5 Ways To Deal With An Oily Scalp

If you suffer from an oily scalp no doubt you need to wash your hair very often to banish the grease but there are lots of things you can do to keep the oil at bay for longer. You don’t need to feel alone either, millions of women and men across the world suffer from oily hair but luckily, with today’s science and hair products plus a healthy lifestyle you can definitely make a marked improvement so your hair looks the best it can.

In this piece, we’ll examine the causes of oily hair and what you can to do to rectify the problem so you feel proud of the hair you have.

What Is Oily Scalp? – Main Causes

An oily scalp is as it sounds a scalp that produces excess sebum which comes from the sebaceous glands in your head. The problem is, excessive oil clogs up the hair follicles and can result in dandruff, dull and lifeless hair and oily, stringy hair because it travels down the hair shaft reaching the end of each strand.

The main causes of an oily scalp are as follows:

  • Poor diet and lifestyle (stress)
  • Genetics
  • Using the wrong shampoos/products for your hair
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Environmental

Diet and lifestyle

You are what you eat so if you eat badly your hair will look unhappy. You need to feed your hair from within with vitamins and minerals. If you just eat fatty, sugary and high-carb foods your skin will suffer – when your skin suffers so does your hair because all of these foods encourage oil production.

Try a month of a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables, lean protein, fruit and drink water. You’ll notice a marked difference in your skin and hair.

If you live a stressful lifestyle it will take its toll on your hair so get outside, get some exercise and learn to relax. Exercise goes a long way to stimulating feel-good hormones and relaxing to soft music, a scented candle or a long, lingering bubble bath refreshes and revives.

Stress is never good for your hair, so next time you feel anxious, do something good for you to counter-balance it.


Of course, you might be another in a long line of family members who just happens to have oily hair. This is purely down to genetics and while you won’t change your hair type, understanding how to cope with it will go a long way to alleviating your problem and helping to stabilize sebum production.

Using the wrong shampoo

If you use the wrong type of shampoo and styling products for your hair then you could be aggravating your problem further. It’s very important to use shampoo designed for your hair type and scalp too.

You might need to try a few different brands before you find one that works for you but there will be something out there to cope with your grease.

Remember that you need to wash your hair thoroughly. If you don’t rinse out the soap suds properly you just end up with product build-up in your hair follicles which makes your sebaceous glands produce more oil. So rinse, rinse and rinse again.

No need to skip conditioner, just use it sparingly on the mid-length and ends of your hair. You don’t need it on your scalp. When it comes to styling products, avoid those that contain oil because oil of any type (even dry oil) will cling on to other oil on your scalp and cause more greasiness.

Poor hygiene

It goes without saying that poor personal hygiene will result in greasy hair. So wash your hair regularly (every other day is sufficient) and make sure you keep your hands clean. Touching your hair with dirty hands transfers grease back to your scalp if this sounds like you, tie your hair back so you avoid twiddling locks of hair.

Change your pillowcases regularly and the same applies to your towels. Remember to wash your hairbrush weekly because it moves oil back to your hair if it’s not clean.


Humidity can also add to oily hair conditions so if you live in a hot, sticky environment your scalp will sweat, this adds to the grease and encourages more sebum production. Even if you don’t live in humid conditions you’re bound to be subject to humidity at the gym, the swimming pool and in a hot bar or nightclub for example.

Can Oily Scalp Contribute To Hair Loss?

The answer to this is yes, it can. This is because too much oil can build up in the hair follicles and blocks them. This stunts hair growth because hair cannot push through. Hair looks thinner, is weaker and breaks or it doesn’t push through at all.

However, if you are suffering from hair loss and you really do wash your hair properly, being sure to rinse well there might be another problem such as a medically related issue. It’s best to visit your doctor to check there isn’t an underlying condition affecting your hair.

Oily Scalp And Dandruff

Unfortunately, oily hair and scalp usually go hand-in-hand with dandruff, the white flaky bits that gather on your head and drop down the strands, sometimes landing on your clothing too.

Dandruff can also make your hair feel dry (even though it’s oily) and itchy. Dandruff is very common and is caused by seborrheic dermatitis, tinea capitis (a fungal infection of the scalp), eczema, psoriasis and allergic contact dermatitis. The latter can be caused by allergies to hair products.

