Some babies come into the world with a full head of hair. Others are as bald as Vin Diesel. But even if your baby has just a little bit of hair on the top of their precious head, it could get greasy.
Don’t worry, though… it’s a pretty normal condition. It’s caused by sebum, a natural oil our skin and scalp make to keep things soft and supple.
With some babies, even right after you bathe them, that hair will look like an oil slick. You can thank hormones for that, but we can also get rid of it with good baby shampoo.
Greasy Baby Hair is Normal
I want to lead in with this since I know many of you worry about your babies. No judgment because I was once in your shoes, worrying about every single thing when my eldest was a baby.
Babies are little, developing people. So they have the same things we have. It might seem a bit odd to worry about greasy hair for a child that hasn’t hit puberty yet. But hormones can cause your baby’s body to overproduce those natural oils.
Often in skincare, you may have noticed with your own skin that when it’s dry, your skin will make more oil. This overcompensation leads to greasiness. The same thing can happen to your baby.
You don’t have to call the doctor or panic when your baby has greasy hair. This can be resolved naturally. All you need is a good shampoo to help you with that (I’ll have one for you below).
But there’s a key here – you don’t want to bathe your baby every day to get rid of the greasy hair. Why?
When you over-wash the scalp (skin too), you will notice it strips the skin of those natural oils. If you do this to your baby, you will see more oil come about because I mentioned above…the scalp will overcompensate for that depletion.
Gaining balance here will correct the problem, allowing your baby’s scalp to produce just enough sebum without going overboard.
Why does my baby’s hair get so greasy so quickly?
When it comes to newborn greasy hair, it’s usually a problem that will only last for a month or so in the tender newborn stage. This is the time that is often referred to as the 4th trimester because your baby (and their body) is getting used to being on the outside of the womb.
While you may want to blame family and friends for cuddling and kissing the baby for the greasiness, that’s not what’s causing it. It’s all about those hormones balancing and keeping the skin and scalp moisturized.
With proper cleansing and care, it will balance back out and stop being greasy. Ideally, you use a good shampoo, like Weleda, which can soothe and comfort that tender scalp, cleansing it away without stripping the oils. Something that is made for oily hair problems like this is ideal; stay away from anything for dry skin or scalp. This may make things greasier, like Bella B’s for cradle cap.
Incidentally, if you don’t help baby’s scalp balance, you may wind up handling cradle cap, but Bella B’s shampoo would be a huge help.
Tips for Getting Rid of the Grease
So, while it’s normal for a newborn to have greasy hair, you may have those professional photos scheduled, and you do NOT want your baby looking like a greaser. These tips will help you control excess oil for your newborn baby’s greasy hair.
- Don’t over-wash
The best thing you can do is a shampoo with a grease-busting baby shampoo 2 to 3 times per week. On alternate days, you can gently use a damp cloth to remove the grease. This way, you’re not over-washing and drying the scalp out.
- Use a gentle touch
You’re always gentle with the baby, but watch how much pressure you put on the scalp. When you rub it too hard, you’re stimulating oil production and continuing the problem.
- Fix greasy hair in a pinch
If you’re just finding this post now and baby photos are tomorrow, consider using a teensy bit of the talc-free baby powder. This will sop up the greasiness fast. Make sure you use talc-free stuff, as talc can be dangerous. The formulas you want are the ones made with cornstarch.
- Comb it
Don’t forget to style your little newborn’s hair. Keeping it combed will make it look neat even between shampooing.
Keep in mind that most babies outgrow the greasiness. Their hormones will adjust and balance in a month or so. But if that grease is bothering you, you can clean it up and help things along with the right shampoo for greasy newborn hair.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.