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Greasy Hair Tips – What REALLY Works?

My Greasy Hair has All The Things!

It’s thick, coarse, dry, damaged, frizzy, and color-treated. But I’ve noticed that in the last few years that I have been experiencing dandruff and super greasy hair.

At first I thought I just wasn’t rinsing all of the conditioner out of my hair. I swear, I just finished washing my hair and after it was dry and I would start to style it, the roots would be completely greasy. I’ve even jumped back in the shower to try to rinse it out, and tried using a clip to hold up sections of hair while I rinsed each section at a time just to make sure I got everything out. But it would still be there. WTH?

I just washed my hair! What's with all the grease?
I just washed my hair! What’s with all the grease?

Then I thought maybe it was the water pressure in my home which is pretty crappy. So I got a special shower head that increases the water pressure. Now my water pressure is decent, but I still have greasy hair.

So I have been looking all over the net to find out why all of a sudden I have been experiencing “snowflakes” and greasy roots over the past year. Here is what I discovered…


The Real Causes of Greasy Hair

I have done quite a bit of research on this and was a little surprised to learn there are quite a few reasons why people encounter greasy hair. The best explanation I found was from the Schwarzkopf website: “Excessive sebum production is the cause for oily hair. In the worst case scenario the sebum glands clog the hair roots and may cause excessive hair loss and dandruff.”

Aha! This is why you can have oily hair and flakes at the same time!

What's with all the snowflakes? I live in Phoenix!
It doesn’t snow in Phoenix, so why are there flakes in my hair?

Other factors include:


So What Can We Do About Greasy Hair?

Well, if you are REALLY serious about curing your greasy hair, you can always visit a dermatologist. They can prescribe special shampoos and even hormones to combat oily skin and hair. But if the thought of messing with your body chemistry freaks you out, they also suggest washing your hair more frequently with a translucent shampoo, and lukewarm (not hot) water.

You can always see a doctor to write you a prescription.
You can always see a doctor to write you a prescription. But who wants to do that?

This is great if you have fine or short hair that takes no time at all to style. But for girls with long, thick hair like mine, this simple act can be quite an ordeal and it’s not always practical.


I Hate Washing My Hair!

There. I admit it. Look, I know I need to wash it more frequently, but it literally takes me about 2-3 hours to wash, dry and style it. Plus if you color your hair, washing too frequently will strip and fade the color super fast.

It takes me 2-3 hours to style my hair. Who has time for that?
It takes me 2-3 hours to style my hair. Who has time for that?

But did you know that washing your hair too often can actually remove the natural oils necessary for maintaining healthy hair and a healthy scalp? It is also very drying and can actually cause an overproduction of oils thus defeating the entire purpose!

Unfortunately, I simply do not have the time to wash my hair every day, so I relegate to washing it once or twice a week max. Besides, it doesn’t really matter how often I wash my hair, because even immediately after washing – the grease is still there!

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I know, I have a lot of excuses. I’m not going to ever stop coloring or flat ironing my hair, thus I can live with the fact that my hair will always have some type of damage. I have tried practically every type of hair care product out there including morrocan oil, argon oil, coconut oil, tea tree oil, clarifying shampoo, color shampoo, moisturizing shampoo, dandruff shampoo, tar shampoo – you name it. And while I’m never going to stop searching, I still have yet to find a product out there for hair with “All The Things”.

But currently, my biggest issue is dealing with greasy hair. So here are some suggestions I have found all over the internet that people totally swear by. I will also share with  you my experience when trying them for myself. And if you decide to experiment with them yourself, please do so at your own risk!


Quick Fixes for Greasy Hair 

These are all of the tricks that I have tried that I found on the internet. I will show you what worked for me and what didn’t. Your results may vary.  These tips are only suggested to help with greasy hair between washes – they are not intended to be a permanent solution. Again, proceed at your own risk!


