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Oily (Greasy) Hair: Causes, Treatment, & Home Remedies


Causes of Oily Hair


Contrary to popular belief where washing is generally considered a solution and overwashing a reason for dry hair, the reverse is also equally true. Yes, overwashing can lead to oilier hair as this provides a signal to the scalp to produce more sebum to make up for the removal, and this could lead to an excessively oily scalp, and force you to seek oily hair remedies.

Hair products

Selecting the right shampoo for your hair type is very important. Sebum cannot simply be removed by rinsing your hair with water or any type of shampoo. The specific ingredients need to be present in your shampoo, to be able to break down the sebum and expel it from your scalp. Also, using only a conditioner to wash your hair, without bothering to shampoo your hair later, could lead to excess buildup of sebum. Lemon oil is a very effective oil for oily hair.


If someone in your family has had oily hair it necessarily follows that you too will have oily hair.

Unhealthy diet

Oily food devoid of any nutrients are also responsible for an oily scalp, apart from contributing other hair-related problems.

Hair type

This might not be known to many people but your hair type i.e., straight, curly or fine hair could be the factor responsible for the amount of oil in your hair. For e.g., if you have fine hair, that indicates that the output of oil in your scalp cannot be absorbed by your hair. Curly hair is oily at the roots, and straight hair is constantly oily from the root to the tip as the sebum travels without any encumbrances.

Brushing your hair excessively or running your hands through it frequently

If you have naturally oily hair and keep brushing your hair or running your hand through it, the oil is evenly spread out across your hair making it oilier.

Hormonal problems

Hormonal imbalances brought about by conditions such as stress, pregnancy or menopause, could bring about an escalation in the amount of sebum produced by your scalp.

Use of heat on scalp

Whether it be using hot water to wash your scalp or using blow dryers to dry your scalp, the heat makes the sebum producing glands give out excess sebum.

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is responsible for regulating the sebum content in the body.  A deficiency could lead to an imbalance in our scalp oil levels.

Humid climate 

The production of sebum touches an all time high in humid conditions.

Simple Home Remedies to Treat Oily Hair

The excess oil on your scalp can cause a lot of complications and that is not simply confined to the greasy look. You run the risk of creating a fertile ground for infections of various types and the condition could worsen if corrective measures are not taken early. A lot of home remedies are available and have proved to be very effective in neutralizing the negative effects of oily hair. However one has to exercise caution while trying out these solutions, for they might not work for all. Their efficacy depends to a great extent on hair and skin type. So one has to try out a variety of applications, in the process of finding out which one suits them best.  Let’s take a look at some of the more popular home remedies for oily hair:

Aloe vera

Aloe vera has been known to be very helpful in restricting oil secretion and providing nourishment to the roots. A few drops of lemon juice mixed with a teaspoon of aloe vera gel needs to be applied to the hair and scalp, and washed off after 15 minutes for best results.

Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds are a natural conditioner and also help the scalp rid itself of the extra oils while retaining pH levels. Mix 3 tablespoons of fenugreek powder with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and apply it to your scalp and hair. Wash off after 15 minutes.

Green tea extract

This has been proved to be very good at inhibiting sebum production as it has antioxidants and is an excellent method for oily hair treatment. One needs to apply it topically; alternatively it can be used to rinse the hair after a shampoo.


Honey is believed to be a potent cure for seborrheic  dermatitis as it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. When raw honey is mixed with water in a proportion 9:1 and applied to the scalp, it can keep the oil level under control.


Egg Yolk can act like a magic potion to cure an oily scalp as it reduces the oil without making it dry and frizzy. The sulfur and protein content contribute to robust hair while also helping to make it silky.  A hair mask prepared with 1 teaspoon coconut oil mixed with an egg yolk and some lemon juice, could work wonders.

Baking soda

Baking soda can remove dirt and grime from the scalp and has the required exfoliating qualities.  These properties help it stop oil secretion and in the process enhance hair growth. Mix baking soda with water to make a paste and apply it to your hair and scalp;  wash it off after 20 minutes.


The probiotic bacterium present in yogurt has excellent antifungal and antibacterial qualities which reduce the oily nature of your hair. It is a good moistening agent and helps nourish the hair with its nutrients.


