Does No Poo Work For Oily Hair?

Many people want to move away from traditional shampoos to a more natural way of keeping their hair clean and healthy, but does No Poo work for oily hair?

Each person has different hair, whether it be dry and brittle, non-porous or porous, or oily, leaving it looking dirty and unhealthy.

Oily hair can be difficult to manage even when using traditional shampoos that use sulphates and other chemicals to strip the hair. Knowing this I decided to find out whether a No Poo approach would leave hair more healthy and manageable.

Oily hair, especially in the transition phase of No Poo, can be a problem. Washing with baking soda and using arrowroot between washes can reduce the amount of oil. Scritching and preening will distribute sebum down the entire hair shaft rather than sitting at the roots. A boar bristle brush will also help.

There are many different ways to start (and continue) with your No Poo journey, from a Water Only approach, a Low Poo method, a Co-wash only (washing only with Conditioner) to using various natural ingredients such as Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar to keep your locks looking healthy, shiny, and manageable.

There are so many different types of hair that the question, Does No Poo Work For Oily Hair? Raises its head on a regular basis.

Does No Poo Work For Oily Hair?

The No Poo movement has become increasingly popular as people wish to move away from chemical usage and are more environmentally aware.

The sulphates in traditional shampoos strip your hair to remove the natural oils and therefore appear at first glance to work brilliantly if your hair is often oily. However, each time your hair is stripped of its natural oils it actually encourages your scalp to produce more, leading to an even oilier head of hair.

Perhaps a different approach would be kinder to both your hair and your scalp in the long term? So, does No Poo work for oily hair?

1. Baking Soda And Apple Cider Vinegar

The No Poo method using baking soda and apple cider vinegar has certainly become very popular in recent years.

The baking soda cleans the hair, whilst the apple cider vinegar locks in the moisture.

Alternatively, if the pH in the ACV seems to make your hair greasier than you’d like, try switching to distilled vinegar instead (source 1).

2. Aloe Vera

Baking Soda can be quite harsh to your hair so is not recommended for regular use, but there are plenty of other products that clean your hair and remove grease easily, even from naturally greasy hair.

One of these is Aloe Vera, which has antibacterial properties and leaves your hair smelling delightful, and ultra-healthy to boot!

3. Honey

Another option is using local honey, which again has antibacterial and antioxidant properties and deeply moisturises your hair to leave it shiny and manageable.

It is worth mentioning that most people experience oily hair in the transition period, and in this case, it is worth persevering with your routine, as the transition stage can last for several weeks, and in some cases a couple of months.

4. Dry Shampoo

Natural dry shampoo can be used between washes to disguise and remove greasy hair.

Keep in mind that different hairstyles, such as plaits, even work better with slightly greasy hair.

Why Does Hair Get Oily?

Hair gets greasy for a wide range of reasons, some that we can control, and others that we can’t (source 1). Our hormones, stress levels, diet and environment all impact the health of our hair.

Our scalps produce sebum (oil) to protect our scalp and nourish our hair, keeping it healthy and shiny. Too much sebum production can lead to oily looking hair.

Both under washing and overwashing can contribute to greasy looking hair.

1. Underwashing

Underwashing allows the sebum to build upon the hair shaft which leads to greasy hair. Especially non-porous hair can look greasy as it does not absorb so much oil as porous hair.

2. Overwashing

Overwashing strips the natural sebum too regularly stimulating the scalp to produce more than is necessary, leading to greasy hair.

3. Diet

Diet also plays a part in the overproduction of sebum.

Sebum isn’t only produced by your scalp, so if you’re finding that your skin is greasy too, it may be because your diet is too full of the wrong types of oils and fats.

Steer clear of junk foods and processed white flours and try eating more bananas, nuts, avocados and green leafy vegetables (source 1).

4. Air Quality

If we live in an area with low air quality then it is likely that our pores get blocked more quickly and that encourages the scalp to produce more sebum to protect itself from the harmful chemicals in the air.

As it’s generally not possible to simply move to the country, we have to find ways of safely removing these toxic chemicals from our hair.

If possible though fitting an air filter system within your own house could be an option to reduce your exposure to the poor quality air outside.

