There's a Simple Reason Your Hair Is Still Greasy Even After You Shampoo It

Updated 08/01/18

There is nothing more frustrating (at least when it comes to haircare) than actually taking the time to wash your hair, only to emerge from the shower looking like the girl from The Ring. Because let's be 100% honest: We don't wash our hair every day. That's why dry shampoo was invented. Nobody has time (or at least we don't) for the whole shampoo-condition-style routine every day. So when our wash day still leaves us with greasy hair, we're understandably cranky (and a little bit confused).


Having greasy hair after washing it seems to defy all logic, like many things in 2018, yet it happens. To demystify this curious phenomenon, I went to the experts to uncover the most common reasons you have greasy hair after you wash it. Here's their insight.

Your shampoo has the wrong oils in it

Hairprint Bio-Active Kelp Shampoo $22

"I love natural shampoos. However, they have to have the right chemistry to work," says Kristen Shaw, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Cabin salon and bookstore in Venice, California. "A lot of natural shampoos are loaded with oils that can leave residue—for example, coconut oil–based shampoos, she explains. "Those will leave a buildup that is difficult to get out," she says. As an alternative, we like Hairprint Bio-Active Kelp Shampoo ($22), pictured above.

Your shampoo + conditioner combo is too heavy for your hair type

Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo $28

"Moisturizing shampoos are amazing, but sometimes you need to pair a lighter conditioner with it to balance it out," Shaw says. For example, she likes to pair Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo ($28), pictured above, with a lighter conditioner like Davines Dede Conditioner ($32).

Davines Dede Conditioner
Davines Dede Conditioner $32
Verb Hydrating Mask
Verb Hydrating Mask $16

"If you think your hair needs more moisture but are afraid of the oil, you can also try a light shampoo and pair it with a hair mask, so you get that extra push of moisture without the grease," she explains.

Your shampoo is too harsh

Playa Every Day Shampoo $32

"A lot of shampoos on the market contain harsh chemicals that create a vicious cycle of aggressively stripping hair that then leads your scalp to overproduce oil in an attempt to maintain balance," says Olivia Austin, co-founder of Playa. SLS is a common chemical detergent in shampoos that can dry out your scalp; coconut-based cleansers are gentler and also detoxifying.

You may need to shampoo twice

R+Co Television Perfect Hair Shampoo $32

If you find that your hair is greasy even after you wash it, Nicholas Langley, colorist at Benjamin Salon in West Hollywood, recommends doubling up on shampooing. "The first shampoo will remove dirt and buildup while the second shampoo will actually cleanse your scalp," he explains. "Remember: Not all shampoos are created equally, so you will need to find one that suits your scalp, hair texture, and styling needs."

Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo
Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo $28

He also recommends using a gentle clarifying shampoo once a week if you have an oily scalp.

Something on the inside is imbalanced


"Oftentimes what comes out is coming from within," Shaw says. "Take a look at your diet and see where you can take some things out that may be overpowering your pores. Oftentimes things like dairy, if you are sensitive, can cause clogged pores."

She recommends cutting out potentially irritating foods, such as dairy, for a couple of weeks to see how your scalp fares.

You aren't using a mud mask on your hair

Cleansing Volumizing Paste with Pure Rassoul Clay and Rose Extracts 2.7 oz/ 75 mL
Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumizing Paste With Pure Rassoul Clay and Rose Extracts $19

Shaw recommends doing a mud mask on your scalp quarterly, "to keep your scalp replenished with good minerals and free of all the gunk that weighs down your hair and results in oil buildup," she says. She offers this treatment (that she whips up herself with clay and essential oils) at her salon.

Next, check out our all-time favorite dry shampoos.

Opening image: Mango

Related Stories