This is an ancient remedy for healthy hair, and is used to remove the excess sebum from your scalp. It can be applied to your hair as it is an excellent cleanser and detangler, and is capable of cleaning the hair without removing its natural oils.

Washing Hair 

People with very oily hair need to wash it at least once a day. This will help remove the dirt and damaging hair products in the hair, apart from the oil. If the problem of an oily hair persists even after washing it once a day further analysis will be necessary. If you overwash your hair you will remove the natural oils from the scalp, and this will in turn force your scalp to secrete more oil. Also, if you are faced with the issue of a dry scalp, but oily hair, you might need to space out the frequency of your hair wash to even out the production of scalp oil.

Shampoo well

The way you shampoo your hair also makes a huge difference to the health of your hair, and is one main cause for oily hair. If you believe that you need to use your nails aggressively to scrape out the dirt from your roots, think again, you might in the process only inspire your scalp to produce excess oil. The right way to do it is to focus on the section of your scalp, from where you need to remove the excess oil. Let the shampoo find its way towards the ends of your hair as you wash it gently.


Conditioner is bad news for oily hair but you can avoid that, if only you use it in a particular way. A conditioner facilitates the accumulation of more oil so you will be well advised to use it only on the ends of your hair and wash well after that.  The importance of rinsing your hair can never be overemphasized. It is very essential to take the extra effort to remove the final traces of the shampoo and conditioner from your hair and scalp.

Washing hair after Sweating

    Sweating facilitates the spreading of oil in your scalp. So a shampoo is recommended, if you are back from a strenuous jog or a session in the gym. Also, do the same if you have been wearing a cap or a helmet for too long, as it traps the heat and affects hair health.

    Wash your Comb

    This is a detail many ignore but it might just make that crucial difference to maintaining hair health. Wash your comb/brush on a regular basis to remove all the dirt that gathers on your bristles. It makes as much sense to use a dirty brush for your hair after a shampoo, as it does to use an infected needle to administer a dose of a vaccine. Removing the hair from the bristles after every brush is the most convenient way to do it.

    Can You Use Shampoo for Oily Hair?

    Yes, using a shampoo specifically formulated for oily hair can be beneficial for Indian audiences in managing excess oil and greasiness. Oily hair is a common concern among many individuals in India, and using the right shampoo can help address this issue effectively. Look for shampoos that are designed to cleanse the scalp thoroughly, removing excess oil and buildup without causing dryness or damage to the hair. 

    How to Choose a Shampoo for Oily Hair?

    When choosing a shampoo for oily hair, look for one that contains ingredients that help to control oil production, such as:

    • Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid can help to remove excess oil and dead skin cells from the scalp, promoting a healthy balance of oils.
    • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help to reduce the buildup of oil and bacteria on the scalp.
    • Zinc pyrithione: Zinc pyrithione can help to regulate sebum production and reduce dandruff, which can contribute to oily hair.
    • Clay: Clay can help to absorb excess oil and impurities from the scalp, leaving hair feeling clean and refreshed.

    When using shampoo for oily hair, it's important not to over-wash your hair, as this can actually stimulate the production of more oil. Aim to wash your hair every other day, and try to avoid using hot water, which can also stimulate oil production. Overall, using a shampoo formulated for oily hair can be an effective way to control excess oil production and leave your hair feeling clean and refreshed.

    Few Best Hairstyles for Oily or Greasy Hair

    Here are a few hairstyles that work well for oily or greasy hair:

    • Sleek low ponytail: A sleek low ponytail is a classic and easy hairstyle that works well for oily or greasy hair. Simply brush your hair back into a low ponytail, and use a smoothing serum or gel to keep the hair sleek and in place.
    • Messy bun: A messy bun is another great option for oily or greasy hair. Gather your hair into a loose bun at the nape of your neck, leaving some pieces out around your face for a more relaxed, effortless look.
    • Braids: Braids are a versatile hairstyle that work well for oily or greasy hair. You can try a simple three-strand braid, a French braid, or a fishtail braid, depending on your skill level and personal preference.
    • Half-up, half-down style: A half-up, half-down style is another easy and versatile option for oily or greasy hair. Simply pull the top half of your hair back and secure it with a clip or elastic, leaving the remaining hair down around your shoulders.
    • Top knot: A top knot is a quick and easy hairstyle that works well for oily or greasy hair. Simply gather your hair into a high ponytail, twist it into a knot, and secure it with bobby pins.

