The 10 Best Shampoos for Oily Hair of 2023

Oily hair takes a special care—here are our expert-recommended favorites for cleaner, healthier hair

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Best Shampoos for Oily Hair

Health / David Hattan

If you’ve set out to wash your hair less but can’t seem to go a day without it feeling greasy, stringy, and weighed down, there’s a good chance you’re lathering up with the wrong shampoo. Ben Behnam, MD, FAAD, co-founder of Happy Head also notes that to get the shine-free scalp of your dreams, you have to shampoo correctly and pay attention to lifestyle conditions like exercise, humidity, and frequency of washing, all of which can also contribute to the grime. He adds that overwashing your hair can strip your scalp of natural oils, which in turn can result in your scalp producing even more oils. Your best bet for resolving over-oily hair is to find balance between washing enough to feel clean without overdoing it, while adding in the right shampoo. 

Shampoos ideal for oily hair often feature words like “clarifying” on the label. You can also look for ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids and shampoos with ketoconazole, says Dr. Behnam, which help exfoliate the scalp and fight fungal build-up. You’ll also want to avoid moisturizing formulas that contain excess oils or silicones, which aim to give hair a synthetic shine that can easily make it appear dirty instead, Behnam adds. 

To help you find the shampoo that won’t leave you oiler than before you showered, we consulted dermatologists, certified hair stylists, and dozens of product reviews to find the top shampoo solutions. After extesensive research, we narrowed down the list of top shampoos for oily hair based on criteria like price, ingredients, and scent. Then, we had a member of our dermatologist on our Medical Expert Board review this article for accuracy.

Best Overall

Rene Furterer Curbicia Normalizing Regulating Shampoo

Rene Furterer Curbicia Normalizing Regulating Shampoo


Why We Like It: Using natural ingredients, this shampoo cleanses and balances the scalp without over-drying. 

It’s Worth Noting: The price is a bit steep, but expected for a salon-grade product. 

This shampoo was formulated specifically for oily scalps. Curbacia extract, as well as thyme and rosemary essential oils target and eliminate excess oil and restore balance to the scalp, extending time between washes. Younghee Kim, principal stylist and owner of Younghee Salon in New York City loves it because it leaves hair feeling clean, but not over-stripped or vulnerable to damage.

It contains no sulfates, parabens, or silicones. For best results, the brand recommends two applications and letting the second one sit for three minutes before rinsing.

Price at time of publication: $31

Product Details:

  • Active ingredient(s): Curbacia extract, thyme, rosemary
  • Recommended use: Once – twice weekly
  • Size: 5 fl oz

Best Budget

Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Dandruff Shampoo

Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Dandruff Shampoo


Why We Like It: An accessible pick that gets the job done and leaves the scalp feeling clean and oil-free.

It’s Worth Noting: The active formula can be drying if overused.

A tried-and-true staple, Head and Shoulders is a good place to start if you’re troubleshooting an oily scalp. “It contains zinc pyrithione that has antimicrobial properties to reduce the yeast load and improve dandruff,” says Ramya Garlapati, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles. After all, greasiness is often caused by excess buildup and dandruff.

Furthermore, Dr. Garlapati recommends Head and Shoulders to those dealing with an oily scalp caused by seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that leads to irritation and flakiness. At about $10 a bottle, it offers a pretty low-stakes commitment. 

Price at time of publication: $21

Product Details:

  • Active ingredient(s): Pyrithione zinc
  • Recommended use: Twice weekly
  • Size: 13.5 fl oz (2 pack)

Best for Thin Hair

K18 Peptide Prep Detox Shampoo

K18 PEPTIDE PREP™ Clarifying Detox Shampoo


Why We Like It: The formula contains both clarifying and strengthening ingredients that prevent over-stripping and damage.

It’s Worth Noting: The bottle is small (8.5 fl oz), and boasts a double-digit price tag.

Dr. Garlapati recommends K18 as a great option for those who want their scalp to feel squeaky clean, but not compromised. She explains that it’s great at giving a gentle yet deep cleanse without stripping your locks. 

In addition to exfoliators commonly found in clarifying shampoos like salicylic acid and activated charcoal, it also contains a patented peptide blend that works as a protective shield to reduce protein loss that can weaken hair. This is deal for those who already have thin strands. The citrus-scented shampoo is cruelty-free and color-safe, and it’s also pH-optimized.

Price at time of publication: $38

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Activated charcoal, salicylic acid, peptide blend
  • Recommended use: Once weekly or as needed
  • Size: 8.5 fl oz

Best Dry Shampoo

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo


Why We Like It: It actually cleans hair by reducing surface friction, allowing the powder shampoo—and everything it absorbs—to be easily shaken off your strands.

