The humid weather in Singapore is definitely a nemesis for those who suffer from an oily scalp. No matter how much you wash and shampoo your hair, it seems that the grease just doesn’t go away. (Well, unless you get a shampoo for oily scalp, but we’ll get to that part in a bit – so read on!)
It makes your hair look limp and gross by mid-day, and you wish you could remove the oil like how you blot away sebum from your skin.
How do you know if you have an oily scalp?
Oily scalp occurs when your scalp over-produces oils (also known as sebum) naturally. This condition leaves your hair looking greasy, limp, and lifeless.
You may also notice flaky dandruff on your hair, and know that you can’t get away with skipping shampoo days without walking out of your house with shiny (not in a good way!) hair.
What causes all the grease on your scalp?
Genetics, hormonal imbalances (think your monthlies!), humidity, diet are usually the prime suspects for excess sebum on your scalp.
Sebaceous glands in your scalp cause excess sebum to build up on your hair and scalp. All that grease clogging up your hair roots would cause hair loss and dandruff, and would also make your hair look shapeless.
How an oily scalp contributes to hair loss
Since excess sebum attracts dirt more easily, it can produce dandruff. In more severe cases, the sebum can clog the hair roots, leading to excessive hair loss.
With a cleaner scalp, your hair follicles will thrive and pave the way for a healthier mane. It all starts with our shampoo, specifically a shampoo that addresses an oily scalp.
What to look for in a shampoo for oily scalp?
If you have an oily scalp, you should look for a shampoo that is specifically formulated to control excess oil production and keep your scalp clean and balanced.
Here are some key ingredients to look for in a shampoo for an oily scalp:
- Salicylic acid: This ingredient cuts through oil helps to exfoliate the scalp and remove excess oil and buildup.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help to reduce oiliness and prevent dandruff.
- Zinc pyrithione: This ingredient can help to regulate oil production and reduce inflammation.
- Charcoal: Charcoal soaks up excess oil and impurities from the scalp.
- Clarifying agents: Look for shampoos that contain ingredients like apple cider vinegar or citric acid, which can help to clarify the scalp and remove buildup.
When choosing a shampoo for an oily scalp, it’s also important to avoid products that contain harsh sulfates, which can strip the scalp of its natural oils and lead to overproduction of oil.
Opt for a gentle, sulfate-free formula that won’t dry out your scalp but still provides effective cleansing.
20 best shampoos for oily scalp to deal with all the greasy unpleasantness
SMiB Coral Calcium Shampoo
Most scalp care products for oily scalp tend to be stronger in formulation which can dry out hair but SMiB has managed to create a scalp shampoo that fosters good scalp health for healthier hair, thanks to high-quality coral calcium (which is sourced from dead reefs as collecting live corals is strictly prohibited under international convention).
In case you’re wondering about the unusual ingredient, Korean haircare brand SMiB is actually the first to incorporate coral calcium into their haircare formulas after discovering in its intensive two-year research and development that coral reefs boast significant effectiveness in scalp cleansing and hair loss prevention without drying out the scalp and hair strands – benefits that are highly sought after by those with oily scalp.
In addition to effective cleansing using an essential mineral that gives your hair a natural shine, the SMiB Coral Calcium Shampoo is able to re-balance and improve your scalp environment while delivering deep nourishment for cleaner, healthier hair.
The shampoo, which is formulated without 23 harmful ingredients like mercury, lead, nickel, and triclosan, can help reduce hair loss, repair damaged hair follicles and improve hair elasticity thanks to a cocktail of copper peptide, six hydrolysed proteins, and eleven seaweed extracts in the formula.
While this shampoo is effective on its own, the SMiB Coral Calcium series has three other products you can consider trying to triple the effectiveness. Based on a clinical study by P&K Skin Research Centre in Korea, the Coral Calcium set is capable of improving dandruff conditions, scalp elasticity, and hair’s tensile strength while relieving itchiness, soothing the scalp, and reducing the amount of hair loss.
