Say Goodbye to Oily Hair With These Grease-Fighting Shampoos

These picks will leave your scalp feeling squeaky clean.

best shampoo for oily hair
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Nothing puts a damper on a good hair day like grease—literally. If you can barely make it through work with your hair down because of your oily strands, you’ve probably wondered why your tresses can’t maintain their bounce.

Oily hair can be caused by many things, says Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. Constantly coloring or styling your locks with heat can amp up the grease, since dirt and oil tend to get trapped in your damaged hair cuticles. Your hormones also may a role, and producing too many androgens—a sex hormone that has also been linked to acne—can overstimulate your sebaceous glands (the ones that pump out the oil).

But your shampoo could be a culprit, too, she says. While sulfate-free and color-safe shampoos are certainly more gentle on your hair, they don’t always leave your scalp squeaky clean, which can cause oil to build up on your hair over time.

You may have heard that washing your too much can actually make the problem worse—but that’s a myth. “In reality, the activity of sebaceous glands is mostly driven by androgen stimulation versus presence of oil at the surface of the skin,” say Julia Tzu, MD, founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology. “Physically removing excess oil is actually the best way to counter oiliness and provide much needed relief for those who suffer from oily skin, as long as the removal does not result in excess irritation to the skin.”

Your best bet? Wash your hair regularly—but no more than once per day—with one of these grease-fighting picks.

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1 Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo
Amazon

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While this shampoo is best known for its ability to combat dandruff, it can also help nix oil. “This shampoo contains salicylic acid, which removes excess oil from the skin and exfoliates dead cells that lead to dandruff,” says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital. He recommends singing the alphabet while washing your hair (and rinsing after you’re done singing) to ensure enough time has passed for the product to do its job.

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2 Hask Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo
Ulta

You’ve already tried charcoal products on your teeth and face (and possibly even your food), so why not your scalp? “Charcoal is extremely absorbent and can help remove excess oil from the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. He adds that it is commonly used in patients who have acne, and is now being incorporated into shampoos, too. This formula uses charcoal derived from coconut shells alongside lemon and grapefruit oils to leave your hair feeling and smelling fresh.

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3 R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo
Amazon

A clarifying shampoo doesn’t have to be drying. This option from R+Co includes coconut oil to condition, witch hazel and rosemary leaf extract to purify and remove buildup, and amino acids to leave behind a glossy—not greasy—finish.

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4 Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume Shampoo (Pack of 3)
Amazon

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“When it’s time to get down to business, look for clarifying shampoos that strip more oil and dirt away from the hair and scalp,” says Dr. Krant. “These may be too harsh to use daily for some people, but are perfect daily shampoos for others.” Two ingredients found in this option from Pantene, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, are commonly stripped from color safe shampoos, but they do a better job of cleaning, she says.

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5 OGX Detoxifying + Pomegranate & Ginger Shampoo
Ulta

Sure, pomegranate and ginger are great on your plate, but they also have boons when it comes to beauty. “Pomegranate and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr. Zeichner. Pomegranate oil is also rich in linoleic acid (which oily skin lacks), he adds, and research shows that certain tannins in pomegranate extract help keep sebum production under control.

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6 Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo
Amazon

Thanks to sodium laureth sulfate, this option from Neutrogena will banish any buildup left from dry shampoo, hairspray, and oils on your scalp. Formulated for all hair types (even color-treated locks!), its thick lather will get in there to deep-clean your scalp. Plus, it’s designed to be effective for once-a-week use, so you can use your go-to shampoo the rest of the week. Just experiment with washing until you find what works best—some people need daily washing, while others can get away with skipping several days, Dr. Krant says.

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7 Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo with Jujube Bark Extract
Sephora

Whether your hair is straight, wavy, curled, or tightly coiled, this scalp-soothing shampoo from Christophe Robin takes advantage of natural ingredients—like jujube bark and cherry blossom extracts—to absorb excess oil, calm irritation, and moisturize your scalp. Best used daily, this light and gentle formula will leave your strands feeling silky.

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8 DHS SAL Shampoo Maximum Strength
Dermstore

Salicylic acid once again makes an appearance in this recommendation from Dr. Tzu, an ultra-powerful ingredient that targets your oil glands. This shampoo can help treat skin conditions like dandruff, psoriasis, or even seborrheic dermatitis, so it is still gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.

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