What Didn’t Work for My Greasy Hair…

Dry Shampoo No

I’ve tried several different brands and just not have found any that work. It usually stinks and lingers in the air, and then it just makes my hair feel coated and even dirtier than before. I also feel like after using it, everything sticks to it – like dust or mold spores.

Ok, I’m not really sure if mold spores stick to it, but to me it just makes my hair feel gross. I am hopeful that someday I will find one that truly works for me. But I’ve just been disappointed with every brand I try.

Hydrate Dry Shampoo
I REALLY want to like dry shampoo. But I just haven’t found one that works for me. This one from Hydrate looks interesting. Should I pull the trigger?

Coconut OilNo

Good for cooking and conditioning. Bad for greasy hair. Did nothing to soak up oil or remove build up. Plus it is really hard to rinse out.

Coconut oil is great for cooking and other beauty treatments. But for greasy hair, not so much.
Coconut oil is great for cooking and other beauty treatments. But for greasy hair, not so much.

NoDishwashing soap

Some people swear by it, but it didn’t do a thing for me. It didn’t even really produce suds when I tried it. Basically it felt like a total waste of time and dish soap. Plus it’s really harsh on your hair! If you decide to use it, you should only use it sparingly and maybe once a month or less often. It will make your hair color fade super fast, and dry out your hair. I personally do not recommend.

Dishwashing soap might be great on dishes. But do you really want to use it on your hair?
Dawn dishwashing soap works great on dishes and ducks. But do you really want to use it on your hair?
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I’m On the Fence… 

Meh

Dandruff or Coal Tar Shampoo

You have to use it for several weeks to even months to see the effects. For a quick fix, it doesn’t really work. Plus it’s really hard on color treated hair. It might be worth a try for long term use however.

Coal Tar Shampoo is used to treat several scalp issues. But it can take a while to work.
Coal Tar Shampoo is used to treat several scalp issues. But it can take a while to work. ArtNaturals Medicated Shampoo gets good reviews and sells for under $15 on Amazon.

Meh

Skip the Conditioner

For the longest time I thought I wasn’t rinsing it out of my hair completely, so I just stopped using conditioner.  I’ve also tried using conditioner before shampooing. But I feel like this is a waste of conditioner. The shampoo just washes it away anyway. I have had mixed results, and often ended up with greasy hair regardless.

I still skip the conditioner a few times a month. I prefer to just wash my hair with a moisturizing shampoo and follow with a leave-in conditioner instead. I usually use Infusium 23 and just discovered Pantene Moisture Whip leave-in mousse conditioner that I’m kind of digging right now.

Skip the conditioner and use leave-in treatment instead. I like this one from Infusium 23.
Skip the conditioner and use leave-in treatment instead. You don’t have to rinse it out. I like this one from Infusium 23.

Meh

Apple Cider Vinegar

I’ve tried this many different ways. I’ve sprayed it on my hair before showering, I’ve used it with shampoo, and I’ve also used it in lieu of conditioner. I don’t care what people say, you will still smell like vinegar after you rinse it out – even the next day. I don’t really feel like it did very much for me. Needless to say, I went through a lot of vinegar.

I have had mixed results with Apple Cider Vinegar. But it's always good to have around your house. Plus, it's cheap.
I have had mixed results with Apple Cider Vinegar. But it’s always good to have around your house. Plus, it’s cheap. You can find this bottle of Viva Organic Apple Cider Vinegar for around $10 on Amazon.

Meh

Dye your Hair

For some reason the act of dying your hair temporarily soaks up the oil. I’m guessing it is due to the chemical reaction of the dye on your hair. Plus, if you are getting it done at a salon, the stylist is probably doing a much better job of rinsing than you would do on your own. If you dye your hair anyway, then this is just a bonus! But I don’t suggest dying your hair for the sake of clearing up your oily mane. The effects typically only last until your next shampoo.

Dyeing your hair temporarily helps greasy hair. But it's not a permanent fix.
Dyeing your hair temporarily helps greasy hair. But it’s not a permanent fix.