DV recommends: Use it together with the SMiB Plasma Scalp Massager, an innovative device that incorporates plasma technology to combat hair loss and increase the absorption of active ingredients.
For more information on the SMiB Coral Calcium Shampoo such as price, kindly visit the SMIB e-store.
Melix Summer Rain Shampoo
Many shampoos that target oily scalp can have strong formulas that may be irritating if you also have a sensitive scalp. This is why we’re so glad we’ve found a natural, gentle formulation which is free from paraben, silicones, mineral oil, and harsh surfactants.
Formulated with Papaya Extract, Tilia Tomentosa Bud, Mango Extract, and other natural ingredients, the Melix Summer Rain Shampoo provides moisture to the scalp, balances sebum secretion, and keeps the scalp from feeling greasy. Plus, it’s scented with Peppermint so it leaves your scalp feeling cool.
Although the price is slightly higher, this pH 5.5 shampoo is worth every penny as it only takes a single wash to refresh your hair. Plus, it’s suitable for everyday use, and can be used on pregnant women and children.
Aesop Calming Shampoo
If you worry that a shampoo formulated for oily scalps will strip both oil and moisture from your scalp, this popular shampoo from Aesop will put your worries to rest.
Price: S$67 for 500ml, from all Aesop stores and Lookfantastic.
PHS Hairscience ADV Purify Shampoo
PHS Hairscience is a homegrown brand that offers products backed by science, and the ADV Purify Shampoo is one of its most popular offerings – it was even awarded the winner of the Anti-Dandruff category in Daily Vanity Beauty Awards 2018!
Some of the reasons why you’ll love this award-winning product include the fact that it not only removes dandruff flakes and excess sebum but also relieves and prevents inflammation so that you feel clean and fresh after every wash.
The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Ginger and shampoo may sound like a weird combination, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who swear by this product. This is definitely one of the best shampoos for oily scalp that people always bring up.
Fun fact: Did you know ginger is an effective remedy to treat dandruff? Now that you know about ginger’s amazing properties, using ginger on our tresses won’t seem so strange after all.
The Body Shop’s Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo works great on an oily scalp that is irritated. Infusing ginger and community trade honey from Ethiopia, this shampoo helps clear and prevent the appearance of dandruff. It also removes dirt and traces of oil, while retaining your hair’s volume and bounciness.
Price: S$15 for 250ml and S$20 for 400ml at any The Body Shop outlets and on Lazada.
Innisfree Green Tea Mint Fresh Scalp Shampoo
This shampoo line is much-talked-about in the AsianBeauty Reddit thread. It contains mint, which is known for its astringent, to help control excess oil while purifying scalp and hair. Formulated with two Jeju Island sourced mint extracts – peppermint and spearmint – as well as green tea, the all-natural product leaves a cool minty sensation after each wash.
Price: S$20 for 300ml, available on Shopee and at Innisfree stores.
Percy & Reed Splendidly Silky Moisturising Shampoo
This shampoo is very popular among beauty junkies, and it’s not just for its lovely fragrance. With its unique formula of blueberry extract sweet almond milk and vitamin B5, Percy & Reed’s Splendidly Silky Percy & Reed shampoo moisturises and strengthens each strand of hair without making your hair even oilier.
Price: S$32 for 250ml, available on Sephora.
Asience Nature Smooth Shampoo
Do you have combination hair types – in other words, oily hair scalp but dry hair tips? It can be rather frustrating when you want a good cleansing shampoo to rid the grime on your scalp while hoping that the shampoo would not further dry out your hair ends.
Meet Asience Nature Smooth Shampoo. It contains argan oil, camellia oil rose essence, pomegranate extract, lemongrass essence, and white pearl essence. Best of all, it suits people who suffer from the combination of oily scalp and tangled dry ends! You’ll love how well this shampoo removes grease while keeping your hair moisturised.
