Not Your Average Greasy Hair Hacks - 14 Tips & Tricks On How To Deal With An Oily Scalp

May 29, 2021


I want to preface this post by saying that I'm not going to try to convince you to wash your hair less. As a person with an oily scalp myself, I know how frustrating it is to read things like that (in every oily hair post, ever). It makes you feel guilty, almost, like having an oily scalp is somehow your fault. It's not. I wonder when people are simply going to acknowledge that some of us have greasy hair. That having an oily scalp is just like having a different skin type. That there is nothing wrong with having greasy hair and that it's okay to choose to wash it every day or to not wash it every day. That everything your hair goes through depends on where you live, what the weather is like, your menstrual cycle, whether you work out every day, your overall health, genetics etc. Every article about being able to 'train your hair to be less greasy' clearly is a narrative that just keeps being recycled by people who have no idea what it's like to have an oily scalp. It's time to stop blaming and shaming people for how they choose to care for their hair. Most of us don't have a history of over washing, we don't have bad eating habits, we don't comb or touch our hair too much, we don't use bad hair care products, we just have an oily scalp. There's plenty of people who wash their hair every day who do not have greasy hair and whose scalp doesn't produce any more or less sebum. My advise is: do what you need to do to feel clean, comfortable and beautiful. Here is a list of 14 tips and tricks on how you can cope with having beautiful, beautiful greasy hair.


1) Add a tea spoon of salt to your shampoo

This is something I only heard about recently, adding a tea spoon of kitchen salt in your shampoo. After a thorough shake it will completely dissolve and it is ready for you to use. I love this DIY because of its ease. Most hair DIY's either smell bad or are extremely inconvenient. In this case, you just wash your hair as usual and you're done. If you have hair that gets greasy fast, this will help you to stay oil free for just that little bit longer. I don't recommend using a shampoo with salt salt every day, I myself have noticed that when I did, my scalp got irritated.

2) Thoroughly scrub your scalp

Whenever you shampoo your hair, make sure you concentrate on cleansing your scalp, not your actual hair. Scrub your scalp gently with your fingers for at least a couple minutes. You can also use a silicone scalp massager tool for this (currently very hyped on Tiktok). Start scrubbing already before shampooing while your hair is getting soaking wet under the shower. Giving your scalp a good scrub will make sure it is cleansed properly and may help for it to produce less sebum. I also recommend ending your shower by rising your scalp with cold water if this is something you're willing or can do. 

3) Clean your combs and hair brushes as often as possible

Dirty brushes equal dirty hair. Wash them by hand, at least, once a week with some dish soap or simply shampoo. I've come across many households where cleaning hair brushes is overlooked, are you one of them? Simply remove the majority of hair that is on your brushes, apply some product and rub them gently together to thoroughly cleanse all the bristles. You can also use a clean dish brush to cleanse your hair brushes if that helps.

4) Try the double cleanse

Some people, including me, shampoo their hair twice when they wash it. First with a clarifying shampoo and then with a regular shampoo. I'm currently using the Head & Shoulders Apple Fresh (against dandruff, even though I don't suffer dandruff) as a clarifying one and for the second wash I either use a Hair Food shampoo by Fructis or the L'Oreal Professionel Quinoa Absolut Repair Gold shampoo. The aim of a clarifying shampoo is to remove residue and buildup from your hair, which can also cause your hair to be greasy. The second wash is to be sure your scalp is completely clean. Hair Food by Fructis (or Garnier depending on where you live) has great ingredients and makes your hair feel incredible. I've never been so impressed by a drugstore shampoo. The Absolut Repair Gold shampoo by L'Oreal Professionel is salon hair care and great for blondes who want super shiny silky hair. 

5) Change your pillow cases regularly

When I've washed my hair I make sure that I either flip over the pillow I'm currently using or change the entire pillow case so I don't sleep where I've previously slept with my oily hair. Sleeping with 2 pillows makes this much easier, it means you have 4 different sides to sleep on without having to worry about your hair. Washing your actual pillow is something you should also be doing every 3 to 4 months. 

