How To Wash Oily Hair: My Top Tips


When you have oily hair, fighting grease can feel like a daily battle. But it doesn’t need to be that way. When you have the correct products, and know how to wash oily hair properly, you can wave “so long” to greasy hair day – I promise! 

Learning how to wash oily hair can take a bit of trial and error. That’s because there are so many different reasons your hair could be oily, and in order to solve the problem, you have to diagnose it properly.

Not to worry! Today, I’m going to explain the most common reasons for greasy hair, what to do about them, and how to wash oily hair in the way that’s most beneficial for your scalp and strands. 

So, if you’ve ever wondered: “Why is my hair so oily after washing!?” This is the blog post for you!

Before we get into the specifics of how to wash oily hair, let’s determine why your hair is oily in the first place. 

What makes hair oily?

Woman looking in a mirror while thinking, "Why is my hair so oily after washing?"

Trying to determine what causes oily hair is more complicated than you might think. That’s because excess oil can be caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Hot climates
  • Frequent heat styling
  • Using unclean brushes
  • Choosing the wrong hair products
  • Underwashing
  • And overwashing

That’s right, you can actually wash your hair too much.

In fact, overwashing is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to learn how to wash oily hair. 

It’s best to spread out your showers as much as you can. And, depending on your hair type, that may be every other day, or even every four days! 

Shampooing every day can really dry out your scalp, which makes your sebum glands produce oil twice as fast. So, what you might assume is dirty hair could just be hair that is trying desperately to balance out your natural moisture. 

If you’re trying to spread out your washes, there are a few things you can do to help. 

First, you can stop touching your hair. If you have a habit of twirling or stroking your strands, the dirt and oils from your fingers will quickly exacerbate any issue with oil you might have.

Next, you can try using a dry shampoo to soak up excess oil as your scalp adjusts to less frequent washes. Just don’t get used to using dry shampoo long term. This can actually clog your pores and cause more problems than it solves!

Lastly, you can throw your hair into a cute updo like a messy bun or braids, where the excess oil will simply add some extra texture to your tresses until your next wash.

Once it is time for a shower, it’s important to understand how to wash oily hair. So let’s get right down to it! 

How to wash oily hair

Man demonstrating the proper way to wash hair

There are plenty of tricks when it comes to how to wash oily hair, and if you don’t know them – you might not be doing your locks justice! 

First, you want to make sure you have the right products. 

Opt for sulfate-free shampoo

The majority of shampoos contain sulfates. These detergents are responsible for making your product gloriously sudsy… but they can also seriously dry out your scalp. 

When you use sulfates over time, your scalp will start to overproduce oils to make up for the dryness. This means that deep clean will actually leave your hair more greasy than ever! 

For this same reason, you actually want to avoid clarifying shampoos. These shampoos also provide TOO deep of a clean, with drying, stripping chemicals that will leave you in an endless oil control cycle.

The solution? Purchase sulfate-free shampoos that won’t strip your natural oils. And, on the days when you would normally reach for a clarifying shampoo, opt for a hair detox shampoo instead! 


Use a lightweight conditioner

Even if your hair is oily, that doesn’t mean you should skip conditioner. You just need the RIGHT conditioner. 

When you have naturally fine or oily hair, you don’t want to use conditioners that are formulated for dry or damaged hair. These will be far too heavy and hydrating for you.

Instead, you should reach for a lightweight conditioner that is specially formulated for oil control. An oily hair conditioner will keep your hair soft and shiny without weighing it down or adding too much moisture to the mix. 

Once you’re confident in your product, it’s also important to know how to wash oily hair with conditioner. To condition oily hair properly, you should focus most of the product on the ends of your hair, and only work up to your mid-lengths. 

Never, I repeat NEVER, apply conditioner to your scalp. This is asking for an oil slick to happen! 

Try washing your hair with open palms

Woman showing how to do the open palm technique, which is one of the best ways to wash oily hair

If you’re dealing with severely greasy strands, it’s time to learn a new technique for how to wash oily hair: the open palm technique! 

Overstimulating your scalp, whether with your fingers, brush, or styling tools, can cause your oil glands to produce more oil. So, if you’ve been giving your scalp a very deep massage with your fingers in the shower, it’s possible it's contributing to your oil problem! 

Instead of using your fingertips, try using your open palms to spread out the pressure on your scalp when you work in your shampoo. This will clean your hair just as efficiently without sending your oily glands into overdrive. 

Make sure to rinse your hair completely 

My next tip for how to wash oily hair is to make sure 100% of the product is rinsed out. If you’re prone to an oily scalp, product residue can make matters worse by clogging your pores or coating your strands and weighing them down.

So, after you’ve mastered how to wash oily hair with the open palm technique, make sure you thoroughly rinse your hair!

Let your hair air-dry

If you’ve done all of the above, and you’re still wondering: “Why is my hair so oily after washing?” it’s possible that heat styling tools are the culprit. Frequent heat styling can increase your sebum production, just like a harsh clarifying shampoo can. 

Not only will your scalp produce more oil to protect your strands from the heat, the heat will also melt and soften the oils so that it spreads more easily down your hair fibers – making your hair look greasier than ever! 

To avoid this, I recommend letting your hair air dry when you can. And, if possible, you can use your blow dryer and other heat styling tools at a lower temperature.

So now you are armed with all the right tools for how to wash oily hair properly, but what shampoo and conditioner is best for oily hair, exactly? Let’s talk about my favorite products for oily control. 

The best shampoo and conditioner for oily hair

What shampoo is best for oily hair? In my opinion, it’s a sulfate-free, silicone-free shampoo bar made with natural ingredients. A shampoo bar won’t be too drying, and won’t weigh down your hair. 

So what are the best shampoo bars for oily hair

Bars Over Bottles Purifying Shampoo Bar

I always recommend my Purifying Shampoo Bar first and foremost. This powerful little product uses green clay to soak up excess oils and impurities without stripping your hair or scalp. It also includes rosemary, lemongrass, and mint essential oils which help to moderate oil production, improve scalp health, and strengthen your strands. 

Bars Over Bottles Detox Shampoo Bar

But there is one other bar that I recommend for oil control as well, and that is my Detox Shampoo Bar. 

My detox shampoo provides a deep cleanse for those days when you might be tempted to reach for a clarifying shampoo. It is also great for all hair types, which is why I consider it to be the best shampoo for oily curly hair, too. 

My Detox Shampoo Bar achieves such a deep clean with activated charcoal, black clay, and eucalyptus essential oil. It will leave you with refreshingly clean hair - without causing your sebum glands to panic. 

Of course, after shampoo, we also need to discuss conditioner. If you have oily hair, you should opt for a lightweight conditioner. This will balance your moisture without making your strands appear greasy or weighed down.

My Moisturizing Conditioner Bar uses hydrating oils like mango oil and sweet almond oil instead of heavy ingredients like cocoa butter or shea butter. These oils will provide just enough hydration to fine or oily hair. 

Armed with the best shampoo and conditioner for oily hair, and these new tips on how to wash greasy strands, you’ll never have to ask: “Why is my hair so oily after washing?” EVER AGAIN. In fact, you’ll be well on your way to your best hair days yet. 

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