• Crystal Aguh

Is Hair Grease Really Evil?


If you are an 70's or 80's baby then you know all about hair grease. Whether it was Blue Magic, Super Gro or Ultra Sheen, hair grease was a staple in most black households. With the movement to embrace more natural products for hair care like essential oils, hair grease has fallen out of favor for many women. But is hair grease really evil? Many black women experienced enviable length retention with use of hair grease in the past, so why the change? I think there is a definite role for hair grease in hair care and I am happy to lead the charge! Consider it an inexpensive alternative to more pricey hair products that are potentially less effective. If you are interested in re-incorporating hair grease into your regimen, keep the following in mind:


1. Hair grease should be applied to the hair, not the scalp!

Some people believe that if they have flaking on the scalp, it means its dry and therefore requires more oiling or "greasing". This is not true. Significant flaking of the scalp can reflect dandruff, or a condition called seborrheic dermatitis. In some cases, greasing the scalp could make this worse in the long run. Additionally, hair grease is inert, meaning it contains no ingredients that are meant to have any active properties. Therefore, greasing the scalp will not promote hair growth or "stimulate" hair follicles.


2. Apply to wet hair only

Hair greases often contain ingredients like petrolatum and mineral oil, which are emollients. Emollients are very effective at trapping moisture onto surfaces like the skin and hair but they do not increase moisture. In fact, if applied to dry surfaces, they could prevent moisture from getting in, leading to more dryness in the longterm. Think about applying vaseline jelly to wet skin vs dry skin, you should notice much softer, less greasy skin, if its already wet before the vaseline is applied. It's the same for hair.


3. Consider using a shampoo with a gentle sulfate if used regularly

Hair Grease is a potent attractor of dirt. If you plan to use it on a regular basis, then incorporate use of a mild sulfate containing shampoo to make sure you hair is clean between washes. Mild sulfate containing shampoos can prime your hair for more powerful deep conditioning so this switch may not be bad in the long run.


With regular use, you should notice increased length retention with the incorporation of hair grease. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

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Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology,

Baltimore, MD

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Dr. Aguh