Best Shampoos for Oily Hair

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

60 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
120 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best shampoos for oily hair

Last Updated November 2019

Your scalp naturally produces oil called sebum to keep your hair healthy and nourished. When your head’s sebaceous glands go into overdrive, however, too much oil can build up, making your hair appear greasy and limp. Even worse, this oil buildup can clog your roots and result in dandruff or even hair loss. If greasy roots are a regular occurrence in your life, a shampoo designed for oily hair will make your hair look clean and fresh — even for days after you’ve washed it.

The trick is to find a shampoo for oily hair that won’t strip your hair of moisture. Also, because oily roots tend to weigh the hair down, it helps to find a shampoo that adds volume. Some oily hair shampoos are formulated to “detox” your hair from product buildup. Others use natural ingredients to help balance scalp sebum. If dandruff is an issue for you, no problem — there are shampoos for oily hair that target that, too.

With so many shampoos designed for oily hair on the market, the options can make your head spin. If you want help finding the right product for you, keep reading our informational guide.

Oily hair makes your ‘do appear dull and greasy. Washing regularly with a shampoo for oily hair will give you clean, shiny-looking hair.

Oily hair shampoo formulas

Liquid shampoo

When you think of shampoo, a liquid cleanser is probably what comes to mind. Liquid shampoos for oily hair often contain strong detergent agents, such as sulfate or sulfosuccinates, that remove sebum from the scalp and hair shaft. Unless used every day, these shampoos usually don’t strip the hair of moisture.

To use a liquid shampoo, saturate your hair completely with water. Apply shampoo to the roots, and massage it into your scalp evenly. Make sure you hit all the oily areas before rinsing your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Dry shampoo

Shampoo that requires no water is called dry shampoo. Dry shampoo comes in powder or aerosol form and contain ingredients that absorb excess oil (starches, chemicals, or clays). Dry shampoo also adds volume to the hair, which is something many people with oily hair seek.

To use a dry shampoo, spray or sprinkle it directly onto the roots of your dry hair. Allow the product to sit for five minutes. Then, work through with your fingers or a brush until the powdery residue absorbs completely.

Shampoo bars

Shampoo bars look like soap bars but are formulated for your head. They tend to be made of natural ingredients, like essential oils, to cleanse the hair and balance sebum levels. Unlike other types of shampoo, shampoo bars don’t come in bottles, thereby reducing plastic waste.

To use a shampoo bar, wet the bar to a lather or apply it directly to your wet hair in the shower. Massage the lather into your scalp and rinse thoroughly with water.

Purifying and refreshing

From a salon-preferred brand, this deep-cleansing shampoo removes excess oil while cooling scalp itch. Utilizing the anti-bacterial and calming properties of the mint leaf, this product gives your head a refreshing, tingling sensation and smells fantastic.

Types of shampoo for oily hair

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to oily hair shampoo. While all shampoo for oily hair is designed to address excess oil on the scalp and hair shaft, different types are targeted for specific needs, problems, or desired effects.

Clarifying shampoos, also called purifying or “detox” shampoos, address oily hair caused by dead skin cells and product buildup — heavy conditioners, hair sprays, gels. Clarifying shampoos eliminate this residue, often with the help of sulfate surfactants. These shampoos should only be used occasionally, like twice a month, or else they will strip the hair of moisture.

Everyday shampoos for oily hair have a milder, gentler formula than clarifying shampoos and, as the name suggests, are designed for everyday use.

Clay shampoos for oily hair contain clay, which is a great natural agent to absorb oil and remove dirt from scalp. Kaolin is one type of clay you may find in clay shampoo products; bentonite clay is another. These clays may come in liquid or powder form, though the latter is more commonly used for hair masks.

Dandruff shampoos for oily hair recognize that the two problems often go hand in hand. A product that attacks excess sebum while calming an itchy scalp and eliminating dandruff is a dream combination for many dandruff sufferers.

Balancing shampoos, also called normalizing shampoos, often contain natural ingredients, like essential oils, that balance and regulate sebum production naturally. Remember, healthy hair needs the right balance of sebum. If you’re afraid to strip your hair of its natural moisture, a balancing shampoo is worth a shot.

Volumizing shampoos add body to hair. Fine, straight hair tends to get greasier than other hair types, so a volumizing product may be desirable. Also, oily roots flatten hair, but a first-rate volumizing shampoo will add friction to the roots without depositing heavy agents, like conditioners or silicones, that weigh it down.

