11 Reasons Your Hair Is So Oily And How To Fix It

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS
Written by Arshiya Syeda

Excess sebum can make your hair oily, limp, and dirty. This means, you often have to tie your hair into a bun, which creates an ideal environment for fungus to grow and thrive. It not only causes dandruff and a smelly scalp, but also makes your face oily and prone to acne.

So, what can you do to keep your scalp and hair oil-free? The solution is in knowing why your hair becomes so oily in the first place. Here’s a list of 11 common reasons why your hair might get so oily. And, how to get a healthy scalp and beautiful hair that you’ll love to keep open. Let’s begin!

11 Reasons Your Hair Is So Oily

1. You Overwash Your Hair

It is natural to wash your hair if it becomes oily and greasy. However, overwashing can lead to excess oil production to compensate for the natural oils that have been stripped by the shampoo.

2. You Over-Condition Your Hair

Check if you are using excess conditioner. Fine, thin, or porous hair is prone to absorbing and retaining moisture. Using excess conditioner can make the hair limp and oily and the roots greasy. Apply the conditioner only to the tips instead of from the roots. Ensure you wash the conditioner out properly.

3. Your Parents Have Oily Hair

You have a higher chance of having oily hair if your parents have the same.

4. Hormonal Imbalances

Sudden hormonal changes can also lead to an increase in sebum production. Puberty, pregnancy, or menopause could cause these hormonal fluctuations that have a direct effect on your hair and skin. In some cases, these hormonal changes may also hint at an underlying medical condition.

5. Excess Product Buildup

Styling gels, dry shampoos, thermal protectants, or mousses can make your hair look oily if not washed properly. Alcohol-based products can lead to bigger issues. These products can weigh your hair down when they mix with the existing sebum.

6. You Brush Your Hair Too Much

Brushing improves blood circulation and promotes faster hair growth. However, overdoing it can redistribute the scalp oils throughout your hair length. Your hair may look oily the very next day after washing.

7. You Use A Dirty Hair Brush

Is your hair brush clogged with hair, dirt, or oil? Do you wash your brush every weekend? The answers to these two questions will tell you why your hair is too oily. An unclean hair brush coats clean hair strands with dirt and oil, making your hair sticky and smelly.

8. You Consume Junk Food

Eating excess oily, fried, or processed foods can stimulate the production of excess sebum. Inadequate consumption of nutritious food also leads to hormonal imbalances, causing your hair to go oily.

9. You Live In A Humid Climate

Humid climates tend to over-stimulate your sebaceous glands. Your hair may go oily too often if you reside in a humid area.

10. You Touch Your Hair

Do you consciously or unconsciously run your hands through your hair? Doing so not only transfers the oil secreted by your hands to your hair but also distributes the oil from your scalp throughout the length of your hair.

11. You Style Your Hair Too Frequently

Using gels, creams, curling creams, hair sprays, or hair straighteners daily can leave your scalp oily.

These are the 11 major reasons your hair looks oily. But thankfully, you can fix your greasy hair with a few minor adjustments to your lifestyle.

How To Fix Greasy Hair 

  • Switch To A Clarifying Shampoo: A regular shampoo may not wash out the excess oil and product buildup. Switching to a clarifying shampoo can help. These shampoos wash out the product buildup and grease effectively from the scalp and the hair strands.
  • Use A Light Conditioner: Use a conditioner that is light and not heavy (like a cream). Those with low-porosity hair can apply the conditioner from halfway the hair length to the tips.
  • Consult A Dermatologist: Talk to a dermatologist/hair care specialist if you have hormonal problems. An expert can help you get to the root cause of your problem.
  • Avoid Washing Your Hair Daily: Washing your hair daily may only make it oilier. You can wash your hair once every two days to let your hair breathe and be free of product buildup.
  • Clean Your Hair Brush: Cleaning your hair brush ensures you do not end up distributing the grease throughout your hair. Clean your hair brush once or twice a week.
  • Avoid Excess Hair Styling: Avoid using hair sprays, mousse, creams, dry shampoos, thermoprotectants, or hair serums too frequently.
  • Eat Healthy: Consume food with little or no oil. Eat green veggies, root vegetables, fruits, plant and animal sources of protein, and almonds. Avoid consuming oily and fried foods like fries, fried chicken, chips, etc.
  • Use Cold Water For The Final Rinse: After a regular hair wash (you may use lukewarm water), rinse your hair with water at room temperature. The cool water will seal the hair cuticles and keep the scalp oils from penetrating the hair strands. 


Oily and greasy hair is a common problem. Changing one’s lifestyle, dietary, and styling habits can help resolve the issue. But should your condition persist, visit a doctor. They may help diagnose any underlying medical condition that could be causing your hair to go too oily.   

Frequently Asked Questions

What shampoo is ideal for oily hair?

A clarifying shampoo is ideal for oily hair. It helps wash out the grease and product buildup.

Can a vitamin deficiency cause hair to go oily?

A deficiency of vitamin B6 may cause hair to go oily.

Does short hair get oily faster?

Yes, short hair can get oily faster. The scalp oils would need lesser time to get distributed along the hair length.

How often should you wash oily hair?

Wash your oily hair once every two to three days.

Does touching your hair too frequently make it greasy?

Yes, touching your hair frequently transfers the oil from your fingertips to the hair strands. This practice also further distributes the scalp oils along the length of the hair strands.

Would you damage your hair by washing it every day?

Yes, you would damage your hair by washing it every day as it strips your hair of its natural oils.

Can you have a dry scalp and oily hair?

Yes, you can have a dry scalp and oily hair. This is a sign of seborrheic dermatitis that must be treated. Visit a dermatologist.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).