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What causes greasy hair: oily hair causes explained

Oily hair and scalp are really common, but frustrating problems. However, it’s easy to solve greasy hair with a few simple steps.

The terms “greasy” and “oily” usually refer to the amount of natural oil (sebum) that’s visible on the hair.

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Before you start tackling greasy hair, it’s good to remember where that grease is coming from.

Because it’s not your hair itself that’s producing the grease – rather, it’s the natural oils that your scalp produces.

So, your first step is to make sure you’re deeply cleaning your scalp as you wash your hair.

You’ll want a deep cleansing shampoo. There are many shampoo choices when it comes to getting rid of and preventing greasy hair, including variants that also tackle symptoms of dandruff.

While using this product, you’ll also want to make sure you really work them into your scalp. Doing so gives these greasy hair products the best chance to do their work on your scalp.

Your scalp is constantly producing sebum – it helps to keep your hair and scalp healthy, hydrated and moisturized. Sebum is quite sticky – it causes hair fibres to stick to each other and clump, instead of moving freely as individual fibres.

Some people naturally make more sebum than others do, which makes hair appear greasy faster. There are plenty of other factors at play too.

Some substances, like styling products, airborne dust or pollution, can build up on the hair and make it look even more dull and greasy.

Diet can be to blame as well: diets high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats can increase skin’s oil production.

While there’s no “cure” for greasy hair, you can easily keep it under control by using the right hair care products and washing frequently.

Our Instant Oil Control Shampoo is specially formulated to tackle excess oils for a deep clean you can feel straight away.

Don’t let greasy or oily looking hair leave you feeling limp – keep it under control by using Head & Shoulders every time you wash your hair.

More about oily and greasy hair


The key to solving oily hair is to maintain good hair and scalp health, as well as to focus on your diet to make sure you’re eating the right foods.

Here are 4 ways to make it part of your daily regimen, to keep your hair looking and feeling smooth and silky:

1) Wash at least four times per week – your body makes scalp oil all day and night, every day of the year. By washing your hair frequently, you can remove the oils that accumulate. In the summer or during periods of high humidity you may want to wash more often, as heat and sweat can spread scalp oil and make an oily hair problem worse.

2) Choose a shampoo that deeply cleans both scalp and hair – your shampoo needs to take care of your scalp as well as your hair. Head & Shoulders Instant Oil Control Shampoo help purify even scalp pores. They deeply clean your scalp and hair to remove excess oil, while eliminating up to 94% of dandruff-causing microbes and irritants.

3) Avoid excess sun exposure – your body reacts to sun exposure by sweating, which can spread scalp oil further down the hair strands, making an oily hair problem worse.

4) Limit fat in your diet and avoid excess carbohydrates – we all know that unhealthy lifestyle choices, like poor diet and sleep, are bad for your overall health. Some studies have suggested that diets high in fat, or high in carbohydrates, can increase the production of skin oils. So, to keep your scalp healthy, choose a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean protein.

5) Pick the right conditioner

You might think that it’s best to avoid conditioner entirely if you’ve got greasy hair – after all, surely conditioner’s moisturizing effect will just make things worse!

This isn’t actually the case.

A better idea is to pick a light-weight conditioner, something that will soften your hair without making it greasy. Using conditioner helps keep every hair fibre protected from damage and looking great.

6) Style right

Heat styling is convenient, but often damaging to hair.

Not only does it frequently result in split ends, it also can melt the oils on your scalp, making it easier for these oils to run down the length of your hair and give it an oily look.

Going easy on the hair straightener and other hot styling tools avoids this issue, and it’s actually just plain better for your hair.

Following these simple tips will keep your hair in tip-top condition and stop that greasy look from coming back.

What causes greasy or oily hair?