But all hope is not lost. There are solutions and and steps you can take at home to achieve a healthy, well-balanced scalp. In this article I will share 30 ways to fix your oily scalp.
Why Is My Hair So Oily?
Before you can fix an oily scalp, it's important to understand what causes it in the first place.
Everyone's scalp produces a natural oil called sebum. In a healthy scalp, this sebum production is balanced.
When sebum production is normal, your scalp makes just enough natural oil to moisturize the outer layer of your scalp and leave your hair feeling soft.
There are a number of reasons why your hair and scalp may have excessive oil.
Hair Texture: Straight hair or hair with a looser curl pattern is more susceptible to oil buildup. This is because sebum can travel down the hair shaft easily. If it is not removed with shampoo, it will continue to buildup and leave your hair and scalp looking and feeling greasy.
Diet: Studies have shown that diets rich in essential nutrients and fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and regulate sebum production. If your diet is unbalanced or unhealthy, you can experience issues with sebum regulation and may have an oily scalp.
pH Level: A healthy scalp has a normal pH of around 5.5, and hair strands have a pH level of 3.67. This just means that on a scale of 1-14, your hair and scalp is more acidic than alkaline. If something disrupts this pH internally (food, medication, etc.) or externally (hair products, chemical treatments, weather, pollution, etc.) because it is too acidic or too alkaline-- it may cause your scalp to be too oily, irritated, or inflamed.
Hair Care Regimen:Your haircare routine plays a large role in the appearance of your hair. If you wash your hair too much, or not often enough, this can negatively impact how your hair produces sebum.
Hair Products: If you use drying or low quality products, it can send sebum production into overdrive. The oil will continue to buildup on your scalp and hair and leave a greasy mess.
The Best Shampoo For Oily Hair
Speaking of hair products--you may be wondering what shampoo you should use to treat an oily scalp. It's important to use a shampoo free of harsh chemicals and stripping ingredients that will dry out and irritate your scalp. The best shampoo for oily hair and scalp is a pH balanced shampoo that is formulated with natural ingredients like coconut and argan oil that will moisturize your hair and leave it clean and grease-free.
Quench & Cleanse Shampoo (Step 1)
Quench & Repair Conditioner (Step 2)
Using a high-quality shampoo may be the most important thing you need to help you fix your oily scalp. But there may be other steps you need to take if the problem persists. If you are suffering from a greasy, oil scalp, then here’s what you need to do:
1. Use The Right Products
Use high quality products with a low pH that dissolve dirt and grease on your scalp and leave your hair cuticles smooth and flat. Pay attention to the ingredients in your hair care products. Products that contain petroleum and mineral oil may coat your hair and cause it to feel soft and smooth, but they can cause build up over time that suffocates your scalp and makes your hair appear greasy. Instead, look for products that have nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and tea tree oil that fight bacteria and soothe your scalp.
2. Clean Your Brushes
Be sure to clean your hair care tools often. If your combs and brushes have dirt, oil, and product buildup stuck in them, this can transfer to your hair when you use them, and cause your hair to be more oily. Only use clean brushes to ensure that your hair and scalp remain free of oil buildup.
3. Change Your Diet
If your scalp seems to be oily no matter what you do, it may be a result of the foods you are consuming. Fried foods, dairy, fatty meats, and sugar can all cause inflammation and overstimulate the body's oil glands. Eating more of these types of foods can cause your body to produce an excess amount of oil. To fix your oily scalp, try to eliminate these foods from your diet and consume more fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
4. Exfoliate Your Scalp
Over productive sebaceous glands can leave an excessive amount of oil buildup on your scalp. This buildup can clog your hair follicles and cause even more problems including seborrheic dermatitis and even hair loss. If you have an oily scalp, try using a scalp scrub or an exfoliating scalp brush when you wash your hair to remove dirt, oil, and product buildup from your scalp.
5. Don't Apply Conditioner To Your Scalp
Only apply conditioner to the ends of your hair, which tend to be more dry. Leave it on for the recommended amount of time, and then rinse well. If you apply conditioner to your scalp, it can cause it to be more greasy.
