We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Medical News Today only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

If a person finds their hair always looks and feels oily, they may be producing too much oil. To reduce oily hair, a person may consider changing washing frequency, products, and how they style their hair.

All hair produces some oil to keep it nourished and healthy, as well as to protect the scalp. But too much oil production can lead to seborrheic dermatitis, a condition that causes red, scaly patches to form on the scalp, along with dandruff that is difficult to get rid of.

Having very oily hair can also make a person feel self-conscious and lower their self-esteem.

While some people may despair at their oily hair, there are several natural remedies they can try to help get rid of the grease without stripping the hair of its natural oils or irritating the scalp.

1. Wash more frequently

Woman washing her hair in the shower because she is concerned about oily hair.Share on Pinterest
Washing too often or not often enough may cause oily hair.

Sometimes, oily hair is caused by excess oil that has not been removed properly. Some people with greasy hair may need to wash it every day.

Shampoo helps to get rid of excess oil. It will also remove excess hair products and any other debris that has built up on the scalp and causes the hair to look and feel greasy.

Flakes may become visible in the hair if a person does not use enough shampoo. This can cause dandruff and other scalp diseases.

2. Wash less frequently

Some people who do cleanse their hair once a day may be washing it too much. Washing too often can strip the hair of its natural oils, causing the hair to produce even more oil.

People who find their hair becomes greasy very quickly after washing it and have an itchy or irritated scalp might want to experiment with washing their hair less frequently. Doing so could help to balance out oil production and reduce greasiness.

3. Improve washing technique

It is easy for people to get into bad hair-washing habits that cause their hair to become oily and damage their scalp.

The correct way to wash the hair is to massage a small amount of shampoo into the roots and scalp.

Do this thoroughly but carefully, taking care not to scratch the scalp or hair. Scrubbing too aggressively could cause irritation and more oil production.

As most people find their hair is oiliest near the hairline, it is best to focus on washing the scalp and hair roots, rather than the ends of the hair. Rinsing the shampoo through the hair will be sufficient to clean the ends.

Rinse hair thoroughly to ensure that debris from the shampoo does not build up and weigh the hair down.

4. Use conditioner sparingly

Conditioner can cause oils to build up more quickly, contributing to the greasy look of a person’s hair.

Instead of conditioning all over, try just applying to on the ends of the hair to keep them from drying out. Make sure to rinse thoroughly after application.

5. Make a hair-washing schedule

Certain times of day are better for hair washing than others, such as after a workout or first thing in the morning.

Washing the hair at night might mean that it looks greasy again by morning. Going to the gym or doing exercise creates sweat, which can make a person’s hair look oily and unwashed.

Washing the hair after wearing a hat, helmet, or headscarf is also a good idea. Covering the head creates heat, causing the scalp to sweat and trapping oils.

6. Use dry shampoo

Some people may not want to wash their hair every day or find that even if they do it is greasy by the afternoon. In these cases, dry shampoo may help, as its effects occur instantly.

Dry shampoo works by soaking up excess oil from the hair. Cornstarch or baby powder can also have a similar effect, for those looking for a homemade alternative.

It is important to note that using too much dry shampoo can leave the hair feeling gritty and dirty. It should not be considered a substitute for using shampoo and water as it does not help with removing dirt and debris from the scalp.

7. Avoid over styling

Using hair straighteners and blow drying can help tame unruly hair. However, doing so can also make hair look greasy more quickly than if it was just left to dry naturally.

Avoiding straightening irons and hair dryers will also protect hair from heat damage.

8. Experiment with styles

Share on Pinterest
Changing hairstyle may help to prevent oil from spreading, and improve self-esteem.

While scraping the hair back may seem like a good idea, this can cause the oils on the scalp to spread faster. People who prefer tying their hair up might think about letting it loose once in a while.

If no remedies are helping to reduce oil, a change of style could make someone feel better about their hair. In fact, oily hair can work well for some hairstyles, such as a slicked-back topknot.

9. Clean the hairbrush

A hairbrush benefits from regular cleaning, as it can pick up products, dead skin, and other debris.

If the brush is not cleaned, dirt and debris will spread through the hair the next time a person uses it. This can make freshly-washed hair immediately look dirty and greasy again.

10. Do not touch

People who play with their hair may find that it often looks greasier after they have touched it. This happens because they are transferring oil and dirt from their hands onto the hair. Also, when a person scratches, twirls or runs their hands through their hair, they stimulate the oil glands and encourage them to produce more oil.

11. Get the right products

There are plenty of products available that are specifically designed for oily hair. Many are available to purchase online. Switching shampoos and using ones with stronger detergents may help get rid of excess oil and leave hair looking clean and healthy.

People who plan to wash their hair daily should note that these stronger shampoos can irritate the scalp. Therefore, people who wash their hair every day might find that mild baby shampoo is a better option.

12. Avoid silicone in hair products

Silicone is thought to make a person’s hair smooth and shiny. However, there is a fine line between gloss and grease. If silicone builds up in the hair, it can make it look greasy, oily, and weighed down.

Silicone can also block moisture from penetrating the hair shafts, so it is advisable that people keep it out of their haircare routines when possible.

13. Avoid certain products

People with oily hair should try to avoid styling products that could weigh their hair down and contribute to a greasy look. Products that claim to smooth, nourish, and condition the hair are not usually necessary and may make the situation worse.

14. Try coconut oil

While adding oil to the hair may not sound like a remedy for oily hair, coconut oil could help. Coconut oil works by lifting oil from the scalp and nourishes and conditions dry ends at the same time.

15. Wash with tea tree oil

One study found that using a shampoo containing 5 percent tea tree oil improved dandruff, helped to soothe an itchy scalp, and reduced greasiness compared with a placebo.

16. Apply witch hazel

Witch hazel can be extremely useful for people with greasy hair. It helps to close the pores that produce oil.

Witch hazel can also relieve itching and inflammation and helps to restore a natural pH balance on the scalp. It is a gentle solution for people with sensitive scalps too.

17. Tackle with tea

Green tea could help keep hair looking healthy and grease-free, according to small-scale studies. It works by reducing oil production and also nourishes skin when applied to it.

Using shampoo containing green tea extract could help people to reduce the oiliness of their hair.

Oily hair can lead to people feeling less good about their appearance. It can also cause the scalp to become itchy and uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there are plenty of simple, natural remedies to help combat oily hair.

People should be aware that the quantity of oil that their hair produces can change over time. Some people may find that their hair becomes naturally less greasy with age.