How to Treat Oily Hair

woman's hair close up

Oily hair is one the most common hair conditions around – and while a lot of people can easily hide it by tying their hair up, not everyone has that ability. And even if you can, sometimes you just want to wear your hair down.

Despite it being so common, oily hair can still cause serious confidence issues, as well as making it difficult to manage your hair on a day-to-day basis.

In this blog, I’ve discussed what causes oily hair and the different approaches you may need to take to solving the issue before listing a few of my favourite products used to treat oily hair.

Read on for more.

What causes oily hair?

Excessively oily or greasy hair is caused by overactive sebaceous glands. These glands produce an oil called sebum, which is necessary for healthy hair. However, some people’s are a little too active, meaning they produce more sebum than required and their hair gets greasy.

You could be suffering from oily hair for a variety of reasons:


Every time you wash your hair, your scalp will get the message to produce more sebum, this means that washing your hair too often results in your scalp producing too much sebum and your hair getting progressively oilier. This commonly leads to a vicious cycle wherein people start getting slightly greasy hair, so they start washing it more to resolve the issue not knowing it’s actually making things worse.

I’d always recommend checking this isn’t the case before going out and buying a range of products, because you might just get lucky and sort your problem out for free!

If you’re currently washing your hair every day, try cutting back to every other day to give your scalp time to breathe. After a few weeks, once your body has adapted to the new routine, you may find your hair starts becoming less greasy on its own. This can be frustrating to try, but your bank account will thank you if it proves to be the correct move.

Hair type

Although everyone can suffer with greasy hair, it’s most common on people with straight hair.

Your hair shaft being perfectly straight makes it easy for the oil to slide down and disperse all over your head, meaning you’ll typically have to wash your hair more often and it will be more prone to getting excessively oily.

Alongside this, it’s also much more noticeable when straight hair is greasy compared to other hair types, meaning your hair may not be as greasy as your curly haired friend’s but could look a lot worse.

Your diet

Although it may not be the sole cause of your problems, your diet can play a key role in your hair being oilier than you’d like. Having a diet high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats can make your skin produce more oil – this includes the sebum which results in greasy hair.

Environmental changes

Sudden changes in environment or temperature leads to your body adapting in a variety of wonderful ways you often won’t even notice. Unfortunately for your hair, one of these can be to increase sebum production in an effort to protect your scalp.

So if you go and stay somewhere with a vastly different climate to what you’re used to, or get hit by a sudden heatwave or cold snap, you may notice your hair getting greasier as your body adapts to the changes.

Alongside being affected by changes in weather, temperature as a whole can have an impact. For example, many people start noticing their hair getting oilier in the winter months as they constantly transition from a freezing cold outside to a warm, heated inside.

Hormonal changes

Puberty, pregnancy, giving birth and more result in significant hormonal changes in your body, all of which can have the side effect of making your hair greasier than it was previously.

When your body is undergoing such a dramatic change, it’s undergoing a lot of stress both on the surface and behind the scenes, and one of the most common issues during these times is an increase in oil production.

If you feel this may be the cause for your hair troubles, we’d recommend seeing a doctor to discuss your issues before making significant changes.

Hair products

Have you recently got yourself a shiny new conditioner or hair treatment to give your locks a bit more life but noticed your hair is getting oily? Make sure you only apply them to the ends of your hair. Going all the way to the roots will trap the oils, resulting in your hair looking weighed down and greasy.

Additionally, if you’re using gel or an alternative styling product, make sure you wash them out thoroughly. It’s quite common for people to give their hair a quick rinse when rushed for time, which leads to the product building up in your hair and making it greasy.

Your genetics

Of course, for some people, the answer to the question “why is my hair so greasy?” is a simple one: genetics.

If one of your parents or relatives have naturally oily hair, there’s a very good chance you’re just genetically predisposed to produce more sebum than the average person and will always have hair which gets oily faster than most. This isn’t the end of the world, however. A good hair care regime could work wonders!

How to treat oily hair

Although many of the reasons you may be suffering from greasy hair may not be curable, correct management can still leave your hair looking delightfully non-greasy and healthy every day.

The proper shampoo, conditioner and treatment will work wonders when used correctly. We’ve listed our top picks below:

Oily hair shampoo

Kérastase Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo 250ml

kerastase bain divalent shampoo for oily hair

We love a Kérastase product here, and this shampoo is no different. 

Enriched with Glycine and Vitamin B6, this shampoo is gentle enough to be used as your regular shampoo while being specifically formulated to help you get rid of oily hair.

It works by both removing the excess sebum from your scalp to give it an amazing cleanse every wash, while also rebalancing the moisture in your hair from the root to stop your hair getting oily over the long term.

As well as being used to treat oily hair, Kérastase Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo moisturises and repairs any damaged hair, meaning your hair will always look amazing and healthy.

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Dry shampoo for oily hair

Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo

Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo

Of course, sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t always give our hair a proper wash when it needs one. You don’t need to accept not looking your best when this happens, though – not when you’re armed with Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo.

Finding the right dry shampoo can be tricky, but this amazing product from the legendary Philip Kingsley does everything you need and then some.

It absorbs all the excess oils, sweat and odour which have built up over the day with a combination of Zinc PCA and Allantoin to leave your hair looking and feeling fresh. Perfect for when you need to get moving quickly.

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Conditioner for Oily Hair

Sukin Oil Balancing Conditioner

Sukin Oil Balancing Conditioner

Free from all the harsh chemicals which can damage your hair, Sukin Oil Balancing Conditioner is created with all natural ingredients which help to keep your oily hair perfectly balanced while providing the moisture the ends of your hair need to not dry out.

As well as being the perfect conditioner to treat oily hair, this product is cruelty free, vegan and carbon neutral, so you can put some good out into the world while looking after yourself!

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Treatments for oily hair

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt

christophe robin sea salt hair treatment

The occasional treatment can transform hair from good to great in short order, and this purifying scrub from Christophe Robin is the perfect way to give your oily hair a boost.

Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt works to cleanse, purify and restore balance to your hair, with the addition of sea salt working to stimulate microcirculation in your scalp to ensure it receives as many nutrients as possible. This means it immediately restores balance to oily, damaged scalps and transforms your hair.

Within 24 hours of use your scalp will be restored to optimum hydration levels, making it much easier for you to keep them in check moving forward. 

Use of this as little as once a month can transform the condition of your hair.

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Rebecca Johnston

I've been hairdressing for almost a decade, during that time I noticed I keep getting asked the same questions by people about their hair, and loads have the same misconceptions.

I started this website to answer these all-too-common questions and correct those misconceptions, so everyone can always have amazing looking hair!