Choosing the perfect shampoo to keep greasy, oily hair looking great

Does your hair start to look greasy and lank by lunchtime? Yep, there’s no doubt that having oily hair can be a pain, so what causes hair to get greasy and what’s the best shampoo for oily hair that’ll keep it looking clean and fresh for longer?

Why is my hair so oily?

First of all, it’s not the hair itself that produces oil – a lubricant called sebum is produced from within the hair follicles on your scalp. This then works its way down the hair shaft to help maintain your hair, keeping it nourished and protected. All perfectly natural stuff … unfortunately, in the same way that some people end up with oilier, problem skin on their faces, your sebaceous glands may be a little overactive and produce excess sebum, leaving your hair looking lank and oily pretty quickly after each wash.

So how do I choose a shampoo to keep my oily hair in check? 

It’s definitely worth looking out for a good shampoo formulated specifically for oily hair. If you check out the ingredients lists (I know, fun times) you’ll see that they often contain either astringent herbs or citrus extracts. These ingredients are slightly acidic and can help to break up excess oil, helping the detergents within the shampoo to do a thorough job of cleansing. Good news for greasy hair.

It’s also best to look out for clear shampoos, as these are usually free of additional conditioning ingredients that can be great for dry, damaged hair, but just too much if you’re trying to keep the grease at bay.

But I have oily hair and a dry scalp – which shampoo is best for me?

If your scalp doesn’t actually tend to get oily, it’s worth thinking about whether excess styling products are building up on your hair, rather than your oily woes being down to overactive sebaceous glands. A good clarifying shampoo has a stronger detergent action so, when used every now and then, could be the answer to keep your hair looking and feeling fresh.

On the other hand, a very flaky, scaly scalp and oily hair could be a sign of seborrhoeic dermatitis (that’s dandruff to you and me), so try a specially formulated dandruff shampoo for oily hair to help ease your poor scalp and thoroughly cleanse your hair. Neutrogena T/Sal (that contains salicylic acid that helps to get rid of excess oil) has been shown to give good results, and Head and Shoulders also have a dandruff shampoo formulated specifically for oily hair.

What if I have thin, lifeless oily hair?

Greasy hair is a pain at the best of times, but if you’ve got thin, flat hair it can be a nightmare trying to keep it from looking stringy. Again, a clarifying shampoo will do a thorough job of removing traces of oil and styling products so can help to keep your hair squeaky clean, though will be too harsh to use every day. Although you might be tempted by volumizing, thickening shampoos, it’s probably best to give these a wide berth if you’ve got oily locks, as they usually leave a coating on hair to give a thickening effect and could end up making your hair look greasy even more quickly.

For touch ups, dry shampoo is your friend – I love dry shampoo for pure convenience, and it’s brilliant for adding volume to otherwise flat and lifeless hair.

Is there a sulfate free shampoo to tackle my oily hair?

If you’ve got sensitive skin, you may be trying to stick to sulfate free shampoo to avoid any potential irritation. The good news is that there are a good number of sulfate free shampoos out there formulated for oily hair – they rely on natural grease-cutting ingredients like herbs and citrus extracts instead of strong detergents to do the cleaning, so try them out to see what results you get.

Just bear in mind that it’s the sodium lauryl sulfate in shampoo that acts as the detergent in standard shampoo, so although plenty of people love their sulfate free formulations, others report that their hair just doesn’t feel as clean afterward, and this could be a real problem if your hair gets oily quickly.

So if you’ve got oily hair, there are plenty of shampoos out there formulated to beat the grease and leave you with super clean, shiny locks. Just keep a look out for astringent ingredients, try to stick to clear shampoo without added conditioners and make sure you’re using a formula that will soothe your scalp as well as keeping your hair looking healthy.

Have you found the perfect shampoo to keep your oily hair in check?

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15 comments on “Choosing the perfect shampoo to keep greasy, oily hair looking great

  1. Chris on said:

    This site is great! Thanks for the tips

  2. cura cromoterapia reiki aromaterapia on said:


    Adorei o seu artigo, parabens!
    Quero recomendar a todos este artigo interessante:

  3. Posh Girl on said:

    I have never heard of this stuff I may have to give it a try because I’m fed up of paying a lot for shampoos that don’t really work, I have also tried home remedies with minimal success

    • admin on said:

      Hi Posh Girl, you shouldn’t really need to pay a lot for an effective shampoo, it’s just a matter of looking out for the right general ingredients and experimenting until you find something that works for you.

  4. Pingback: Selecting the Right Shampoo for Oily Hair | Hair Color News Hair Color News

  5. Marry Johnsan on said:

    Hey, Thank you for sharing this guide. I am currently facing oily scalp issue. But after using some tips and remedies that you mentioned it’s beginning to decrease. so thanks again for sharing this great info.

  6. jasie smith on said:

    Hey, Thank you for sharing this guide. I am currently facing oily scalp issue. But after using some tips and remedies that you mentioned it’s beginning to decrease. so thanks again for sharing this great info. I also did my own research on anxiety please have a look at

  7. Martin on said:

    Hey, Thank you for sharing this guide about oily scalp. I am currently facing oily scalp problems. But the tips and remedies that you mentioned it are quite helpful to me. Thanks for sharing keep updating. I also did my own research on oily scalp please have a look at

  8. hi you have mentioned most of the causes and their solutions in details. thank you for your effort and guide. you can also visit a site i am going to share for your convenience.

  9. Dear haircare and styling,
    thanks for sharing article on “Choosing the perfect shampoo to keep greasy, oily hair looking great”
    Very informative article but Can I use olive based shampoo or will it still be counted in oily hair shampoos? I still confused regarding the use of olive oil based products.
    Could you please guide?

  10. I have read article on the following site
    regarding oily scalp, thanks yusra for sharing

  11. Thomas on said:

    Thanks for sharing this tips. Very informative and helpful.

  12. Shehroz zaman on said:

    Hi very helpful tips for this problem hopefully i will have the best result soon but i also did my own research please have a look at this

  13. Donna J. Berry on said:

    What an insightful. I do have oily hair and this article will be a great help. Now, I have a question, I have egg allergies. Can I still use it on my scalp to get rid of excess oil on scalp? plus can I apply these remedies (I got them on
    I need your expert advice.

  14. HI I love you suggestion. How we can look after the hairs and give us some good suggestion how we can save our hair from dandruff?

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