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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

Why Is My Hair So Oily?

Updated: May 4, 2022

Why Is My Hair So Oily?

The amount of oil you produce depends on, hygiene habits, hormones, stress, over washing, some hair products, and some lifestyle factors. I’ll cover some causes of oily hair, and try at home remedies for when your hair looks too oily.

Oil glands are import! They transport antioxidants in and on the skin and lubricate the skin to protect against friction. Healthy hair will produce sebum(or oil) as a way to hydrate your scalp and protect your hair. Oil collects in your hair, especially at roots. This gives your hair a slick darker appearance that makes it look dirty.

Greasy/oily hair is the result of overactive sebaceous glands when they are producing too much sebum(oil).


Sometimes intense exercise, or even going outside in excessive humidity or heat can trigger an oily hair day. Moving from hot to cold environments can cause our body to react and create more oils too. (like outside to inside with hot and cold weather temps)

Practice good hair hygiene by washing your scalp well with a shampoo to cleanse and break down the oil. Your brush, comb, hat, and pillowcase can be full of styling products, oils, and general gunk that can make your hair dirty immediately after washing. Take care to wash those often too.

Hormones And Stress

Occurs when you are overly stressed or anxious, and before or during a Womens menstrual cycle. When the level of androgens (hormones) increases, which happens when you’re experiencing a hormone imbalance, this puts your body in a slightly stressed state, making the glands in your scalp produce more oil. When we are stressed, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. When our cortisol levels rise, it can cause the sebaceous glands in our scalp to be stressed as well, sending them into overdrive, producing and releasing more sebum, and causing oil buildup


A hard to control oily scalp may be in your genes. Certain diseases and medical conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome, liver congestion, and Sjögren’s syndrome (a long-term autoimmune disease), can cause an overproduction of oil.

Over Washing

That’s right, it’s possible to wash your hair too often. Every time you wash your hair with shampoo, it sends the scalp the signal to produce more sebum. If you’re washing your hair too often, your scalp gets the message that it needs to be in oil production overdrive.

This can result in oily buildup on your scalp.

Hair type

Straight hair can look oily faster. The hair shaft doesn’t have any texture or wave to it, so oil slides straight down the hair shaft and collects all over your head making the oils more visible. Natural texture helps hide the oils.


Another cause of oily hair is the type of products you use.

Some over the counter products that add gloss, smooth, volumize, hair likely contain silicone, wax, mineral oil, and other similar chemicals. These are the by-products that stick to the hair, and instead of washing out, they cling on creating layer after layers of an odd buildup.

Sebum is oil, which means that rinsing it with water doesn’t break it up and remove it. Skipping shampooing and using only conditioner can allow oil to build up.

While it might not be easy to spot the oil when your hair is drying, it quickly appears oily again a few hours or so later.

That’s because only certain ingredients, found in most shampoos, can break down the oil and products that build up on your hair.

Home Remedies

Dry Shampoo

can’t substitute for a sudsy wet wash, but it can help soak up and mattify oils and give your hair a cleaner appearance. Many dry shampoos also add a touch of scent to help freshen up. Superior Salon And Spa in Marquette has a dry shampoo that instantly removes oil with little to no build up. It's made of rice and tapioca starch for best oil absorption.

Apple cider vinegar

Using apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a rinse for oily hair has been successful.

Some people swear that the ACV breaks down the oil while changing the pH of your hair and scalp, making it less prone to oil buildup in the first place.

If you’d like to try this remedy:

  • Combine up to 10 teaspoons of ACV with about a gallon of warm water.

  • Soak your hair in the mixture for a few minutes score or after washing with shampoo and conditioner.

  • Rinse all of the ACV out of your hair

CON-this may fade out your in salon hair color.

Tips To Try

Sometimes changing your grooming habits can reduce the amount of oil in your hair. Here are some lifestyle tips that may help reduce oil levels in your hair.

Wash your hair more (or less) often

This one will take a little trial and error to figure out, but if you find your mane is often weighed down by excess oil, chances are you need to switch up your beauty regimen.

Try going a day or two between washes if you’re used to washing every day, and see if that makes a difference.

If you only wash your hair two or three times a week, or wait until after a sweaty workout or humid day to wash your hair, try washing it more often.

Skip brushing between washes

Every time you brush your hair, you’re dragging sebum from your scalp down into your hair. When you distribute the oil throughout your hair, your scalp produces more. Brush less directly on the scalp to keep the oil to a minimum.

Lay Off The Hot Tools

Similar to brushing your hair, straightening your hair moves oil throughout your hair strands. Hair straighteners and other hot tools also apply heat close to the root of your hair, which can trigger your oil glands and melt the oil further down your hair shaft.

Wash Pillowcases And Hats

Remember to wash your pillowcases and hats often. Once a week is a good rule of thumb. Otherwise, every time you go to bed you’re lying in the oil and sweat buildup of your hair on your pillowcase. You can have a clean slate by making sure your pillowcase and hats are clean.


To Sum It All Up

Some hair types are more prone to oily buildup than others. But there are plenty of home remedies, hair care products, and beauty routine swaps you can do to cut down on how oily your hair appears.

Don’t stress, oil is just part of the way your body protects your scalp, and there’s nothing dirty or wrong about a little oil buildup in your hair.

If you’re concerned by how much oil you produce, how much you sweat, or if your scalp is often irritated, speak to a dermatologist for some expert advice.

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