The Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Oily Hair
Oily hair can be a real nuisance—usually it has to be washed frequently, and often you might need to use stronger ingredients than people with normal or dry hair. There’s also the challenge of finding a conditioner that will leave your hair smooth and shiny, without weighing it down and making the greasiness worse.
Fortunately, there are a lot of products out there on the market that can help. We’ve counted down our top 12 best shampoos and conditioners for oily hair.
Best shampoos for oily hair
1. Blu Atlas Shampoo
Made with saw palmetto and vegan biotin, along with jojoba protein and aloe vera, this shampoo from New York brand Blu Atlas is ideal for frequent use. It strengthens and fortifies hair, and soothes and calms the scalp. Although it’s gentle, it also contains powerful coconut-derived surfactants to provide a thorough clean.
It’s suitable for all hair types—dry hair, oily hair, fine hair, and thick hair will all turn out clean and glossy after using this shampoo. For best results, however, use the matching, lightweight conditioner afterward.
This shampoo is made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or animal testing. It comes in classic and scrumptious coconut apricot flavor, and although Blu Atlas is usually described as a men’s brand, it’s suitable for both men and women. A treat for the senses!
2. Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Balance & High Shine
Apple cider vinegar is a natural cleanser that will clarify your hair. This shampoo also contains oats, to add shine and volume without weighing your hair down. This particular shampoo is ideal for oily hair, but it’s also great for people who have normal hair but suffer from dandruff, or use a lot of hair products.
It has a pleasant, apple fragrance, and you should notice results almost straight away—though one of the downsides is it may leave your hair feeling slightly dry or frizzy, so it’s best to always follow with conditioner. With no parabens or sulfates, this is another great natural choice.
3. Drunk Elephant Cocomino Glossing Shampoo
Cocomino Glossing Shampoo is another option that relies on coconut-based surfactants instead of sulfates, tackling oil and grease and removing buildup of hair products without damaging your hair. It also contains sacha inchi seed oil to moisturize, and panthenol to strengthen hair strands.
Your hair will be left feeling soft, shiny, and clean, and you’ll also enjoy the light, sweet coconut fragrance. This shampoo can sometimes have a slightly drying effect, so make sure you follow this shampoo with a good conditioner. It’s good for color-treated hair, and made without silicones, drying alcohols, artificial fragrances, and dyes. Vegan and cruelty-free—plus, it comes in sustainable packaging.
4. Pureology Pure Volume Shampoo
Fine hair and oily hair often go together, and this shampoo is great for both. With natural ingredients like lavender, ylang ylang, and sandalwood, it removes excess grease, while also giving you more body and fuller-looking, healthier locks.
People who use this say that it is gentle enough to use on all scalp types, and it’s even good for fixing dandruff. It’s also suitable for color-treated hair, but it’s a good idea to follow it with conditioner as some people might find it a little drying. It’s sulfate-free and cruelty-free, with a delicious minty, herbal scent. It’s also paraben-free and vegan.
5. Acure Daily Workout Watermelon and Blood Orange Shampoo
If you have oily hair, you probably already realize that sweat can make that “greasy look” even worse, but help is here. This shampoo is specifically designed for those who love to exercise, and it’s also great for those who work outdoors or live in a hot environment. The formula contains natural moisturizing ingredients including blackberry, calendula, watermelon seed, and avocado, and provides a deep clean.
It’s free from sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, or petroleum oil. It’s also gentle enough for daily use. Some people with oily hair say that this is their regular shampoo, but they also have a clarifying shampoo on hand for particularly bad hair days.
6. Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
This shampoo from salon-quality brand Bumble and Bumble is very effective and strong—so strong that they suggest you only use it once a week. It’s great for ridding your hair of oil, product residue, and pollutants. It has some beneficial natural ingredients, including ginseng, rosemary, and sage leaf.
Depending on how your oily hair responds to Sunday Shampoo, you might also need something more gentle that you can use in between washes. It’s made without parabens, mineral oil, formaldehyde, and phthalates, but it’s still not suitable for color-treated hair. Pair with a super rich conditioner to replenish your hair and bring back some moisture.
7. Natura Siberica Shampoo Organic Volume and Freshness for Oily Hair
This is another shampoo that’s highly recommended for people who work out or lead an active lifestyle; it has a pleasant raspberry scent, and it’s gentle enough to use everyday. Ingredients include northern raspberry hydrolat, which is particularly rich in Vitamin C, as well as Siberian dwarf pine, which provides a deep clean.
It’s great for all hair types: if your oily hair is at the more extreme end of the spectrum, however, it might be good to invest in something a little bit stronger. This shampoo is free from parabens and sulfates, and it’s also vegan and cruelty-free.
