Good hair days are guaranteed to follow.

By Hana Hong
Updated March 19, 2020
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Greasy hair is the bane of beauty afflictions—hard to fix and even harder to pinpoint. Some reasons may be more obvious than others. Maybe you’re a morning exerciser. Maybe touching your hair comes as second nature. Or maybe it’s just been a minute since you’ve last taken a shower (hey, no judgment). But then, there are the less common culprits. And no matter how often you wash your hair and do everything right, you can't seem to make it more than a couple days without an oil slick on your scalp. Sound familiar? To get to the root of the problem, we talked to Davide Marinelli, hairstylist, Cricket ambassador, and founder of Davide Hair Studio in NYC. Below, some reasons your scalp may be greasing up—and what you can do to prevent it (spoiler: it’s not just dry shampoo).

You’re washing your hair too often.

According to Marinelli, greasy hair often starts with overusing shampoo. Although piling on the suds might seem like the logical thing to do, overwashing can be counterproductive by stripping your hair of its natural oils, instigating your scalp to go into overdrive to replace them. Try cutting back to every other day at least. “If you tend to overwash your hair, try co-washing instead, or extending time between washes with dry shampoo,” adds Marinelli.

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You’re using too many styling products.

If you’re a product junkie, you may want to ease up on the hairspray—too many styling products can clog up your scalp. Give your locks a detox with a clarifying shampoo once a week, like the Amika Reset Clarifying Gel Shampoo ($25;, or a product designed to exfoliate the scalp, like the Frank Body Stimulating Scalp Scrub ($19; If you want to go the extra mile, use it with a scalp exfoliating brush, like the Sephora Scalp Massager ($10;, to slough away dead skin cells.

You’re incorrectly applying your styling products.

Keep products like waxes, creams, and oils away from your roots—these can make your hair greasier since they're made with emollients. “It’s important to analyze your hair in sections. One product can’t always be used from roots to ends,” says Marinelli. “When styling, I recommend using products with an alcohol base on the roots for volumizing and thickening, something to add body to the middle of your strands, and something that seals protection on the ends.”

You’re eating the wrong diet.

According to Marinelli, “Your hair indicates what’s going on with your insides. The healthier your diet is, the healthier your hair will be.” Stay away from sugars, dairy products, and red meats, which have been shown to break down into androgens (hormones) and result in an overproduction of sebum. Taking supplements with vitamin B6 or essential fatty acids can also help control deficiencies and get your body’s balance back on track.

You’re not cleaning your pillowcase.

Just like contaminated makeup brushes can make you break out, using dirty pillows can reap repercussions on your scalp. “I’m a big advocate for changing pillows weekly—pillowcases can store hair’s natural oils, contributing to it looking greasy,” says Marinelli. This one is a simple fix—just toss your case in the wash to avoid oil buildup.

You’re brushing your hair too frequently.

Brushing your hair might make your hair look glossy, but overdo it and you’ll stress the hair and overwork it, causing your scalp to produce more oil. If your hair gets easily tangled, stick to detangling the lengths with a wide-tooth comb, working upwards toward the scalp to avoid breakage.

You’re not washing out conditioner.

Be cautious with conditioner: Over-applying or not washing it out properly can weigh down your hair and be a major grease-giving culprit. “To combat it, I’d recommend using a hair mask once a week instead of conditioner every day,” says Marinelli. “Using a leave-in conditioner can also help detangle hair and add moisture.” When you do apply, focus conditioner on the lower half of your strands only.