Remedies for Greasy or Oily Hair

Category Oily Hair
No one likes their hair to look stringy and greasy. If your hair is extra oily though it can be difficult to avoid having your hair look that way. This is a page about remedies for greasy hair.


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January 8, 2009

I have always had oily hair, but in the last several months the oiliness has just gotten worse and worse--to the point that I could wash it as usual and it would be extremely oily only a few hours later.

I tried several different things, lemon juice and a water solution being one, and then my mom and grandmother and I were talking and it was decided among the three of us that Dawn dish washing liquid might work wonders. And it surely has.

I wash my hair with Dawn dish washing liquid. I think I paid about $1 and some change at Wal-mart. Anyway, I wash it twice with Dawn dish washing liquid and then with the shampoo of my choosing. I have found it to be extremely helpful and you can tell a big difference in what it's done for my hair.


This may sound totally silly, and maybe it is, but if it works then so be it, I'll continue to use it for sure. Using Dawn is definitely much better than having really oily hair.

By Shanda from Millers Creek, NC

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Instead of baby powder I use scented dusting powder as I don't really like the smell of baby powder! You can also combine using powder to de-grease hair with the modern dry shampoo sprays. This will help you get over the residue on your scalp, which often necessitates you washing your hair soon after a powder dry shampoo. This will make the commercial dry shampoo spray last longer, as you will need less.

By pam munro from Los Angeles, CA

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August 17, 2011

Mix the equivalent of the juice from 1 lemon with 1 cup water. Pour through your hair, and then rinse with warm water.

Soak your hair in a small basin of water with 1/4 cup cider vinegar, or put the concoction in a spray bottle, and spray on your hair. Then wash it out with warm water.


These remedies also help control nasty shampoo buildup.

By Rhonda Bowman L. from Charlotte NC, Upstate South Carolina

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August 16, 2011

Put baby powder in your hair and then brush it out. I suggest brushing it out outside or in your shower for easier clean up.

By ann from PA

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When I was younger I stayed with my grandma, due too a bad winter storm we were snowed in and ran out of shampoo. We used the original green Palmolive dish washing liquid, it made our hair soft, clean, and grease free for several days.

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August 24, 2011

I was raised partly by a grandmother and she was very thrifty with everthing. She taught me many easy solutions to all kinds of problems.

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We used to do with my bedridden grandmother. Sprinkle a little baby powder or even better, a bit of cornstarch in her hair to refresh it. Then brush it briskly to remove the oils with the powder being brushed out.

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To keep oily hair under control, I use a clarifying shampoo every other time I wash my hair. I always follow a thorough rinsing with a mixture of one quart water and 1/4 cup cider vinegar.

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Hair gets greasy when shampoo is too hard. To solve this problem, just give your hair the oil it needs:

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A quick temporary fix to greasy hair is to just sprinkle a bit of baby powder or talcum powder in it, and fluff it through. It will buy a bit of time until the hair can be washed!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 7, 2008

How do I remove oil from hair without washing?

Moni from Hyattsville, MD


By Stone (Guest Post)
February 7, 20080 found this helpful

Shake baby powder into your hair and then brush it out. A girlfriend in theatre shared this tip with me and it works. I have dark brown hair.

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By Linda (Guest Post)
February 7, 20080 found this helpful

I know if you have blonde hair in a pinch you can put a little bit of talcum powder (baby powder) on your hair and rub it in. Make sure you dont put too much on. It does work. Will be interesting to read others post.

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February 7, 20081 found this helpful

This remedy is something that I heard people who can't wash their hair due to an injury, or stay in the hospital, etc. Dust baby powder on your hair and brush through. I do it in the morning before I hit the shower because I walk my dog first and I have very oily hair. It works for me....

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February 7, 20080 found this helpful

Cornstarch also works.

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February 7, 20080 found this helpful

I use scented dusting powder on my hair - best if you leave it in overnight - and then brush it out - if it makes your hair dull - use some glosser on it after you have cleaned it.

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By macfrodge (Guest Post)
February 7, 20080 found this helpful

I use the same thing - baby powder. I apply it and massage it a bit through my hair.


Then I use the hairdryer and dry my hair in sections. Kind of freshens up the whole look and only takes a few minutes.

