Does your hair feel greasy and weighed-down by the end of the day, even when you just washed it that morning? Do you break out around your hairline, even though you’re well past puberty? Is your head constantly itchy?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might be suffering from overactive oil glands on your scalp. Luckily, there are many effective ways of treating this common condition — including shampoos specially formulated to decrease the grease and leave your hair feeling light and shiny all day long.
What causes an oily scalp?
It sounds counterintuitive, but washing your hair too frequently, or with too harsh a shampoo, can stimulate oil production on your scalp, actually making your hair greasier. Talk about a vicious circle!
Other culprits behind an oily scalp can include seborrheic dermatitis (which can cause an itchy scalp as well), eczema, and psoriasis. These may stem from various causes, including allergic reactions or autoimmune conditions, so it can be worth a trip to the dermatologist to get checked out.
In most cases, however, these conditions are not serious and are easily treatable. A good shampoo for oily scalp might be all that’s needed!
Tips to Keep Hair Healthy
If you’re dealing with greasy hair, the best approach is to use a good clarifying shampoo, and perhaps not to wash your hair too frequently — unless you have very fine hair, sweat heavily, live in an extremely humid climate, or have an oily scalp.
Hair naturally produces oil, called sebum, and you actually want some of those oils to remain on your scalp, according to Carolyn Goh, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine. “They provide moisturizing and a protection barrier for the skin and hair,” she told WebMD.
“If you have oily scalp, then daily washing is needed,” said Goh. Not sure how often you need to wash your hair? Try one of the shampoos below, and experiment with washing more and less often. One of them is sure to do the trick for you! Keep scrolling to shop FIRST for Women’s picks for best shampoo for oily scalp.
See more of our best product recommendations.
Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo
Where to buy: From $24, Aveda
This heavenly-smelling formula's blend of burdock root, echinacea, and sage will clean your hair and scalp, remove excess sebum and build-up, and leave your hair looking, and feeling, its best.
"Best shampoo ever! Keeps my scalp and hair healthy. No more dry itchy scalp. Love the smell!" wrote reviewer Peggy. We're convinced!
Briogio Scalp Revival Shampoo
Where to buy: $42, Sephora
An Allure Best of Beauty award winner, this unique shampoo-in-a-tub is infused with charcoal and coconut oil which supports scalp health by detoxifying and moisturizing skin. It's also vegan and cruelty-free.
"I am a big fan of the peppermint fragrance combined with charcoal," wrote one reviewer. "The micro exfoliants felt great on my scalp." This one is worth the slightly steeper price tag — trust us.
Natural Balance Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Where to buy: From $30, ULTAThis shampoo is made with organic apple cider vinegar, which boosts shine, as well as organic argan oil and aloe vera to smooth and impart moisture. Infused with a blend of rosemary, lavender, lemongrass and clary sage essential oils, it provides great aromatherapy, as well."I'm no longer itchy between wash days," wrote one happy customer. "And my curls have so much definition and bounce!"
Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two
Where to buy: From $11.50, Amazon
A longtime favorite, this affordable Paul Mitchell formula is specifically designed for oily hair, with deep cleaners that won't strip moisture and are safe for color-treated hair.
"I [had] fallen out of love with my hair ... it just felt heavy and flat and looked very dull and lifeless," wrote one Amazon reviewer. "[After trying this], my gorgeous hair is back!"
Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo
Where to buy: From $38, Sephora
Jujube bark and cherry blossom extracts in this color-safe shampoo soothe scalp itchiness and irritation. Plus, it's vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in recyclable packaging.
"I’ve only had this product for a week and it is life-changing," wrote one satisfied shopper. "I now wake up and my hair isn’t even oily; I could almost go two days without washing my hair! I used to not be able to go five hours without it looking greasy."
Maple Holistics Clarifying Shampoo
Where to buy: $11.95, Walmart
This natural, clarifying shampoo with lemon essential oil is formulated to maintain a healthy sebum level. Jojoba and rosemary will hydrate your hair while basil and cypress help prevent hair loss — something else we often deal with as we age.
"Purchased [this] for my teenaged daughter," wrote one reviewer. "I can't believe how well it works! It's as if this shampoo redistributes all the oiliness, leaving her hair shiny and healthy-looking all day long. Our search for the right shampoo is over."
Fekkai Apple Cider Shampoo
Where to buy: $29.99, Amazon
Scented with apple and pear, this shampoo is great as a weekend-only treat to remove buildup and deep clean your tresses.
One reviewer reported that it made her hair more lustrous and helped her curls behave better: "I was able to cut back on the amount of product I have to use as a consequence — and it smells fantastic, too!"
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
Where to buy: $27, Sephora
Another weekly treatment, this shampoo is crafted to remove product residue, build-up and pollutants to reveal vibrant and healthy hair. Be aware that this one is not safe for color-treated hair — but if you're an all-natural type, you'll be glad it's free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, and formaldehyde.
"The scent is subtle, clean, and beachy," writes one reviewer. "It gives your hair that squeaky-clean feeling, but isn't overly drying. I will look forward to making this a weekly routine."
WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
Where to buy: $19.94, Amazon
Another apple cider vinegar-infused product, this shampoo is formulated to reduce oily scalp, calm frizz, and mend split ends. Saw palmetto helps slow any hair loss you might be dealing with, and the vinegar kicks the shine level up several notches!
"I currently have five different shampoos in my drawer that I can now retire because this one works so well!" wrote one very satisfied buyer.
Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo
Where to buy: From $7.81, Amazon
A fantastic choice if you're on a budget, this basic oil-controlling shampoo has a light, fresh scent, moisturizing properties, and is a great option for those who need to wash their hair frequently.
"I swim laps several days a week and this does a great job removing the chlorine from my hair," wrote one customer. "It works every bit as well as the pricey swim shampoos for me, and you can't beat the price."