Thin, oily, limp—these are not words you’d be happy to use to describe your hair. Unfortunately, greasy-looking hair is a fairly common concern, especially for those with fine or thin hair. Your scalp is skin, which means it’s producing oil constantly. While some oil is necessary for your scalp and hair’s overall health and appearance, too much can give your hair a greasy look. If oiliness is a constant concern, you’d likely benefit from making a few tweaks to your haircare routine to help eliminate buildup and keep your strands clean and healthy-looking.
Here, we’ll explain what causes excessively greasy hair and how to care for it. You’ll also learn about the best Kiehl’s haircare products to use to keep your mane clean and fresh-looking—plus tips on how to eliminate heavy product buildup for sleek, shiny strands. Read on for your guide to caring for greasy hair.
What Causes Greasy Hair?
There are a few things that can cause your hair to look greasy—chief of which is excess oil. As we mentioned earlier, your scalp continuously secretes a natural oil (called sebum) to protect both the scalp skin and the hair. This is natural and essential: Without sufficient oil, skin becomes dry, itchy, and prone to sensitivity. But if you produce too much oil (either because you have an oily skin type or as a response to hormonal fluctuations), you’ll notice your scalp and hair will start to look oily, particularly at the roots.
Greasy-looking strands can also result from product buildup, sweaty hair, or using too much product for your hair type. Those with fine, straight hair are often more prone to greasiness than those with thicker, curlier strands because it’s easier for oil to travel down straight hair fibers than curly hair fibers.
How Should You Care For Greasy Hair?
If you have greasy strands, you’ll want to choose your grooming products carefully and limit how much you handle your hair. Keep reading for four greasy hair tips to follow for a clean-looking, manageable mane.
Tip #1: Reach For a Lightweight, Non-Stripping Shampoo
Most people don’t need to wash their hair every day: In fact, for those with a dry scalp or brittle strands, over-washing can result in excessive hair damage. If you’re prone to greasiness, though, shampooing regularly is essential.
Equally important is choosing a shampoo formulated for your hair type. If you have fine, thin hair, for example, you’ll want to avoid shampoos that contain heavy oils or silicones, which can weigh down your hair. Instead, look for a gentle, lightweight cleanser, like Amino Acid Shampoo. This Kiehl’s favorite is formulated with amino acids and ultra-lightweight coconut-derived cleansers. The classic gel formula emulsifies with water to create a rich, foamy lather that thoroughly washes away heavy residue and leaves hair feeling clean and soft. It’s suitable for all hair types and can be used daily as the first step in your haircare routine.
If you have extremely fine or thin hair, try Rice & Wheat Volumizing Shampoo instead. This daily hair cleanser, which contains hydrolyzed rice and wheat proteins, helps remove dirt, sweat, and excess oil without overdrying the hair or scalp. The unique formula also coats thin strands with a weightless volumizing complex to add body and fullness to limp, lifeless strands.
Grooming Solutions Nourishing Shampoo + Conditioner
For men’s greasy hair, we recommend Grooming Solutions Nourishing Shampoo + Conditioner. The multipurpose formula removes heavy buildup while hydrating dry strands to restore hair’s healthy appearance. It’s suitable for both head hair and facial hair and can be used daily as the first step in your men’s grooming routine.
Note that excessive shampooing can strip your hair and leave drier areas prone to damage. To minimize the risk of drying out your ends, massage your chosen shampoo only onto your scalp and roots and avoid working the lather throughout the lengths of your strands. Then, rinse thoroughly before applying your conditioner.
Tip #2: When Conditioning, Skip Your Roots
Conditioning helps detangle your hair and lubricates your strands to reduce frizz and flyaways. If your hair is prone to excessive oiliness, though, heavy formulas can weigh down your tresses and give your mane a limp or greasy appearance.
Amino Acid Conditioner
When choosing a conditioner for greasy hair, look for a formula free of heavy silicones or waxes. We recommend Amino Acid Conditioner, which is formulated with fairly-traded coconut oil and a blend of essential amino acids. The creamy conditioner helps maintain hair’s natural moisture balance and strengthen weak strands. The mild formula also boosts shine without adding weight to reveal healthier-looking hair. It’s suitable for all hair types and can be used daily after shampooing for manageable, healthy-looking hair.
For an even lighter touch, try Rice & Wheat Volumizing Conditioning Rinse. This gentle conditioner moisturizes fine, lifeless hair to tame frizz and flyaways without a heavy or greasy feel. It also helps add body to flat-looking strands, giving hair a fuller, healthier appearance with regular use.
If you’re prone to oily-looking hair, avoid applying conditioner to your roots, as this can exacerbate the appearance of greasiness. Instead, work the conditioner from the mid-lengths down to the ends. Once you’ve massaged the conditioner through your strands, be sure to rinse it out thoroughly with warm water to ensure no residue remains after you get out of the shower.
Tip #3: Steer Clear Of Heavy Styling Products
Leave-in products may be necessary if you have frizzy hair or an abundance of split ends, but if you have greasy hair, it’s best to avoid heavy styling aids whenever possible. Instead, seek out in-shower products that help smooth the hair without adding weight, like Hair Conditioner and Grooming Aid Formula 133. This Kiehl’s classic, formulated with hydrolyzed wheat and soy protein, helps moisturize and detangle without weighing down fine strands. Apply it to damp hair and rinse thoroughly to nourish your mane after shampooing, or skip rinsing and simply comb the fluid formula through your hair from mid-lengths to ends for softness and shine without a greasy-looking finish.
Tip #4: Avoid Touching Your Hair
Resist the urge to touch your hair (especially your roots), as the sweat and oils from your hands can transfer to the hair and give it an oily, limp appearance. The same goes for brushing your hair. Excessive brushing can stimulate your scalp’s sebaceous glands, worsening oiliness and giving hair a greasy appearance. In other words: If you’re prone to greasy-looking roots, the best thing you can do is to simply leave your hair be as much as possible.