One of the most misleading concepts of how to deal with oily hair is to just wash it more, but the shocking news is that this is the wrong way to go! Washing oily hair more frequently is counterproductive, and you should wash your hair based on your hair type and use a specially designed shampoo for oily hair.
There are plenty of options out there, thankfully, so you don’t have to suffer. We’ve put together a list of the 17 best shampoos for oily hair and even a plethora of tips and tricks to ensure that you don’t have to put up with greasy hair.
Your Guide to Oily Hair Shampoos: Contents
- 17 Best Shampoos for Oily Hair That Work
- What Causes Oily Hair?
- Tips for Choosing the Best Shampoo for Oily Hair
- How Often Should You Wash Oily Hair?
- How to Get Rid of Greasy Hair?
Oily hair isn’t just an aesthetic issue. Oily hair can lead to dandruff, breakouts around your hairline and even hair loss. Check out our recommendations of the best shampoos for oily hair below and pick the one that will work for you!
1. Verb Ghost Shampoo
This is a gentle shampoo for oily hair that uses moringa seed oil as a natural smoothing agent for frizz control and healthy shine. Sunflower seed extract is the ingredient included to provide natural UV protection in order to assist with keeping your color true and your hair healthy. Other great ingredients include quinoa protein and a touch of oatmeal and grapefruit as well. The light fresh fragrance is just another great feature of this shampoo for greasy hair that you can order from Sephora.
2. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo
Paul Mitchell’s shampoo for greasy hair pays attention to the incredible benefits of tea tree oil and how great it is for your hair and scalp. This special ingredient rids your hair of impurities and is formulated to leave your hair lustrous and clean. Aside from the inclusion of all-natural tea tree oil, peppermint and lavender are also included for their scalp-invigorating properties and the propensity to leave hair smelling great with the additional effects of being mood elevating and comforting in nature. Order or pick up a bottle from Ulta and experience better hair and a healthier scalp!
3. AG Hair Moisture Peppermint Wash Invigorating Shampoo
AG Hair’s shampoo for oily hair has been enriched with the cooling and refreshing experience provided by menthol. The scent will enliven and invigorate your senses as you gently cleanse your hair and stimulate your scalp. The soft peppermint scent works with other herbal extracts, coconut-derived surfactants and additional proteins and amino acids. All together this shampoo for greasy hair is a great option to help fight oiliness for all hair types and textures and it is also color safe. Order one for yourself from Amazon!
4. Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
This shampoo is designed to meet the needs of those looking for one of the best options for a shampoo for oily hair. The clarifying nature of this cleansing shampoo helps clean up build-up, which can include the remnants of hard water, pollution, product build-up and excess sebum. The Sunday shampoo is revitalizing as well as cleansing. Clear up the remains of all of your product use and enjoy the clean and fresh hair that you want. Unfortunately, this is not a good option for color-treated hair. Grab one from Sephora today!
5. Matrix Biolage Normalizing Cleanreset Shampoo
The Matrix shampoo for oily hair delivers on several promises with each wash. It will cleanse your hair without drying it out, it will work on all hair types including color-treated hair, all hair textures, types and lengths including natural hair. It is a paraben-free shampoo that is designed to purify hair and includes lemongrass among other ingredients that you are sure to appreciate for its effects and its light, refreshing scent. Order your own from Ulta or pick one up in stores!
6. Rahua Voluminous Shampoo
This shampoo will clean your hair and scalp, removing excess oil with a combination of lemongrass, green tea, ungurahua oil and more. The intent is to promote volume and movement while mitigating sebum production. Volume is created by the lemongrass and green tea but the ungurahua oil is rich in omega-9, which will do wonders to fortify your hair follicles and promote healthy moisture. The soft scent of lavender and the soothing elements of eucalyptus offer up next-level softness and scent to your hair. Find yours at Dermstore!
7. Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo with Jujube Bark Extract
This color-safe shampoo for oily hair includes jujube bark and cherry blossom extracts. Why? Because these ingredients are known to soothe itchiness and irritation while providing a soft, sweeter scent and a clean fresh and soft feeling to hair and skin. With regular use you can reclaim a healthy scalp without drying it out. Excess sebum is removed, dandruff is eliminated and a healthy and comfortable scalp is what you are left with. Order a bottle for yourself from Sephora!
8. Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) Triple Detox Shampoo
Living Proof’s shampoo for oily hair will remove extra hair oil but won’t strip it down and make it dry. Thanks to the highly charged anionic polymer you can safely remove product build-up, dirt, pollution and oil from your hair while still being color safe. This shampoo will even remove the solids and metals that are found in hard water to keep your hair looking and feeling great. Order your bottle from Ulta!