Ingredients With Prescription

If you suffer from light dandruff look for products that contain the following ingredients which are designed to keep it under control but if your dandruff is very uncomfortable or unsightly you should visit your GP for a prescription shampoo:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Zinc pyrithione
  • Ketoconazole
  • Coal tar

All of the above are safe to use but read the instructions to check the product is suitable for you. Don’t expect instant results, it’s best to use a brand for a month and then assess dandruff before trying something new.

What To Do With Oily Scalp & Dry Ends

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Sometimes hair isn’t oily all over and if you have the oily scalp with dry ends, you might wonder what products to use since most products on sale are geared to oily hair or dry hair…not both!

Try caffeine-infused shampoo which works on both to balance hair out. It penetrates the scalp, riding the oil and discouraging sebum production yet at the same time it moisturizes hair, hydrating naturally without oil. There are various products available, try out one at a time for a few weeks to see what suits your hair type.

You could also wash your scalp with an oily shampoo and the ends with a dry shampoo, really go the extra mile to condition the ends of your hair, this will help to counter-balance dryness.

What To Do With Oily Hair & Oily Scalp

This one is easy to answer! Choose an oily hair shampoo and remember to wash your hair regularly. Massage shampoo deep into the scalp and let the suds run down the rest of your hair.

Rinse thoroughly so there is no trace of soap and hair squeaks with cleanliness and then apply a very light conditioner on the mid-length of your hair through to the ends. Rinse thoroughly again and prepare hair for styling with a very light styling product.


Remember to keep your hairbrush clean, wash it regularly. Don’t touch your hair when it’s dry, never leave your hair to dry naturally and use a good quality dry shampoo in-between washes to absorb excess oil. This will also prolong your blow-dry. 

Here’s a great home-made remedy for oily hair & oily scalp:

You’ll need:

  1. 1 tbsp of black tea leaves and 30ml water
  2. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  3. Boil up the black tea leaves and leave to brew.
  4. Once brewed, strain off the tea leaves and stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Allow to cool and massage into your scalp and hair.
  6. Leave on for a few minutes and then wash your hair as normal.
  7. Our Favourite Oily Scalp Shampoos
  8. Degrease Moisture Control Shampoo For Oily Hair

This one removes oil and grease on your scalp and clarifies it so it feels invigorated and deeply cleansed. It also PH balances skin and hair, discouraging sebum production while keeping hair naturally hydrated. Suitable for dandruff sufferers too, it improves blood circulation in the scalp so encouraging hair growth and strength.

Top 5 best oily scalp shampoos

Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo

8. Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo

Paul Mitchell is a well-respected name in the haircare market and this shampoo really does leave hair feeling fresh, clean and healthy. It also prevents sebum production so hair lasts longer after washing.

Used regularly this will help to minimize oil production in the scalp. Hair feels shiny, soft and full of natural bounce.


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Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Original Formula

5 Ways To Deal With An Oily Scalp

Neutrogena is one of those brands you can trust and this shampoo is developed by dermatologists to control oil production. Use it daily and you’ll notice significantly less grease and oil control that lasts in-between washes.

This shampoo is suitable for dandruff, psoriasis and dermatitis sufferers.


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Honeydew Natural Oily Hair Shampoo With Yarrow

5 Ways To Deal With An Oily Scalp

This is an all-natural hair treatment which gets right to the heart of the problem and removes oil but nourishes the scalp at the same time.

It contains lavender, rosemary and evening primrose oil promoting cell renewal. Paraben and salt-free, it’s gentle but effective and gives a good, deep cleanse with an invigorating fragrance.


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Senscience Specialty Oily Scalp Shampoo

5 Ways To Deal With An Oily Scalp

This shampoo is a deep penetrating product that gets right into the scalp to remove dirt, oil, and grease. It leaves hair feeling super-soft and silky with plenty of bounce and volume.


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PHYTO Phytheol Oily Hair Purifying Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo

5 Ways To Deal With An Oily Scalp

This shampoo is suitable for dandruff sufferers too and refreshes the scalp and hair. It’s light and gentle yet deeply cleans without drying so hair is hydrated. Hair is left feeling voluminous, thick and bouncy with plenty of natural sheens.


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Oily Scalp Treatment

Give your scalp a treat with Moroccanoil Oily Scalp Treatment while we don’t usually promote the use of oil for an oily scalp this actually works to rid hair of grease while keeping scalp nourished and promoting natural hydration.

It softens, moisturizes and reduces discomfort so it’s a win-win for us. Infused with premium quality Moroccan Oil its sulfate and paraben free, gentle enough to use once a week as needed.


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