As someone who has struggled with oily hair for years, I understand the frustration that comes with trying to find the right shampoo. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to know which ones will actually work and which ones will only make the problem worse. In this article, I will share my knowledge and experience to help you understand what shampoos to avoid if you have oily hair.
Understanding oily hair is the first step in finding the right shampoo. Oily hair is caused by an overproduction of sebum, a natural oil that is produced by the scalp. While sebum is important for keeping hair healthy and moisturized, too much of it can make hair greasy and heavy. This is why it’s important to choose a shampoo that is specifically designed for oily hair and avoid ones that can exacerbate the problem.
Unfortunately, not all shampoos are created equal and some can actually make oily hair worse. In this article, I will discuss the ingredients to look out for and the shampoos to avoid if you have oily hair. By the end, you will have a better understanding of what to look for in a shampoo and be able to make an informed decision.
- Oily hair is caused by an overproduction of sebum, a natural oil produced by the scalp.
- Choosing a shampoo specifically designed for oily hair is important.
- Avoid shampoos with certain ingredients that can exacerbate the problem.
Wash Away Oil With These Shampoos!
Sometimes it can feel like the whole haircare industry is marketed towards fighting dryness. Hydrating shampoos, moisturizing conditioners, and intensely creamy hair masks litter our cosmetic shelves – but what about the rest of us who are fighting an oily head that just won’t quit? Where’s our parade?
We can all agree that oiliness is a difficult issue to combat in a world obsessed with hydration, and regular shampoo seshes. Maybe you’ve already tried some top clarifying shampoos and weren’t happy with the results?
But, is it possible to cleanse, and moisturize your locks without sending your natural oils into overdrive?
The news is good: yes, it is possible!
With the right shampoo, you’ll never have to hide your bedraggled hair under a baseball cap ever again. But before we get there, let’s cover some background info to help you understand your hair issues. Remember: knowledge is power.
First Off: Why Are You So Oily?
When we talk about having an oily scalp and head of hair, we’re talking about the natural sebum produced by the skin cells on our scalp. This sebum shouldn’t be demonized; it does the necessary job of keeping your head lubricated, and protecting your hair from getting dried out, and fragile.
Your head’s natural oils are nothing to be ashamed of, and the first step to take when you’re an oily person is to embrace your natural oil!
Before we jump into our recommendations for the best shampoo for oily hair, we want to make sure you’re aware of this one important note: if you embrace your natural oils, and wash your hair less often, you’ll notice a balancing out of your sebum production over time.
We know, it sounds crazy – wash your super oily hair less often? Won’t that just leave you looking like something that crawled out of the deep fryer? The reality is: no, it won’t – it’ll eventually do the opposite and leave you looking good!
When you wash your hair often, you’re stripping your scalp and roots of the sebum it so deeply craves – resulting in your skin going into overdrive to replace as much of the natural oils as fast as possible. If you wash your hair every day, this can result in a very oily situation.
Wash your hair less often, even just once a week, and your sebum production will slow down.
Got it? Now onto the shampoos!
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Curly Hair
The balancing act of cleansing hair that is both naturally curly, and oily, is a tough one to strike. On the one hand, you have to avoid sulfates at all costs -–as they’re far too stripping for your delicately textured structure. Yet, on the other hand, sulfates do the best job at getting rid of oils, and you’re often left with shampoos that do anything but cleanse.
When it comes to finding the right shampoo for your oily, curly hair, try a curl-friendly clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos and more deeply penetrative, and emulsifying than other sulfate-free shampoos, and are often used as a treatment to remove product build-up.
In your case, a clarifying shampoo makes a great semi-regular shampoo that will help remove the buildup of sebum on your hair, and scalp.
Jane Carter Hair Products
Using natural glycolic fruit extracts of sugar maple, orange, and lemon, Jane Carter’s Shampoo will cut through your sebum buildup without leaving your hair thirsty and straw-like. Free from sulfates but chockful of detoxing active ingredients, this shampoo will gently cleanse your oily curls without making them frizz out.
Lather this shampoo up between your palms and massage into your scalp for up to five minutes before rinsing it out.
Make sure you avoid shampooing the rest of your hair, so as not to dry out, and disrupt your curl pattern. Most of your oil build-up will be occurring at the scalp and roots, so stick to that area and you should be home-free.