Price: S$14.90 for 480ml, at major drugstores and supermarkets.
Kiehl’s Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
This is a holy grail shampoo for those who have tried it, and while it’s slightly pricey, fans say that it’s worth every cent. We already know tea tree oil is great for oil control, and this shampoo contains other herbal-based ingredients, including cinchona, ivy, lavender, and yarrow, to invigorate the scalp.
It soothes, moisturises and nurtures your hair to help bring your tresses to their fullest grease-free potential. One of the best shampoos for oily scalps? You bet!
Price: S$41 for 250ml and S$60 for 500ml. You can find it at Kiehl’s Singapore stores.
TRESemmé Deep Cleansing Shampoo
For a thorough cleansing, this Deep Cleansing Shampoo from Tresemme does a fine job. It is able to remove the grease from your scalp, and at the same time cleanses residues from hairstyling products such as hair sprays and cream completely.
DV recommends: I have used this product and find that it does a great job removing grease from my hair. Take note that there has been feedback from other users who felt the shampoo was too chemically strong and drying on their scalp. But for me, I am still a big fan of this shampoo, and use it when I desperately need to cleanse my hair grease. But I’ll recommend using it once a week to give your scalp a thorough cleanse, instead of using it as your everyday shampoo.
Price: S$15 for 828ml. You can find this at major drugstores and supermarkets.
Moist Diane Extra Fresh Shampoo
The new shampoo formula by Japanese brand Moist Diane is designed to combat oily scalp with dry ends, a surprisingly common problem amongst Singaporean women.
You may find this scenario familiar: you perspire when you’re outdoors, and as you step back to your air-conditioned office, your scalp becomes overly dry, and begins to secrete sebum to compensate for the dryness. No thanks to the mixture of sebum and sweat, your scalp can feel oilier.
Moist Diane Extra Fresh Shampoo contains the active ingredients salicylic acid and o-Cymen-5-ol, which treats itchiness and dandruff, while also preventing scalp irritation with its scientifically proven anti-bacterial properties. It also contains 48 specially curated herbs that work together for an overall antibacterial and healing effect.
The formula has gone through a clinical test on 49 female subjects in Thailand, which shares a similar climate as ours, and 95.9% affirmed that they felt a lasting effect of freshness on their scalp even after 48 hours.
DV recommends: One of our writers, Mandy, has tried the product, and loves how it keeps her hair looking bouncy after wash while leaving a clean and cool sensation on the scalp. The pleasant scent is also a huge bonus to the overall experience.
Price: S$16.90 at Watsons stores, BHG and BHG-Welcia departmental stores, Tokyu Hands, Meidi-Ya supermarkets, NTUC Fairprice, and Don Don Donki. The range includes the Shampoo, the Treatment, and the Scalp Essence.
Pantene Anti Dandruff Shampoo
Yes, even the peskiest of dandruff can be eliminated with Pantene’s Anti Dandruff Shampoo, which gently cleanses oily hair without overly drying the scalp. It leaves hair healthy and shiny, and is enhanced with zinc pyrithione to help prevent the re-occurrence of dandruff.
DV recommends: Usually, anti-dandruff shampoos can be rather drying, but this works and doesn’t dry out your scalp. I’ve used it and find it moisturising, with dandruff considerably reduced after a week or two of usage. This is probably the most affordable and value for money shampoo you can get!
Price: S$9.95 for 750ml on Redmart. You can also find it at Watsons, Guardian as well as major supermarkets and beauty drugstores.
Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo
If you have oily hair and a sensitive scalp, this shampoo from Sachuajuan will be the answer to your prayers. Formulated with natural extracts to calm and moisturise the scalp, all it takes is just one wash for your hair to look and feel much fresher than before.
Many satisfied users have shared that this helps to clear up flakes and stop your scalp from itching while giving you bouncier hair – we’re sold!