6. Use Hot Oil Treatments
Believe it or not, an oily scalp can be a symptom of an overly dry scalp. When the scalp dries out, it sends signals to your body's oil glands to produce more oil. A greasy, oily scalp can be your body's way of overcompensating for it's dryness. To eliminate dryness and treat your oily scalp, apply a hot oil treatment once a week after you shampoo your hair.
7. Apply Oil To Your Clean Scalp
If you have an oily scalp, your body's oil glands are producing more oil than you need. To send a signal to slow down your scalp's oil production, you can apply an all natural oil to your scalp after you wash your hair.
The oil should be light and mimic the consistency of your hair's natural oil, sebum. Jojoba oil is a good example of this.
Never apply oil to a dirty scalp. This will trap dirt, oil, and dead skin and cause your hair follicles to become clogged.
8. Don't Wash Your Hair Too Frequently
Washing your hair too often can strip your hair of all of it's natural oil and cause it to be dry. This will cause our oil glands to overcompensate and begin to produce more oil. Try not to wash your hair more than once or twice a week.
9. Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Many shampoos contain cleaning agents called sulfates. Sulfates help your shampoo lather and help remove dirt and oil from the hair. But often times they strip away too much and leave the hair and scalp incredibly dry. Use a shampoo that will remove oil--just water alone is not enough, but doesn't contain harsh sulfates that will dry out your scalp and cause it to be oily and irritated.
10. Don't Go Too Long Between Washes
If you don't wash your hair then dirt, oil, and dead skin cells will build up on your scalp and cause it to be greasy. If you have an oily scalp, you can fix it by washing it once a week.
11. Straighten Your Hair Less Often
Heat tools like flat irons and blow dryers can soften the oils on your scalp and cause them to spread more easily. This will lead to your hair looking more oily and greasy than usual. If you have an oily scalp, do not use hair straighteners frequently.
12. Take a Break From Wigs
Your scalp needs to breathe. Wearing wigs constantly can trap sweat, dirt and oil on your scalp. This is a recipe for disaster. Make sure your wigs are clean, your natural hair and scalp is clean, and take breaks from wearing wigs to keep your scalp healthy.
13. Sleep On a Satin Pillowcase
Satin Pillowcases are less absorbent than their cotton counterparts. They absorb less dirt and oil so there will be less oil transfer to your scalp when you lay on your pillow.
14. Change Your Pillowcase Often
Pillowcases need to be changed and washed frequently. The sweat, dead skin cells, and oil that transfers from your hair and skin while you sleep can build up on your pillowcase and be rubbed back onto your head when you lay on it. Yuck, right? Keep your pillowcase clean if you have an oily scalp. It will help tremendously.
15. Use Dry Shampoo
If your scalp gets oily between wash days, you can use a dry shampoo to absorb a bit of the oil and help your hair look less greasy.
16. Apply Cornstarch To Your Roots
Cornstarch is absorbent and a quick and natural way to fix an oily scalp. You can apply a bit of the powder to your roots to absorb any excess oil and leave your hair and scalp feeling dry and lightweight.
17. Steam Your Hair
Use a steam cap to help moisture penetrate your hair strands and scalp. A moisturized scalp will produce a regular, healthy amount of oil.
18. Rub Fresh Aloe On Your Scalp
Aloe Vera contains nourishing properties that soothe and moisturize the hair and scalp. It also removes excess sebum without completely stripping the hair. It's the perfect oily scalp remedy. You can get fresh aloe leaves at your local grocery store or farmer's market. You can even grow them at home yourself. If you can't get your hands on fresh aloe, try using an all natural aloe vera gel to treat your oily scalp.
19. Try Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses
Apple Cider Vinegar has a pH level that is similar to the pH levels of the hair and scalp. Occasionally rinsing the hair with apple cider vinegar can restore the scalp's pH balance and regulate oil production.
20. Use Bentonite Clay
Bentonite Clay is highly absorbent and can remove toxins and debris from the hair and scalp. If you have oil buildup on your scalp, a bentonite clay mask may help treat your problem. This remedy should be used in moderation. Bentonite Clay is a very powerful substance that can dry out the scalp if used too often.
