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  5. Greasy Hair Solutions You Should Try Right Away!

You wash your hair every morning. But as dusk falls, your scalp turns greasy! Is that true? We understand oily hair is a common concern. And often, it is not just the feeling of grease that bothers you, but also the itchiness, dandruff and other concerns that an oily scalp brings with it.

Let's take a closer look at what causes an oily scalp and how to treat these causes with at-home and other remedies.

What Expert Says

“Oily scalp can cause clogging of pores, dandruff, dirt accumulation and also hair loss.”

Dr. Harish Koutam, Chief Dermatologist, SkinKraft

Causes Of Oily Scalp And Hair

An oily scalp is the result of overactive sebaceous glands. Your scalp contains tiny pores beneath which lies the sebaceous glands. They produce a natural oil called sebum.

Sebum is vital to maintain a healthy scalp and hair. But sometimes, certain factors may contribute to an overproduction of sebum in your skin/scalp, making your hair greasy.

Let’s take a look at what can possibly contribute to an oily scalp:


Your genes play a major role in determining whether or not you will have an oily scalp. If your immediate family members have oily scalps/skin, there is a possibility that you may have it as well.

A. Washing your hair too often/scrubbing hard

Washing your hair too hard/often can contribute to the eradication of your protective barrier. This may result in an overproduction of oil by your sebaceous glands in an attempt to keep your scalp hydrated.

B. Lack of personal hygiene

If you avoid washing your hair for long periods, sleep on dirty bed sheets for pillow covers, use unwashed hair tools, you might experience oily scalp.

C. Unhealthy Diet

Your diet may have a role to play here as well. Eating high-carb diets, oily and spicy foods, and foods that lack nutritional value have been linked to oily skin and scalps.

D. Stress

If your stress levels are high, chances are that your sebaceous-gland activity may increase. This may cause your scalp to get oily.

E. Hair care products

Using harsh hair care products may damage your scalp’s protective barrier. This may result in the loss of essential oils, causing your sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum.

F. Hormonal Fluctuations

Pregnancy, irregular periods, menopause, and puberty all cause shifts in hormones, which can have a knock-on effect on the oiliness of your scalp.

How To Get Rid Of An Oily Scalp And Greasy Hair?

“An oily scalp can cause clogging of pores, dandruff, dirt accumulation and also hair loss,” says Dr. Harish Koutam, Chief Dermatologist at SkinKraft. However, you can combat an oily scalp in simple ways.

1. Keep a track of how frequently you wash your hair

The frequency at which you wash your hair is a key factor in determining how oily your scalp can get.


Paying attention to the cause of your oily scalp is important to determine how often you should wash your hair. If you’ve always had oily hair and a greasy scalp, it’s probably genetic. If you have developed it over the years, external factors are probably contributing to it.

If you don’t wash/clean your scalp regularly

Keeping your scalp clean and removing excess oil is important to get rid of that grease. Shampooing your hair helps remove excess oil and debris. It keeps your scalp clean and promotes healthy hair. Wash your hair at least 3 times a week to keep it clean and oil-free.

If you wash your hair too often

If you’re somebody who washes your hair too often, there is a possibility that over-washing is causing your scalp to feel oily. Shampooing your hair too often can strip away essential oils and moisture from your scalp. This may cause your sebaceous glands to overproduce oil to makeup for a dehydrated scalp.

2. Shampoo properly

Woman washing her hair with shampoo

Sometimes we may take washing our hair for granted. Just rubbing-in some shampoo isn’t enough. Shampoo removes unwanted dirt and debris from your hair. It also takes out excess oil from your scalp.

What is the right way to shampoo?

More often than not, you’d have the instructions given on the bottle of your shampoo.

  • Take a small amount of shampoo and massage it into your scalp.
  • Avoid scrubbing with your nails. It can eradicate your skin barrier, causing a loss of oils and moisture.
  • Stick to applying your shampoo to your scalp only. The ends of your hair will receive it while you rinse it off.

