People form first impressions within the first few seconds of meeting someone. That leaves very little wiggle room for a bad hair day, and certainly no excuses for oily hair. So what’s a guy or girl to do when they’re plagued with oily hair? Fortunately, there are several home remedies you can use to keep the grease in check.


Root causes for oily hair

First, let’s look at what causes oily hair. There is a common fallacy that oily hair can result from eating greasy foods. But unless you actually touch your hair with greasy fingers, there is no proven connection between greasy food and excess hair oil. One likely cause of oily hair is heredity – if a parent suffered with this problem, chances are at least some of the kids will experience it.


It’s important to understand where the oil comes from. Skin tissue inside of the scalp holds sebaceous glands that produce sebum. Sebum keeps moisture from escaping, but when too much is produced, the result is oily hair. Hormonal changes, medications, and several diseases, including Parkinson’s, can alter sebum production.


Daily maintenance tips

Fine, straight hair will tend to latch on to the oil in the scalp and give a more oily appearance than curly or thick hair. To combat this, wash hair daily with a shampoo that targets oily hair. Many find shampoos containing tea tree oil to be more absorbent of scalp oils. Be sure to thoroughly wash out the shampoo by massaging the scalp gently and rinsing adequately.


Suri Bernhard, a master cosmetologist in Atlanta, finds that when customers come in complaining of oily hair, there is often a buildup of hair product on their scalp. “The best way to remedy this is to wash with shampoo, rinse, and repeat to get the hair extra clean. Then apply a small amount of conditioner and brush it through the hair while still wet. Finally, rinse out the conditioner thoroughly until hair feels squeaky clean.” Bernhard recommends parents do this for their kids periodically to remedy yellow scalp and oily hair, and allow the scalp to breathe.


Other hair experts advise skipping conditioner altogether, or only applying it to the ends of the hair. Conditioner isn’t as necessary when the scalp is producing enough moisture to keep hair from drying out.


Finally, consider switching from a hairbrush or comb to a hairpick. To use, gently lift sections of hair with the pick and run it through until you achieve the desired look. Picks do a great job of getting rid of knots and lifting hair for more body. Since the motion lifts hair a few inches away from the scalp, oil is not spread from the scalp through the hair.


Home remedies

If you’re ready to try your hand at getting rid of oily hair with a homemade solution, here are a few ideas:


  1. Rinse hair with a mixture of two tablespoons vinegar to one cup water, or one-quarter cup of lemon juice and one cup of water.
  2. Use an alcoholic drink to create a drying effect on the hair. Mix a few tablespoons of alcohol with a cup of water, use to cleanse hair, and then rinse with water.
  3. One-quarter cup of cider vinegar mixed with water can be used to create a spray that targets product build up.
  4. Use diluted tea, which contains an astringent, to rinse your hair.

Healthy diet, healthy hair

Basic nutrition advice goes a long way in keeping hair and skin healthy. To target hair health, be sure to include salmon and walnuts in your diet for omega-3s, and spinach and carrots for vitamin A. High protein foods are also a staple in a healthy hair diet, as insufficient protein can lead to hair thinning and hair loss.


Know of other home remedies for oily hair? Leave us a note in the comments below.