To Scared to Try…

Haven't Tried

Lemon Juice

Lemon is also found in many cleaning products and contains citric acid, so I could see how it could help to clear up greasy hair. But I have not tried this and if you have anything other than blonde hair, I don’t suggest you try it either. Lemon is a natural bleaching agent and you could be putting your lovely dye job at risk!

Lemon is a natural cleaning and bleaching agent. But it might ruin your dye job!
Lemon is a natural cleaning and bleaching agent. But it might ruin your dye job!

Haven't Tried

Powdered Cocoa Mix

I have not tried this one before. I’ve read that people who have darker hair can use powdered cocoa or hot chocolate mix to soak up oil. Alternatively, there is also Nestle Strawberry Nesquik (a powder used to make strawberry flavored milk) that you can use on red hair.  But I make a mess just mixing it with milk for my son. I can’t imagine what a mess it would be on your hair, counters, and hands. And if you sweat in the summer, will you be dripping chocolate from your head? I’d be too scared to find out.

I only imagine that this would be a mess. But at least your hair can smell like chocolate or strawberries!
I only imagine that this would be a mess. But at least your hair can smell like chocolate or strawberries!

What Has Actually Worked for Me!

Baby Powder Works to Clear Up Greasy Hair

Wash your Bangs Only

Bangs may do a great job of hiding wrinkles, but they also are the first thing to get noticeably greasy. Plus they have contact with your forehead all day, so it’s not good for your skin or your hair. So If you wear bangs, you need to wash them frequently. Even if you don’t have time for a full shampoo, it takes about a minute to just suds them in the sink.

I keep a travel size bottle of shampoo in my bathroom drawer just for this purpose. Just wet your bangs under the faucet, apply a tiny amount of shampoo, and rinse. Wring them out in a towel and blast them with a blow dryer or let them air dry. Super fast fix!

Bangs are great for hiding your face. But they show all the grease!
Bangs are great for hiding your face. But they show all the grease!

Baby Powder Works to Clear Up Greasy Hair

Baby Powder or Corn Starch

This is excellent for soaking up oily hair. I prefer this over any type of dry shampoo. Don’t use too much and make sure to brush it through thoroughly otherwise it will leave a white film on your hair. This is actually my favorite method for refreshing greasy locks.

Johnson's Baby Powder Pure Cornstarch works so well for soaking up the grease!
Johnson’s Baby Powder Pure Cornstarch is my favorite fix for soaking up greasy hair!

Baby Powder Works to Clear Up Greasy Hair

Baking Soda

I’ve used it right out of the box and it works much like baby powder for a temporary fix. Again, you will need to brush it through thoroughly. However, it is most beneficial when combining it with shampoo or other ingredients as a washing agent. Keep reading to learn more…

Baking Soda is great for greasy hair.
Baking Soda is great for greasy hair. Works best when used as an additive to shampoo.

Baby Powder Works to Clear Up Greasy HairTea Tree Oil

You’re probably thinking, won’t putting oil on my hair make it even more greasy? That’s what I thought too, but then I figured they put this ingredient into clarifying and dandruff shampoos so they must be onto something. But I don’t suggest putting this on and running out the door – it will make your hair look gross and you will smell like Tea Tree oil all day. For this one to work, you will actually need to use it right before washing your hair.

I love this Tea Tree Oil from Radha. You get a huge 4oz bottle with it's own dropper. And it's such a great value!
I really love this big jar of Tea Tree Oil from RadhaIt has it’s own dropper and you get 4oz for only $14 on Amazon.

Below is a personal tip that has actually worked for me, not only to temporarily fix greasy hair between shampoos but is also showing some great improvement with the dandruff as well!


