Going days between shampoos has become something of a competition in recent years — Kim Kardashian famously revealed she only washes her hair every five days! But if you feel like you can’t go a day without washing or even rewashing (even with the help of dry shampoo) or often find yourself reaching for a clarifying shampoo for a deeper clean to cut through all the buildup, you may want to switch your go-to shampoo to a specially-formulated one for oily hair.
Shampoos for oily hair typically contain stronger surfactants — the ingredients that cleanse strands — to remove excess sebum (a.k.a. oil). “They are also usually made with very few conditioning ingredients compared to ones for dry, damaged hair,” says Danusia Wnek, chemist at Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab. When shopping for a shampoo for oily hair, look at the color and texture of the shampoo for a cue, suggests GH Beauty Lab senior chemist Sabina Wizemann: “In general, the rule of thumb should be to look for clear shampoos, not milky ones,” she explains.
Our top picks
- Best Overall Shampoo for Oily Hair: Suave Essentials Daily Clarifying Hair Shampoo
- Best Value Shampoo for Oily Hair: L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo
- Best Shampoo for Oily, Thin Hair: Garnier Fructis Full & Plush Shampoo
- Best Shampoo for Oily Hair and Dandruff: Head & Shoulders Instant Oil Control Dandruff Shampoo
- Best Shampoo for Oily, Frizzy Hair: OGX Weightless Hydration Coconut Water Shampoo
- Best Professional Shampoo for Oily Hair: Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Shampoo
- Best Drugstore Shampoo for Oily Hair: Herbal Essences Blue Ginger & Micellar Water Shampoo
- Best Organic Shampoo for Oily Hair: Rahua Voluminous Shampoo
- Best Clarifying Shampoo for Oily Hair: Bumble and Bumble Sunday Clarifying Shampoo
- Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Oily Hair: Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight Water-to-Foam Shampoo
- Best Thickening Shampoo for Oily Hair: Keep it Anchored ESSENTIALS KIT FOR WOMEN Essences & Shampoo
- Best Citrus Shampoo for Oily Hair: Avalon Organics Natural Shampoo, Clarifying Lemon
How we test shampoos
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab scientists is constantly testing shampoos of all kinds, including shampoo for dry hair, shampoo for color-treated hair, sulfate-free shampoo and of course, shampoo made for oily and greasy hair. In the Lab, shampoos are first label-masked to eliminate brand bias and distributed to consumer testers around the country to use in their haircare routine. Testers thoroughly evaluate the products on multiple factors, including their ease of use (level of lather, scent, irritation, rinsing, etc.), hair cleansing effects, and how hair looks and feels after use.
We also test shampoos for their cleansing ability in the Lab using the swatch-wash station: GH Beauty Lab scientists dispense precise amounts of each formula onto human hair swatches of various textures and types, which are then washed and rinsed in a standardized process. Finally, thousands of data points are quantified to identify the top performing shampoos.
Our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab experts share some of their top-tested and trusted shampoo picks for oily and greasy hair to help you get the cleanest (and best-looking!) strands ever: