I Oil Trained My Greasy Hair During Social Distancing, and It’s the Best Decision I’ve Ever Made

May 28, 2020
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
oil train hair

My hair gets greasy — fast. I use detoxifying shampoos and every clarifying product under the sun, and yet, within just 24 hours, my hair looks like a pool of oil. Washing my hair every day is crazy annoying and hella high maintenance. The worst part? Showering so often only makes the oil creep up that much faster. I couldn’t deal with the oily, greasy hair lifestyle much longer — something had to change. That’s why I decided to oil train my hair by showering just twice a week (wild, I know) during the past few months of social distancing. Read what happened, ahead. 

What Is Oil Training, Anyway? 

Think about it: When you have oily hair, frequent washing is par for the course. But by shampooing all the time, you could be stripping your hair of its natural oils and signaling your scalp to produce even more oil — the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do! As a result, your hair gets oilier even more quickly. Some people swear by a process known as oil training to combat this phenomenon. They say it works by pulling way back on the number of times a week you wash your hair (we’re talking like twice a week, max, here) and completely cutting out styling products like creams and oils. Essentially, you let your hair bask in all of its greasy glory, during which time, in theory, you’re rebalancing your scalp to stop the overproduction of oil. Fast forward a few months and the idea is that your hair should be accustomed to its new wash schedule and look cleaner, longer. 

I Tried Oil Training — Here’s What Happened 

There are mixed thoughts in the professional community on whether oil training actually works, but I’ve heard a few anecdotal success stories and have always been intrigued. That said, I’ve never been able to bring myself to commit to weeks of looking like a greaseball. But given that I’ve been social distancing since early March and haven’t really left my home, I figured there was no better time to embrace the grease. Normally, I wash my hair every other day, but for oil training, I committed to an every-three-day hair washing schedule with a sulfate-free shampoo (shout out to Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo). For the greater part of March, my hair looked gross, and it felt really gross, too. It was slick and matted to my head, which meant my day-to-day look included a lot of messy buns, top knots, ponytails and hair accessories. 

Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo

Come mid-April, though, I started to see a shift. By the end of the second post-wash day — which is when I used to look the most oily — my hair actually still looked clean. A full 48 hours, no dry shampoo and clean-looking hair?! I couldn’t believe it. I continued with the process for another month. There were a few times when the results seemed to disappear, and when this happened, I would reach for a clarifying shampoo, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Shampoo

But overall, oil training my hair was a major success. I’m now able to go almost three full days without washing my hair. Granted, results will vary depending on your hair type and scalp, but for me, this experiment was a win. 

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