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Fine Hair
So your hair is baby fine, but also slick with oil? Boy, do we feel your pain. Fine hair can make struggles with volume an everyday torment – but add enough sebum to cause an oil slick into the mix and you’re stuck with dull, wet-looking, flat hair. To find the right shampoo for this nightmare combination, you want a formula that provides volume without creating build-up, and cuts through grease without drying you out.
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo
This shampoo from Neutrogena will work wonders on your oily, fine hair. This shampoo will remove your sebum build-up like a professional and will rinse clean. In order to make the most of the fine hair you have, it doesn’t have any ingredients that will weigh it down, yet it also promises to not dry you out. You can have your cake, and eat it too!
Although this is by no means the most common best practice tip, why not try shampooing after you condition? We get it, that sounds positively topsy-turvy – and it is!
But, the point to it is to provide the moisture your fine hair needs, without weighing it down. If you condition first, then follow it up with a shampoo, you’re bound to rid your scalp and roots of any unnecessary creaminess.
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Dandruff Ridden Hair
If you’re suffering from both an oily, and flakey scalp, know that you’re not alone. This kind of oily dandruff is often caused by fungus or yeast, and it’s an all-too-common affliction. Yeast-caused dandruff is often oily, yellow, and it smells a little bit – well, yeasty. If you think that yeast is the cause of your oily, flakey nightmares, then try a medicated shampoo.
Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Nizoral is a medicated shampoo that fights against flakiness, scaling, and itchiness. Its active ingredient is 1% ketoconazole, which acts against the symptoms and cause of fungal-caused dandruff issues.
This shampoo is as gentle as medicated shampoos come, but shouldn’t be used too often. Its formula will definitely rid you of your oiliness, and flakiness, but if used too often (more than once a week) it can dry you out and cause damage.
If you’re a frequent washer (firstly, read above about washing too often) then try using regular shampoo for most of your washes, and using Nizoral to control your dandruff when it’s rearing its head. If you find it leaves your hair squeaky, follow up with a hydrating conditioning treatment!
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Damaged Hair
If you have oily hair that’s had its fair share of heat styling or coloring, then you’re probably fighting both mushy frizz and too much breakage. Yes, there is such a thing as hair that is “dry” while oily.
To fix this issue, you want to use products that introduce proteins to your hair. Proteins help to rebuild your hair’s core, as well as smooth your hair cuticles. The key here is to find a shampoo that’s chock full of protein ingredients, especially cleansing ones, to help you with your sebum buildup.
Majestic Pure Argan Oil Shampoo
While it might seem counterintuitive to use an oil-based shampoo on your already oily head, Majestic Pure’s Argan Oil Shampoo will give you the protein your damaged hair needs, whilst replacing your sebum build-up with the more nourishing, less greasy Argan Oil actives.
It’s a wildly controversial topic in the cosmetic world, but clean natural oils seem to work for oily skin and hair. Oils help to remove other oils, making them great cleansers for sebum, but they also don’t leave you stripped and bare – as the introduced oil helps to replace your sebum as a protectant, and stops your skin cells from overcompensating with a trough-load of its own oils.
This shampoo is rich in carotene, almond oil, Vitamin E, and plenty of proteins – all geared towards healing your damaged hair, fighting mushy frizz, and cleansing you thoroughly without causing you further damage.
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Short Hair
When your hair is short, it doesn’t take much for it to get all greased up. As you’ll more likely need to wash your hair on a more frequent basis, you’ll need a shampoo that’s gentle, yet cleansing. You also need to use a formula that helps to restore scalp and root health, as these parts of your head are bound to see more action and damage due to you having less locks. Whatever shampoo you use, as you can’t help but cleanse the ends of your hair (if you’re rocking a do as short as a pixie or buzz) you’ll need to follow up with a hydrating conditioner.
Maple Holistics Degrease Moisture Control Shampoo
This clarifying shampoo will cut through grease and oil build-up on your scalp and roots. Loaded with naturally detoxifying ingredients such as lemon, rosemary oil and cypress extracts, this shampoo will restore the pH balance of your hair, and skin, helping to control sebum production, while providing a gentle lathered cleanse.
This formula promises to stimulate your skin cells, helping to improve scalp health and minimize shedding, and dandruff – all enemies of the short-haired person.