21. Wash Your Hair In Braids Or Twists
If you have very thick or coarse hair, it may be hard to reach your scalp to clean it properly. You can part your hair into 4-6 sections and create loose braids or twists to keep your hair out of the way when washing your scalp.
22. Keep Your Hands Out Of Your Hair
Not only does frequently touching your scalp stimulate your oil glands, but you can transfer dirt and excess oils to your scalp from your fingers. If you have an oily scalp, don't play in your hair. Touch it only when it's absolutely necessary.
23. Wash Your Hair Accessories Often
Hats, headwraps, bonnets, scarves, and even scrunchies can absorb oil from your scalp. It's important to keep these items clean so that they don't transfer excess oil to your scalp every time you wear them.
24. Use a Satin Scarf
Oil slides on satin more easily than cotton or other materials. If you sleep with a satin scarf, the oils from your scalp can slide down the scarf and transfer to other parts of your hair like the ends, that need more oil to stay moisturized. This will keep your hair from looking greasy because your natural oils will not be gathered in a pool on your scalp. Instead, they'll be evenly distributed down your hair shaft.
25. Tone Your Scalp
The skin on your scalp is very similar to the skin on your face. Just like we use a toner to remove excess dirt and oil that may build up in our pores, you can use a natural toner like witch hazel to treat an oily scalp.
26. Skip the Gel & Edge Control
If you have an oily scalp, avoid thick products like gel and edge control that coat the hair. These products can trap oil and buildup on the hair, causing your hair and scalp to appear overly greasy. You can use an natural flax seed gel, or a leave in cream with hold to style your hair instead.
27. Don't Wear Your Hair Loose
Kinks and coils prevent oils from traveling down the hair shaft. This can cause the oil to gather in a pool on your scalp. Tight hairstyles like ponytails and buns can make it easier for the oil to spread and can make your hair appear more greasy. If you have an oily scalp, try to wear loose puffs, ponytails, and low buns.
28. Beware of Silicones
Silicones can protect your hair from heat, and coat your hair to make it appear soft and shiny. But if you have an oily scalp or greasy hair, they can make matters worse. Silicones buildup on your hair and can prevent moisture from penetrating your hair strand. Never apply a product that contains silicones on your scalp.
29. Rinse Well After Conditioning
If you wear natural styles like wash and go's, twist outs, or braid outs, you may find that leaving a little bit of conditioner in your hair on wash day leaves your hair feeling soft. Some people even mix conditioner in a spray bottle with water and spray that on their hair in between washes to keep their hair moisturized. If you have an oily scalp, don't do this. Conditioner can leave buildup on the hair and scalp. Rinse your hair thoroughly after conditioning on wash day.
30. Use The Right Water Temperature
Hot water can feel relaxing, but it can also dry out your scalp. If your scalp is oily, wash with water that is as cool as you can stand. This will help keep your cuticles lying smooth and flat, and will prevent your scalp from drying out and eventually producing too much oil.
The Bottom Line
It may take some trial and error to find the right hair care practices that leave your hair looking and feeling great. An oily scalp can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable problem, and you may be desperately searching for answers. Implementing these tips in your hair care routine and daily lifestyle can help drastically improve the health and appearance of your scalp. If you follow these steps, you can fix your oily scalp and beat the grease for good.
1.) Pappas, A. (2009, September). The relationship of diet and acne: A Review. Dermato-endocrinology. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836431/#:~:text=There%20are%20also%20studies%20claiming,could%20also%20affect%20sebum%20composition.&text=In%20general%20our%20Western%20diet,diet%20rich%20in%20refined%20carbohydrates.
2.) User, W. by S. (2016, May 25). 4 foods that can cause oily scalp and hair. Unique Hair Concepts. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.uniquehairconcepts.com/blog/4-foods-that-can-cause-oily-scalp-and-hair.html#gref
3.) Why balancing your skin, scalp and hair ph is so important. SHAZ & KIKS. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://www.shazandkiks.com/blogs/read/why-balancing-your-skin-and-hairs-ph-is-so-important
Join our Crew for exclusive videos, discount codes, and more!