize your sebum production. Of course, you need to talk to your doctor about these changes. A timely lifestyle shift can make oily scalp easier to deal with.

For some of us, greasy hair is an irregular concern rather than something that has been part of our life. The cause might be a recent change in environment or routine. And a quick shower may be able to solve the problem. 

But if we just washed our hair the night before, why does hair get greasy after sleeping?

Sleeping on dirty pillows

Sleeping on dirty pillows

More people are swearing by night showers. 

Showering before bed is said to help one sleep better. There may be merit to this claim. For one, being fresh and clean is always a good feeling. It also helps relax your sore muscles. 

With the pros of bathing before bed, it seems like people were on to something.

But for some people, evening showers just make for a bad hair day the next day. Why does this happen?

You need not look farther than your bed for a likely culprit: Pillows. 

That’s why you should make it a habit to change pillowcases.

When you don’t change your pillowcases often, the fabric is overrun by dirt and oil. 

Since your hair absorbs oil, you wake up with greasy hair even if you just showered before bed. That replaces the gunk you just washed away on your dirty pillows.

It’s also worth noting that your scalp may not enjoy hot showers as much as you do. The temperature can easily dehydrate your skin. From what we have learned earlier, your skin would want to compensate by producing more oil.

Sleeping with damp hair

When you don’t let your hair dry before sleeping, all that moisture is locked between your head and the fabric. 

What you thought was grease may just be damp hair. Worse, the friction from sleepily twisting and turning may eventually damage your hair over time.

Over-conditioning your hair

Conditioners nourish and help repair damaged hair. It seems that using more of them should make our hair look better faster. Not only is this wasteful, but it also won’t do our hair any good. 

Using too much conditioner would only make your hair feel oily, especially when you don’t rinse thoroughly. This is just a recipe for product build-up. 

Over-conditioning at night doubles the trouble. And you’re sure to have greasy hair in the morning, courtesy of that extra pump of conditioner.


How to keep hair from getting greasy overnight

How to keep hair from getting greasy overnight

Haircare is a fickle routine to master. 

The Internet can only do so much suggesting; it can’t provide the magic formula for every hair trouble. But it can give you a general idea of what, whys, and how-tos.

1. Personalize your hair care routine

Since greasy hair is a common problem, you’ll find so many online materials to help you manage it. However, don’t follow everything down to the letter. Instead, nitpick which practices fit with your lifestyle, budget, and hair type. 

While skipping shampoo days is beneficial for your hair, someone else’s specific shower schedule may not work for you. Find time to sit down and plot your own wash days. Take into consideration how dirty you think your hair will be. For example, if you’re just staying at home on a Sunday, you can safely skip shampoo.

And whether you like day baths or evening showers, the consideration should never be about what’s trendy. 

Both schedules have their own share of pros and cons. What matters is that your routine matches your lifestyle. 

2. Practice a healthy and balanced lifestyle

Our skin is pretty good at looking after itself. 

If your skin is already dehydrated, no amount of hair products will win against our body’s response mechanism. It’s hard to win against oily scalp when your body thinks you need more oil.

The enduring quote can also explain greasy hair, “You are what you eat”. Indeed, what we put in our bodies has a way of revealing itself to the world. 

The best thing we can do is couple hair care with caring for our overall health. If we can’t obtain enough nutrients from the food we eat, we can take supplements or adjust our diet and lifestyle. 

Indeed, our appearance reflects how healthy we are and how we take care of ourselves.

3. Replace your pillowcases 

Perhaps the easiest step in addressing greasy morning hair is to change our bedsheets and pillowcases often.

If you’re looking into upgrading your pillowcases, those with satin and silk fabrics might be up your alley. 

They don’t just feel nice for your skin; they also don’t absorb oil as much. The smooth material also reduces friction that is just damaging for your hair

4. Keep your hair up when sleeping

As a bonus tip, you can protect your hair while you sleep. You can try several overnight hairstyles to prevent greasy hair when you wake up. 

This keeps most of your hair from coming into contact with your pillows. This is your next best alternative when you don’t like the extra cost of upgrading your pillowcases.

Greasy morning hair can make you feel like your day has already started on the losing end. 

But it doesn’t have to be the disheartening problem that we sweep under a bun. Oily hair can be our wake-up call for urgent changes in our lifestyle and routine.

CHECK OUT: Rats Nest Hair

Last Updated: March 3, 2022

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