Did You Know?

Shikakai, an ancient remedy for healthy hair, removes excess sebum from the scalp. When applied to your hair, it works as a great clearer and detangler.

3.Rinse thoroughly

You don’t want any product build-up to take place. Not washing your hair thoroughly after you shampoo or condition it can cause your hair to feel extra heavy. Spend an extra minute to ensure that you thoroughly rinse everything out of your hair.

4. Condition your hair selectively

Using too much conditioner on your hair may make your scalp greasy, promote hair fall and bacterial growth. Use as much conditioner as recommended on the product bottle. Apply it to the ends of your hair and the areas that actually need it. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

5. Invest in products that are meant for oil-free scalp and hair

There are products available in the market that specifically target oily scalps. Just like your skin, your hair is unique. Invest in products that address your hair concerns.

Look for shampoos that contain these ingredients if you have oily scalp:

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Sodium sulfacetamide
  • Ketoconazole

6. Clean your brushes regularly

The grease and dirt that gets onto your brush, rollers, combs, curling irons when you use it on your hair, has to be cleaned. Your brush may also carry product residue on it. When you use the same brush on your hair, you’re just adding excess grease and dirt to your scalp.

Remember to use clean brushes, combs, rollers and change your pillowcases regularly to minimize contact with grease and other oily substances. Clean your brushes once a week using a mild cleanser.

7. Don’t scrub or brush too hard

Scrubbing or brushing too hard can damage your scalp’s protective layer that locks-in moisture and essential oils. This may strip away your scalp’s natural oils, causing your sebaceous glands to overproduce oil. It can contribute to a greasy scalp and hair.


If your hair is dry, brush it regularly. But, if it's oily, brush a maximum of 3 times a day.

8. Rinse thoroughly

You don’t want any product build-up to take place. Not washing your hair thoroughly after you shampoo or condition it can cause your hair to feel extra heavy.

9. Avoid using heavy products like leave-in conditioners

These will cause your scalp to feel heavy and greasy. You don’t need extra moisture with an oily scalp. Avoid anything that will weigh your hair down or cause it to feel heavy.

10. Wash your hair post work-out

Your scalp may feel too sweaty after a good exercise. This sweat that has been accumulated on your hair and scalp can cause it to feel extra greasy and can be quite annoying. Make it a point to wash your hair with shampoo after your work-outs.

11. Avoid using styling products (the ones that use heat)

Woman holding hair styling products

Heat produced from styling products can cause a considerable amount of damage to your hair. They not only cause breakage but can strip away essential oils from your hair in the long run. This can cause your scalp to overproduce oil again, making your hair greasy and feeling heavy.

Besides, avoid using styling products made with silicone. This may buildup on the hair and make it appear oily and compromise healthy growth.

Home Remedies To Manage An Oily Scalp

1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a great at-home remedy to get control of the concerns of an excessively oily scalp. It has antibacterial properties that can help you maintain a healthy scalp by preventing fungal and bacterial growth. It also reduces dandruff and greasiness (1).

To use tea tree oil, add a few drops of it to your shampoo. Massage into your hair and rinse off thoroughly. Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of it with any carrier oil and massage it all over your scalp for about 5-7 minutes.

2. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can prove to be useful in reducing product build-up. Every time you condition your hair, a thin layer of the product coats your hair shaft. This is what gives your hair the soft, frizz-free texture that is easy to style.

When properly diluted, an apple cider vinegar rinse can help balance your pH, reduce oil production, and limit flare-ups of skin conditions. However, apple cider vinegar may further irritate the skin, if you have eczema.

If you want to try it, apply a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your scalp and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing.

3. Witch hazel

Witch hazel is extremely useful to get rid of grease on your scalp and hair. This ingredient can help close oil-producing pores and relieve your scalp of itchiness (2).

If you have a sensitive scalp, witch hazel may be a good option for you (3). However, always conduct a patch-test before applying anything to your skin/scalp.