8. OGX Refreshing Scalp and Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
This fresh, minty shampoo removes excess oil, without drying out your hair. It’s said to be so effective that you probably won’t need to wash your hair as often. It’s paraben- and sulfate-free, and it contains tea tree, peppermint oil, and witch hazel.
People who use it say it has a pleasant tingling sensation on the scalp, and it will leave your hair feeling clean, smelling great, and looking glossy. Be aware, however, that it’s quite a powerful shampoo, and it’s not for everyone—it might be best not to share it with people who have dry, brittle hair! For best results, follow with the matching conditioner.
9. Tresemme Deep Cleansing Shampoo
From a well-known salon-quality brand, this deep cleansing shampoo won’t let you down. It not only helps reduce oiliness, it gets rid of buildup and helps you strip hair of old color. However it is very drying, so be sure you also use a conditioner to moisturize your hair. Unless you’re using a huge amount of hair product, you probably won’t need to wash your hair with this every day, but it’s great for use maybe once a week or once a fortnight, when you feel like you need an intense clean.
You only need a small amount, and this shampoo comes in a large 500ml or 900ml bottle: so it offers good value for money. Make sure you follow the instructions, however, as it takes time to thoroughly rinse from hair.
10. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle
A gentle, paraben-free formula designed to cleanse and restore shine, this product also lifts hair, giving the impression of more volume. The main ingredient, nettle, is astringent, and draws out oil and grease. It’s a great idea to pop this dry shampoo in your makeup purse or handbag when you go to work—it’s a quick and easy way to improve the appearance of your hair.
You should use it in conjunction with a good regular shampoo and conditioner for best results. Users say it works well, and it has a light, pleasant fragrance. You do need to wait a few minutes before you can see its effects.
11. Ethique St Clements Shampoo Bar
Great for shoppers who care about the environment, this citrus-scented shampoo bar, in a compostable wrapper, can be used to lather up your hair and scalp, just like a normal shampoo. It’s good value for money and it effectively removes oil and grease; however, it can leave your hair dry so make sure you invest in a good conditioner. Using the bar also takes some time getting used to.
12. Pacifika Rosemary Purifying Invigorating Shampoo
This shampoo contains mint and rosemary, and it has a beautiful refreshing scent. It will minimize oil production, and it’s also sulfate and silicone-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. Cleanse your hair and at the same time improve shine and volume.
The best conditioners for oily hair
1. Blu Atlas Conditioner
A light, moisturizing conditioner that doesn’t weigh down oily hair but leaves it beautifully shiny and manageable. It’s suitable for everyday use, and it contains 98% natural ingredients, including anti-inflammatories like white tea extract, and soothing and strengthening ingredients such as avocado oil and barley protein.
Argan oil, packed with Vitamin E, is another key ingredient that repairs your hair, and is designed to leave it feeling smooth and frizz-free. For best results, this conditioner should be used after washing your hair with Blu Atlas Shampoo. It’s paraben, phthalate-, and sulfate-free, cruelty-free and vegan. It comes in two flavors: classic and delicious coconut apricot.
2. Tresemme Pro-Infusion Fluid Smooth Conditioner
A very popular conditioner, this product is lightweight enough to moisturize oily hair without leaving it looking heavy or greasy. You’ll end up with hair that feels clean and fresh, but also fluid and shiny. Users say their hair is far more manageable after using this conditioner, and they notice less frizz. It’s good for regular use, and a little bit of conditioner goes a long way.
Ingredients include plant-based protein and coconut. It’s sulfate-, silicone-, and paraben-free, and smells beautiful. Bottles are 100% biodegradable, so you can use it in the knowledge that it’s good for the environment.
3. The Body Shop Tea Tree Purifying and Balancing Conditioner
A very light conditioner, made specifically for oily hair, this product uses tea tree oil from Kenya and aloe vera from Mexico, both harvested ethically and sustainably. It also contains vegan silk protein, which replicates the chemical structure of natural silk, to leave your locks looking smooth and shiny.
Reviewers with oily hair say this conditioner works like a charm, leaving hair weightless and clean. It also gets rid of frizziness, dull hair, and dandruff. The Body Shop Tea Tree Purifying and Balancing Conditioner is vegan and made with 97% natural ingredients.
4. OGX Tea Tree Mint Conditioner
Another conditioner that uses the cleansing power of tea tree oil, along with milk proteins and peppermint oils, OGX Tea Tree Mint Conditioner revitalizes and moisturizes hair, leaving it vibrant, manageable, and shiny.