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February 8, 20080 found this helpful

Baby powder OR half baby power mixed with half (or one third) baking soda (to help with odor). Sprinkle the powder into just the oily part of your hair (usually the bangs). Then fluff hair up with your fingers to mix the power through your hair. NEXT, Brush & brush & brush until you get as much of the power out as you can! Sometimes you can find a purified Clay in health food stores made as a "dry shampoo". Back in the 1970's they used to advertise (on TV) & sell a name-brand spray-on dry shampoo, which was basically baby power (with a strong scent) in a spray can.


* This "powder shampoo" works better on light colored hair. On super dark hair, it sometimes looks a little "ashy" & of course the shine goes away.It's kind of like getting dusted with a chalk eraser! I repeat: You REALLY have to do A WHOLE LOT of brushing to remove as much of the power as possible, & you'll definitely end up with "flyaway" static-y hair!

---> BUT, when the power goes out, OR you're camping with no showers. You can't BEAT it. I, myself have very dark hair, so I sometimes use just a bit of "Translucent face power" instead. (just on my bangs) when I'm in a hurry & just need to quickly run to the store. I use a make-up brush to brush it on as it's easier to control the amount. NOT the same brush I use on my face! & I wash my make-up brushes REGULARLY with shampoo & water & I also add several drops of bleach to the water. I like the face power better because it's a bit darker than the baby powder. Don't use the new "Mineral foundations" on your hair. Only use plain old "Translucent power" (it's main ingredient is "Talc") I like the Cover Girl brand because it comes in a large container & is fairly cheap, but any brand will do!

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February 8, 20080 found this helpful

When I was little, we once used cornmeal to get the oil out. Seems like it'd be easier to brush out than baby powder, but then I've never used baby powder.


We still had to brush a lot though.

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February 9, 20081 found this helpful

I use rice flour. It brushes/combs out easily. It does not matter brown or white, I grind in my blender a handful or so of the grains, then store in a clean used spice jar.

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By Lynda (Guest Post)
February 10, 20081 found this helpful

Over the years there have been a number of products that bed-ridden folks have depended upon for a time. Yet, with all good intentions, it isn't a fix- all if the hair is truly dirty along with the oiliness.
Truth is that the body oils attract dust which carry dust mites which burrow into the scalp and cause scalp sores. I'd suggest repetitious brushing with a boar hair bristle brush, cleaning out the hair several times, and then using a fine close mist of simple alchohol on parted hair on the scalp only, parting the hair into small sections, then parting further as you go by 1/3" rows before spraying. Dust mites are a much bigger problem than oil, and many die in this process. If the scalp is flaky or if there are signs of sores already, the alcohol will actually help the itch from the mites. With inflammed tiny sores, you can use a q-tip and apply a tiny dab of Neosporin to each one as you part the rows.

We all seem to want the easiest route to do things, but the truth is that using talc and meal is a much bigger mess and actually ATTRACTS dust mites to the scalp off the hair, as a type of "appetizer" prior to their making babies by the millions and then making their way to the human skin on which they prefer to feast in their burrowing.

Those dry hair products are VERY temporary, NOT intended for long term use or excellent results. I
believe you will be happy that you took the time to serve the patient with loving and better treatment that yields better rewards than dusting powders and corn. It will help with odors, oil, itch, and make the patient feel really good if done simply, and according to the amount of time the patient can sit up or move around. If unable to move, it really isn't important that the hair or scalp is relieved unless the patient requests it. Just lean on Lavender water body spray and Fabreze fabric spray for the pillow, until a better time, changing the linens frequently, reasuring the patient that the odor is not so bad.

God bless and guide you. : )

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By Mickelle Hollars (Guest Post)
March 20, 20080 found this helpful

I have really long, thick dark brown hair.
we washed our hair every other day growing up we did all sorts of things.
baby powder
we also used a little alcohol on our scalp and then blow dried. it never dried our scalp out or anything, but everyone is different.

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By Sarah (Guest Post)
April 28, 20080 found this helpful

I have tried baby powder but it has always been hard to tell if it is visible so if you use it don't go over board and try to comb throughly.

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Read More Answers

May 3, 2012

Why when I wash my hair, the next day it's oily and dirty looking like it hasn't been washed in days?

By Peggy

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My husband has extremely oily hair. He can shower and by the end of the day, it is totally oily. Is there any kind of shampoo that can counteract this or any other solution?

By Elaine

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December 12, 2013

I take a shower everyday, but my hair always looks greasy/oily. What can I do?

By Marta G.

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October 27, 2010

I have extremely oily hair with dandruff and it is falling out. What can I do?