Price: S$38 for 250ml, available on Sephora.
Ryo Scalp Deep Cleansing Shampoo
Ryo is a Korean brand that focuses on scalp care and hair loss. It’s no surprise, though – those two are closely intertwined. This Scalp Deep Cleansing Shampoo is a popular one as it removes excess sebum from the scalp, much like a scalp scaling treatment. It uses tiny green beads to slough away dead skin for a deeper clean. There’s also fermented mint in the formula to give your scalp a tingly, refreshing feel each time you shampoo!
Price: S$16.90 for 400ml at Guardian.
Daeng Gi Meo Ri Anti Dandruff Shampoo
Daeng Gi Meo Ri is a brand of shampoo originating from Korea, and contains Ginseng and Siberian chrysanthemum to keep scalp troubles at bay. Formulated for deep cleansing, this is recommended for thicker and coarser hair. After several washes, you’ll find that your hair feels lighter and healthier. No wonder this is considered one of the best shampoos for oily scalps in the market.
Price: S$29.05 for 130ml, on Lazada.
Dr. Groot Anti Hair Loss Shampoo for Oily Scalp
If you read the brand name and thought of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, we don’t blame you – we did too! As for Dr. Groot, it’s a haircare brand that aims to treat hair loss with its line of products.
This Anti Hair Loss Shampoo for Oily Scalp is made with seven natural ingredients, including red ginseng, rosemary, and peppermint. The blend works to cleanse the scalp gently while feeding it some nourishment. It refreshes your scalp and keeps excess sebum at bay. The shampoo is also free of silicones and surfactants, so you won’t have to worry about clogged scalp pores or dryness.
Price: S$25.90 for 400ml at Guardian.
Lush I Love Juicy Shampoo
Lush’s I Love Juicy Shampoo is chock full of fruit juices like pineapple, mango, and kiwi – reminding you of a tropical beach vacation. The fresh fruit juices used are slightly acidic, making it great at getting rid of impurities and dead skin cells at the surface of your scalp. It is also infused with sea salt and seaweed extract to leave your hair soft and shiny.
Tip: Shake your shampoo before use. The extracts and residue from fresh fruits sink to the bottom of the bottle. A good shake will bring all that goodness up.
Hask Charcoal With Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo
Hask’s shampoo promises zero build-ups and that it will not leave any residue on your mane. The Hask Charcoal With Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo is infused with charcoal, which is known for its purifying properties. It is also formulated with vitamin C-rich lemon and grapefruit oil to invigorate and clarify your hair. The shampoo squeezes out into a bubble of dark charcoal colour with a whisk of acidic lemon scent – the best perk-me-up you can get after a long day at work.
Price: S$16.90 for 355ml on Redmart or at Guardian outlets.
Essential Deep Cleansing Care
Essential’s Deep Cleansing Care’s shampoo line is highly scented, which makes this the perfect shampoo to get rid of the bad smell on the hair from excess sebum and sweat. If you love fragrant shampoos, you have to try this line and indulge in its lingering scent.
DV recommends: I’ve tried it on my combination hair – oily scalp and dry ends – and noticed hair became less sticky and oily after one wash, and makes hair softer, bouncier, and more manageable.
Price: S$10.90 for 700ml, on Amazon and at most Watsons and Guardian outlets.
Follizin Balancing Cleanser
Follizin’s Balancing Cleanser balances sebum levels in the scalp without stripping hair of its essential moisture. It is rather pricey but for organic shampoo lovers, this is a heaven-send.
The cleanser is gentle and suitable for most hair types and is free from harmful chemicals, such as sodium laureth sulphate (SLES), sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and parabens. The shampoo is also able to maintain the moisture balance of your scalp, which prevents excess oil production to make up for the lack of moisture.
Price: S$42 for 300ml. Check out where to find the product on the Follizin website.
Featured images by Percy & Reed and @beautyfo0d/ Instagram.