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Long Hair
For those of us with long hair and oily scalps, we’re often stuck between a rock and a hard place.
On one hand, our roots and scalp are flattened with grease, while on the other hand the ends of our hair don’t see much sebum action at all – and are usually frizzed out, and littered with split ends. What can you do to combat such madness?
The key to dealing with this half and half situation is to treat sections of your hair separately. You should use a shampoo on your scalp and roots that will cleanse you of grease, and you shouldn’t touch any other part of your hair. For the rest of your locks, simply wash them with water and conditioner.
Another way to deal with an oily scalp is to help your natural oils coat the rest of your hair. If you have straight hair, try brushing it dry to distribute the sebum from your roots evenly throughout the length of your hair.
If you’re got textured hair, brushing it dry may end up producing more unsightly frizz than anything else, so this method won’t do much for you. You’ll have to focus on a good scalp cleansing routine and a reparative hydrating routine for the remainder of your long locks.
Now, let’s talk about the best shampoo for your situation.
Tru Moroccan Oil Shampoo
Once awarded as the #1 best clarifying shampoo, Tru Moroccan Oil Shampoo promises to cleanse you of grease, oils, and an itchy scalp.
Containing no harsh chemicals, or parabens – but loaded with natural oils and herbal ingredients – this shampoo will clarify your hair, without causing any damage. As a result, even if it makes its way down the shafts of your hair, your dry ends won’t be worse for the wear.
This shampoo will clean your hair while providing adequate moisture control; reducing sebum overproduction, and protecting any dry hair from getting any drier. A great shampoo for long-haired, oily scalped people.
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Thick Hair
For those with oily, and thick hair, we’re positive you’re well-experienced in the eternal struggle of tangles and knots. Grease can make tangles feel and look worse, making hair maintenance more of a chore than it has to be. Thick-haired people are no stranger to spending more time than the average person getting their hair washed and ready.
When you add an overdrive of sebum into the mix, it can make it feel like your hair washing schedule is more of an infinite loop than a weekly routine.
While we feel your pain, we must remind you that over-washing will exacerbate your problem in the long term, so stop washing your hair every time it looks greasy and knotted up. Instead, try washing with water, and conditioner only. This helps you to not strip your scalp of oils too often; meaning you won’t overproduce sebum.
Apply the conditioner to your ends only, and use the conditioner as a lubricant for combing through your knots and detangling your locks.
As for shampoo, any of our grease-cutting, clarifying recommendations above will do. To help you through those in-between days, we thought we’d recommend a dry shampoo, instead.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle
A dry shampoo favorite, Klorane’s Dry Shampoo with Nettle is specially formulated for those with oily hair. Nettle is naturally great at purifying hair, and has sebo-regulating properties, helping you to manage your sebum production over time.
This dry shampoo will revive your hair, and relieve it of greasiness in-between washes. Using botanical ingredients, this dry shampoo cuts through the sebum lifts your hair at the roots, and won’t cause extra buildup – which, as a thick-haired person, you definitely don’t need!
Some dry shampoos can leave a powdery white residue, but Klorane guarantees none of its dry products will do that.
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Bleached Hair
If you’re rocking a salon blonde, or platinum, and are not only dealing with discoloration, but an oily scalp to boot, then you’ll need to consider a toning shampoo which is gentle, yet clarifying.
Not sure what we mean by a toning shampoo? Toning shampoos help get rid of discoloration in bleached hair by introducing a neutralizing pigment.
In the case of blonde hair (which suffers from brassy, orange discoloration) that pigment is purple. We’re going to suggest a purple shampoo that will work with your oily, blonde hair, below. But if you’re in need of some purple shampoo education, why not check out our guide?
Powerful Purple Toning Shampoo by MARC DANIELS Professional
This purple shampoo will not only neutralise your brassy undertones – re-introducing a cool freshness back into your blonde, platinum, or silver hair – it’s also sulfate-free, making it powerful at toning, but not too overpowered when it comes to cleansing.
The last thing you need when you’ve got an oily scalp is a heaping load of drying sulfates. As you’ve had your hair bleached, and colored, it’s important to keep hydration in mind. Yes, your scalp may be over-producing sebum, but your damaged hair needs it.