By suhani from Punjab

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October 28, 2016

This is a page about using dry shampoo. There are times when you can't get your head wet, but it really needs to be cleaned.

Woman holding a lock of hair in one hand and dry shampoo powder in the other

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 27, 2010

I have a 12 year old daughter with long hair that is greasy the next day after she washes it. We have tried stopping all conditioners and even washing her hair with Head and Shoulders. So far that has dried her hair and made it frizzy.

I'm looking for a good product either natural or store bought to help her with this greasy hair problem. It would make my teen happy if you have got a good idea. Please send it on we would appreciate any help.

By ScrpBkBon from Cincinnati, OH


Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

It sounds like she just needs to wash it every day. If it is really, really long, she could just wash the hair against her head, (and not wet the pony tail). This is what a friend of mine used to do. Also, if she uses conditioner, she can only condition from the pony tail down. (02/18/2010)

By Jill

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

I totally disagree with Jilson (about washing her hair everyday, I think her idea about not washing the ponytail is good). Your daughter needs to do the opposite (wash her hair less often!) because the more you wash your hair (or your face) the more your body rebels and makes even more oils. Ask any doctor! This is the first mistake people with acne or oily hair make, they wash their face or hair too often which makes their body make even more oils!

  1. Try this for at least 2 weeks (a month would be a better test):

    Wash her hair no more than 2 times a week and if her hair gets dirty during the off (non-shampooing) days, use a quality dry shampoo to get rid of the oil. If her hair is light colored, she can simply use any baby or talcum powder (being careful not to inhale the powder). Just sprinkle the power or spray the dry shampoo into her hair then brush out the excess powder with a clean, dry brush. This will soak up the excess oil. Keep the power or dry shampoo away from her scalp, use only on the hair.
  2. If she feels like she really needs to wash her hair she can clean her hair by combing a cheapie conditioner through her hair over and over in the shower, then rinse thoroughly. This works because oil removes oil (as most mechanics know) and at the same time the conditioner won't damage her hair like shampoo can. The trick is to do a great job rinsing the conditioner out and be sure to comb or massage the conditioner into the scalp to help remove the scalp oil which could back-fire in her case. It can't hurt to try this. I have very dry, frizzy hair and I've been washing my hair with conditioner for over 30 years and gets perfectly clean. I only use shampoo once every week or two.
  3. She can also try using original amber colored Listerine on her hair and scalp. Don't use any of the other flavors of Listerine because the mint and orange flavors have a sweetener added. Lots of people use Listerine for fungus infections (body and scalp) and also for dandruff, so I see no reason she couldn't give this a try. If this was me, I'd put the Listerine into a spray bottle, then spray it on the scalp and hair, then brush it through her hair, then towel dry her hair really well. This may not work for her problem, but it sure works great for dandruff (because the eucalyptus and menthol in the amber colored Listerine kill fungus which is what causes most dandruff).
After she tries this for 2 - 4 weeks, write me here on ThriftyFun and let me know how it worked for her. (02/18/2010)

By Cyinda

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

As someone who's had oily hair since the age of 11, the answer is simple: Wash it every day. People shower every day, so why not wash your hair while you're in the shower, right? :-)
At your daughter's age, it's especially important to include daily hair washing as part of her routine, because the oil from hair can get onto the face, creating problems or potential problems with acne.

Please don't use harsh shampoos like Head and Shoulders however, that's for dandruff, not oily hair. A nice, mild shampoo is sufficient.

And while you don't want her loading up on conditioner, it's important to use a conditioner especially made for oily hair. Even oily hair can be damaged by lack of conditioning, especially if your daughter blow-dries her hair.

Shampooing every day will not damage hair. What will damage it is trying to find something that will keep her hair clean and non-oily for days. Because a product like that would be way too harsh, anyway.

Cyinda's advice, while well-intentioned, could do a lot of damage. Listerine is way too astringent for use in hair. Combing conditioner through it will only add to the oiliness. Powder and/or dry shampoos are a disaster for oily hair, as I found out the hard way when I was 11. There's a reason people wash their hair every day; it's good hygiene, and it works. :-) (02/19/2010)

By Melanie Jackson

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

I came across a new movement to "not" shampoo hair and use a baking soda rinse, followed by a rinse of plain water, and I like it. My hair is a little oily, but if you brush long hair every day, it distributes oil along shaft from scalp area so that moderates oil.

