How to get rid of greasy hair

Last updated: 23/3/2023

Instead of the beautiful and well-groomed hair that we see in TV ads, many of us are sadly dealing with oily hair that quickly clumps together after a hair wash. Here you can read about why hair gets greasy and how to get greasy hair out of your life.

Jump straight to: What can you do about oily hair?

Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Anne, Varde Pharmacy
Anne has a MSc in Pharmacy from the University of Southern Denmark and has worked as a pharmacist at the Varde pharmacy for several years. Here she advises both costumers and doctors about the correct use of medical products.

What does oily hair look like – and how does it feel?

Our hair is nearly always visible, so it’s really uncomfortable when it doesn’t look the way we want it to. Healthy and well-groomed hair is high on most wish lists.

Therefore, it is not nice when your hair is greasy, because then the newly washed hair will quickly clump together and look dull again. We also have the connection of oily hair with messy, unkept hair. And of course, we often think that hair will be greasy if you do not wash it often enough. But in fact, the opposite is often the case: hair gets oily because we wash it too much.

Anyone will get oily hair if they leave too many days between washing. But for others, hair is already greasy after half a day. And it’s certainly not nice. It is primarily adolescents and adults who have oily hair problems shortly after washing their hair.

Fortunately, there are good ways to bring greasy hair back to life. It is primarily about following a number of good tips on haircare and hair washing.

Jump straight to: Tips for oily hair | Products for oily hair

What are the causes of greasy hair?

On the scalp we have lots of sebaceous glands, just like we have in the skin on the rest of our bodies (except the palms of our hands and soles of our feet). The function of the sebaceous glands is to generate sebum that is produced by oils and dead skin cells. The sebum is supposed to protect our skin so that it is waterproof and does not dry out and becomes too fragile.

Frequent hair washing

When we wash our hair, we degrease the scalp because we remove the natural oils. For the body, it is a signal that the sebaceous glands (hair follicles) should start producing more sebum to protect the scalp from getting too dry. As the scalp produces more sebum, the scalp and hair become oilier. Then we rush to wash our hair to remove the greasy look. And then the vicious circle is underway.

Frequent hair washing is therefore one of the main culprits when it comes to oily hair. In general, hair washing is hard on both the hair and scalp, and frequent hair washing is even harder, so daily hair washing is not a good idea.

Hormonal influences

During puberty, many changes occur in the body and extra hormones are formed. When an overproduction of hormones occurs, more sebum is also produced in the sebaceous glands. It can cause the sebaceous glands to clog and then a blackhead or pimple is formed. In the hair and scalp, the increased sebum production will make the hair greasy. An overproduction of hormones can therefore cause both greasy and impure skin and hair.

It is not just at puberty that we experience hormonal changes and thus a greater tendency for oily hair. It can also happen later in life. For women, for example, it may be associated with birth control pills or pregnancy. And for both sexes it can happen in the context of stress that also affects hormone balances.

Just as some may be genetically predisposed to get impure skin, you may also be genetically predisposed to produce too much sebum and thus get oily hair.


Stress does not only affect the psyche. There may also be physical consequences. Hormone balances is affected by stress, and as mentioned above, it can affect the hair. The hair can tend to get greasier faster when we are stressed.

Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle

It is important to live and eat healthily – for many different reasons. Your diet and lifestyle can also affect your hair.

Many empty carbohydrates, too much sugar and too few vegetables are not good for the body – or for the hair and scalp. This can cause an increased tendency for oily hair.

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What can you do about greasy hair?

Once you have oily hair, treat and care for your hair with extra attention. But that doesn’t mean you have to wash it more often. On the contrary.

Avoid daily hair washing

Resisting the temptation to wash oily hair can be more than difficult. But avoiding the hair wash is actually the best thing you can do. The optimal schedule is to wash your hair twice a week. But if you are used to washing your hair every day because it greases up fast, you probably won’t want to go from hair washing seven times a week to hair washing twice a week.

Instead, you can ease into it. Begin by washing your hair every other day instead of every day. After doing this for a couple of weeks, you can skip another day, so you only wash your hair every three days.

Choose a shampoo according to your scalp

You should avoid daily hair washing when your hair is greasy. But when washing your hair, it is important that you choose a shampoo that is right for your scalp.

Many of us tend to choose shampoo according to our hair types, but in fact you should first and foremost choose shampoo according to the condition of your scalp. If the hair is dry and abrasive and the scalp is greasy, then you should choose a shampoo for oily hair, and then care for the hair tips with other hair care products.

Video: Effective Treatment Against Oily Hair – See How To Do It

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Shampoo for greasy hair

The shampoo you choose should therefore be a special shampoo for oily hair. There are a multitude of different brands on the market in many different price ranges. There is nothing else to do but try them out until you find the best shampoo for oily hair that suits your scalp.

SEE ALSO: Shampoo for greasy hair

Ask your hairdresser for advice. He or she has an understanding of hair and scalp care and can guide you.

There are a number of shampoos containing natural ingredients or herbal extracts which can be beneficial in the fight against oily hair. Tea tree oil is known for its effectiveness over a wide range of skin problems and is also good at removing oil from the hair roots. Herbs such as nettle, rosemary and chamomile are also known to be effective against oily hair.

