The best shampoo for greasy hair, according to hair care experts
Wave goodbye to oily locks and greasy scalps with our round-up of the best shampoos to target greasy hair. Plus, we spoke to hair care experts for their top tips and recommendations.
Are you fed up with having greasy hair? Finding yourself having to wash your hair almost every day to keep the oil away and relying on dry shampoo to add volume and keep your locks looking and feeling fresh? Greasy hair can be a battle, but adding the right shampoo to your weekly hair care routine can make all the difference in managing it and keeping it healthy.
From the ingredients to look out for and the ones to avoid to the benefits and how they work to combat excess oil, we’ve rounded up some of the best shampoos designed specifically for oily hair. We also delve into what exactly causes greasy hair with tips on how to prevent it and have spoken to top hair care experts to get their professional advice and recommendations when it comes to tackling greasy hair.
Whether you have extra fine hair that is prone to getting greasy quickly or if you’re simply looking for a shampoo to keep your locks feeling as fresh as possible, this guide has got you covered.
The best shampoo for greasy hair at a glance:
- Best for sensitive scalps: Redken Amino Mint Scalp Shampoo, £22.50 at LookFantastic
- Best for strengthening hair: Kerastase Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo, £27.15 at Sephora
- Best for restoring balance: Keune Derma Regulate Shampoo, £18.50 at Amazon
- Best for enhancing shine: Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo, £24.50 at LookFantastic
- Best fragrant shampoo: Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo, £16.50 at LookFantastic
- Best natural shampoo: Faith in Nature Lemon & Tea Tree Shampoo, £6.69 at Holland & Barrett
Our hair experts
Luke Benson has more than 20 years of experience in hair care, and his clients include A-list celebrities Billie Eilish, Liam Payne, Michelle Keegan, Anna Friel, and Roman Kemp. He has won awards for his hair styling, such as the Session Stylist of The Year Finalist for the 2022 Fellowship for British Hairdressing Awards, and has produced iconic hair moments at infamous events such as the BRITS and Bond premiere. He has also worked for brands including Tom Ford, Charlotte Tilbury and Hugo Boss.
David Felstead is a resident trichologist and long-standing stylist at the renowned hairdresser Daniel Galvin, David Felstead has more than 40 years of experience in the hairdressing industry. He now heads up the Hair and Scalp Clinic at Daniel Galvin, where he has been for over 25 years and has many A-list clients.
The best shampoos for greasy hair
We’ve rounded up some of the best shampoos specifically formulated for greasy hair, including top recommended products from our hair care experts.
Best for sensitive scalps: Redken Amino Mint Scalp Shampoo
Designed with oily scalps in mind, this shampoo aims to remove any build-up and residue for healthier-looking locks. This shampoo contains peppermint extract to help soothe your scalp and provide a refreshing cleanse without any irritation.
Best for strengthening hair: Kerastase Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo
Our hair expert David Felstead recommends treating oil-prone hair with this balancing shampoo as it works to regulate the overproduction of sebum and leave hair nourished and shining. It will purify and cleanse your scalp with its natural ingredients, including vitamin B6, preventing greasy roots and enhancing your hair’s strength and softness.
Best for restoring balance: Keune Derma Regulate Shampoo
Our expert Luke Benson recommends the Keune Derma Regulate line to ‘restore the scalp's natural balance regulating oil production.’ This shampoo is made with a blend of bio-sulphur and betaines, which helps to maintain healthy sebum production in the scalp. Hair will be gently soothed and cleansed for ultra-fresh and oily-free results.
Best for enhancing shine: Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
Best used once a week, this shampoo will efficiently and effectively remove any excess oil and build-up to reduce greasiness and enhance your hair’s natural shine. The cleansing formula containing ginseng, rosemary and sage will help look after the scalp for healthy feeling and looking results.
More like this
Best fragrant shampoo: Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo
Containing 98% natural ingredients, including white vinegar, this shampoo will deeply nourish your scalp and hair to prevent oily build-up and encourage healthy, moisturised locks. It’s infused with rosemary and peppermint oil for a refreshing fragrance.
Best natural shampoo: Faith in Nature Lemon & Tea Tree Shampoo
Made with organic lemon and tea tree oil, this shampoo is great for cleaning and uplifting oily hair. It is paraben and sulphate-free, providing your scalp and hair with natural ingredients only.
What causes greasy hair?
