The Ultimate Guide to Oily Hair

The Ultimate Guide to Oily Hair

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Having hair that gets oily fast can be annoying. Maybe you washed your hair last night, but it’s evening the next day and already your hair looks like it needs another round of shampoo.


But the benefits of improving your oily hair go beyond fixing your hair’s appearance. Hairstyles can last several days so you no longer have to put all that work until curling your hair only for them to be limp by the next morning. An excessively oily scalp can also lead to itchiness, dandruff, and clogged hair follicles which can cause hair loss. A balanced scalp is one with looks and feels healthy.


I’ve spent years trying different things for my oily hair: different shampoos, serums, and washing strategies and this guide will help you get to the root (no pun intended) of the issue quickly and get you to gorgeous hair that lasts much longer with creeping oiliness. Fighting greasiness is a lot easier than you think and we’ll give you a step by step guide so you never have to think about it again.


Why Your Hair is Oily

Knowing why your hair gets oily can be key to understanding how to fix the issue. People with oilier hair generally produce more sebum (that’s oil from your scalp). People with fine hair are more likely to have more hairs per square centimeter, resulting in more oil glands, and more oil.  So if you have fine hair you are likely dealing with an oily scalp.


There are other reasons hair can get oily. For example, buildup from too many styling products or haircare products that haven’t been washed out. Also hair that is low porosity has difficulty allowing moisture to penetrate the hair, leading to hair that has an oilier appearance when oils are applied. The tips in this guide will help no matter the reason.


Routine to Extend Time Between Washes

First let’s cover what we all want to know: how do we lengthen the time in between washes? The answer is: giving your hair as good of a cleanse when you’re washing as possible. 


So what makes for a good cleanse? When you wash, make sure to use a volumizing shampoo. These shampoo use lightweight ingredients that won’t weigh down your hair with unnecessary moisture. 


Once or twice a week, use a clarifying shampoo in place of your volumizing shampoo. Clarifying shampoos are formulated to give you a deeper cleanse than a regular shampoo and remove excess oil and buildup. If you are starting to feel a lot of dryness in your hair after starting to use a clarifying shampoo, peel back your use, but if you have oily hair once or twice a week should be a good frequency. 

 oily hair routine

In addition to clarifying shampoo, an apple cider vinegar rinse is an easy way to give your scalp an additional gentle cleanse. They can be used multiple times a week since they are gentle.


Even when you have oily hair, you still want to be using a conditioner. Conditioner detangles your hair and makes it soft so you definitely don’t want to skip. However, you DO want to make sure you don’t apply conditioner to your scalp. Keep it to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair only.


Hair masks aren’t often necessary for oily hair since the hair isn’t suffering from a lack of moisture, but they can add softness and shine or help revive dry ends. Use a hair mask no more than once a week, and like with conditioner, make sure to keep it away from your ends. 

Volumizing Shampoo - Every other day, alternating with clarifying shampoo

Clarifying Shampoo - Every other day, alternating with volumizing shampoo

Apple cider vinegar rinse - every other day (or as often as you’d like)

Conditioner - every other day

Hair mask - once a week, in the place of conditioner


How Often You Should Be Washing Oily Hair

Even though it is possible to extend the wash time for overly oily hair, you likely won’t be able to make it a week without oiliness. The general recommendation for oily hair is to wash every other day. If that’s where you’re at, you’re doing great! 


oily hair shampoo


Air Dry vs Blow Dry

This may seem counter-intuitive but blow drying your hair is actually better for it than air drying! This goes for all hair types, but hair that’s dried gets a rougher texture which also makes it take longer for oily to show up, making it even better for oily hair types. 


If you’re not a blow dry fan, even using it until your hair is mostly dry (90% dry for best results) will do the trick. And use the lowest heat possible for the least amount of damage to your hair.


How to Make Greasy Hair Look Clean in 5 Minutes

All this routine stuff is well and good, but we all find ourselves in a pinch sometimes and we need to make our hair look cleaner FAST.


1. Dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is a popular standby and for good reason. It can lift your roots while also giving your hair a drier (read: not oily) appearance. 

2. Volumizing powder

Less heard of are hair powders which are great for volumizing and for giving your hair a dry shampoo “clean” effect. You only need little hair powder for immense impact. 

3. Blow Dry Your Roots

Giving your roots a blast from a blow dryer takes away the oil. Lifting your roots with a round brush gives your hair a bit more volume and oomph as well.

4. Baking Powder and Face Powder

Baking powder and face powder are a little less conventional and not formulated specifically for your hair, but they work to soak up some oil when you’re in a rush and don’t have anything on hand. 

5. Blotting Powders

Blotting papers can also soak up oil with the added benefit of not adding anything to your hair so there’s no residue to wash out afterwards.


Best Products for Oily Hair

Shampoo and Conditioner

Living Proof Full Shampoo and Conditioner

OGX Extra Strength and Biotin and Collagen Shampoo


Clarifying Shampoo

Ouai Detox Shampoo

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo


Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

dpHue Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Girl Hair Clear+ Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Hair Rinse


Hair Mask

Ouai Treatment Mask for Fine and Medium Hair

John Freida Wonder Drops 3 Minute Volumizer


Dry Shampoo/Powder

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder Dry Shampoo

Kristin Ess Fragrance Free Dry Shampoo Powder


The Ultimate Guide to Oily Hair Conclusion 

The key to keeping oil at bay is cleansing thoroughly and making sure to use clarifying treatments that called your scalp and hair of excess oil and product residue. Thankfully limiting your hair’s greasiness is easy if you have a great routine, the right products, and a little patience!

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