11 Reasons Your Hair Is So Oily & 10 Ways To Fix Greasy Hair

From hormonal imbalance to an unclean hairbrush - many factors can lead to greasy hair.

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS Vd. Naveen Sharma Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS facebook_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years

Are you constantly asking yourself, “Why is my hair so oily?” If you have an oily scalp, you’re not alone. We know that excess oil buildup can make your hair greasy, brittle, and grimy, which provides an excellent habitat for fungus to expand. In addition, it produces dandruff, a foul scalp, and makes your skin oily and acne-prone. To prevent this, you can tie your hair in a ponytail.

So, how can you protect your scalp and hair from becoming oily? Remember that understanding why your hair becomes greasy is the key to finding a remedy. Here’s a rundown of the 11 most prevalent causes of oily hair. Let’s get started!

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

Image: IStock

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

Genetics can also be responsible for you having an oily scalp. You have a higher chance of having oily hair if your parents have the same.

4. Hormonal Imbalances

Image: Shutterstock

Sudden hormonal changes can also lead to an increase in sebum production. Puberty, pregnancy, an increase in stress levels, or menopausei  XMarks the end of menstrual cycles in women due to the decline in female reproductive hormones, which often causes hot flashes. 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

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Brushing improves blood circulation and promotes faster hair growth. However, if your brushing habits include overdoing it, 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. Your hygiene habits can also make a difference to your scalp condition. 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

Image: Shutterstock

Humid climates tend to over-stimulate your sebaceous glandsi  XMicroscopic glands on the skin and hair that release an oily substance called sebum to prevent dryness.  and sweat glands. If you reside in a humid area, your hair may go oily too, resulting in clogged pores. Excessive sun exposure can also damage your hair.

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 for heat styling 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

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  1. 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.
  1. Use A Light Conditioner: Use a conditioner that is light and not heavy (like a cream). Those with low-porosity hairi  XA type of hair that does not easily allow water to be absorbed due to densely packed cuticles with no space between them. can apply the conditioner from halfway the hair length to the tips.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Do not use clarifying shampoo daily as it can dry out your hair and scalp. Use it once or twice a week if you have greasy hair.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You can use dry shampoo once or twice a week between washes to absorb oil and dirt, and to avoid clogged pores.
  1. Avoid Excess Hair Styling: Avoid using hair sprays, mousse, creams, dry shampoos, thermoprotectants, or hair serums too frequently.
  1. Eat Healthy: Consume food with little or no oil. Eat green veggies, root vegetables, fruits, plant and animal sources of protein, and almonds. Keep your diet and nutrition in check and avoid consuming oily and fried foods like fries, fried chicken, chips, etc.
  1. 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.
  1. Water hardness: Hard water may lead to hair breakage and hair loss. The first sign of hard water is that it prevents soap from forming any lather.(1)
  1. Try Home Remedies:
    i) Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is acidic in nature, and according to anecdotal evidence, it can potentially regulate excess sebum on your hair. Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of ACV in 1 cup of water, apply it to your hair after shampooing with a gentle clarifying shampoo, leave it on briefly, and rinse it off with cold water. This routine can be repeated 2 to 3 times weekly.
    ii) Argan Oil: Massaging argan oil into your scalp and hair may redistribute the excess sebum, thus potentially controlling sebum secretion. It may also aid blood circulation, but there is limited evidence to prove its effects on oily hair. Apply pure argan oil from the scalp to the tips, wrap a warm, damp towel around your hair for 60 minutes, then rinse it off with a gentle cleanser. Repeat this treatment 1 to 2 times a week.

Infographic: A Simple Guide To Oily Hair

Oily hair is a common problem faced by women worldwide. While the weather and pollution contribute to this issue, it mostly develops due to wrong hair care practices. Knowing what you are doing wrong can prevent a greasy scalp and reduce the risk of dandruff. Check out the infographic below to understand the reasons behind oily hair and three simple ways to tackle this problem.

a simple guide to oily hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Tackling greasy hair can be tough sometimes. There are many reasons why your hair gets oily, such as hormone imbalances, genetics, environmental factors, eating junk food, and overactive sebaceous glands. But, we have shown you how to fix oily hair. As mentioned above, some hair care practices can help! Washing your hair regularly with a clarifying shampoo and a light conditioner, eating a healthy diet, and changing your styling techniques may solve your greasy hair issue. However, if the problem still remains, you may need to consult a doctor as it could be a sign of an underlying medical problem that might require medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

What shampoo is ideal for oily hair?

A clarifying shampoo is ideal for oily hair. It helps wash out the excessive 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 dermatitisi  XCommon skin conditions that cause red, scaly patches on the oily areas of the skin, such as the scalp and face. that must be treated. Visit a dermatologist.

Is it good to let your hair get oily?

Moderate accumulation of oil on the scalp may be okay and even help nourish the hair strands, making them softer and more manageable. However, if the hair and scalp get too oily, it can attract dust, grime and even lead to dandruff.

Does hair get greasier with age?

No. Sebum production tends to decrease with age. However, hair loss, which may be associated with aging, can make your hair feel greasier with less hair to absorb the natural oils produced by the sebaceous gland.

Key Takeaways

  • Excess sebaceous gland activity can lead to oily scalp and skin.
  • The regular hormonal changes in the body due to the menstrual cycle also have a role in greasy hair.
  • Genetics plays an important role in the quality of hair.
  • Washing your hair regularly or at least thrice a week can control the sebum and dandruff.
  • Visit a doctor to check if you are observing hormonal imbalance in your body. A hormonal treatment could fix scalp and hair issues to a large extent.
why is my hair so oily

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Get rid of grease from your hair and make it super bouncy. Watch this video to learn more about how to make your hair shinier and oil-free.

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