Easy Recipe for Fixing Greasy Hair 

What you’ll need: Tea Tree Oil – Baking Soda – Shampoo

You only need 3 ingredients for this greasy hair fix.
You only need 3 ingredients for this greasy hair fix. Tea Tree Oil, Baking Soda, and Shampoo.
  1. While your hair is dry before washing, put a few drops of tea tree oil directly on your scalp focusing on where you part your hair (as that is where the dandruff is most visible).

    Apply a few drops of oil directly to your part.
    Apply a few drops of oil directly to your part.
  2. Next, put some tea tree oil on your fingertips and massage into the rest of your scalp. You might feel a little tingle, which I think is actually quite pleasant. The point is to put it on your scalp and not actually on your hair as it might be a little drying. But it shouldn’t hurt your hair if you do.
  3. Leave this on your hair for about 15-30 mins. If the smell gets to be too much, you can try putting it in a shower cap. When time is up, get ready to wash your hair.

    Put your hair in a shower cap to keep the oil on your head and not on your couch.
    Put your hair in a shower cap to keep the oil on your head and not on your couch.
  4. Now it’s time for the Mix! Take a small cup and pour some shampoo, a pinch or two of baking soda, and 3-4 drops of tea tree oil and mix together until creamy. You can just stir it up with your finger.

    Mix all 3 ingredients together until it's smooth and creamy.
    Mix all 3 ingredients together until it’s smooth and creamy.
  5. Wet your hair with warm (not hot) water and apply the mixture to your entire head of wet hair (just like shampoo) and then rinse.
  6. Next wash again with plain shampoo (no oil or baking soda) and rinse well.

    Wash with warm (not hot) water to rinse out the product.
    Wash with warm (not hot) water to rinse out the product.
  7. Finally finish with a small amount of conditioner (if desired) focusing on the ends only and rinse. Do not apply it to the roots. That could be what got you into this mess in the first place!
  8. For added shine, you can make the water cool for as much as you can stand. Cool water is supposed to help the cuticle lay flat which makes hair shiny.
  9. If you prefer to skip the conditioner, that’s fine too. I like to alternate with a leave-in conditioner with a heat protectant.
  10. Dry and style as usual.

    Enjoy your shiny, grease-free hair!
    Enjoy your shiny, grease-free hair!

Now it could just be my imagination, but I really feel like this is really working for me! The baking soda clears up the grease, and the tea-tree oil helps with the dandruff and excess scalp oil.  I also think that it helps keep my hair grease free longer than the other temporary fixes. However, I only recommend doing this once or twice a month depending on how frequently you wash your hair as it may make colored hair fade faster.

Check out the before and after!
Check out the before on the left and after on the right!

So while I still haven’t found a product that fixes all of my hair concerns, I am happy that I have found something that works for greasy hair that does not require me to wash my hair every day. But I’m always going to keep looking!

Ah! Fresh, clean, grease and flake-free hair!
Ah! Fresh, clean, grease and flake-free hair!

What have you tried to get rid of greasy hair? Have you found a dry shampoo that you swear by? Let me know in the comments. I really want to know!


Disclosure: I was not compensated for writing this post, but it does contains affiliate links which means I may be compensated a small amount if you click-through and purchase. Full disclosure policy here.**

Do you suffer from greasy hair or flaky scalp? Before you reach for a hat, check out these 13 tips to get you through to your next shampoo. But which ones REALLY work?

Published inHair ProductsHealth and Wellness

32 Comments

  1. I too hate dry shampoo! I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. I will give the baby powder a try, though!

  2. A very informative post, this! My daughter suffers from greasy hair – I’ll have to try your suggestions out on her.

  3. These are good to know. My mom has super greasy hair. I will share this with her.

  4. Great tips! I love putting coconut oil in my hair as a conditioner and treat as it leaves it really lovely in the morning. I guess it’s not going to work for everyone.

  5. A very useful and detailed post.Liked your special tip for keeping hair clean and grease free.Have to try it out.Diet and stress can also cause a lot of hair issues I have seen

  6. Great advice!!! I may try a bit of the baby powder when I’m having an off day.. I tend to wash daily as my hair is thinner and easy to quickly dry and style.

