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Oily Hair, Don’t Despair: The Best Shampoos for a Greasy-Free Scalp

For those of us grappling with persistently oily hair, daily hair washing may indeed be a part of our daily routine. If you're particularly fortunate and happen to be skilled in the art of dry shampoo application, you might occasionally manage to skip a day. The question of whether daily washing is the right path …

woman with sleek pushed back hair

For those of us grappling with persistently oily hair, daily hair washing may indeed be a part of our daily routine. If you’re particularly fortunate and happen to be skilled in the art of dry shampoo application, you might occasionally manage to skip a day. The question of whether daily washing is the right path or whether you should attempt to extend the gap between washes for scalp “retraining” is a topic of debate among experts. Nevertheless, one thing remains indisputable: when you do decide to wash your hair, it’s essential to reach for a shampoo explicitly crafted for the needs of oily hair. We’ve taken a look at some brands that claim to be the best shampoo for oily hair & put them to the test.

These specialized shampoos are typically formulated to be lighter and contain a reduced concentration of rich, hydrating components. Instead, their primary focus lies in the effective removal of excess grease and the accumulated product residue from your trusty dry shampoo. The end result is hair that not only appears fresh but also feels clean. Moreover, these shampoos frequently incorporate stronger detergents, including sulfates, or exfoliating ingredients that work diligently to purify the scalp of excess oil.

In our pursuit of identifying the most commendable shampoos tailored for oily hair, we embarked on extensive research and a rigorous testing phase. Our dedicated testers diligently used these shampoos over six weeks, meticulously evaluating each formula’s texture, how effectively it eliminated surplus oil, and its overall impact on the look and feel of their hair. The finest performers from this comprehensive assessment have earned their rightful place on our curated list.

Our Fav

Nécessaire The Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Deep Cleansing, No Stripping
  • Luxurious Lathering
  • Fragrance-Free
  • Hair Softening

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Nothing to Dislike for us
  • Some reviews show sensitive skin reactions

Renowned for its chic branding and premium formulations, Nécessaire impresses once more with this fragrance-free shampoo. While fragrance-free might not sound exciting to some, it’s a dream for those prone to headaches, allergy sufferers, or those who want their fragrances to take the spotlight. The formula boasts a rich, gel-like texture that surprised us with its impressive lathering capabilities, making the hair-cleansing process a sensory delight.

What we adore most about this shampoo is its exceptional ability to effectively cleanse excess oil and product buildup from both the scalp and hair strands. It tackles grease, sweat, dry shampoo, and even hair oil and leave-in products without the typical stripping sensation that many deep-cleansing shampoos deliver. This is likely due to its formulation featuring nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and gentle plant surfactants. It not only gets the job done but also leaves the scalp comfortable and balanced, resulting in hair that feels remarkably light, fluffy, and incredibly soft.

In summary, this formula shines with its remarkable effectiveness, fragrance-free quality, safety for colored and keratin-treated hair, and a reasonable price point when compared to similar options on the market. Nécessaire’s shampoo is a standout choice for those seeking a superior hair care experience.

For Color Treated Hair

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Economical Usage
  • Rich Lather
  • Subtle Earthy Scent
  • Effective Oil Control
  • Safe for Treated Hair

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Slight Drying Effect

We understand the delicate balance between maintaining color and keratin treatments while combating oily hair. The ideal solution? A top-tier cleansing shampoo that’s gentle on color and keratin, and we’ve found one that excels. This gem not only preserves your treatments but also skillfully eliminates excess oil, leaving you with hair that’s remarkably clean, soft, and gleaming.

Enriched with activated charcoal to absorb oil and an anionic polymer to banish buildup and pollution, just a modest amount of this shampoo unleashes a cascade of bubbles and a rich lather. The scalp revels in a fresh and invigorated sensation. While it may slightly dry the strands, a quick remedy is to follow up with a deep conditioner. What’s more, the spa-like, subtle earthy scent is the perfect finishing touch, offering a sensory experience that’s both delightful and not overpowering.

AG Care Balance Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Sulfate-Free Formula
  • Gentle yet Effective
  • Enriched with Argan Oil
  • eco friendly refils

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Texture is a bit watery

Are you on a quest to bid adieu to those hair-damaging sulfates? If so, the AG Care Balance Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo deserves a spot in your hair care arsenal. We love this sulfate-free gem, with its gentle yet highly efficient formula. It’s a master at cleansing without the harsh side effect of stripping your hair of its natural oils and vibrant color.