The soda rinse is made by 2-3 tablespoons in glass of warm water, make sure glass is actually plastic for safety, rub into scalp and massage through hair just as if it were shampoo, then rinse. Hair feels clean, has shine, and looks good. Once in a while use a plain shampoo, like Suave which has been watered down, like 1 tablespoon in glass of warm water. I shampoo about every 4th time. Sometimes just rinsing hair with warm water helps, because what you are rinsing out is the sweat of the day, dust, etc. (02/19/2010)


Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

We use vinegar as a rinse. Works well, and any type of vinegar will work. It is the perfect ph, so won't dry out your hair. It is also a natural antibody fighter, so will also work against any blackheads and such. (02/21/2010)

By mom-from-missouri

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

I'm 36 weeks pregnant, because of my pregnancy I have had extremely oily hair. I would wash it one day and the next it would be oily again. I did some research on the problem and found that many people recommend using tea tree Oil in their shampoo. I tried it, and sure enough it worked. My hair was silky, shiny, soft, and definitely not oily. You can find tea tree oil at pretty much any store. I myself went to Walgreen's and got a small bottle of it for nine dollars. I also bought a little re-usable lotion/shampoo bottle which I put a mixture of shampoo and tea tree oil. When you do mix the oil and shampoo, you only need a tiny amount of the tea tree oil for it to work. I hope this works for you. (02/22/2010)

By Aliesha

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

I have very oily hair as well. I wash it most days.
But, when I need to go a day without washing, I use a little baby powder. I have dark hair so I have to be careful not to use too much. If you use a little around the roots as soon as you get your hair dry and then the next day use a little more, it works quite well. Just use a little, comb it in, then use a little more. It helps absorb some of the oil. Has really saved me on camping trips! (02/22/2010)

By cdoss

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

She should be washing her hair every day because of oils caused by puberty which can also affect her facial skin as previously mentioned (this can happen at menopause, too), but the trick for the scalp to not overly produce oils is using a mild shampoo and "do not scrub". Scrubbing actually stimulates the scalp oil glands!

Simply apply the shampoo to the entire scalp and gently wash the scalp with fingertips and then work the lather through the rest of the hair. A vinegar rinse is a good idea too and she should indeed use conditioner because her hair is long, and especially if she blows it dry, but just don't apply the conditioner to the scalp.

Baby powder, talcum power, or baking soda gently brushed through the scalp area will help to keep the oiliness from being noticeable on days there simply isn't time for a shampoo.

This advice is from a former pubescent and thereafter over thirty years as a hairstylist as were my parents before me ;-) (02/22/2010)

By Deeli

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

As a person who has had extremely oily hair her entire life, I too disagree with Cyinda. Have her wash her hair every day. I've found that switching shampoos every two weeks makes a difference for me. And yes, some shampoos cut the oil better than others. Also, tell her to never wash or rinse her hair in hot water; the cooler she can stand it, the better for oily hair. Hot water opens the oil ducts; cool water closes them.

I do not use a blow dryer either; the heat from it stimulates the oil glands. Ditto for hot rollers, curling irons, etc. I allow my hair to air dry. Between shampoos, I brush cornstarch through my hair. I've found that it absorbs oil better than other powders. I also used to rinse my hair with lemon juice. It may be drying to some, but my oily hair could handle it. (02/23/2010)

By susan

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

Tell her to try Aussie's Cleanse and Mend Shampoo, it is formulated to dry out greasy roots while maintaining moisturized ends. Another tip is that when you do condition your hair, only apply conditioner to the hair that falls below your ear lobes, our scalps make more than enough oils to keep our roots moisturized.

Another thing would be to stay away from shampoos with sodium laureth sulfate, which is the ingredient in shampoo/face washes that strips dirt and grim from the hair/skin. This often makes our scalp over produce oils in order to compensate for the stripped moisture. (02/26/2010)

By abrupt_silence

Solution for Extremely Oily Hair

Thanks to everyone who had suggestions for my daughter. So far this week she has has had her hair cut to a more manageable length and she has been using a clarifying shampoo and a good conditioner only for the ends of her hair. Last week she tried Suave for a double shampoo and a cool water and white vinegar rinse. She has also changed her habits of needlessly scrubbing her scalp. She even stopped blow drying and has gone to a wide toothed comb. I appreciate all your kind advice and thanks again :)

Bonnie (02/26/2010)

By ScrpBkBon

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February 18, 2010

My handicapped sister has hair that is far more oily than any I have ever seen or heard of. It's a terrible problem and even washing every day doesn't help much.

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