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women with combination hair

How to Tell If You Have Combination Hair (And What to Do About It)

Much like you can have combination skin, you can also have combination hair. We’re breaking down exactly what combination hair is, and how to care for it.

Our scalp and strands aren’t that different from our skin, as all three can experience excess oil, dryness, or both. While this is a common occurrence, it’s also highly frustrating—especially since many external factors work against our efforts to keep hair balanced and healthy-looking.

If you think you might have combination hair, you’ve come to the right spot. Up ahead, we share the 411 on combination hair, including what causes it, how to care for it, and our best products to use on it (including our best shampoo for combination hair). Let’s dive in.

Good hair day by @hairvteam_parrucchieri.

What Is Combination Hair?

Similar to combination skin, combination hair is a mix of two hair types: Oily hair and dry hair. If you have combination hair, that typically means that the natural oils on your scalp stay put, rather than distribute down your strand. As a result, your scalp might be extra oily, while your hair feels dry, brittle, and even damaged. That being said, combination hair can also be the reverse: A dry scalp with oily strands. And, hair can change based on the season (hair in the winter tends to err on the dry side of the spectrum) or climate outside.

Good hair day by @hairbybrittanywoodbury.

What Causes Combination Hair?

Genetics, hair habits, products, environment, and even lifestyle can all contribute to combination hair. If you aren’t careful, using tons of products—especially the wrong products—and overexposing hair to chemical treatments might lead to symptoms of combination hair, as these can provoke dry or oily reactions. While this isn’t a reason to completely forgo products and salon appointments, you should take precautions and ensure you’re using the right products, thoroughly washing said products out with a shampoo for combination hair, and conditioning the strands as needed, too.

The weather outside can also have an impact on our hair and can even contribute to combination hair. As we mentioned previously, the winter can have a drying effect on the hair, while summer weather might promote more oily hair (especially at the scalp as you sweat more during the summer). But, seasons aren’t the only environmental contribution. No matter the time of year, different climates might also impact the hair and everyday aggressors such as pollution can also lead to combination hair.

Your lifestyle choices might also play a factor, especially when it comes to stress. When we experience stress, we might see a spike in cortisol (that pesky stress hormone), which can create an imbalance of sebum—a.k.a. oil—production on the skin and scalp.

Good hair day by @hairhousedoncaster.

How To Care For Combination Hair

Once you know what causes combination hair, learning how to care for combination hair is totally attainable.

Wash Your Hair Less

It might sound counterintuitive but washing your hair less (think one to two times a week) can actually help combat symptoms of combination hair. Over-washing the hair can cause irritation on the scalp and, depending on how hard your water is, can also strip the scalp of natural oils, leading to a potential overproduction of sebum, a.k.a. even more grease at the roots.

Pro Tip: If you must get your hair wet for styling purposes, try rinsing your hair—using filtered water or a shower filter to protect against hard water—without shampoo and using a lightweight conditioner on your ends to keep things hydrated and easy to manage.

Brush Your Hair

One of the biggest reasons why some experience combination hair is because the natural and nourishing oils on the scalp don’t make their way down to the rest of the strands. But, you can support these efforts by remembering to brush your hair regularly, starting at the roots and gliding down to the ends. Also, if you brush your hair (especially the scalp) before a rinse and repeat, you can help lift dirt, debris, and product buildup, making it even easier to get an effective shampoo.

Choose the Right Products

Much like the skin, it’s important to choose the right products for your hair—because, if you don’t, you might make the problem worse. Be sure to select products based on your hair type (or concern) and follow the directions to ensure you’re not using too much or too little of a product.

Our Best Products For Combination Hair

One of the best ways to care for combination hair is to ensure you’re using the best products for combination hair. From the best shampoo for combination hair to the best hair mask for dry hair, we share our top picks for our best products to try, ahead.

Shampoo

For Oily Roots:


Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo
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Kérastase

Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo

A balancing shampoo for oily hair and roots

Old price New price $36.00
One size available
8.45 fl oz

20% Off + Free Ship!


If your roots tend to be greasy and you’re looking for the best shampoo for combination hair, this clarifying shampoo from Kérastase is a must-try. Made for providing a deeper cleanse to the roots and scalp, this shampoo gets the job done without stripping. What’s more? The formula is enhanced with vitamin B6 so, while it purifies, it also nourishes.

For Dry Roots:


All Soft Argan-Oil Enriched Shampoo for Dry Hair
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Best Seller

Redken

All Soft Argan-Oil Enriched Shampoo for Dry Hair

A softening and conditioning, argan-oil-infused shampoo for dry hair.

Old price New price $24.00

20% Off + Free Ship!


If your combination hair makeup is a dry scalp with oily ends, you’ll want to reach for a shampoo that replenishes the roots with deep nourishment—like this one from Redken. The conditioning shampoo includes skincare favorite argan oil, which softens and adds some supple-looking shine.

Conditioner

For Dry Ends:


Extreme Length Conditioner with Biotin
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Best Seller

Redken

Extreme Length Conditioner with Biotin

A biotin and castor oil-formulated conditioner that prevents breakage.

Old price New price $24.00

20% Off + Free Ship!


The best conditioner for dry hair is a conditioner that boasts deep nourishment. This conditioner from Redken checks all of our dry hair boxes as it’s specifically formulated with castor oil and biotin to fortify the hair, helping to reverse dryness and even reduce breakage.

For Oily Ends:


Volume Injection Conditioner for Fine Hair
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Redken

Volume Injection Conditioner for Fine Hair

A lightweight volumizing conditioner.

Old price $44.00 New price $29.99

Liters $29.99


A conditioner for oily hair needs to be lightweight, since your strands already have some weight from the excess oil. This volumizing conditioner from Redken provides a soft condition without adding excess oil to hair. It also provides a nice root lift, making it a great choice for blowout hair styles.

Deep Conditioner

For Dry Ends:


Ultimate Reset Restorative Hair Mask
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Best Seller Stylist Pick

Shu Uemura

Ultimate Reset Restorative Hair Mask

A restorative deep repair hair mask for damaged hair.

Old price New price $69.00
One size available
6 fl oz

Those with dry ends might also benefit from incorporating a hair mask into their regimen. This restorative mask from She Uemura Art Of Hair targets dry, damaged hair, helping to repair from root to strands and providing a lightweight yet effective deep condition.

Dry Shampoo

For Oily Roots:



Dry shampoo for oily hair is a must. This heavy-duty formula targets roots that like a little excess grease as it absorbs those oils and leaves the hair looking refreshed. This is a great choice for anyone who struggles with washing their hair once a week, as it can help keep strands fresh for up to four days.

Looking to add a few more products to your combination hair care routine? Shop all of our favorites at Hair.com.

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