For those who seek to combat oiliness without resorting to sulfates, this shampoo emerges as a stellar alternative. In addition to apple cider vinegar, it has argan oil, which helps enhance the hair’s natural shine. In essence, it’s a double whammy of revitalizing ingredients that leave your hair clean, lustrous, and sulfate-free.

While the texture may come off as a tad watery at first, it’s a minor adjustment that’s worth making. Despite its lightness, this shampoo surprises with a satisfying lather, and a little goes a long way in achieving the desired results. Its unique blend features apple cider vinegar, a potent oil-breakdown agent, and argan oil, renowned for its shine-enhancing prowess.

The real magic lies in its ability to provide a deep cleanse without any compromise on scalp or strand hydration. The outcome? Hair that’s not only impeccably clean but also astonishingly soft and radiantly shiny, delivering results that we can’t help but adore.

Sulfate Free Formulas

Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Provides Relief with Colloidal Oatmeal
  • budget pick

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Fragrance may irritate sensitive scalps

Aveeno’s Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo is a true game-changer in the world of hair care. This remarkable shampoo harnesses the power of apple cider vinegar to deliver a deeply cleansing experience without the need for harsh sulfates. It’s a refreshing departure from traditional shampoos, with a formula that not only effectively eliminates excess oil and buildup but also maintains the natural balance of the scalp and hair. 

With Aveeno’s commitment to natural ingredients and their long-standing reputation for quality, this shampoo is a testament to their dedication to delivering effective, yet gentle, hair care solutions.

Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Utilizes Gentle and Mild Cleansers for Non-Drying Cleansing

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Extra-Oily Scalps May Occasionally Need a Sulfate-Containing Clarifier

Most shampoos designed for combating oily hair typically rely on sulfates to dissolve oil and product buildup, but this can often lead to excessive dryness and even cause hair color to fade. However, Olaplex’s clarifying shampoo introduces a game-changing approach by incorporating gentle and mild cleansers that effectively break down oil without stripping your hair. What sets it apart is its formulation, which includes bond-building ingredients, contributing to the strengthening and repair of your hair. Key components such as Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate for bond-building and sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate as a surfactant ensure an effective yet gentle cleansing experience. Plus, it proudly stands as a sulfate-free solution.

My scalp tends to get extremely oily, necessitating daily washing for my hair to maintain a fresh appearance. Dry shampoos and other maintenance products simply don’t do the job for me. After trying this product just once, my hair not only felt incredibly clean but, impressively, my oil levels remained balanced for an extended period of more than a couple of days.

Best Clarifying

Ouai Detox Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Effective buildup and oil removal
  • Lush lathering
  • Eco-friendly packaging options

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Apple cider vinegar scent
  • Slight drying – especially on your ends

Although it can be a bit drying, especially on hair lengths, it avoids stripping or irritating the scalp. Plus, it wins eco-friendly points with recyclable packaging and convenient refill sizes for those striving for a more sustainable hair care regimen.

For frequent dry shampoo users, maintaining a thorough hair-washing routine is crucial to eliminate residue and prevent a greasy scalp. This clarifying formula excels at purifying and detoxifying the scalp by effectively eradicating buildup and excess oil. While the distinctive apple cider vinegar scent might not appeal to everyone, its rich texture produces a satisfying lather, leaving hair refreshingly clean after a few minutes of application. 

Bumble and bumble Sunday Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  •  Effective Oil and Buildup Cleansing
  • Luxurious Lathering
  • Prolongs Time Between Washes
  • Available in Multiple Sizes

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Pretty drying

This aptly named shampoo serves as the ideal choice when you’re seeking a complete hair reset, a perfect addition to your do-it-all routine, especially when you have some extra time to spare, perhaps on a relaxing Sunday. It’s a clarifying formula meticulously designed to thoroughly eliminate grease, product residue, and environmental impurities that may have found their way into your hair from your water or surroundings. While it might be a touch too intense for daily use, it truly excels at delivering a deep, thorough cleanse.

The formula incorporates the benefits of ginseng root and sage leaf extract for cleansing, along with rosemary extract to invigorate the scalp. It readily creates a satisfying lather, requiring minimal effort, and unequivocally delivers on its promises. In fact, one of our testers noted that it cleansed her oily scalp so effectively that she could extend the time between washes by one to two days beyond her usual routine. 

For Sensitive Scalps (& Dandruff)

Hairitage Wash It Away Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 

What Stands Out:

  • Selenium Sulfide – An Antifungal Champion for Tackling Flakes

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Strong sulfates (drying)
  • Not good for every wash use

Dandruff often thrives on excess oil, a common occurrence in the summer when our scalps tend to be oilier. To combat these pesky flakes, I’ve turned to this dandruff shampoo, a solution that skillfully combines selenium sulfide, a potent antifungal agent renowned for curbing dandruff-causing yeast, with robust sulfates, engineered to dissolve oil and stubborn buildup. During my weekly shower routine, I simply massage it into my roots, and to maintain hair softness, I follow up with a moisturizing conditioner for my ends.

