How to Fix Oily Hair

by Lisa Sefcik paralegal ; Updated July 18, 2017

Oily hair is a problem for many teens.

girl holding hair image by Wendy Hotalling from

Oily hair is caused by the same troublesome glands that make your face oily. The sebaceous glands in your scalp produce a thick secretion called sebum, a natural oil that keeps the shafts of your hair in healthy condition. The right amount of sebum gives your hair gloss and bounce; however, too much, and your hair looks matted and dull, clinging listlessly to your scalp. Choose the right shampoo and use the right cleansing and conditioning technique to combat oily hair.

Choose the right shampoo. Shampoo formulated for oily hair can be too stripping for everyday use. Select a mild shampoo that doesn't have any added conditioners or thickening/styling agents, advises skincare guru Paula Begoun. Read the label on your shampoo to make sure it does not contain the following ingredients: protein, silicone, quaternium, polyquaternium, cetyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol.

Lather up every day. Leave the shampoo on your scalp for five minutes before rinsing it out, advises MedlinePlus.

Don't condition your scalp. If you use a conditioner, apply it to the length of your hair, avoiding the skin on your scalp. Rinse it out with your head tilted down rather than back, Begoun advises, so the conditioner won't come into contact with your scalp.

Shampoo first thing in the morning–not at night. This is the best way to start the day with clean-looking hair, Begoun says. Additionally, you'll get more loft in your hair than you would had you slept with it crushed against a pillow all night.

Avoid frequent or strenuous brushing and combing. According to MedlinePlus, when you groom your hair, this transfers the oil on your scalp to the rest of your hair.

Don't apply styling products to the roots of your hair. Begoun cautions that hair spray, hair gel and mousses may form a film on your skin, clogging your pores and producing breakouts along the hairline.


  • MSN Real Beauty writer Delia Paunescu suggests a quick, inexpensive fix for deep cleaning oily hair: Simply add a little baking soda into your shampoo once or twice each month.

    Using a shampoo without added conditioners and thickeners is also beneficial for people who experience breakouts along the hairline, Begoun points out.

Photo Credits

  • girl holding hair image by Wendy Hotalling from

About the Author

Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She's worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.