How to Care for a Dry or Oily Scalp

If you’re a longtime Moroccanoil fan, you might already know that we believe in a personalized approach to haircare. Our iconic Moroccanoil Treatment is available in both Original and Light, a special formulation that delivers all the same benefits but is designed for fine or light-colored hair. We have two Hydrating Masks (one for medium to thick hair and one for fine hair). Even our Dry Shampoo comes in two formulas. Light Tones balances brassiness in blonde or light-colored hair, and Dark Tones gets the job done without dulling brunette hair.

It only makes sense that we took the same approach to scalp care. That’s why we actually have not one, but two targeted Scalp Treatments: one for dry scalps and one for oily scalps. After all, you probably handpick products suited to your skin and hair type, concerns, and goals. Why should you have to settle for one-size-fits-all when it comes to your scalp?

Read on to find out which treatment is right for you, then get started on your scalp care routine.

DRY SCALP TREATMENT

What causes a dry scalp?

This is a popular question this time of year, because cold weather often brings an uptick in dry, flaky scalps. In addition to dry weather, a dry scalp can be caused by a number of factors, including over-shampooing, hot water, and product buildup. And of course, just like some people are more prone to dry skin that others, you may simply be prone to a dry scalp!

How do I know if I have a dry scalp?

Common indicators of a dry scalp can include itching, tightness, irritation, and a flaky appearance similar to dandruff. However, it’s important to note just because you notice flakiness doesn’t mean you’re suffering from dandruff! Flaking due to dry scalp presents as small white flakes of skin cells, while dandruff presents as larger flakes that have a yellowish or grey color.

How can I treat a dry scalp?

Some of the symptoms of a dry scalp can be mitigated with small lifestyle changes. For instance, you can dry turning the temperature down when you shower, avoiding daily washing, and cutting back on product use. But for fast relief and ongoing care, we recommend our Dry Scalp Treatment. It contains salicylic acid to gently exfoliate (which helps prevent flakiness), plus argan and geranium oils to nourish and help restore a healthy moisture balance. It also helps protect from future outbreaks and imbalances! The results speak for themselves. In a consumer perception study conducted on 50 respondents, after just two weeks, 96% said the scalp felt soothed, 94% said the feeling of scalp itchiness was reduced, and 90% said the formula cleansed scalp of loose flakes.

How do you use Dry Scalp Treatment?

It’s easy and only takes about five minutes. Dry Scalp Treatment is designed be used on dry hair immediately prior to shampooing. Start by shaking the bottle to ensure even distribution. Next, part hair into sections (start with four). Apply 3–6 drops per section, then massage gently into the scalp. Leave on for 5–10 minutes, then comb through and rinse out. Follow with your usual shampoo and conditioner. Use as needed—once a week or so to start. We like to think of it as simply extending our skincare to our scalp!

OILY SCALP TREATMENT

What causes an oily scalp?

A healthy scalp produces approximately 1.2–1.5 grams of sebum per day, roughly a pea-sized amount. An oily scalp occurs when the sebaceous glands overproduce oil. This can impact the scalp microbiome and health, as well as the condition of the hair due to the potential for more frequent shampooing and subsequent styling. When the oil hardens, it can obstruct the opening of the hair follicle and cause inflammation, itching, and scaling.

Your propensity to suffer from an oily scalp may just be genetic. It also may be due to factors like hot, humid weather, using a shampoo that’s not a good fit, or long-term over-shampooing. (Confusing, we know, as we just said that over-shampooing can contribute to a dry scalp—but different scalps respond to the same stimuli, well, differently! Bottom line: over-washing doesn’t often lend itself to great scalp health, though the symptoms may present differently for different people.)

How do I know if I have an oily scalp?

You can probably feel it! Of course, everyone’s scalp gets oily when left unwashed for too long. But if your hair feels dirty, greasy and flat all the time—even right after you wash it—you may be suffering from an excessively oily scalp.

How can I treat an oily scalp?

You probably know where this is going: try Oily Scalp Treatment! Formulated to quickly purify, revitalize, and rebalance an oily scalp, it features a blend of natural ingredients and essential oils to detoxify impurities, including ginger root to help rebalance oil production and biotin peptides known to provide revitalizing benefits. It also contains antioxidant-rich argan oil and lavender, which features natural purification properties. With use, it helps control oils, sweat, and buildup found throughout the scalp, leaving hair balanced and lustrous. In a consumer perception study conducted on 50 respondents, after just 2 weeks, 96% said hair was less weighed down by grease, oils, and residue, 94% said scalp felt less oily, and 90% said scalp felt deeply cleansed.

From a lifestyle perspective, it also can’t hurt to reassess your in-shower haircare routine. For starters, try washing less often—we know it’s particularly hard to cut back when your hair feels extra oily, but even washing every other day rather than every day can help promote a healthier-feeling scalp. If you’re using a heavy, moisture-focused shampoo, try switching to something lighter. (Volumizing formulas may be a good bet.) And make sure you’re only applying conditioner from mid-lengths to ends!

How do you use Oily Scalp Treatment?

Like Dry Scalp Treatment, Oily Scalp Treatment is designed be used on dry hair immediately prior to shampooing. Start by shaking the bottle to ensure even distribution. Next, part hair into sections (start with four). Apply 3–6 drops per section, then massage gently into the scalp. Leave on for 5–10 minutes, then comb through and rinse out. Follow with your usual shampoo and conditioner.

STILL NOT SURE WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

If you feel like your scalp is not particularly oily or dry, you can still benefit from stepping up your scalp care. We recommend using Dry Scalp Treatment if you’re closer to the middle of the spectrum.

And one final note! For any serious or persistent scalp conditions, we recommend seeking advice from a medical professional. These treatments are not intended to replace any prescription products, nor should this advice replace medical advice.