It’s Worth Noting: Depending on how far you’re looking to stretch between shampoos, you could use it up quickly.

A blend of rice starch and mineral powders give this dry shampoo extra oil-absorbing power. What’s more, by reducing surface friction, an added powder removal molecule allows you to shake the powder (and all the oil it absorbs) away as quickly as you apply it. That means it’s behind hair that’s actually cleaner, rather than veiled by additional build-up-causing product. It works for all hair types, but if you have thick hair and struggle with over-using dry shampoo, this one’s especially for you.

It also has a clean scent and absorbs odors, which will really help stretch the days between heavy duty lathers. The brand recommends spraying it on in sections and waiting 30 seconds before massaging or brushing through.  

Price at time of publication: $43

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Rice starch and mineral powder
  • Recommended use: As needed
  • Size: 9.9 oz

Best for Itchiness and Irritation

Briogeo Scalp Revival Dandruff Relief Charcoal Shampoo

Briogeo Scalp Revival MegaStrength Dandruff Relief Shampoo


Why We Like It: Tea tree and hyaluronic acid soothe the scalp and make it gentle enough for regular use.

It’s Worth Noting: It doesn’t lather as intensely as other shampoos.

Three powerhouse ingredients—activated charcoal, salicylic acid, and lactic acid—work together to lift buildup and break through oil in this shampoo. It’s true that the 3% salicylic acid in this formula is a pretty concentrated amount, but that’s what makes it effective at exfoliating away build-up and penetrating oil. That said, lactic acid is a gentler exfoliator, and activated charcoal purifies and unclogs hair follicles to prevent excess oil production. 

Once the coast (scalp) is clear, hyaluronic acid and tea tree soothe and hydrate, leaving the area itch-free and balanced. Added biotin helps hair maintain its strength.

Price at time of publication: $42

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Salicylic acid, lactic acid, activated charcoal, tea tree, hyaluronic acid
  • Recommended use: Twice weekly or as needed
  • Size: 8.4 fl oz

Best Anti-Fungal

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


Why We Like It: Nizoral is an affordable, no-frills formula that works.

It’s Worth Noting: This formula isn’t ideal for those who experience oily hair without dandruff.

If dandruff is contributing to your hair’s greasy glow, Dr. Behnam recommends trying a shampoo formulated with ketoconazole, an antifungal ingredient that keeps build-up at bay. Nizoral is clinically proven to do just that—rather than addressing the symptoms of dandruff (i.e. flakes, oil), it attacks the problem at the source by killing the fungus that causes it in the first place.

Even then, it’s gentle enough to use on color-treated hair and has a fresh scent that keeps it from feeling too medical. 

Price at time of publication: $16

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Ketoconazole
  • Recommended use: Twice weekly 
  • Size: 4 fl oz

Best for Color-Treated Hair

Oribe Serene Scalp Oil Control Shampoo

Oribe Serene Scalp Oil Control Shampoo


Why We Like It: It uses microbiome balancing ingredients to maintain a healthy scalp without stripping your dye job. 

It’s Worth Noting: It’s not the most lathering formula. 

Your scalp produces a waxy oil called sebum to help lock in moisture and keep your head protected. However, your hair can start looking overly shiny when there’s a buildup of sebum. This color-safe shampoo breaks down and controls sebum on your scalp with microbiome rebalancing ingredients and without harming your expensive dye job. 

We love that it’s paraben-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free. Plus, it boasts amino acids and prebiotics in its formula to enhance and rebalance the microflora and bacteria on your scalp for ultimate head health. 

Price at time of publication: $52

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Rosebay extract, green marine algae, biomimetic amino acid, sugar-derived prebiotic
  • Recommended use: As needed
  • Size: 8.5 fl oz

Best Scalp Scrub

Philip B. Peppermint Avocado Scalp Scrub

Philip B. Peppermint Avocado Scalp Scrub


Why We Like It: Upon mixing with water, the scrub lathers into a scrub-foam combo, which helps achieve a deep clean. 

It’s Worth Noting: The price is pretty high.

This is not your average scalp scrub. Peppermint and naturally exfoliating sea salt leave the scalp feeling invigorated and clean, while aloe and avocado soothe and moisturize the area, inhibiting overproduction of oil. The blend of natural ingredients contains no artificial beads or parabens, and it’s color-safe and ideal for all hair types.

