How to Choose the Best Shampoo for Super Oily and Greasy Hair

Oily hair is just like oily skin: the overactive sebaceous glands could be a result of over-washing your hair — or not washing it enough.

"Not washing the hair often enough can lead to excess oil buildup as most shampoos work to help eliminate excess oil from building up. However, it is important to strike a balance and not shampoo too frequently," says Dr. Marisa Garshick, board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Washing too frequently can also lead to oily hair as washing too frequently, too vigorously or with products that are too harsh can actually strip the scalp of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation which can actually trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil."

That said, if you have oily hair, washing it every other day is the likely the sweet spot. This will help eliminate excess oil and buildup of dead skin cells which can contribute to excessive flaking, redness and itching.  It is important, however, to not wash too often or beyond this frequency as this can actually strip the scalp of its natural oils and potentially lead to increased oil production. 

But the frequency of wash days is only one part of the equation. It's also important to consider the types of hair products you're using and whether the ingredients are contributing to buildup. Dr. Garshick says certain ingreidents can lead to clogged follicles and additional inflammation. Stress can also trigger more oil production in the scalp.

When choosing a shampoo, look for formulas with ingredients specifically designed to get rid of excess oil, such as salicylic acid, which Dr. Garshick says "helps to eliminate excess oil while also reducing flaking on the scalp as it gets rid of dead skin cells, making it especially good if you are dealing with oily hair as well as dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis."

As for what to avoid, Dr. Garshick suggests staying away from certain silicones that aren't water-soluble like dimethicone, because it doesn't rinse away as easily, potentially contributing to buildup.

Ahead, we've found the best shampoos for oily hair to keep stocked in your shower, including a few of Dr. Garshick's expert picks.

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Kérastase Specifique Divalent Balancing Shampoo for Oily Hair

Dr. Garshick is a fan of this Kérastase formula because it “helps to reduce excess oil, while also volumizing and nourishing the hair to leave the hair looking and feeling soft and shiny.” 

Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight

Now this is a shampoo that lives up to its name because it is, in fact, delightful to use. Specifically designed to deeply cleanse curly hair types without stripping essential moisture, the innovative water-to-foam shampoo also minimizes tangles. 

Dove Nutritive Solutions Shampoo Clarify & Hydrate Shampoo

If you’re looking to get rid of buildup but also need hydration, this shampoo is a solid drugstore option. “Dove Clarify and Hydrate Shampoo is a charcoal-based formula that works to cleanse, eliminate product buildup and reduce oil without leaving the scalp or hair feeling dry,” says Dr. Garshick.

Briogeo Superfoods Mango Cherry Oil Control Balancing Shampoo

This juice-inspired shampoo helps control oil production while simultaneously nourishing hair and minimizing dullness, thanks to exfoliating papaya enzymes, cherry extract, and mango extract and juice.  

Neutrogena T-Sal Therapeutic Shampoo

“Neutrogena T-Sal Shampoo is a particularly good option for someone with an oily scalp as well as significant buildup or flaking. It contains 3% salicylic acid to reduce flaking and oil,” says Dr. Garshick. 

Nexxus Hydra-Light Weightless Moisture Shampoo

Specifically formulated for oily hair, this shampoo cleanses and hydrates hair without weighing it down or making it appear more greasy. 

Head & Shoulders Supreme Color Protect Shampoo

While this shampoo nourishes and balances the scalp to reduce itchiness, dryness, and flakes, it won’t strip color-treated hair. 

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Soothing Shampoo

On top of relieving dry, itchy scalps, dpHUE’s apple cider vinegar-powered shampoo seals in moisture at the hair follicle and boosts shine. 

Mizani Scalp Care Dry Scalp Shampoo

Keeping your scalp healthy is a constant balancing act, and this shampoo is ideal for anyone who has oily strands as a result of a dehydration. The formula effectively soothes the scalp and cleanses it of buildup without throwing natural moisture levels out of wack. 

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