9. L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo
This shampoo for greasy hair combines 3 different clays that work by hydrating and protecting dry ends and simultaneously clarifying and refining oily roots. Your hair will look and feel fresh and clean from root to tip for up to 48 hours in optimal conditions allowing you to go longer without shampooing. This is an excellent example of a shampoo for oily hair. Order one for yourself from Amazon!
10. Drybar On The Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo
Drybar’s charcoal shampoo actually does contain a helpful amount of activated charcoal that will remove everything that is vexing your hair from impurities to product build-up. Even better – this shampoo for oily hair can clean your hair without stripping or drying it out. Activated charcoal is a known purifier and thankfully it also works on your scalp. Vegetable protein is included to strengthen your hair even if it has been chemically treated or damaged. Order one for yourself from Ulta!
11. Amika Sexture Beach Look Shampoo
Amika’s two-in-one moisturizing texture shampoo will fight frizz while detoxifying your hair and ridding your scalp of excess oil to create the perfect balance for great hair health and shine. This shampoo for oily hair is great for all hair types: straight, wavy, curly, and coily regardless of thickness. The oiliness and frizz can be mitigated with the simple use of this very rich-feeling shampoo. Pick one up from Sephora when you get a chance!
12. It’s a 10 Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin
It’s a 10 has a miracle shampoo for oily hair that offers a clean feel and look with a formula that is free of sulfates, sodium chloride, and parabens. The formula is also enriched with an infusion of keratin protein that is designed to prevent breakage and restore health. This is one of the best shampoos for greasy hair that help preserve hair color, restore elasticity and provide sun damage protection. Humidity is locked out and thermal styling protection is included as well. Order yours from Ulta and solve your oily hair woes!
13. Rene Furterer Astera Fresh Soothing Shampoo
Rene Furterer’s shampoo for oily hair sets out to purify and balance the health of your scalp. Peppermint oil is included to moisturize your hair while acting as a natural astringent to help control oil production. Eucalyptus oil helps to improve natural scalp circulation, and panthenol is included to repair damaged hair. Your hair is left shiny but not oily, stronger and cleaner with better elasticity and an overall healthier look. Get a bottle for yourself from Dermstore!
14. Seed Phytonutrients Daily Hair Cleanser Shampoo
Natural ingredients are generally better for you and thanks to Seed Phytonutrients there is a shampoo for oily hair that is 93 percent natural and sulfate-free. This particular hair cleanser is designed to be gentle enough for frequent use and is great for straight and wavy hair types that are fine and medium in texture. It is color safe and uses turmeric, organic sunflower seed oil and organic camelina seed oil in a gel like consistency. Order one of the best shampoos for oily hair types from Sephora!
15. Everyone Hair Sulfate-Free Shampoo, Balance
This shampoo is designed to tackle an oily or Itchy, flaky scalp with a perfectly cultured balance of ingredients. Dealing with chemicals, pollution, processed food and natural climate issues can throw your body out of whack – that includes your hair and scalp. Rebalance your hair and scalp health without creating more oil. The formula for this shampoo for greasy hair is designed using natural ingredients like tea tree oil, rosemary, clary sage and quinoa proteins. This way the oil is removed, and your hair is strengthened as it is gently cleansed. Order yours from Amazon!
16. Klorane Anti-Pollution Detox Shampoo with Aquatic Mint
Klorane’s non-stripping shampoo for oily hair removes environmental build-up while it protects, detoxifies and deeply cleanses your hair and scalp. Most people aren’t aware of the damage hair endures from pollution. This particular shampoo is great for color-treated hair of all textures and types. The liquid is lightweight and sulfate-free as well as plant-based. Get a bottle for your hair from Sephora and remove 97% of pollutants from your hair!
17. Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner
This cleansing conditioner has a unique formula that has been formulated to nourish and clean simultaneously. It will actually remove product build-up, dirt and oil by attracting it and still managing not to strip your hair of essential natural oils that keep your hair healthy.
By including nourishing oils and extracts this shampoo for oily hair leaves your hair softer, easier to manage and frizz-free while removing just enough oil to keep hair looking fresh and feeling clean. There are no drying ingredients, and it helps lock in color and natural oils so it can be used regularly. Get your own bottle from Ulta’s website or store!
You know oily hair when you see it. Strands look stuck together and sometimes shiny in a way that does not look healthy but has an opaque cast to it. For people with lighter colored hair, oily hair will look darker and more clumped up at the roots. For darker hair, it looks clumped up or like you applied a clear gel to sections near the roots of your hair.