There’s no need to use this scrub in conjunction with shampoo, either, because it turns into a luxurious foam that visits all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the head, especially when it sits for five minutes like the brand recommends. Even better, use it in tandem with a scalp massager for refreshed, clean, and balanced tresses.

Price at time of publication: $80

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Sea salt, peppermint, avocado, arnica flower, and witch hazel
  • Recommended use: As needed
  • Size: 9.9 oz

Best Clarifying

Monat Purifying Vinegar Shampoo

Monat Purifying Vinegar Shampoo


Why We Like It: A fuss-free formula that gives hair the fresh start it needs without stripping its moisture.

It’s Worth Noting: You can smell the vinegar a little.

Celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein loves Monat’s Purifying Vinegar shampoo for oily hair. “It’s a great addition to your routine and it gives you a nice deep clean without over-drying,” she says. “The [apple cider] vinegar balances the scalp’s pH and hair is left fresh and shiny.”

It also contains alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate the scalp, and vitamin B6 to support healthy hair growth. However, it’s worth noting that it does have a subtle vinegar scent. While that may be a turnoff to some, it won’t keep your hair smelling like vinegar after you wash and we think the slight scent during bathing is a minor sacrifice to make for gorgeous locks. 

Price at time of publication: $45

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Sea salt, peppermint, avocado, arnica flower, and witch hazel
  • Recommended use: As needed
  • Size: 8 fl oz

Best Hydrating

Selsun Blue Moisturizing Dandruff Shampoo

Selsun Blue Moisturizing Dandruff Shampoo


Why We Like It: It’s affordable, family-friendly, and effective thanks to dandruff-fighting and moisturizing ingredients. 

It’s Worth Noting: The scent could be better.

Dr. Garlapati is a fan of this shampoo because it contains selenium sulfide, “which has antifungal properties and is a great option for those who have an oily scalp due to seborrheic dermatitis,” she says. 

Added aloe vera restores moisture without making hair feel heavy or straw-like, which is what sets it apart from other drugstore dandruff shampoos. While some users report the smell is pretty mild and even pleasant, others find it offputting. If you’re sensitive to scents, we recommend trying another option on this list. 

Price at time of publication: $9

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Selenium sulfide
  • Recommended use: Twice weekly
  • Size: 11 fl oz

How We Selected

To find the best shampoos for oily hair, we spoke with experts about what causes problematic oily hair, and what ingredients to look for when shopping for a shampoo to treat it. Experts we spoke to include: 

We narrowed down the best shampoos for oily hair based on our experts’ guidance and listed criteria to look for in a great product. Then, we researched the top-rated products on the market today and considered them based on criteria such as wash frequency, price, and optimal ingredients recommended by our experts.

What to Know About Shampoo for Oily Hair

How Often You Should Wash Your Hair if It’s Oily

The answer varies from person to person, depending on the severity of oiliness, says Dr. Garlapati. You don’t want to over-wash to trigger overproduction, but you also don’t want to under-wash and inhibit a healthy environment for hair growth. That said, Rubenstein recommends a starting point of sudsing up every other day.

Ingredients to Look for and Avoid in Shampoos for Oily Hair

If your oily hair is caused by seborrheic dermatitis (an irritated scalp and dandruff), then you will benefit from using an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains antifungal active ingredients like zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and ketoconazole, says Dr. Garlapati. She adds that a clarifying shampoo will be best for those who have oily hair because of infrequent washing and oil buildup on the scalp. 

How Much You Can Expect to Pay for a Quality Shampoo 

Prices for quality shampoos for oily hair vary from under $10 to over $70. A higher price tag does not necessarily mean the shampoo is a better product however. Make sure to consider your specific needs and the ingredients within the shampoo before purchasing.

Your Questions, Answered

Should you shampoo oily hair? 

Yes. While oily hair can be over-shampooed and stripped of the natural oils it needs, it can also be under-shampooed, leaving build-up and dirt to prevent hair from growing and thriving. 

Which shampoo is best for oily hair?

It depends on the cause of your problem. If your hair is oily due to dandruff or a related skin condition, you would benefit from an anti-fungal shampoo like Head and Shoulders Classic Clean. If you get oily from product build-up, sweat, or other reasons, a clarifying, exfoliating shampoo like the Rene Furterer Curbicia Normalizing Regulating Shampoo is your best bet. If you’re not sure why your hair is oily, consult a dermatologist.

Who We Are

Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a specialization in public health and women, gender, and sexuality studies. She's covered health, nutrition, lifestyle, and beauty at various outlets for five years.

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