Greasy hair is often caused by overactive sebaceous glands in the scalp - these are responsible for producing sebum, a natural oil to keep hair healthy and moisturised. Due to different factors, these glands can sometimes produce too much oil, causing your hair to become greasy. This can include hormonal changes, genetics, humidity, diet and stress, according to WebMD.
How to prevent greasy hair
The good news is - there are several different actionable ways in which to prevent this greasy hair dilemma. Here are some top recommendations to keep your hair looking fresh, clean, and grease-free:
- Use a shampoo specially formulated for greasy hair: these will target heads prone to greasy hair and will help remove any buildup of excess oil.
- Ensure you rinse hair thoroughly when washing: this will remove any excess product which could lead to an oily build-up on the scalp.
- Avoid using hot water when washing your hair: this can stimulate oil production - instead, try lukewarm water.
- Be gentle when shampooing: our hair expert David Felstead expresses the importance of being gentle with oily scalps, ‘to not over stimulate the sebaceous glands that cause it.’
- Avoid over-washing your hair: it can strip your hair of natural oils and result in increased oil production.
- Avoid hair products that contain heavy oils: they will make your hair look greasier and feel heavier.
- Use a dry shampoo between washes: this works to absorb excess oil, keeping hair fresher for longer.
- Look at your diet: certain foods can affect the condition of your hair, in particular those high in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.
- Manage your stress: decreasing stress levels will help prevent the overproduction of oil in the scalp.
How to choose the right shampoo for greasy hair: ingredients to look for and avoid
When choosing a shampoo to help combat greasy hair, it’s important to look at the ingredients and pick ones specifically formulated for greasy, oily hair types. Our expert Luke Benson recommends that you ‘look for products that scientifically support the scalp to help reduce the amount of sebum produced to really help the problem.’
Here are some key ingredients to look out for:
- Salicylic acid: This has exfoliating properties, unclogging hair follicles and helping to reduce the build-up of oil on the scalp’s surface.
- Tea tree oil: This natural essential oil has antibacterial properties that can help clean and reduce oiliness across the scalp.
- Nettle extract: This active ingredient can prolong hair's freshness and help to regulate sebum production, reducing excess oil.
- Charcoal: A natural detoxifier, this will help absorb excess oil and impurities from the hair and scalp.
There are also certain ingredients in shampoos that you should avoid if you are prone to greasy hair. Here are the ingredients to avoid:
- Silicones: These can create a build-up on your hair and scalp, trapping product and dirt in and leading to greasiness.
- Sulphates: Our expert Luke Benson emphasises the importance of avoiding sulphate-based shampoos as they can ‘strip the hair of its natural oil, encouraging it to produce more to compensate.’
- Fragrances: They may smell nice, but be wary of fragranced shampoos - they can often contribute to oiliness across the scalp.
- Oils: Added oils such as coconut oil and jojoba oil may contribute to greasiness.
The benefits of using specific shampoos for greasy hair
Using a specifically formulated shampoo for greasy hair, with ingredients to help prevent oil build-up and encourage healthy locks, can offer a host of positive outcomes. These include:
- Regulating the production of sebum in the scalp and hair, reducing oiliness
- Absorbing excess oil in the hair and scalp without stripping away natural oils
- Exfoliating the scalp to remove any build-up
- Nourishing and refreshing the scalp with natural ingredients to prevent damage and keep hair healthy
How often should you wash greasy hair?
How often you wash greasy hair depends on several factors, including your hair type, lifestyle and personal preferences. In general, it’s recommended to wash greasy hair no more than every other day - over-washing can strip your scalp of natural oils and lead to increased oil production. Here are some factors to consider to help guide you in your hair-washing frequency:
- Type of hair: Whether your hair is thick, thin, straight or curly can contribute to how often you feel the need to wash your hair. Thinner hair may need washing more frequently to prevent the build-up of grease, while thicker, curlier hair may be able to go longer between washes.
- Activity: If you exercise regularly, you may need to wash your hair more frequently to avoid increasing oiliness.
- Climate: In hot, humid climates, you may need to wash your hair more frequently to keep cool but also keep your hair clean.
- Styling products: If you use a lot of styling products, washing your hair more regularly may be needed to remove any residue build-up.
If you want a full breakdown on hair washing, check out our full guide on how often you should wash your hair, with tips from more hair care experts.
Want to read more expert-recommended hair care essential round-ups? Check out our hair care page for a full list of recommendations, including our guide to the best shampoos, the best conditioners, the best hair curlers and the best hair dryers, as recommended by our hair care experts.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.