EXPERT TIP

Overuse of hair products can cause buildup on the scalp, leading to excess oil. A clarifying or detox shampoo can remove product buildup.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Dandruff and oily hair often go hand in hand. Excess sebum, the natural oil produced by your scalp, can attract a fungus that causes dandruff to thrive on your scalp.


Staff  | BestReviews

Shampoo features

Scent: An important feature of any hair product is scent. Shampoos are made to remove unwanted odor from hair, and most deposit fragrance as well. This feature relates to your personal preference: do you like a mild or strong fragrance? A floral or a fruity scent? The options are many.

Sulfate-free: An increasing number of hair products are made without sulfate, a chemical detergent that gives shampoo its sudsy quality. While sulfates are effective at stripping excess oil from the hair, they can irritate some scalps. Some people believe they are carcinogenic, though no scientific study backs this claim.

Silicone-free: Silicone is a synthetic ingredient that adds shine to hair. However, it also tends to build up and weigh down hair, making it appear listless, dull, and sometimes greasy. If you already deal with oily hair, a product with silicone could contribute to your issues.

DID YOU KNOW?

Oily hair can have several causes, including hormonal shifts in the body, poor beauty habits, climate, or a vitamin B deficiency.

Oily hair shampoo prices

Balancing your oily scalp doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, for as little as $3 and up to $8, you can purchase an effective liquid shampoo for oily hair. Shampoos in this bracket tend to be of the drugstore variety.

For a mid-ranged product, expect to pay $10 to $17. Shampoos containing natural and botanical ingredients fall into this price bucket. Shampoo bars also fit into this range.

High-end shampoo for oily hair ranges from $27 to $37. These include brands used in salons.

Dry shampoos can fall anywhere between $3 and $30.

Gentle and clarifying

This mild shampoo removes unwanted buildup without stripping your hair of moisture. Its non-irritating formula is safe for the scalp while being tough on residue from products and dead skin. With just one wash, say goodbye to dull, flat hair and hello to volume and shine.

Tips

  • When washing your hair with a shampoo that targets oil, use lukewarm or cold water whenever possible. Hot water stimulates the sebaceous glands, whereas cold water shuts them off.

  • Frequent hair washing can actually cause more sebum production because the sebaceous glands go into overdrive if your scalp is stripped of its natural oils. Don’t wash your hair more than once a day. If you’re a frequent washer, consider an everyday shampoo or a mild shampoo formulated for oily hair.

  • Touching your hair often can contribute to its oil content. So can using a dirty hair brush, as the brush will further distribute grease throughout the hair.

  • To balance oily hair, only apply shampoo to the roots and conditioner to the ends. You don’t want to strip all your hair of oil with the shampoo, nor do you want to add more oil or buildup to your roots with the conditioner.

Other products we considered

For an oily hair shampoo containing natural ingredients, we love Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo for Oily Hair and Oily Scalp. An affordable choice, this shampoo for greasy hair uses natural essential oils, like lemon and rosemary, to absorb excess sebum while also adding lightweight moisture to the hair. It relieves an itchy scalp and treats dandruff, too. Free of parabens and sulfates, this natural product is a highly popular clean beauty choice that actually works.

Another oily hair shampoo packed with natural ingredients and free from harsh parabens and sulfates is Honeydew Shampoo for Oily Hair. Designed with sensitive scalps in mind, this product de-greases the hair while soothing the scalp. It’s gentle for everyday use and also quite nourishing. We love the pleasantly scented organic lavender essential oil in the shampoo.

Excess oil can clog and inflame the hair follicles, which contributes to the slowing and thinning of hair growth. Regular use of a shampoo for oily hair will help maintain a healthy scalp and prevent hair loss.

FAQ

Q. I have oily hair and a dry scalp. Is a shampoo for oily hair right for me?

A. Yes. Oily hair/dry scalp is actually a common combination. Try a shampoo containing kaolin clay; it will gently cleanse your scalp without irritating your skin, and it will also help treat dandruff. In fact, any clay shampoo will absorb excess oil at the roots while hydrating dry ends.

Q. How can I control oily hair without washing my hair every day?

A. Washing your hair every day may be a bad idea if you have oily hair because if you overstrip your hair of moisture, you run the risk of sending your sebaceous glands into increased oil production. If you can’t stand the oil buildup between washes, try using a dry shampoo between washes. It’s an easy and fast way to suck up oil, and it will make your hair look clean again without actually washing it.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ana
    Ana
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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