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Why Does Hair Get Greasy? Causes and Remedies

I've been an online writer for over six years. I specialize in lifestyle topics.

Greasy hair is a very common condition, but there are easy ways to address it.

Greasy hair is a very common condition, but there are easy ways to address it.

Greasy Hair Is Common

An abundance of greasy, oily hair is a common condition of the scalp. Whether you have had greasy hair your entire life, or you are going through a time where it is unusually greasy, it is definitely not something you want to have. It can affect self-esteem, and cause your scalp to feel very uncomfortable.

There can be several causes for this condition, including the natural production of oils from our skin, as well as things we might be unintentionally doing that add to the oils. Becoming aware of the causes can help us understand how to properly cut down on the grease.

Understanding Our Biology

In order to understand the origins of greasy hair, first, we need to have a brief overview of certain glands we have in our bodies, the sebaceous glands, which produce something called sebum.

Sebaceous Glands

Our skin contains glands called sebaceous glands, which are most abundant on our face and scalp. They naturally produce sebum, which is the oily substance you experience in your hair. Sebum is made up of fats and dead cells.

The purpose of sebum is to waterproof our skin and to keep the right amount of water inside. It creates an acidic environment to make sure our hair and scalp are not irritated and dehydrated. It also prevents bacteria from entering. However, sometimes our scalp produces too much sebum. This is what people with consistently greasy, oily hair experience.

Sebum Facts

  • Sebum production increases at puberty up to fivefold in men.
  • Adult males produce slightly more sebum than adult females.
  • Sebum production declines with age, particularly after menopause in females.

—The New Zealand Dermatological Society

What Causes the “Grease” or "Oil”?

Natural Causes

Excess oily hair can be the result of age, hormones, and genetics. During adolescence, sebum production increases. Also, people can produce excess sebum because of certain types of hormones (androgens).

Grooming Methods

Using an abundance of product in your hair such as conditioner, hairspray, and mousse over a long period of time without cleaning it properly can build up and cause extra oil.

Though we can’t change aspects such as our genetics, we can take measures to decrease the excess oil in a healthy way.

Certain Diseases

According to The New Zealand Dermatological Society (NZDS), Parkinson’s disease increases the amount of sebum.

The TREsemme Volume shampoo is clear, inexpensive, and keeps my hair less greasy for much longer!

The TREsemme Volume shampoo is clear, inexpensive, and keeps my hair less greasy for much longer!

How to Get Rid of Greasy Hair: 8 Tips

1. Use the Right Shampoo

Try to find a shampoo that doesn’t have conditioner or extra moisturizing ingredients in it. These properties will only bring excess, unwanted oil to your scalp. If your shampoo has a pearly color, there is usually some sort of conditioner in it. Clear shampoo is the best for those with oily hair. When you use clear shampoo, make sure to really massage it well into your scalp. This will get rid of the oil and any dirt.

2. Use Less Conditioner

If you must use conditioner, only add it to the ends of your hair to prevent excess oil. This will target your dry split ends without affecting your oily roots.

3. Shampoo Less Frequently

Try not to wash your hair every day. Washing your hair every day can cause your scalp to become overly dry, causing it to produce even more oil than previously to compensate. Try to wash it about every 2-3 days. Eventually, this should “train” your scalp to produce less oil.

4. Use Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo can be used in between washes when your hair starts to become overly greasy. You can purchase dry shampoos from stores such as Ulta and Target. An alternative to dry shampoo is Baby Powder. I have found this to work even better than dry shampoo in many cases. Just massage a bit into your scalp and watch the grease hit the road!

Try the lemon juice remedy for greasy hair!

Try the lemon juice remedy for greasy hair!

5. Lemon Juice Remedy

Natural remedies can be used to reduce oily hair. One example includes the use of lemon juice from two lemons mixed with 2 cups of water. Use this as a rinse for your hair. Not only does this remedy reduce oil, but it also removes the build-up of hair product. Make sure to close your eyes if you try this method!

6. Don’t Touch Your Hair

Try to refrain from touching your hair or running your fingers through your roots. Your hands can transfer extra oil and dirt to your hair.

