The best shampoo for oily hair

Jennifer Blair

Every scalp produces natural oils that help condition and moisturize the hair. But if your scalp overproduces that oil, it can build up and leave you with limp, greasy locks. In some cases, excess oil can even trigger dandruff and hair loss. If you're tired of dealing with greasy hair, switching from regular shampoo to shampoo formulated for oily hair can cut through all the grease and leave you with squeaky clean locks that you're proud to show off. You just have to be careful to avoid any formula that strips your hair of too much moisture -- or you run the risk of winding up with dry, frizzy tresses. 

With our buying guide, you'll have all the information you need to find the best shampoo for oily hair. We've also included some specific shampoo recommendations, including our top pick from Nexxus, which is a lightweight formula that contains deep-sea minerals that moisturize hair without weighing it down.

Considerations when choosing shampoos for oily hair


Like all shampoo, you can find shampoo for oily hair in several different formulas:

Liquid is the most common formula for shampoo and requires wetting your hair before rubbing it in at your roots to create suds. You then rinse your hair thoroughly with water to clean your hair. Liquid shampoo for oily hair typically features powerful detergents like sulfates, which can effectively remove oil from the scalp and hair.
Shampoo bars resemble soap bars, but they're designed to clean your scalp and hair. They're usually natural formulas that contain essential oils that can clean your scalp and hair as well as balance oil production in the scalp. They also require wetting your hair and then rubbing the bar over your scalp or between your hands to create suds. Shampoo bars for oily skin can be a great option if you prefer eco-friendly self-care products because there's less plastic waste since they don't come in a bottle.
Dry shampoo doesn't require any water. It either comes in a can or powder form and contains ingredients that soak up excess oil from your roots. It can also help boost volume and is ideal for days when you don't want to wash your hair.


Shampoo for oily hair is also available in a few different types, depending on what your particular hair care needs are.

Daily or everyday shampoo for oily hair is usually a relatively mild, gentle formula, so you can use it every day without stripping your hair.
Clarifying shampoo for oily hair is extremely effective in removing oil and product buildup on your hair and scalp. It contains powerful detergents like sulfates, so it shouldn't be used daily or it can strip your hair. Instead, limit your use of clarifying shampoo to two times a month or less.
Volumizing shampoo for oily hair helps boost volume at the roots. Fine or thin hair typically shows the effects of oil more readily than thicker hair types, so a volumizing formula can help the hair appear fuller.
Balancing shampoo for oily hair usually features natural ingredients that can help regulate the oil production in your scalp. That prevents it from stripping too much of your hair's natural moisture.
Clay shampoo for oily hair features a natural clay that can absorb excess oil from the scalp. You can find it in both liquid and powder forms.



In addition to cleaning your hair and removing excess oil, most people also want their shampoo to leave their hair smelling fresh. It can absorb unwanted odors, but many formulas also leave a fragrance behind. Some have stronger fragrances than others, but you can usually choose between fruity or floral scents.


Sulfates are often included in shampoos for oily hair because they're extremely effective in removing excess oil from the scalp. But sulfates can be very harsh and irritate the scalp, so some formulas are now sulfate-free. If you've had a reaction to shampoo with sulfates before, opt for a sulfate-free formula.


Some shampoos contain silicone because it helps the hair appear shinier. But silicones can easily build up on your hair and make it look dull and limp over time. If your hair is naturally oily, you're better off with a silicone-free shampoo to avoid making the problem even worse.


You can expect to pay between $3 and $37 for a shampoo for oily hair. Basic liquid formulas from the drugstore usually go for $3 to $10, but higher-quality options with natural ingredients can cost between $10 and $17. You can spend $20 to $37 for high-end or luxury shampoos for oily hair, though.


Q. Should I use shampoo for oily hair every day?

A. It may be counterintuitive, but washing your hair every day can actually cause your scalp to overproduce oil and make your locks look greasier. It's best to limit your washing to once a day or once every other day and stick to a mild or daily formula to avoid stripping your hair.

Q. How do I use shampoo for oily hair?

A. For both liquid and bar shampoo, wet your hair completely with lukewarm water. Apply the shampoo to only your roots and work it up into a lather. Avoid the ends of your hair, which tend to be drier. Rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water and follow up with conditioner on the ends if necessary.

Shampoos for oily hair we recommend

Best of the best: Nexxus' Hydra-Light Weightless Moisture Shampoo for Oily Hair

Our take: A lightweight formula that's packed with proteins from natural ingredients to combat oily hair without weighing it down.

What we like: Contains deep-sea minerals that provide lightweight hydration. Gives hair added volume and body. Features a hydrating polymer for conditioning and strengthening the hair.

What we dislike: Doesn't necessarily work for everyone, though many people see good results.

Best bang for your buck: Neutrogena's Anti-Residue Shampoo

Our take: A shampoo that's gentle enough for a sensitive scalp but still soothes dryness and removes buildup to control oil.

What we like: Thoroughly cleans hair without stripping it. Volumizes hair and removes product buildup. Gentle enough for all hair types.

What we dislike: Some users aren't fans of the fragrance.

Choice 3: Kerastase's Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo

Our take: An effective oil-fighting shampoo that leaves hair feeling clean and soft.

What we like: Helps balance oil production in the scalp while nourishing and moisturizing the hair. Doesn't require you to wash your hair daily. Features a pleasant scent.

What we dislike: Pricier than other shampoos for oily hair.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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