    Expert Tips to Prevent Oily Hair

    • Use the right shampoo: Using a shampoo specifically formulated for oily hair can help to control excess oil production and keep your hair looking clean and fresh. Look for shampoos that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, or clay.
    • Avoid over-washing: Over-washing your hair can strip it of its natural oils, causing your scalp to produce more oil to compensate. Instead of washing your hair every day, try washing it every other day or every two days.
    • Use lukewarm water: Washing your hair with hot water can stimulate oil production. Instead, use lukewarm water to wash your hair and rinse it with cool water to help close the hair cuticle and prevent excess oil buildup.
    • Avoid touching your hair: Touching your hair throughout the day can transfer oils from your hands to your hair, making it look greasy. Try to avoid touching your hair as much as possible and keep your hands away from your scalp.
    • Use dry shampoo: Dry shampoo can help to absorb excess oil and refresh your hair in between washes. It's a great way to extend the time between washes and keep your hair looking clean and fresh.
    • Choose the right hairstyle: Avoid hairstyles that require a lot of product, as this can contribute to oily hair. Opt for hairstyles that keep your hair away from your face and neck, like braids, buns, and ponytails.


    Oily hair, also known as greasy hair, can be a bothersome issue for many people, and it is often misunderstood as a sign of healthy shine. However, when excessive oiliness leads to itchiness and seborrheic dermatitis, it becomes a cause for concern. Factors such as overwashing, using the wrong hair products, genetics, an unhealthy diet, hormonal imbalances, and even the climate can contribute to oily hair. While it is essential not to completely eliminate oil from the scalp, as it plays a protective role for healthy hair, finding the right balance is crucial. Various home remedies like aloe vera, fenugreek seeds, green tea extract, honey, eggs, baking soda, yogurt, and shikakai have been found effective in managing oily hair. It's essential to choose a shampoo specifically formulated for oily hair and avoid over-washing, as this can lead to excessive oil production. Styling hair in a sleek low ponytail, messy bun, braids, half-up, half-down style, or a top knot can be great options for those with oily hair.

    To prevent and manage oily hair, using the right shampoo, avoiding over-washing, and using lukewarm water for washing are essential steps. Using dry shampoo between washes can help absorb excess oil and refresh the hair. It's important to avoid touching the hair frequently, as it can transfer oils from the hands to the hair, making it look greasier. Opting for hairstyles that keep the hair away from the face and neck, like braids, buns, and ponytails, can also help prevent the hair from becoming excessively oily. Finding the right balance is key, as over-washing can strip the hair of natural oils and lead to increased oil production. By incorporating these expert tips and choosing suitable home remedies, individuals can effectively manage oily hair and maintain healthier-looking hair.


    Q1 - Can I apply rice water on oily hair?

      Ans - Yes, rice water can be applied on oily hair as it helps to nourish and strengthen the hair. However, it's important not to use too much rice water as it can make oily hair even greasier.

      Q2 - Is amla hair oil good for oily hair?

        Ans - Yes, amla hair oil can be good for oily hair as it helps to nourish and strengthen the hair without leaving it greasy. Amla oil is known to have astringent properties that help to reduce excess oil and prevent dandruff.

        Q3 - Why is my hair greasy after 1 day?

          Ans - There are several reasons why hair can become greasy after just one day, including over-washing, using hot water, using too much hair product, and hormonal changes. Over-washing can strip the hair of its natural oils, causing the scalp to produce more oil to compensate.

          Q4 - Does oily hair grow faster?

            Ans - There is no evidence to suggest that oily hair grows faster than other hair types.

            Q5 - What deficiency causes an oily scalp?

              Ans - A deficiency in vitamin B6 and zinc can contribute to an oily scalp. These nutrients help to regulate oil production and promote a healthy scalp.

              Q6 - Why does my hair get oily so fast?

                Ans - There are several reasons why hair can get oily quickly, including genetics, hormonal changes, over-washing, using hot water, and using too much hair product. It's important to find the underlying cause of your oily hair to effectively manage it.

                Q6 - How often should you wash your oily hair?

                  Ans - It's generally recommended to wash oily hair every other day to prevent the scalp from producing excess oil. However, the frequency of washing may vary depending on individual hair type and lifestyle factors.

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