Like the shampoo, it’s known for its scalp “tingle” as you massage it into your hair. It has a minty fresh smell with vanilla undertones. It’s great for oily hair and also good for frizzy and curly hair, plus it’s also reported to work for dandruff. Users describe it as a wonder product for unruly and difficult locks. It’s free from parabens and sulfates, and also suitable for people with sensitive scalps.
5. L’Occitane Aromachologie Purifying Freshness Conditioner
Designed for normal to oily hair, this conditioner detangles hair, leaving it soft, silky, manageable, and weightless. It contains a few essential oils: thyme, an antifungal and antibacterial agent, grapefruit, an astringent that also boosts your mood, mint, an anti-inflammatory, lavender, an antioxidant that improves mood, and cedar, which helps to regulate sebum production, along with peppermint from the French region of Provence.
Plant-based vinegar also helps to purify and balance the scalp. Users describe it as “invigorating”; however, it isn’t really suitable for other hair types (such as very dry or damaged hair). It’s made without silicones.
6. Ouai Leave-In Conditioner
Designed for all hair types, this lightweight leave-in conditioner fights frizz and leaves your hair hydrated, shiny, and more manageable. Users say it is very effective on oily hair (if you use it properly and don’t apply too much) and it’s great for both fine and thick hair.
It’s also useful for heat protection, if you routinely straighten or blow dry your hair: it protects your hair from heat damage up to 450°F. It has a fresh, feminine floral scent, with notes of violet, bergamot, and rose de mai. Reviewers say that while it isn’t cheap, it is great value for money.
7. Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Combination Conditioner
This conditioner is ideal for oilier hair types because it cleverly leaves the ends and mid-lengths of your hair nourished and hydrated, without leaving any buildup at the roots. It’s described as deep conditioning, and anti-static—in other words, it tames frizziness, and it also reduces breakage and damage.
Philip Kingsley recommends it for long or curly fine hair, or hair of average thickness. Users say it adds body to fine hair, and it improves the appearance of color-treated hair. Your hair should feel weightless, soft, and healthy after using this product. It contains wheat protein, hydrolyzed elastin, and silicone, for extra shine.
8. Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Conditioner
Specifically designed for oilier scalps, this conditioner has a tantalizing lemon flavor. It contains provitamin B5 and tea tree oil, along with moisturizing jojoba oil (which is said to strengthen hair and promote thickness), and lemon peel extract (which exfoliates and rejuvenates the skin). Organic aloe vera calms the hair and scalp, leaving it smooth and tangle free.
People who use it say their hair feels soft, bouncy and shiny. It’s apparently great for fine hair, and it also works well for dandruff.
9. Sukin Oil Balancing Conditioner
Another conditioner that draws on a variety of natural ingredients, including jojoba oil, wheat protein, and moringa extract (which contains vitamins and nutrients that nourish hair). It’s free from sulfates and silicones, and it also contains aloe vera and Vitamin E, along with a blend of citrus and spearmint.
People who use it say Sukin Oil Balancing Conditioner is effective at controlling oil and grease, and it leaves hair in excellent condition. It’s best used in conjunction with the matching shampoo, which cleanses hair thoroughly.
10. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Conditioner For Oily Hair
Suitable for straight and curly hair, this conditioner contains all sorts of natural goodies including tea tree, shea butter, aloe vera, and jojoba oil. It is weightless and makes your hair feel shiny and clean.
However, if your hair is dyed blonde, it’s recommended you get the purple shampoo and conditioner from the same brand instead. Customers say this conditioner reduces dandruff and itchiness, as well as oiliness, and they describe it as suitable for sensitive skin. It’s best used in conjunction with the matching shampoo.
11. Oribe Serene Scalp Balancing Conditioner
This conditioner is designed for flaky scalps, but it’s also good for reducing grease and oiliness. Shea butter and panthenol moisturize hair, while biotin and quinoa fortify hair and protect against damage.
One of the secret ingredients in this conditioner is caffeine, which is supposed to leave the scalp and hair follicles revitalized. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, and also free from gluten and parabens.
12. Bumble and Bumble Thickening Conditioner
Good for fine and oily hair, this conditioner will leave your hair looking full-bodied and voluminous without that greasy, heavy feeling. Ingredients include panthenol and silk powder. This conditioner is free from parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and mineral oils.
Frequently asked questions
What causes oily hair?
There are many different causes. Oily hair often begins in adolescence, and it can sometimes be a genetic hair type, along with dry hair or fine hair. It can also be linked to hormonal problems, like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), liver congestion, or Sjogren’s Syndrome (an autoimmune disease).