This shampoo won’t strip you of too much of your natural oils, and if followed up with a hydrating conditioner or treatment, you’ll breathe life back into your hair without adding any more grease to the oil slick.
MARC DANIELS’ powerful purple toning shampoo uses the naturally blue-toned cypress oil as its active ingredient, giving you the toning treatment you need, without the harsh, unnatural chemicals.
The Best Shampoo for Oily, Colored Hair
Maybe you’ve dyed your hair, but not necessarily blonde. You’re in need of a shampoo that preserves your color, making sure it doesn’t fade out, or discolor too quickly. If your hair is also oily, the key is to find a shampoo that preserves color without any of the harsh cleaning agents commonly found in color preserving shampoos.
Dyed hair tends to have damaged cuticles, as active ingredients in dyes which allow color to seep into the core of your hair can lift up the cuticle, drying it out and causing straw-like frizz. If you add a ton of sebum into the mix, then you’re in the unique situation of having both oily, and dry hair.
A conditioning, color preserving shampoo, with detoxifying ingredients, will be best for your situation.
KIEHL’s Sunflower Color Preserving Shampoo
This is far from a budget shampoo, but believe us, you get what you pay for. KIEHL’s Color-Preserving Shampoo is free of all nasties (parabens, sulfates and silicones) and is chock full of nourishing color-protecting natural ingredients.
Infused with sunflower oils, apricot, and a fortifying blend of Vitamin B3, B5, and B6, this shampoo will protect your color from UV damage and smooth out your cuticle to lock in color and moisture.
This formula will breathe life back into dull hair, keeping it healthy, while protecting your color from discoloration and fading. As aforementioned, this shampoo is going to hurt your wallet, but as it protects your color between salon visits (resulting in less salon visits overall) it might be a worthy investment.
Shampoos to Avoid for Oily Hair
As someone with oily hair, I know how frustrating it can be to find the right shampoo. There are so many options out there, and it can be tough to know which ones will actually help control oil without causing other issues. In my experience, there are a few types of shampoos that you should avoid if you have oily hair.
Harsh Chemical Shampoos
Some shampoos are formulated with harsh chemicals that can strip your hair of its natural oils. While this might sound like a good thing for oily hair, it can actually make the problem worse. When your scalp is stripped of its natural oils, it can overcompensate by producing even more oil. So, while your hair might feel clean for a few hours, it will quickly become greasy again.
To avoid this issue, stay away from shampoos that contain sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals. Instead, look for gentle, sulfate-free shampoos that are specifically formulated for oily hair.
While it might seem counterintuitive, moisturizing shampoos can actually make oily hair worse. These types of shampoos are designed to hydrate dry, damaged hair, which means they can leave oily hair feeling heavy and greasy.
If you have oily hair, look for shampoos that are lightweight and oil-free. These types of shampoos will help control oil without weighing your hair down.
Silicone-based shampoos can be a problem for oily hair because they can create a buildup on your scalp and hair. This buildup can trap oil and dirt, making your hair look greasy and dull.
To avoid this issue, look for shampoos that are silicone-free. These types of shampoos will help keep your scalp and hair clean and free of buildup.
Clarify Your Hair
When you’re battling grease, and oils on a daily basis, the first port of call is acceptance. Your scalp is producing sebum to protect your skin, and hair, not to ruin your chance of a good hair day.
If you’ve got more sebum being produced than is necessary, chances are your wash routine is the cause. Remember, wash less, and your sebum production should be better regulated in the long term.
When it comes to using the best shampoo for oily hair, shampoos that are purifying are great to cut through the grease, but moisturizing shampoos help replace sebum with other oils; ensuring your scalp won’t overcompensate with its own greasy concoction.
You may even want to have multiple shampoos at your disposal: purifying ones for those extra greasy days, and gentler shampoos for in between.
Healthy hair is always a balancing act, and starting off with an oily head is no different. Balancing your natural oils is all about balancing your wash routine; its frequency, and the products you use.
When you punish your sebum by using harsh cleansing agents, trust that your sebum will fight back with a vengeance. When you start using the right shampoo, remember that you might not see the results you want after your first wash.
It can take time to regulate sebum production. Patience, in the case of oily hair, is a virtue.
Whatever your situation, we trust our guide on the best shampoo for your oily hair will lead you down the right path to soft, shining, healthy hair! Happy washing!