ALSO READ: How to get beautiful, healthy and strong hair

Dry shampoo for days without hair washing

On days when you do not wash your hair, you can use a dry shampoo. It absorbs oil from the scalp, so you can remove much of the greasy look. A dry shampoo is used primarily on the scalp at the hair roots, but you can also use it in the rest of the hair if you think it looks greasy.

Hair mask specifically for oily hair

If you want to do something extra for your hair, you can occasionally care for it with a good mask for oily hair. You can buy it from the hairdresser. Make sure you get one made specifically for oily hair!

If you do not want to spend that much money on a hair mask, or if you prefer a hair mask made exclusively with natural ingredients, you can make your own. You can find many different recipes for hair masks, including many especially for oily hair.

The contents can include as diverse ingredients as eggs, honey, avocado, banana, beer, coconut oil, baking powder and cornflour. If you generally prefer organic products, you can choose organic ingredients to make the hair mask 100% organic.

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Drop the hair wash

In a completely different vein, there is a movement that calls for completely dropping hair washing to avoid chemicals in the hair altogether that can interfere with the natural balance and natural production of sebum. The movement is called ‘no poo’.

Reportedly, after a while, the hair and scalp should find a natural balance where not too much sebum is produced. However, the road to get there will be both long and a bit smelly. However, many people are sceptical about whether hair can really be completely self-cleaning.

An intermediate route could be to wash your hair much less frequently than you do currently and to choose a shampoo with as few chemicals as possible, based on natural ingredients.

Good advice for oily hair

When you have oily hair, you will probably tend to wash your hair very often like most people. But it’s a really bad idea because it just makes the hair get even greasier. So, what can you do to get rid of greasy hair?

Tips for avoiding greasy hair

  1. First of all, avoid washing your hair daily. Twice a week is optimal.
  2. Live and eat healthily, as stress and an unhealthy diet/lifestyle also affects the greasiness of your hair.
  3. Choose a good shampoo and conditioner formulated especially for oily hair – and use dry shampoo on days when you don’t wash your hair.
  4. Use a good hair treatment that can help to correct the excess sebum in the scalp.
  5. Occasionally, try putting the shampoo in your dry hair, let it sit for a while, and then wash it out. By doing this, the shampoo effects will last for a little longer than a normal hair wash under the shower.
  6. Few of us remember it in the moment. But in fact, you should always wash your hair twice. During the first hair wash, you cleanse your hair of grease, dirt, contamination and styling products. In the next hair wash, the shampoo can then go in and care for the hair and scalp.
  7. When you tend to have oily hair, do not massage the scalp too much with your fingertips when you put shampoo in your hair, as it can stimulate the production of oil in the scalp.
  8. Remember that conditioner should only be used on the tips of your hair. It should not be rubbed into the scalp, as it can make the scalp greasier. It is also a good idea to use a suitable conditioner for oily hair.
  9. The hair dryer is hard on your hair. It can dry out your hair, but in fact it can also make it greasier. Instead, air dry your hair naturally as often as possible.
  10. Always wash your hair in lukewarm water rather than very hot water which can make your hair greasier.

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FAQs about greasy hair

I have greasy hair – what do I do?

The most important advice in the fight against oily hair is to not wash it every day, because it just makes the scalp produce more grease. At first, it can be difficult because the hair will look greasy, but eventually you will see results. If necessary, use a dry shampoo on days when you do not wash your hair. And remember to choose a good shampoo formulated especially for oily hair.

Why is my hair so greasy?

Your hair gets greasy because the sebaceous glands (hair follicles) on the scalp are producing too much sebum. This may be because you wash your hair too often, which degreases the scalp – this will then cause the body to react with extra sebum production. The overproduction of sebum may also be hormonal or due to stress and an unhealthy lifestyle or diet.

Is greasy hair healthy?

Greasy hair is not unhealthy. It’s just an indication that the hair and scalp are producing too much oil. In fact, there are those who think that oily hair is downright healthy.

What is greasy hair?

Oily hair is caused by the scalp producing too much sebum in the sebaceous glands (hair follicles). This may be because you wash your hair too much. This dries out the scalp, which will therefore start producing more oil (sebum) to compensate. The overproduction of grease can also be caused by a hormonal imbalance, stress or unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

How to get rid of greasy hair?

The best remedy for oily hair is to cut down on the number of hair washes, so you only wash your hair twice a week. In addition, you can advantageously use a shampoo, conditioner and hair mask that is made specifically with a focus on scalp care.

What causes oily hair?

Oily hair is caused by an overproduction of sebum in the sebaceous glands (hair follicles) on the scalp. When the scalp produces too much oil, it will spread to the hair which will appear as grease.

How to prevent greasy hair?

The best remedy for oily hair is to prevent the scalp from producing too much sebum. You should avoid unnecessarily degrease the scalp. Frequent hair washing degreases the scalp, so you should avoid that. In addition, you should choose a shampoo, conditioner and hair mask that is both mild and nourishing for the scalp.

Can you inherit oily hair?

Oily hair can to some extent be hereditary, as you may be genetically predisposed to produce too much sebum. In most cases, however, oily hair will be due to factors such as frequent hair washing, incorrect shampoo type, stress, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, or a hormonal imbalance in the body.

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