7. Don’t Over-Brush Your Hair

Brushing your hair too often can cause oil from your roots to distribute throughout your hair. When you brush your hair, try to avoid the roots as much as you can. Brushing your hair a couple of times a day should be sufficient. Also, a quick fact is that is easier for oil to cover straight hair as opposed to curly hair.

8. Stay Healthy in General

Make sure you are getting enough rest at night and make sure to try to reduce stress. Getting enough sleep and keeping down stress are very important in keeping your body healthy and balanced. Set up a schedule so that you are able to get as much sleep as possible.

Also, make sure you have time to relax and wind down during the day and throughout the week. Try different methods until you find what works best for you. Balance is important.

Get Expert Advice on Stopping Greasy Hair

Summing It Up

Sebum production from glands on the scalp is a natural process that keeps our hair healthy. However, when our glands produce more than we would like, it can be very frustrating. Greasy hair can be the result of genetics, age, hormones, and hygiene habits. Whatever the cause is, remedies such as the use of clear shampoo, dry shampoo, and homemade lemon rinses, can help cut down on the grease.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Jack on May 28, 2017:

Everyone who is saying "use this or use that product" is wrong! The best thing for your hair is sebum the natural oil your scalp produces. All your doing with anything else is stripping the natural oil out and replacing it with something else. I used to wash my hair every other day and used conditioner. And my hair was always too oily or too dry and I had bad dandruff. I read an article sometime back where a guy with long hair had the same issues. In the article he explained how he started washing his hair about every week or longer and he stopped using any conditioner and only used a mild shampoo like baby shampoo. After a few months of this his dandruff went away and his hair stopped being dry and brittle. So I decided to try this method out. I work offshore so i didn't have to worry about cleaning it so often for purposes of going out or anything. I brushed my hair twice every day which helps to distribute the oil evenly and after a few months I experienced the same results. And I also noticed that it takes longer for my hair to get excessively oily. My hair is no longer dry and brittle,no dandruff and I have far less split ends. The trick is when I wash my hair I only wash it once and I clean it from root to tip but I don't over do it and completely remove all the oil from my hair. When I'm done my hair is soft and feels great! You just have to learn how to maintain a balance of oil in your hair.

bharath.d on August 15, 2016:

my hair becomes oily next day if i take head bath today....... because of this, and my hair is falling,and getting dandruff.....please give some solution for this .

Yassine on February 05, 2015:

Useful tips , Thank you. An other thing I wan to tell for people with oily hair, you can get ride of oil if you choose the right shampoo, I have reviewed 6 shampoos that really works for oily hair, you can cheek the reviews from here

Nora on October 14, 2014:

I usually put slot of conditioner Bc I thought it would make ur hair more neat but now I know not to put a lot of conditioner

amanda on September 13, 2014:

I am 48 with long hair. All of a sudden I have a greasy crown. I look after my hair and wash it every 2 days and I do use conditioning and products as it has blonde foils and I use ghds. At my age I never expected to have this.

Anna on July 29, 2014:

I went to sephora last week and i pickup this hair care line for oily hair called Esperanca Professional honstly i tried so many other once and did nothing. I used this for 2 weeks and it worked pretty well!

foreverfaith170 (author) on July 07, 2014:

Thanks so much!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on June 29, 2014:

Neat hub! I have started washing my hair only 2 or 3 times per week and have noticed a significant reduction in oil. My hair seems clean so much longer! Apple cider vinegar is also a good rinse to get products off hair. Good job!

hegvbfh on March 28, 2014:

plz give me ans ?

hfgvbfh on March 23, 2014:

and pimples also happened at head :((

hfgvhbfh on March 23, 2014:

hi my hairs become oil like dandruff i wash my hairs then it become dry so i wash only 1 or sometime 2 times in week

Emily from Missouri on March 10, 2014:

Thanks for the tips! I didn`t know that lemon helps. I use sulfate free shampoo by Pro Naturals that help me with my greasy hair problems. It`s really good.

Pump on January 31, 2014:

About dry shampoo, I would use Faciano Dry Shampoo. It has no powder and very clean and good for the scalp.

Jessi on November 28, 2013:

I Have the cure for oily hair ... Its simple and not expensive at all you have the cure at home ......simple its olive oil.....I tell you how to use it ....