  7. This post is so helpful and informative! Saving for later if I ever have this issue! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I need more grease in my hair. Mine is dry and frizzy. I love that you found a homemade remedy that works for you. That is awesome.

  9. Brittany Brittany

    I’ve done the baby powder trick before! It helped soaked up the grease.

  10. Thanks for the tips! Washing my bangs has always worked for me too. Tea tree oil was new to me. I might have to try that!

  11. Terri Steffes Terri Steffes

    All new-to-me tips. I don’t like dry shampoo either. I’m just gonna suck it up and wash it as frequently as I need it. I have curly hair on top of all of this…

  12. I have just the opposite. Dry frizzy hair. However, my husband tends to have oily hair. these are great tips, I just wonder if a ‘guy’ would be willing to do this ? I was thinking of trying the baking soda technique.

  13. Kim Kim

    I love how detailed you got! I haven’t tried all of these, but I’ve had great success with ACV!

  14. Great tips!! Except I LOVE dry shampoo. I use it all the time!

  15. Great detailed post. My hair can be all the above but not all the time. It seems to be the worse when I wash it too frequently and does better if I keep several days between washes. I will try your recipe though!

  16. OMG this is definitely what I need. My hair gets on my nerves with a mind of it’s own.

  17. Karen Coghlan Karen Coghlan

    Thank you for the review…. I have been trying to go poo free for a few months… But instead I make a shampoo with salt, baking soda, ground rosemary, acv, and a little unscented shampoo… It works great… But I am still using poo… I don’t have dry hair… but it cleans well…

  18. I have problems with dry scalp, and tea tree products has been working wonders for my hair! Wonderful informative posts! I love how detailed you are! #ProductReviewParty

  19. What a great post for those dealing with greasy hair! I used to have oily hair (pre-40’s) and I’ve been a big fan of washing just my bangs for years.

  20. cvnxena cvnxena

    This is so helpful! I have really greasy hair (probably all of the running) and I never seem to be at a point where it is 100% clean, I will definitely try some of these out, i think i’ve got some tea tree oil somewhere!

  21. I really appreciate how thorough you were with all of these suggestions! I have heard so many different possible ‘fixes’ and never knew where to start. I think maybe the baby powder or baking soda option is a good one to try!

  22. Reesa Lewandowski Reesa Lewandowski

    So much good advice here. I will have to give some of these ideas a try. I have used dry shampoo and it just wasnt cutting it.

  23. Robin Rue Robin Rue

    Greasy hair is something that I had to admit that I have. I am always on the hunt for a way to remedy it and I think you have given me more than enough ideas to combat it. Thanks!

  24. No, no,no! Don’t try lemon! If you dye your hair the lemons will change its color. This is a natural product to make hair and skin lighter.

  25. rosepetalsinthesea rosepetalsinthesea

    I typically have dry hair, but I definitely can’t use products like coconut oil in my hair. It makes my hair overly greasy! – HilLesha

  26. I am grateful that I don’t suffer much from greasy hair but I love how you’ve found what works for you!

  27. This is really interesting! I started to wash my hair a lot less after I had my oldest – showers were a luxury at that point, and surprisingly, my hair started looking so much better! Now I am on a 3-4 day a week hair washing schedule – much better.

  28. I’ve heard a lot about the apple cidar vinegar and I have not yet tried it yet I guess I’m skeptical or nervous not really sure, but I love Argan Hair Care products they seem to tame my frizzy hair.

  29. I love love love my dry shampoo. I can’t wash my hair often because I dye it and I don’t want my color to run. There is also a trick to using dry shampoo and that may be why most people don’t like it you need to let it sit for awhile before brushing.

  30. It was interesting to read about hair different from mine. Naturally curly hair and coarser hair has the opposite issue, not enough moisture. Tea tree oil works wonders for a dry scalp. I’m not big on the smell either, but it does the trick.

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