How To Go No Poo With Oily Hair

All hair gets greasy when transitioning to a No Poo method.

The transition period lasts longer for some than for others.

It may be that starting your No Poo journey with oily hair is a bonus, and actually lessens the length of the transition period.

With greasy hair preening to bring the scalp oils down the entire hair shaft can be achieved on your first day of No Poo transitioning, without having to wait as those with drier hair may have to.

The transition period is the name given to the space of time that it takes for your hair to be able to regulate its own sebum production and for your hair to be shiny, volumised, and more manageable.

There are a few things that you can do during the transition period to make the most of your oily hair:

  • Braids: These work better with slightly greasy hair and can hide a multitude of sins
  • Sleek Up Do: Pull your hair into a high ponytail
  • French Twist: Similar to a French plait

If you don’t fancy spending time creating intricate hairstyles to hide your greasy hair then getting a little creative can also work a treat!:

  • Clips
  • Hats
  • Scarves

These items can all be used to disguise a greasy head of hair, but also can look fabulous when you’ve ended the transition period and fancy a change.

No Poo Greasy Hair is no fun, and can severely impact your mental health. There are many ways to achieve a No Poo lifestyle even with naturally oily hair, it’s just a case of finding the best method for you and your hair.

Trying a Low Poo approach, to begin with, may help the transition period, or try the No Poo approach when you’re on holiday and are more relaxed and have time to try out the different methods to find what suits your hair best.

No Poo Method For Fine Oily Hair

Fine hair is probably one of the most difficult hair types to successfully No Poo.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, just that you may find that more trial and error is required, therefore you need to be a little more motivated and tolerant whilst you find the perfect combination of natural products to keep your hair and scalp in perfect condition.

The oil from your scalp with fine hair covers the strands more easily and leads to a greasier look earlier than those who have coarse and curly hair.

Here are some important tips to follow, if you have fine oily hair:

1. Wash Frequency

With fine hair, try washing less frequently to reduce the amount of sebum that your scalp creates.

This may sound odd at first, surely you need to wash the oil out? However, if you keep washing, your scalp will keep on producing the same amount of oil, and perhaps more.

When you reduce washing to once a week for example, after a few weeks the amount of sebum produced will be lower and your hair should not feel so greasy.

2. Boar Bristle Brush

Brushing with a boar bristle brush or a wide-toothed wooden comb will bring the oil down the hair to the very ends so that it is nourishing the whole hair, and not just sitting on top looking greasy.

Boar Bristle brushes have many other benefits they reduce frizz and improve the texture of your hair.

As an added bonus, and of great importance to those who wish to follow a completely No Poo journey and not use any chemical products on their hair at all, the boar bristle brush will reduce or eliminate the need to use any styling products at all.

Remember, it is very important to clean your brush, regardless of type, after every use. Otherwise, all you end up doing is putting back all the oils and dirt removed by the brush originally. This will lead to greasier, dirtier hair which will lead the scalp to produce more sebum in the long run (source 1).

3. Don’t Touch!

Try not to touch your hair with your hands, as this will transfer more oil and dirt onto your hair making it look even oilier than necessary.

4. Scritching

Scritching (massaging the scalp) and brushing/preening will distribute the oil and scritching will make sure that all the scalp pores are open and not blocked with excess oil and skin.

This is important as blocked pores will encourage your scalp to produce more sebum!

5. Baking Powder

Using baking powder to cleanse your hair will remove the oil, but it can be abrasive, so don’t use this too often!

People often use Apple Cider Vinegar as a rinse after using baking soda to clean the hair.

If you have fine and oily hair, either try distilled vinegar as an alternative or just use the ACV rinse on the middle to the ends of your hair and try to avoid the scalp area.

How Do You Get Rid Of Oily Hair Without Washing It?

Sometimes your hair can appear oily but you don’t want to wash it.

There are ways to both remove this oil, or just hide it enough so that you can get through to your next scheduled wash.

To get rid of oily hair without washing, you can rinse the middle to ends of your hair in warm water. The warm water loosens the oil so that it can be rinsed out.

