Get Rid of Greasy Hair

Your head produces oil to keep your scalp and hair healthy. If your hair looks like it needs to be washed again a few hours after you wash it, your oil production may be out of balance. This article will give you a few tips on how to get rid of greasy hair.

10 Second Summary

  • Wash your hair once every 2 to 4 days. More ↓
  • Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair and not the roots.
  • Use fewer hair products, but consider a clarifying shampoo.
  • Try a home remedy, such as diluted apple cider vinegar and baking soda water.
  • Avoid playing with your hair, and hide greasy hair with a bun or ponytail.


Washing and Applying Products

  1. Decide on a shampoo schedule. Shampoo certainly removes grease, but it can strip away too much of your hair's protective oil, leaving your hair dry and vulnerable to damage. If you hair breaks easily or quickly develops split ends, you may already be shampooing too often. Find a washing schedule that leaves your hair healthy and soft, so you can address the greasiness without destroying your hair.
    • You might be able to wash daily if you have very fine hair, live in a humid area, or exercise daily to the point of heavy sweating. For most people, washing once every 2–4 days is recommended. You may need to wash even less often if you have extra-curly African hair, or if you've treated your hair with keratin.[1]
    • Your hair will produce oil at the same rate, no matter how often you shampoo.[2]
  2. Choose your shampoo. Find a shampoo intended for oily or greasy hair. The most effective examples tend to include sulfates, which are infamous in some circles for the damage they can cause to skin and hair.[3] Give it a try, but switch to a sulfate-free product if the shampoo irritates your skin or swings your hair too far in the dry, damaged direction.
    • If you can't find an effective, safe shampoo, you might be able to replace shampoo entirely with one of the home remedies below.
    • Avoid products that advertise "added shine," which is caused by oily ingredients.
  3. Embrace dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is a scented powder that sits in your hair and absorbs grease, without rinsing away all your protective oils. Hold the can at least 6 inches (15 cm) away from your hair, and spray lightly onto the roots and mid-shafts in oily areas. Let sit for two minutes, then massage it into your hair with clean hands. Apply whenever your hair feels greasy, about 1–3 times between washes.[4][5]
    • Too much dry shampoo can cause white buildup. Apply lightly and to oily areas only (typically the layers of hair nearest to your scalp).
    • Dry shampoo is available in powder form as well as sprays. Choose this if you are sensitive to fragrance or aerosols.
    • Baking soda, talcum powder and other powders are also effective for absorbing grease.
  4. Apply conditioner with caution. Conditioner is designed to make your hair soft and silky, which is a short step from greasy. Only use it immediately after shampooing, when your hair is at its driest, and stick to a dollop the size of a small coin. Rub it into the ends of your hair only, as your roots are slick enough on their own.
    • To reduce the amount of conditioner even further, lightly apply a spray-on, leave-in conditioner instead.[6]
    • Surprisingly, a co-wash (using conditioner instead of shampoo) does actually remove some oil, though not as much as shampoo.[7] However, co-washing is mainly beneficial for dry hair. Shampoo is a safer bet for someone with grease issues.
  5. Reduce use of hair products. Unsurprisingly, hair grease and its gel and mousse cousins won't do you any favors in the fight against oil. Stick to light products only, such as texturizing sprays. If you bust out the mousse for a special occasion, be sure to wash it out at the end of the day.
  6. Resort to clarifying shampoo if necessary. Clarifying shampoos are extra-powerful products that strip out buildup from hair products. Because these are harsh enough to damage hair, use this once every 2nd to 4th wash.[6]
    • Never use clarifying shampoo on color treated hair, which will likely fade and may be vulnerable to damage.
  7. Get-Rid-of-Dandruff. Many people with dandruff often think the problem is dry skin. Actually, dandruff can be triggered by an overproduction of sebum, or scalp oil.[8] If you have dandruff, Get-Rid-of-Dandruff with dandruff shampoo according to label instructions.
    • There are several types of dandruff shampoo. If your dandruff doesn't decrease after a few uses, switch to one with a different active ingredient, or visit your doctor for a prescription-strength treatment.

Reducing Grease with Home Remedies

  1. Wash with oat water. Pour about 1 tbsp (15 mL) dry oats into ½ cup (120 mL) water. Boil for about two minutes, let cool, then strain out the oats. The leftover water contains a natural soap, which may strip oils as well as shampoo on some hair.[9] Try it instead of shampoo for a few sessions to see if you can save yourself money and avoid harsh chemicals.
  2. Apply a clay hair mask. Find clay sold as a beauty product, and mix in water until it forms a paste. Working in small sections, coat slightly damp hair with the clay.[10] Cover in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and rinse out after 5–30 minutes.
    • Try bentonite clay or rhassoul clay.[9]
  3. Try apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Many people use diluted apple cider vinegar to strip away product buildup, for hair that's too fragile to expose to clarifying shampoo. This works well for some people, and not at all for others.[9][11][12] You can go a step further and join the "no 'poo" movement, replacing all your washing with this formula:[13]
    • Prepare one bottle of half baking soda, half water. Make a second bottle of half apple cider vinegar and half water.
    • Shake the baking soda bottle and apply a little to your hair. Rinse out.
    • Shake the vinegar bottle and apply a little to your hair. Rinse out.
    • Repeat about once a week, or whenever grease builds up. If hair still feels oily, let vinegar sit for ten minutes before rinsing out.
  4. Apply citrus fruit. Lemon juice is another popular home remedy for oily hair. Give it a try by diluting the juice of one or two lemons with 1 cup (240 mL) water. Rub the mixture into your scalp and hair, then rinse off after five minutes.

Managing Hair in Other Ways

  1. Keep fingers away from your hair. If you constantly twirl your hair or brush a lock back with your fingers, you could be wiping off oils from your skin. Clip or tie your hair back so it doesn't fall in your eyes. Keep-Your-Hands-Away-from-Your-Face for ways to keep your hands away from your face.
  2. Choose your hairstyle. Try a bun, braids, and other hairstyle that keep your hair tight and together. Keeping your strands together instead of falling loosely will reduce the visibility of greasy hair.
  3. Time your shampoo cycle. If you have a big event coming up, you'll want to wash your hair the same day to make sure it looks as fresh as possible. Time your shampooing cycle so that you haven't washed your hair in a few days before the day of the event. Your hair should stay grease-free for the whole day.
  4. Consider a haircut. Long, greasy hair can be high-maintenance. On the other hand, most of the grease tends to accumulate near the roots, so a haircut may not improve matters. Follow your own preferences and experience with your hair when deciding on the right length.


  • Remember to rinse thoroughly when you wash your hair. Shampoo residue may irritate your skin or stimulate grease production.
  • If you do end up with greasy hair, sleep with your hair (if long enough) in a french braid. Keep it in in the night and take it out in the morning.

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Sources and Citations