Oily hair can be caused by several different things ranging from hormones to product build-up. Identifying the how and why that makes your hair feel greasy and oily will help you choose the best shampoo for greasy hair. Armed with the right tools, the battle against oily hair is easy to win, so let’s look at the contributing factors first.
Oily hair is a result of your scalp’s sebaceous glands being overactive and producing too much sebum. It is designed to smooth and protect the hair strand, sealing in moisture and protecting the cuticles on each strand. Overall, sebum is good, natural protective measure for the hair, but too much can create that heavy, greasy look and feel that we want to avoid.
There are several common causes of oily hair that can be dealt with by switching products, but some of the causes are internal. An example would be unhealthy eating habits, side effects from one or more medications or fluctuations in your hormones. Even the weather can play a part in how your hair behaves outside of just humidity and such.
Something to remember is that your scalp is still skin and it will act like skin. If you find yourself with oily hair while stressing about a deadline or anything at all there is a correlation. This is due to your body releasing a hormone called cortisol.
When you experience a rise in your cortisol levels, the sebaceous glands in your scalp will react accordingly and switch into overdrive. Then these glands will begin overproducing and releasing more sebum, causing oil build-up which can also cause breakouts around your hairline that is likely only going to cause more stress.
This is the same thing with hormone fluctuations, weather and climate changes (for example if you just moved and are now experiencing oily hair), a change in your eating habits and more. It is important to recognize that your body is designed to adapt.
As your body adjusts to whatever circumstance you are being faced with, the protective elements of your body will kick into overdrive. Sebum is a healthy, protective measure your body employs regularly that will also be kicked into overdrive.
Habits that can change quickly, like what you eat or drink are easier to track more quickly. First thing you do is drink more water. I know this is stated for nearly everything but that is because a human being is up to 60% water, and your levels may be off. We need to stay hydrated. Sebum could be overproduced in an effort to keep your hair and scalp from losing more moisture.
Monitor your eating habits as well, everything you put in your body will have an outward effect, if you know that certain snacks and processed foods can make your skin oilier and cause breakouts, you can assume this will be the same for your scalp – more oil production.
Using too many different hair products can also cause this problem – product build-up, too much heat exposure and other similar issues can lead to an oily scalp. Fortunately, minimizing products and utilizing a specially designed shampoo for oily hair in place of your current shampoo can make all the difference. Sometimes, what you think might be oil is actually remaining product that wasn’t properly rinsed out.
• Try to avoid using alcohol-heavy ingredients. If alcohol is in the first three ingredients, look for another shampoo. The best shampoo for oily hair won’t have alcohol in the top three, as it is much too drying for hair.
• You should also avoid sulfates, shampoos and conditioners claiming to be moisturizing. Create a double shampoo method using a clarifying option on your scalp and a moisturizing option on the ends of your hair.
• Look for anything that mentions volumizing, clarifying, strengthening or balancing but omits words like moisturizing or deep conditioning. You want a cleanser, not a super-rich conditioner.
• Go for clear and translucent shampoos and avoid rich creamy formulas instead. Also try to stay away from silicone-based shampoos, which can make your hair look flat and greasy.
• It’s also important to pay attention to the pH level of the shampoo you choose, as the normal pH level of human hair is somewhere between 4,5 and 5,5, and you definitely want to avoid striping away the natural oils your scalp needs for healthy functioning. The best shampoo for oily hair will include a label that reads “pH balanced”.
• This is not to say that you shouldn’t use conditioner, rather utilize one that is designed to strengthen hair or a co-washing conditioner designed for clarification. When using a conditioner on oily hair, pair it with a good shampoo for greasy hair and when using your conditioner, make sure that you do not apply it on or near your scalp.
• Remember that conditioner is about maintaining health and hydration, some things that a lot of our ends desperately need. Sometimes it can seem too complex but it is all in the ingredients. You want a shampoo for oily hair that won’t disrupt the natural balance of your scalp so you don’t continue to overproduce sebum, but rather remove the oils that are necessary.
• The micellar water that you use for your face can also be helpful in your hair. Micellar molecules, known as micelles have two ends. One end of the molecule attracts oil, while the other is attracted to water. Options with these molecules don’t require scrubbing, which can cause even more issues if you aren’t careful.
• Other great ingredients to look for in your shampoo for oily hair include activated charcoal, proteins like quinoa and other similar options. Charcoal will also attract dirt, environmental pollutants and debris to it, drawing these things away from hair as you rinse it.
There are plenty votes on both ends of the spectrum. Washing more frequently will get rid of the excess oil that’s plaguing your strands, sure. But more frequent stripping of your hair’s natural oils can trigger the production of even more.
