The Ultimate Guide to Oily Hair: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Aug. 31, 2020
Oily hair has a range of potential causes, from genetics to poor hair habits. Treatment can include natural remedies, specialized shampoos, or better styling practices.
Greasy hair isn’t a serious condition in itself, although it can cause mental and emotional distress. Learn common causes behind greasy hair, and how to prevent it. 
We also share DIY treatments, suggest anti-oil shampoos, and tricks to hide oily hair when you’re short on time. 
Oily Hair Causes
The cause of greasy hair isn’t always cut-and-dry. There can be one or more factors involved, such as:
Hair Type
Fine, straight hair is usually more likely to get oily than other types. It’s also easier for grease to carry through the hair, making it look more visible.
Scalp Disorders
Seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other skin disorders can be a primary or secondary cause of greasy hair.
Hormonal Changes
Hormonal imbalances caused by menopause, pregnancy, or certain health conditions can lead to greasier hair due to excess sebum (oil) production.
Washing Frequency
Oddly enough, both excessive and insufficient washing can lead to greasy hair. 
Not shampooing enough can lead to a buildup of dandruff and dead skin cells, worsening oil. 
Overwashing with harsh shampoos can strip your tresses of essential protective oils, ramping up oil production.
Styling Habits
Frequently touching and styling your hair can lead to unwanted oil distribution. 
Examples include brushing your hair too often or regular elaborate styling between washes.
Heavy serums, conditioners, and gels can significantly worsen oily hair. Such products can buildup and make your hair look greasier than it is, and trap oil too. 
Highly humid climates can make grease look worse than it is. Plus, if you’re sweating all the time it can accumulate on your scalp and contribute to oil. 
DIY Remedies for Oily Hair
You’ll find numerous DIY shampoos, conditioners, and rinses for oily hair online. 
However, take anecdotal claims of success with a grain of salt. Bear in mind that some ingredients such as vinegar and tea tree oil can be irritating in high quantities.
  • Botanical oils: Tea tree oil, aloe vera, and other plant extracts are popular home remedies to cut down on oil.
  • Lemon juice: As an astringent, lemon juice might help remove shine-provoking buildup from your hair.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Acidic apple cider vinegar is a popular cleaning agent as it breaks down grease. 
  • Tea rinse: Using black tea or green tea, which is rich in antioxidants, may help to improve oil buildup.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda could work to dry out an oily scalp, although you should avoid using too much.
Shampoos for Oily Hair
It’s worth investing in a shampoo specifically for greasy hair. Here are a couple to inspire you:
  • Maple Holistics Moisture Control Shampoo: It helps to restore a healthy pH balance to your scalp to achieve normal sebum levels.
  • Aveeno Scalp Soothing Apple Cider Vinegar Blend: This non-toxic shampoo removes oil and debris buildup and soothes irritated scalps.
  • Biolage Cooling Mint Scalp Sync: With refreshing mint, this antibacterial shampoo gets rid of oil buildup to thoroughly clean your scalp.
  • How to Hide Oily Hair
    Understandably, you might find yourself in a situation where washing your hair isn’t possible. Here are a few simple techniques to minimize the appearance of oil:
    Dry Shampoo

    image edit:beautyinsider

    Dry shampoo is a popular quick fix—these products come as either sprays or powder to absorb excess oil. 
    Consider Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo, which combats oil buildup and works to add volume. 
    In a pinch, you can create your own DIY dry shampoo using baby powder. Don't dry out your scalp by using too much.
    Oil Blotting Sheets
    The type of oil blotting sheets you use for your face can work on your hair, although they might be less effective.
    Dab your tresses at the roots to limit unwanted shine. Opt for larger sheets, such as Natural Green Tea Oil Absorbing Tissues. 
    Style Your Hair 
    Slicking your hair back in a bun or using hair gel is a simple technique to conceal grease.
    How to Prevent Oily Hair
    Luckily, there are a few strategies at your disposal to improve oily hair.
    Find Your Wash Frequency
    Experiment with the ideal washing frequency for you. For instance, twice-weekly washes instead of once-weekly, or every other day versus daily.
    Use the Right Products
    Pick shampoos and products formulated to combat oily hair. Steer clear of greasy, heavy solutions.
    Avoid Excessive Styling
    Try to limit brushing, straightening, and frequent style changes as much as you can.
    Change Pillowcases or Protective Sleepwear Often
    Switch out pillowcases at least once a week. If you wear a cap or scarf while you sleep, don’t let it get too dirty.
    If you’re prone to oily hair because of genetics or your hair type, it can be difficult to get rid of it entirely. Still, tactics like changing your hair products and avoiding over-styling can help improve it dramatically. It’s also important to find the right washing frequency for your scalp.
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