Oily hair shampoo can make your hair oilier

I’ve been spending more time on hair care these days and recently, I experimented by switching from my usual staple of oily and volumizing shampoos to one that is for normal hair and was happy that it worked well for me. I have a very oily scalp since I was a teen and I’ve always presumed that I need specific shampoos to address that problem. However, it seems that a shampoo for oily hair can be too aggressive and counterproductive.

Causes for oily hair
First off, oily hair is really due to the overproduction of sebum from the scalp’s fatty glands and this can be caused by hormone disturbances, stress, hot and humid atmosphere, perspiration, a diet rich in saturated fat, excessive brushing, over shampooing, over massaging, or constantly running hands through the hair. The hair becomes oily, sticky and unmanageable very quickly and looks horrible. For me, my hair gets oily in a matter of hours and I have to shampoo daily to keep it looking clean. Even with daily washing, I need to use a dry shampoo to keep the grease at bay.

Daily washing strips oil off sebaceous glands
The problem for me was that with daily washing using the shampoo for oily hair, my scalp became drier as it’s stripped of all the oil and the sebaceous glands had to release more oil to lube my scalp for protection. The principle is similar as with the skin on our face really and I don’t know why I took so long to figure that out. I can only say, probably all that washing over years stripped away some of my brain juice too.

Avoid SLS & silicone-based shampoos
But at the least, I try to stick to shampoos that say they’re gentle and avoid those containing SLS. I still go for foaming shampoos but I now avoid those that leave my hair squeaky clean. Hence, clarifying shampoos are not good for my case because they absolutely strip oil off my scalp and hair. I also avoid hair products containing silicones as mentioned in my earlier entry why avoid silicone-based shampoos and conditioners because when used over time, silicone-based hair products coat the hair shaft and seal out moisture, possibly clogging the hair follicles. So what happens is that hair can become flat and greasy with build-up or dry and straw like with a lack of moisture.

Alternate shampoos and treatments
So what I do now is to use a normal shampoo that cleans my hair well on most day and then rotate that with a volumizing shampoo. I’m also adding some treatments for my scalp – including herbal hair rinse and one commercial product that I will review in time.

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  1. Audris says

    The more “natural” non-SLS/Silicone-based shampoos have helped to balance my hair too. The scalp doesn’t get so oily quickly.

    The same goes for the face as well. Once my normal/oily combi skin stopped all the oil control stuff, the oil production became considerably less. Such that I don’t even bother with oil blotting paper anymore.

    Makes you wonder if we really need all those different categories for dry/normal/oily/sensitive/all the others inbetween after all 😉

    • sesame says

      Yep, it can get a bit meaningless especially for those with oily skin or oily hair because many of such products seek to strip rather than balance. My t-zone is also less oily now and I hardly blot…only when it’s really hot.

  2. Ginger says

    Is oily same as greasy? Would say mine’s greasy. I’m using AVEDA Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo & Conditioner & that helps a lot. Also I’m in 3rd week using the DIY rosemary hair tonic which you posted & that helps too. Before I had to wash my hair alternate days but since using the rosemary tonic I can skip @ least 3 days the most 4 without washing it. I put some of the tonic in a spray bottle & cool it in the fridge and just spritz it on the itchy scalp on the days before the next wash. It feels like a nice cool balm to the itchy scalp. And I think I’ve less fallen hair to pick up from the floor now :)

    • sesame says

      Yes, the same. Basically, it’s the scalp secreting lots of sebum. I’m glad the rosemary hair tonic works for you. I have problems buying rosemary here…for some strange reasons, the supermarket did not re-stock. I’m using a new recipe that helps with oily hair too and I’ll be sharing that tomorrow.

  3. Ros says

    Hi Sesame! :)
    I love the rosemary hair tonic too. Wish I can plant my own rosemary so I don’t have to keep on buying. :)
    Anyway, I have very fine hair, with oily scalp and I try to avoid clarifying shampoo or shampoo for oily hair. I am now alternating between rene furterer balancing shampoo and aveda volumizing shampoo. They give me good results but I wonder why my hair tangles very easily still. Looking forward to your new recipe!

    • sesame says

      It’ll be nice to be able to grow our own but I don’t have green fingers. 😛

      Aveda Volumizing Shampoo is nice…I’ve just finished the bottle.

  4. Hanns says

    i’m using head and shoulders for dry [itchy?] scalp with almond oil, for moisturizing the scalp.i have dry scalp but my hair’s oily :( yep weird.. i wash my hair every other day and it feels and my hair looks great since i started using the shampoo and conditioner 😀 in my case i find normal shampoos too drying for my hair and scalp..

    • sesame says

      Oh that’s strange…dry scalp with oil hair. But glad the shampoo you are using is working well for you.

  5. says

    Hi Sesame,

    I have oily scalp too and starting to lose hair at the parting towards the back of my head. Very worrying. Do you have any particular good shampoos to recommend?

    • sesame says

      Have you checked the Phyto range? They’re not bad. But what you also need to determine is why you’re losing hair to arrest the root cause if possible. You might have to also use hair tonic. Regaine is quite good I was told although I’ve not used it.

      • says

        Hi Sesame,

        Thank u for the recommendation. Is there a particular shampoo fr the Phyto range you’d recommend?

        I am not sure what is the exact cause. Could be anything, emotional stress, oily scalp, or antidepressants I took from Aug-Dec last year (off them for 4 months now). I don’t really want to spend a bomb at Yun Nam, Beijing 101 or Trichokare. Would you recommend seeing a dermatologist specialising in skin and hair for this?

        • sesame says

          Hi Louisa:

          Okay, instead of getting the shampoos yourself, I suggest you seek some expert opinions instead. I tried this herbal treatment and it’s quite good but it’s nothing pampering. So see if you’re keen to try it out.


  6. says

    Actually improper used of shampoo is harmful for hairs weather you go for normal shampoo or oily one you need to know, the proper way to use it. I personally prefer herbal shampoo for my hairs.

      • says

        Hello sesame, From improper use I meant that if the hair aren’t rinsed off properly then it can lead to dandruff and other stuff. I love shampooing my hair but too much shampooing and that also with a low quality shampoo is a bad thing to do.

        If you already have a good quality shampoo then proper washing is an essential thing to keep in mind.


        • sesame says

          I see…I rinse my hair like crazy cos I definitely don’t want to have traces of shampoo left so I didn’t think that this can happen. Haha…I guess some people are lazier. 😛

  7. says

    Now that I think of it, this is so true! My previous shampoo was for normal hair; my hair was behaving pretty well. Now I have one for oily hair, and my hair gets oily after a day!

    • sesame says

      Oh it’s good…I’ve not been using Jason brand of products for awhile. Maybe time to take a look at them.

  8. e says

    hello, do you have any advice for not necessarily oily scalp/hair but itchy scalp?

    my scalp tends to itch like crazy after about 24 hours, 36 maximum, then i definitely have to wash my hair. been trying all sorts of methods, even using the sukin shampoos, but to no improvement. do you think it’s cos of sg’s weather, and daily shampooing just can’t be avoided for me??

    i’d appreciate your insights, thanks!

    • sesame says

      Not sure why you have an itchy scalp. It’s best to ascertain that through a professional. But one possible reason is some bacteria that is causing the itch. Have you tried using tea tree essential oil with your shampoo. Drop 1 or 2 drops into your coin size shampoo and wash your hair with that.

  9. Swee says

    I have just dicovered that I have dandruff and itchy scalp, I believe it is still at the initial stage as the flakes are very small. I have read the goodness of Jason tea tree oil shampoo, do you know where can I get Jason shampoos in Singapore? ? Thanks

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