6) Be realistic with your hair goals

Humid weather conditions, rain, heat, check the weather forecast and adjust your hair care routine accordingly. There's no point in styling your hair to perfection when there's a storm outside. Accessorize, try different hairdos, have fun with your hair. It helps to be realistic when it comes to your hair goals. 

7) Use styling products to keep your hair dry

Volumizing hair products don't only help to give your hair more volume and lift, it also prevents it from getting greasy faster. Using a hair mousse or sea salt spray before you blow dry you hair works great to add volume and reduce the chance of your hair getting oily faster. I like the sea salt spray from Etos and Tony & Guy, hair mousses from Etos or L'Oreal are great too. Volumizing hair products do not need to break the bank at all.  

8) Consider getting balayage highlights 

Getting balayage highlights honestly was the best thing I could have done for dealing with my oily scalp. Color makes the texture of your hair ticker and dryer, meaning your hair get's greasy less fast. When I've just gotten my hair done at the salon, I can easily not wash my hair for a good 4 days. This wasn't possible, ever, without coloring my hair. I wish I would have known about this sooner.

9) Use dry shampoo on clean hair

Instead of waiting for your hair to get oily to use dry shampoo, try using it on clean hair already, it's life changing. I highly recommend the brand Colab, their dry shampoos are amazing. They're often on offer for 1+1 for free at Kruidvat or Di Beauty. You can also opt for baby powder, I like using the Anaé organic talcum powder, it's cheaper than dry shampoo and works just as well, it's just messier to apply. Another tip I have is to apply baby powder or dry shampoo to your hair before you go to sleep. You'll wake up with beautiful clean hair the day after and won't feel the need to actually wash it. 

10) Condition before shampooing

If your hair is super oily, with dry ends, try conditioning your hair before shampooing, I promise your hair will still be just as soft. Concentrate most of the product on the ends of your hair and rinse thoroughly.

11) Track your menstrual cycle if you have one

Fun fact (or maybe not): the closer your are to having your period, the more likely your hair is going to be oily. Adjust your hair care routine accordingly. Either shampoo your hair more regularly or stock up on your favorite dry shampoo. Your hair is gonna get greasy anyway, washing it daily for example can be time consuming but reliable. Prepare yourself mentally and be kind to your body, maybe schedule in more self care than usual. 

12) Style your hair with oil

Hair oil actually dries down, making it look like your hair isn't oily but beautifully styled and shiny. I often use this method for low bun hairstyles or to simply smooth out flyaways. Use a fine tooth comb or a toothbrush to smooth everything out and apply hairspray to set your look. My favorite hair oil is the Redken Frizz Dismiss Anti Static Oil Mist. If oil isn't exactly the product for you, you can also achieve the same look with a hairstyling gel, which for some of you will be a more reliable method if you want a long wearing hair style. 

13) Start using facewash

Make sure you cleanse your face, neck and ears properly with a gentle facewash. I've noticed this is something people forget. If you have no clue what face wash to purchase, Cerave has very good and affordable face washes for every skin type. Use it to cleanse your hairline, around and behind your ears and your neck. Those are places where we sweat that are often overlooked so a good cleanse can definitely help reduce the risk of your hair getting oily faster. 

14) Say NO to shampoo for greasy hair

Go for shampoos that market themselves as being volumizing, lightweight and bodifying. They'll do much more for your hair than any shampoo that is marketed to make your scalp less greasy. In my experience, they don't actually do or change anything, if not make the problem actually worse. I also avoid products that claim to be 'all natural', they usually don't contain the best ingredients and can be quite irritating. Search for a shampoo that will lift up your roots, those are much more effective in preventing your hair getting oily as your locks wont be as close to your scalp. 

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