Washing less may train your scalp to produce less, but how do you deal in the meantime? Well, water washing (rinsing your hair with warm water and working it through with your hands) really only helps to redistribute the oil, not remove it.
If you have thick hair, that could be very helpful, especially if you have drier ends. This may seem odd, but darker hair color can look washed out when it is shampooed too frequently, even if the color is natural.
Point blank, shampooing your hair every day is not recommended. If you have oily hair and just cannot deal with it, becoming friends with dry shampoo will greatly improve your hair.
If you are worried about issues while you are on the go, blotting sheets will work in a pinch, especially around your hairline. Dry shampoo, however, will connect to the dirt, oil and debris in your hair, and you can brush it out. It also adds a bit of texture, giving you a fresh feel and a refreshed look on your hair.
If you are very active, meaning you visit the gym every day, you will need to wash your oily hair more often. Try going every other day and using dry shampoo in between.
For curlier and thicker hair, try once to twice per week at the max. This won’t replace a shampoo but it will get rid of enough of the oil that you can comfortably wait another day at least.
The powder form and aerasol spray form are both reliable and easy to use. The powder might even be better for those who prefer to DIY their own products. It is very easy to make, and there are a ton of recipes, most using arrowroot powder or cornstarch as the base.
If you have been fighting with your hair being greasy or oily for as long as you remember or if it is a situation that has recently developed, take comfort in the fact that this does not have to be your future as well. You can overcome oily hair! Thanks to current science we know that there are various causes for oily hair and we have specialized ways to treat this issue.
The easiest of these treatment options is a good shampoo for oily hair that is designed to mitigate the production of sebum from your scalp. Please keep in mind that sebum is produced as a healthy protectant for your hair. Too much of anything can be bad, but your hair is oily because of an overproduction or something natural, not a foreign issue.
Study Your Hair to Treat It Accordingly
Study your hair, and be prepared for the testing process to take a bit of time.
• Is your hair fine or thick?
• How long is your hair?
• What is your hair texture?
• When did you notice your hair becoming greasy? Did you recently move, switch diets, change hairstyles?
• What have you already tried?
The reason for these questions is to help you figure out what to do to treat your problem. For example, thicker, curlier hair may be dry on the ends even with an oily scalp because the oil needs help to reach the ends.
Remember sebum is designed to protect your hair, and if it is trapped on your scalp you may have dry ends. This is especially true in cases of thicker, curlier hair, and very long hair so it is recommended that you try to evenly distribute the oil, which means you will no longer have dry, frizzy and split ends (though split ends must be trimmed first, but shouldn’t reoccur as often once you begin working the oil through your hair).
This will not work for fine or medium thickness straight hair though. In these cases, it isn’t that the oil is trapped on your scalp, it is just an overproduction issue. In straight hair, oil doesn’t have too much difficulty reaching the ends of short or medium length straight hair so distribution isn’t your problem.
Additionally, there is contention over whether you should wash your oily hair more often versus less often. At the time of this article being written, there is no base fact that will favor or eliminate either opposing view, so it is safe to suggest that you can rely on what you believe works for you.
Tips for Getting Less Greasy Hair
The most obvious and helpful tool in getting less oily hair is to utilize a shampoo for oily hair. You may have been overdoing it if you use a shampoo and conditioner set designed to impart more moisture if your hair is already at optimal levels.
Perhaps you are washing too often or not often enough. Knowing when the change started and what started it is key to choosing the best shampoo for oily hair to resolve your situation.
• If changing products doesn’t work, or worse, it makes your hair and scalp dry, don’t skip the conditioning step, just switch your wash routine. Condition first, then shampoo after to make certain there is no excess in your hair.
• Thoroughly rinse your hair with cool water to close the cuticle and prevent overproduction of sebum from your scalp.
• Try to let your hair air-dry as much as possible to prevent the heat from helping your scalp product excess oil.
• Brush your hair normally to help evenly distribute the oil and prevent a build-up on your scalp.
• Don’t touch your hair to avoid transferring oils from your fingertips to your hair.
• If you want to condition your hair, try conditioning just the tips of your hair.
• Try an apple cider vinegar rinse several times a week. If you decide to wash your hair less often this is especially helpful. Apple cider vinegar will work like a clarifying treatment that cuts through the oil without any additional chemicals.
Combine 8oz of warm or room temperature water with 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (with or without the mother in it) into a bottle with a nozzle on it. Wash your hair (or water wash your hair if you are choosing to wash your hair less often).
Douse your wet hair and scalp with this solution from root to tip. Allow it to sit in for a few minutes (5 to 10 minutes is good), then rinse your hair well with cool water.
Photos via @hairbybritny, @la.vie.stella, @xomingalings