To cut through the oil, apply witch hazel directly to your scalp using a large, clean cotton ball. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then carry on with your normal shampooing routine.

4. Green tea

Green tea extract is effective in inhibiting sebum production (4) (5). Thanks to its antioxidant properties. You can either use it topically or use it to rinse your hair after shampooing.

5. Baking soda

Baking soda works great in removing dirt and grime from the scalp and has mild exfoliating properties too. This helps it to control oil secretion and in the process enhance hair growth.

You can simply make a paste by mixing baking soda with water and apply it to your hair and scalp. Later wash it off after 20 minutes.

6. Lemon juice

Lemon being naturally acidic helps keep oiliness at bay. Besides, it also helps to control dandruff issues.

To use lemon juice for an oily cap, take two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and add it with a cup of water. Rinse your scalp and hair with it. Massage your scalp with the mixture and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it off as usual.

7. Egg yolk

Egg yolks are rich in sulphur and protein content which work wonders for an oily scalp. Also, it strengthens your hair, maintains the pH balance of your scalp, and reduces oil secretion.

Prepare a hair mask with 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and a few drops of lemon. Apply this evenly on your scalp and keep it for about 20-25 minutes. Later, rinse it thoroughly with cold water.

Dos And Don’ts For An Oily Scalp

1. Use cool water in the shower

Choose cold water over hot water in the shower. Hot water stimulates the sebaceous glands, enabling them to produce more sebum. Try using cool water while finding to close the hair cuticles and prevent glands from going into overdrive. The best is to use a scalp massage brush to distribute the oils evenly throughout your hair while you take a shower.

2. Avoid too much touching

Fiddling with your hair lets the oil from your skin get transferred to your strands. Scratching your head, running fingers through your hair, all may let your scalp increase its sebum production thus adding to the greasy experience.

3. Be mindful of what you eat

Your diet plays a key role in maintaining your scalp’s health. You need to avoid oily and fried food if you have an oily scalp. Also, replace saturated fats with a balanced diet that contains healthy fats and carbs. Try including Omega-3 in your diet to promote the health of your scalp and reduce oil secretion. Add more green vegetables and fresh fruits as they are natural hair supplements and keep your scalp healthy.

4. Don’t scrub or brush too hard

Scrubbing or brushing too hard can damage your scalp’s protective layer that locks-in moisture and essential oils. This may strip away your scalp’s natural oils, causing your sebaceous glands to overproduce oil. It can contribute to a greasy scalp and hair.


If your hair is dry, brush it regularly. But, if it's oily, brush a maximum of 3 times a day.

5. Choose a dry shampoo

Dry shampoos can come to your rescue if you have an oily scalp. When you skip shampooing every day, your hair will appear greasy initially. But this is just your hair adapting to the scalp and the absence of shampoo. You can then switch to a dry shampoo. Dry shampoo can be your savior however you need to use it correctly.

Other Conditions Linked To An Oily Scalp

1. Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff, tends to occur in those parts of your scalp with many oil glands. The condition results in a flaky and itchy scalp. Although not a serious condition, seborrheic dermatitis can be quite annoying.

2. Forehead acne

Forehead acne may be the result of an oily scalp. The oil on your scalp may get transferred onto your forehead via your hair strands. This may clog your pores and lead to the development of acne.

When To See Your Doctor?

If you have tried these remedies and did not notice any major improvement, talk to your dermatologist about it. He may recommend a medicated shampoo, specifically meant to regulate the production of sebum on your scalp. In the case of chronic conditions, you may require other medications.

Wrapping Up

An oily scalp is not a bad thing at all. While a little amount of oil is good for the health of your hair, an excess of it can make your hair look and feel greasy. Thus balance is key. Several simple at-home remedies and easy hacks have been proven effective to manage oiliness in your scalp. Try these remedies to see visible changes. If you think there might be an underlying condition causing oily scalp, consult a dermatologist immediately. Most importantly, follow a healthy routine and a proper hair care regime to maintain your hair health.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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