You could try these following ideas and see what works best for you;

  • Talc: Brush this through your hair to soak up excess oil
  • Arrowroot powder (with cocoa for dark hair)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar or Tea Tree Oil Rinse
  • Egg Hair Mask

Just rinsing and brushing also helps to rid your hair of built-up dirt and oil, although it is best to dry with a cotton t-shirt and brush with a boar bristle brush for best results.

For me personally, the journey has been long and difficult. Each time I feel I have ‘got there’, something changes (e.g. the weather) and I have to adapt my wash routine. It’s definitely all a learning curve!

Low Poo Shampoo For Oily Hair

Sometimes it’s just a bit too intimidating to go the whole No Poo hog at once. If this is the case, or you just want to reduce rather than eliminate the chemicals in your hair whilst still giving the environment a helping hand, then Low Poo Shampoos are something to look into.

No Poo greasy hair is something to be avoided and as the No Poo movement continues to gain traction and increasing numbers of followers, manufacturers have started to listen and have brought out a range of products that are more ‘natural’ and don’t contain sulphates and parabens that so concern many people.

Natural shampoo bars are also available now that are stored in recyclable packaging which means less plastic to the landfill. A win-win for both the customer and the environment!

Like all traditional shampoos finding the best Lo Poo shampoo suited to your hair will take time. Persevere! It’ll be worth it in the end to have non-oily, yet shiny and healthy hair.

Remember when looking for Low Poo shampoos for oily hair that those claiming to be for non-porous hair are probably the ones to try first; non-porous hair looks greasier faster as the sebum sits on top of the hair shaft rather than being absorbed straight away.

How Long Does It Take For Hair To Get Used To No Shampoo?

When transitioning to a No Poo approach several weeks are required before the results will start to become obvious, it is no good to stop shampooing on Monday and expect full, lustrous, and healthy hair by Wednesday!

To begin with, it may appear that the No Poo method is simply a No Poo greasy hair event. This is not necessarily because No Poo is not the right approach for you, simply that your scalp is adjusting to having to self-regulate its production of sebum.

After the transition period, your scalp will have settled down to the optimum sebum production to keep your hair healthy and nourished without looking greasy and oily.

During the transition period trying different natural products to clean your hair means that you’ll be able to find the ones that work best for both your hair and your lifestyle.

Shampoo Alternatives For Fine Hair

Whilst all the No Poo methods can be used on fine hair some work better than others (source 1).

  • Honey: Organic honey bought locally has many benefits. Not only is it good for the local economy and the environment, honey deeply nourishes your hair whilst the natural bacteria works on your hair to neutralise any harmful bacteria and act as an antioxident
  • Aloe Vera: This antibacterial natural product will cleanse and moisturise your hair and scalp, and just like honey it smells amazing too!
  • Egg yolk Hair Wash: egg has long been used to cleanse and moisturise hair. For fine hair it can add volume and reduce breakage. However, you MUST use cold water to rise out, as warm water may lead to cooked egg in your hair!
  • Rhassoul: Is a clay that can be combined with water to cleanse hair and close pores. Putting clay into fine hair may sound like an odd thing to do, but this type of clay washes out easily and doesn’t weigh the hair down.

No Poo Movement Before And After Pictures

To give you an idea of how the No Poo movement has improved my hair I’ve added some pictures to show the before, transition, and after results;


The No Poo method is gathering followers at a rate of knots, and there are many ways to wash your hair without using traditional shampoos according to the fans. But Does No Poo Work For Oily Hair?

No Poo works for all different types of hair. It’s just a case of finding the product, or a combination of products that work for each individual.

Many people have found that once they have got through the transition phase they no longer have to describe their hair as greasy or oily! Their scalp has adjusted to a No Poo lifestyle and regulated its own oil production.

Katrina Stewardson

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I've been obsessed for almost ever with discovering the best natural hair methods for my own hair. For years I longed for one website to tell me everything I needed to know about the amazing No Poo Method movement. I just couldn't find one though, so I decided to create it myself! I dearly hope this website will save all you lovely ladies (and gents!) from wasting hours scrolling the internet looking for natural hair-related information like I did.

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