The key ingredient, selenium sulfide, acts as a robust antifungal ally. Although it’s not sulfate-free and contains strong sulfates for oil breakdown, its effectiveness is evident. However, it’s essential to note that the fragrance included in this formula may lead to scalp sensitivity for some individuals.

The shampoo’s guidance suggests using it every other wash, with frequency depending on the severity of flakes or oil buildup. It’s a versatile solution, adapting to your specific needs and delivering an effective antidote to dandruff concerns.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Awarded Best of Beauty
  • Featured in Allure Beauty Box
  • Combats oil & dandruff

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Doesn’t lather

In 2018, Briogeo’s Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo earned the prestigious Best of Beauty Award and garnered a spot in the coveted Allure Beauty Box. This fan-favorite product can be regarded as the initial step in your quest for lustrous, healthy hair. While it’s a highly recommended choice for individuals dealing with dry, itchy scalps, it actually serves as an excellent starting point for anyone seeking to extract impurities from their hair follicles, invigorate their roots, and kickstart the journey to enhanced hair growth.

Natural Formulas

Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Gentle Cleansing without Stripping (No Harsh Surfactants)
  • Refreshing Lemon Fragrance

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Can dry out your hair

For those who embrace natural skincare and hair care solutions, this organic shampoo is a must-try to revitalize and deeply cleanse your oily hair. Packed with a blend of organic, plant-based ingredients, it features soothing agents like aloe vera, chamomile, and calendula, while incorporating moisturizing elements such as lemon peel extract, grapefruit peel oil, and cedarwood oil. If you’re tired of shampoos for oily hair leaving your ends feeling like straw, this mild cleanser offers a welcome departure from traditional strong surfactants.

Key components like aloe vera for soothing, lemon peel extract, and cedarwood bark oil for moisture retention make this sulfate-free formula a standout choice. According to one satisfied reviewer, “If you have oily hair, this works. On the days I use this, I notice my hair looks less shiny the following morning, and I make sure to use it in the morning if I have an evening outing since it helps control the oil a bit.” It’s a compelling solution for managing oily hair while maintaining a fresh and balanced look.

Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Feels clean without stripping
  • A little goes a long way

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Scent can be overwhelming

Aveda’s Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo is a powerhouse that relies on the purifying action of micelles and the clarifying properties of white vinegar to effectively dismantle excess grease. The formula also boasts the refreshing essence of rosemary and peppermint extracts, delivering a delightful tingle during your lathering experience. Interestingly, peppermint extract, as previously noted by King, can play a role in sebum removal from the scalp, making it a valuable addition to this shampoo’s arsenal. As a bonus, you have the convenience of purchasing a travel-friendly 1.7-ounce bottle for just $11, perfect for all your on-the-go adventures.

While the incredibly minty scent may catch you by surprise (given the name is Rosemary Mint), it’s an invigorating feature. It might remind you of toothpaste, but don’t let that deter you. This shampoo truly excels in delivering a thorough cleanse, leaving your hair impeccably clean without any sense of being stripped. Despite being sulfate-free, it manages to create a generous lather, with the second lather being impressively comparable to sulfate-containing products. So, whether you’re at home or on the go, this shampoo remains a fantastic choice for maintaining your hair’s pristine condition.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

What Stands Out:

  • Spa like scent
  • Natural formula improves scalp health 

What Didn’t Quite Hit the Mark:

  • Tea tree oil might be too harsh for daily use

Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo perfectly aligns with these criteria. Infused with the invigorating essence of tea tree, peppermint, and lavender essential oils, this product not only caters to hair health but also boasts a captivating, zesty quality that’s hard to resist.

The Tea Tree Special Shampoo by Paul Mitchell is a dynamic fusion of tea tree oil, peppermint, and lavender, offering a revitalizing cleanse that works wonders for your scalp. It excels at washing away dirt and oil, catering to all hair types with equal finesse. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Francesca Fusco of New York City, highly recommends pairing this shampoo with its complementary conditioner, as both products work in harmony to invigorate the scalp.

For those with drier hair or those aiming to combat product buildup, this shampoo can serve as a weekly deep-cleansing treatment. It’s a versatile choice, adapting to your specific hair care needs while providing a refreshing and rejuvenating experience.



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