The best clarifying and refreshing shampoos for greasy hair

Posted by
Becci Vallis

If your hair falls on the greasier end of the spectrum, you’re not alone. These refreshing and clarifying shampoos will leave your hair feeling fresh, bouncy and clean as a whistle.

Ah, if only we could have waved goodbye to greasy hair as we emerged from puberty. But no – just like adult acne is most definitely a thing, greasy hair can continue well into adulthood. It’s not just down to our lazy (read: dry shampoo) habits, either. Exercise and where you live and work – as well as piling on too much product – can all weigh down hair, making it look lifeless and as though it simply needs a good wash.

“Greasy hair is often caused by external factors which is why you could have greasy hair but not oily hair – oily hair is a natural occurrence,” explains celebrity hairdresser Jamie Stevens.

His top tips? Don’t condition every time you wash; condition just at the ends; use a natural bristle brush to redistribute the oil from the roots down the hair shaft; don’t over-brush (that encourages more oil production) and keep your brush clean so that oil isn’t transferred back onto your hair.

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It’s especially worth paying attention to that last point if you’re an avid exerciser who often swerves washing your hair after a gym session. All the sweat and grease your brush picks up will stay there until the next time you use it – which is pretty gross when you think about it.

Invest in a good shampoo, too. Choose one labelled as suitable for greasy hair or which falls into the ‘clarifying’ category: these work like magnets to attract any excess sebum sitting on the scalp. Finally, avoid heavy moisturising ingredients and silicones. Stevens explains that these, “can cause a build-up on the hair shaft and are hard to remove, which will exacerbate the problem”.

Read on to discover the shampoos keeping our hair shiny but not slick…

The best shampoos for greasy hair

  • Beauty Kitchen Karine Jackson The Balancer Hair Pre Wash

    Apple cider vinegar – good for cleansing your gut and your scalp. This product helps to rebalance the pH of your skin and stops pollution and product debris turning to grease. Use before shampooing for a thorough cleanse.

    £12, Holland and Barrett

  • Kerastase Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo

    This silicone-free shampoo relies on glycine and vitamin B6 to get rid of oily roots while keeping ends soft and hydrated. Every hairdresser’s go-to for greasy haired clients.

    £15.15, Look Fantastic

  • L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay

    Clay shampoo sounds scary, but clay is often used in face masks for problem skin as it dries up excess sebum and purges pores, leaving complexions fresh and super clean. This shampoo applies the same thesis to the scalp. Bravo L’Oreal.

    £2.99, Superdrug 

  • Hask Charcoal Purifying Shampoo

    Charcoal sounds like it might be heavy on the hair but this is suitable for finer textures too as it’s combined with citrus oils that moisturise without weighing it down. Another sulphate and paraben free option.

    £6.99, Boots

  • Ouai Clean Shampoo

    Celebrities often fall victim to product overload. So when Jen Atkin – the genius behind Chrissy Teigen, Emma Stone and Cindy Crawford’s hair – created her haircare range, she knew exactly what she wanted in her reset shampoo. Detoxifying but with a pretty floral scent, it’s how to de-grease, the A-list way.

    £22, Space NK

  • Vichy Dercos Nutrients Detox Shampoo

    Vichy’s experts in sensitive skin have turned their attention to scalps that go greasy in double quick time. Soothing and cleansing at the same time, sebum will be washed away with ease and your scalp will be free of environmental aggressors like pollution particles.

    £11, Feel Unique

  • Leonor Greyl Bain TS Shampooing Balancing Shampoo for Oily Scalp & Dry Ends

    If you do suffer with an oily scalp, this shampoo includes lime tree oil, sage, yeast and wheat germ. These have antibacterial and antiperspirant properties, so sweat and sebum don’t linger long enough to appear on the hair shaft.

    £27.50, Space NK

  • Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo

    There’s nothing like refreshing mint to make you feel super clean (hello, mouthwash). Invigorating and soothing, this shampoo also contains micelles and vinegar that lure excess grease away from your scalp and down the plughole.

    £19, Feel Unique

  • Phyto Phytosquam Oily Hair Shampoo

    This shampoo is recommended for use two to three times a week for up to four weeks. During that time, your scalp’s sebaceous glands get taught not to go into overdrive and instead your hair will start behaving itself better.

    £16.50, John Lewis

  • Cowshed Moody Cow Balancing Shampoo

    As with all Cowshed offerings, this smells divine (thanks to petitgrain, manuka honey and cinnamon). How convenient that all those ingredients also prevent oiliness, add shine and boost circulation for a healthy, happy scalp.

    £16, Look Fantastic

  • Love Beauty and Planet Delightful Detox Vegan Shampoo

    love beauty and planet detox shampoo

    In recycled bottles, 100% vegan and void of parabens, silicones or colourants, this is a fantastic everyday go-to for rinsing away dirt, debris and anything else that’s been attracted to your scalp and hair to make it look like an oil slick.

    £8.99, Boots

Image credits: Getty Images


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Becci Vallis

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