How to Get Rid of Greasy Hair

A woman looking at her greasy hair in a handheld mirror

Greasy hair makes your hair look unclean, heavy, and weighed down. It’s hard to feel fresh and attractive when your hair looks oily and unwashed.

Oily hair can also lead to bacterial growth on the scalp and causes other scalp issues. Find out what causes greasy hair and the best ways to deal with it.

What Causes Greasy Hair?

Overproduction of sebum

The sebaceous glands naturally produce sebum—a natural oil. Sebum protects the skin from irritation and makes it more impervious to moisture.

In the scalp, sebum creates a protective coating for the hair and keeps the hair and scalp properly moisturized. It will make your hair look healthy and shiny and keep it from drying out and breaking. But too much sebum can make hair look greasy, oily, and weighted down.

Some people will naturally produce more sebum than others.

Hormonal Changes

A pregnant woman sitting on a couch in her home

Life phases such as adolescence, pregnancy, or menopause can affect your hair and scalp.

During puberty, hormones may increase sebum production and result in oily hair.

A person with a hormone imbalance may also have oily hair resulting from too much sebum production. For example, polycystic ovary syndrome can cause oily hair, hair loss, and acne.

If you have oily skin, you are more likely to have oily hair as well. As people age, their hair usually becomes less oily from reduced production of the androgen hormone.


Too much sebum can cause an oily scalp which, in turn, causes the yeast, Malassezia, to grow. This causes oily dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, to develop and causes the scalp to become even more oily as scaly flakes develop.

Dermatitis seborrheic also causes scalp irritation and inflammation.


Environmental conditions can affect your hair and scalp. Occurrences such as temperature fluctuations can cause your scalp to produce more sebum for protection.

Hair Care Products

Avoid oil-based hair care products if you have greasy hair. Always read the label on shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products before using them.

What You Can Do to Get Rid of Greasy Hair

There are many things you can do at home to deal with greasy hair. You will need to use trial and error since the answers aren’t the same for everyone.

Try Setting a New Hair Washing Schedule

A woman washing her hair in the shower

People with oily hair should wash their hair more frequently to remove excess oils and keep the scalp clean.

Some people find it best to wash their hair every second or third day, or even more often.

However, you never want to over wash your hair because this will strip your hair’s natural oils and leave you with dull, dry, and damaged hair.

Select the Best Shampoo and Conditioner

You may think shampoos that create lots of suds are the best, but they’re not. They usually contain sulfates—a detergent that strips hair and dries out scalps. Striving for “squeaky clean” hair can easily backfire— your scalp may overproduce oil since it’s feeling so dry.

Also, avoid hair products with silicones. Silicones are great for detangling, conditioning, and adding volume. But they will eventually accumulate and weigh your hair down, making it look dull and lifeless. Silicones will create a barrier that keeps moisture from penetrating your hair, and your hair will become damaged from excessive dryness.

Finally, avoid parabens in hair products. They too will dry and irritate your scalp and can even cause hair loss.

Find gentle shampoos and conditioners made from natural ingredients that will support healthy hydration of the hair but won’t promote greasiness.

Occasionally, when hair feels weighted down, use a clarifying shampoo to deep clean your scalp and hair.

Use Good Shampooing Technique

To start, gently apply a small amount of shampoo to your hair roots and scalp.

A woman shampooing her hair in the shower

Gently massage your scalp; there’s no need for vigorous movements or scratching with nails. Aggressive massage will only irritate your scalp and encourage the production of even more oil.

Condition Hair Properly

Thoroughly rinse out the shampoo from your hair and then apply conditioner while your hair is still damp. Start applying the conditioner from the middle of the hair strand and work it down to the ends—this is where most hair gets damaged and becomes dry. Don’t apply any conditioner to your scalp; this will weigh down the hair roots and cause a greasy look.

Leave the conditioner on for a few minutes so it can do its work and then rinse it out.

Rinse your scalp and hair thoroughly, but don’t use hot water. Hot water will overstimulate the sebaceous glands on your scalp and trigger oil production.

Make sure you wash out all shampoo and conditioner before you step out of the shower.

Try Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo will temporarily improve the appearance of oily hair but use it sparingly. Dry shampoo can end up clogging the hair follicles and cause even greater oil production.

Keep Hairbrushes and Styling Tools Clean

It’s important to use clean hairbrushes, combs, curling irons and other styling tools. If they’re dirty, they’ll only transfer the oil and dirt to your hair.

Clean your hairbrush with a clarifying shampoo once a month.

Forget about brushing your hair with one hundred strokes—you don’t want to overbrush your hair. Overbrushing also stimulates the sebaceous glands on your scalp.

Eat Healthy for Beautiful Hair

The foods we eat affect the amount of oil secreted by our sebaceous glands.

Fats and carbohydrates increase sebum production; watching calories in general can reduce the amount of sebum produced.

For shiny but not greasy hair, avoid fried, sugary, fatty, and processed foods.

Here’s a helpful blog post on the best foods and nutrients for hair, skin, and nail health.

A woman drinking a glass of water

Finally, stay hydrated to help get rid of greasy hair. Aim for about eight glasses of water a day for a healthy scalp and balanced production of sebum.

Additional Tips for Managing Greasy Hair

  • Air dry your hair instead of blow drying, to reduce oil production
  • Avoid touching your hair
  • Avoid overuse of styling products
  • Keep pillowcases clean
  • Use a gentle scrub to exfoliate your scalp periodically

Contact Vibrance MedSpa for non-surgical aesthetic medical treatments and rejuvenating skincare to look and feel better.

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