How Can I Battle Greasy Roots, Dry Ends?

QUESTION: My long hair is dry at the ends, but greasy at the roots. What can I do to make it healthy all over?

ANSWER: You're experiencing a common problem. Many women find their scalps are oily, but the ends of their hair are dry. There is hope! To nurse your hair back to health, follow our steps:

Step 1: Get a trim. Your ends most likely look parched because they're damaged. A quick trim of at least half an inch can make a big difference in your ends' appearance.

Step 2: Buy shampoo for your scalp. Many women purchase shampoo based on their hair type (dry, fine, coarse). But it's better to buy shampoo for your scalp type, since the scalp is largely what is cleansed by shampoo. If you have an oily scalp, look for a shampoo made for oily hair, or try a dandruff shampoo (many versions are very gentle and won't harm your hair).

Step 3: Shampoo your roots. Apply shampoo to the roots of your hair only. Since it's made to cleanse away oil, the roots and scalp are really the only places you need shampoo. As you rinse the shampoo out of your hair, it will cleanse the length of your locks, too.

Step 4: Use conditioner made for your hair. For dry hair, go for a rich conditioner.

Step 5: Apply conditioner wisely. You don't need conditioner on your scalp if the skin there is oily; applying conditioner to an oily scalp will only make it oilier! Instead, apply conditioner to the ends of your hair, working it about a third of the way up the hair shaft.

Step 6: Use lightweight products at the roots, and conditioning products at the ends. Hair pros know that using multiple products on one head gives the best results. Apply a volumizing spray to roots to help give them lift and beat oiliness; then apply a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing gel to the length of your hair to beat dryness.

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