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Why Is My Hair So Oily (and How Can I Fix It)?

Wondering, “why is my hair so oily?” You’re in the right place. Although oil is natural and healthy for your hair, too much oil can lead to discomfort and damage. But don’t worry — we’ll show you how to fix it below.

What Causes Oily Hair? 5 Main Causes

Your hair may be extra oily due to factors like stress, weather, over-washing, or product build-up. Unfortunately, some scalp and hair types are more prone to excessive oil.

Oil naturally occurs in your hair and is crucial in protecting it from wear and tear. The sebaceous glands on your scalp produce oil that helps keep it healthy. However, too much oil can lead to itching, dandruff, hair loss, and a greasy appearance.

Thankfully, there are several ways to combat these issues. Indeed, the solution might be as simple as changing your hair routine or as surprising as adjusting your diet. 

Your hair may be oily due to several reasons, including: 

  • Over-washing 
  • Hair products you’re using 
  • Eating habits 
  • Weather
  • Hormones

Keep reading to learn more about the causes and dangers of excess oil and the options you have to combat it. 

1. Over-washing

Woman over-washing her hair, causing her to ask why is my hair so oily?

B-D-S Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock

It is a common belief that washing your hair often will eliminate excess oil and grease. However, over-washing can have the opposite effect. 

According to Dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, how often you need to wash your hair depends on many factors, including your age, ethnicity, hair type, and activity. If you wash your hair too frequently, you could strip it of its natural, healthy oils and damage it. 

The oil glands in your hair can be more or less active, depending on your age. Your scalp’s sebaceous glands will change as you age and your hair follicles will typically produce less oil.

Read Next: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

How to Keep Your Hair Grease-Free Between Wash Days 

It may be daunting to wait a few days between washes. Follow these tips to ensure your hair will stay gorgeous between wash days. 

  • Use dry shampoo: Dry shampoo soaks up excess oil in the hair and leaves it looking less greasy. Spray it directly onto your roots, let it sit for a few minutes, and then use your fingers or a brush to run it through. If you are a frequent gym-goer, use dry shampoo before and after you work out.
  • Make your washes count: Wash and rinse your hair twice when you are shampooing. The first shampoo works to remove dirt and oils from your hair, while the second wash cleans your scalp. 
  • Cut back on heat styling: Heat promotes oil production and can speed up grease build-up in your hair. 
  • Don’t apply conditioner on your roots: This can lead to a quicker build-up of oil in your roots. 

2. Hair-Care Products

Hair care products for a piece on why is my hair so oily

New Africa/Shutterstock

The products you use can have a big impact on your hair. Choosing the right shampoo, conditioner, and styling products can be the difference between a healthy scalp and oily hair. 

How to Pick the Perfect Products 

  • Check your products: Some cheap hair products contain waxes and parabens—these ingredients can cause build-up in your hair. Opt for a more natural alternative to ensure less grease build-up. 
  • Use the right shampoo for your hair: If you have thin or fine hair, you should avoid heavy hair care products. Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff, may require medicated shampoo. We make it easy with our what hair products should I use quiz what hair products should I use quiz.
  • Try a clarifying shampoo: Clarifying shampoo removes residue and impurities on your hair. It can beat build-up and help eliminate excess oil and grease. 

3. Eating Habits

Woman eating a healthy diet after wondering why is my hair so oily

RossHelen/Shutterstock

Your diet can impact your hair growth and health. Your hair depends on different minerals and can produce more oil when you consume certain foods.  

Diet Changes to Improve Oily Hair 

Different types of food can impact your hair. Knowing their effects can help you determine whether your oily hair is caused by your diet. In particular, consider: 

  • Fried foods, high in saturated fats, can overstimulate your oil glands and cause your skin to produce more oil
  • Refined carbohydrates also lead to oil overproduction
  • Dairy and fatty meats cause your body and scalp to produce excess sebum

The following vitamins and minerals are healthy for your hair

  • Vitamin B, especially B2 and B6, affects sebum production. If you consume a sufficient amount of vitamin B, you can regulate oil production and combat greasy hair. Vitamin B is found in foods like leafy greens, beans, and some fruits. 
  • Zinc can improve the health of your hair follicles. Avocado, nuts, beans, and blueberries are examples of some foods that contain zinc. 

4. Weather

Woman wearing a beanie because her hair is oily and she's wondering why

Y.P.photo/Shutterstock

The environment can play more of a role in your hair’s health than you may think. 

How to Combat the Weather’s Wrath on Your Hair 

If humidity is at play, one quick solution is to add a dehumidifier to your home. In the summer months, consider adopting a protective style, such as braids.

When winter hits, your best option is breathable headwear. Fluffy beanies may sound perfect, but they can lead to scalp sweating.

5. Hormones

Image showing hormones being the answer to someone asking why is my hair so oily

MinskDesign/Shutterstock

Hormones impact several parts of your body, even your hair. Both men and women can experience hormone imbalances, leading to hair thinning, hair loss, and excessive oil on the scalp and hair. Conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be the culprit.

Talk to Your Doctor 

A hormone imbalance may be the cause of your oily hair. Talk to your doctor to develop a plan of action for your exercise, diet, and hair care. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

Feeling insecure about your oily hair can be discouraging and frustrating. Luckily, there are ways to figure out the cause of excessively oily hair and some solutions.

Why Is My Hair Getting So Oily So Fast?

Your hair may be getting oily more quickly due to the products you are using, how often you are washing it, or the weather. Habits between wash days can make or break the maintenance of oil production.

How Can I Stop Greasy Hair?

The oils in your hair are natural and healthy. However, excess oil may indicate that something you are doing or using is causing the overstimulation of your oil glands. First, consider your hair products and then look into your diet and hormones. You may have to consult a doctor to combat greasy hair.

What Is the Best Shampoo for Oily Hair?

Invest in a clarifying shampoo to eliminate product build-up on your hair. You should not use it every day. Instead, you may need to use clarifying shampoo once a week or monthly, depending on your styling products. Overuse can strip your hair of its natural, healthy oils.

Are There Products That Can Help Me Eliminate Excess Oil?

If your hair is feeling extra greasy, you may want to switch up your hair products. Some dry shampoos and conditioners can keep grease at bay between wash days.

How Often Should I Wash My Hair?

How often you should wash your hair depends on several factors, including your hair type and your environment. If you live somewhere humid, you may need to wash it more often than someone who experiences dry weather. If you have thick hair, you will probably need to wash it less than someone with thin or fine hair.

So, Why Is My Hair So Oily? 

Your hair could be oily due to over-washing, your hair products, your eating habits, the weather, or unbalanced hormones. If you wash your hair too often, it can lead to the overproduction of oil.. 

Even eating habits play a role in your hair’s health—certain foods can overstimulate your oil glands and lead to greasy hair.

The environment that you live in could also be causing your oily hair. If you find the cause of your oily hair, you can combat it. You should always consult your doctor before making dietary or medication changes.