Other causes can include a product buildup, or too much shampoo: it seems counterintuitive, but cleaning your hair too often can lead sebum production to go into overdrive. It’s important to find a product that suits your hair and cleanses it thoroughly without stripping it of all natural moisture. The best shampoos and conditioners will rebalance your hair, so oiliness isn’t such a problem.
While brushing your hair regularly is not going to prevent oily hair, it can improve its appearance—the grease won’t just be sitting against your scalp, but distributed all the way down the hair shaft.
If you don’t use many products, and you haven’t changed your routine, but you’ve suddenly started developing oily hair as an adult, then your diet or your stress levels might be to blame. Refined sugars and dairy products have sometimes been linked to excess sebum production, and stress can also cause hormonal imbalances that affect your hair.
A deficiency in Vitamin E and a diet lacking in fatty acids has also been linked to oily hair, so eating foods like fish and flaxseed oil might be beneficial. If you take care of your body, your hair will love you for it!
How do I care for oily hair?
The first step is to choose a good, cleansing, shampoo and a lightweight conditioner that complements it. Some people find they need to wash their hair every day, but hopefully, with the right product, you might be able to reduce that to three or four times a week. It’s best to wash oily hair first thing in the morning, rather than in the evening, because it can get greasy again overnight. You could also purchase a dry shampoo to use between washes, if necessary.
When you wash your hair, make sure that you’re washing properly—massage the shampoo into the roots of your hair, closest to your scalp. Don’t worry too much about the ends, because they’ll be washed as the shampoo rinses down. When you use conditioner, the opposite applies. Concentrate on the mid lengths and ends of your hair, rather than your scalp.
It’s important to brush regularly, at least once daily. A lot of people with oily hair tie it back, to try to hide it, but this can actually make it worse, as the oils on your scalp have nowhere to go. It’s a good idea to let your hair loose once in a while.
If you use a lot of hair products or you work outside in the heat, then investing in a clarifying shampoo and a matching conditioner might be a good idea. Clarifying shampoos shouldn’t be used regularly. In fact, usually they’re used once a fortnight or once a month. They give your hair a very deep clean. Don’t overdo it when you use these shampoos—follow the instructions on the label.
Which styling products should I use if I have oily hair?
It depends on the look you want: sea salt sprays, which give you a tousled, untamed look, can work wonders for oily hair. The salt soaks up some of the oiliness, and leaves your hair looking texturised and fresh. If your hair is naturally straight, it can also be used to hold curls and waves in place.
If you’re keen on creams and gels, look for products advertised as “lightweight” or “weightless.” Holding products containing tea tree oil should be good at reducing oiliness. Remember to only use as much as you need, and make sure you thoroughly wash the product out.
What are the best natural remedies for oily hair?
A lot of shampoos and conditioners today use natural ingredients as a selling point, and there are many herbs and essential oils that are widely available, and can also be used in homemade treatments.
Whether you’re browsing labels in the shampoo aisle, or heading into the garden to look for useful herbs, it’s important to choose the right remedy for your hair. Here’s a list of ingredients that are traditionally thought to be helpful in controlling oil:
- Tea tree oil: With natural antifungal and antiseptic properties, tea tree oil reduces sebum and oil production. It’s also great at controlling dandruff. It’s a key ingredient of many shampoos and conditioners marketed toward people with oily hair.
- Rosemary: Popular due to its beautiful smell, this herb is also supposed to have antifungal, decongestive, and astringent properties. It can reduce grease and oily build up.
- Lemongrass: This herb reduces oil and sebum production in the scalp, and it also adds shine and strengthens hair follicles. It works with other herbs, such as rosemary and lavender.
- Peppermint: Best known for its soothing qualities, peppermint also absorbs oil and helps to regulate pH levels. It boosts blood circulation to the scalp, and it’s supposed to encourage hair growth.
- Yarrow: This plant is astringent, and great for both oily skin and oily hair. It’s also supposed to calm an irritated or inflamed scalp.
- Witch hazel: This helps to soothe your scalp and maintain pH levels, reducing oiliness. It also promotes hair growth, and is reputed to boost your hair’s volume.
- Apple cider vinegar: The acetic acid will help to rebalance your scalp, leading to a reduction in oil production. It’s also supposed to be anti-inflammatory, soothing irritation. Remember to dilute it in warm water first!
- Aloe vera: A staple in many of the best shampoos and conditioners for oily hair, aloe vera is not only soothing but astringent. It helps to control sebum production and it de-greases your hair. It’s also great for treating dandruff.
- Lemon juice: Lemon is another natural astringent. A combination of lemon juice and water is supposed to help oily hair—occasionally you can also find lemon in shampoos and conditioners.