Why Do I Have a Dry Scalp but Greasy Hair?

Are you experiencing a dry scalp with greasy hair? Are you finding it hard to moisturize your scalp while ensuring your hair doesn’t become too oily, too fast? You carefully wash your hair every day with the best natural shampoos, but your hair remains oily. How can this happen?

When your scalp is dry, your body works overtime to provide it with the extra oils and nourishment it needs. Unfortunately, this can cause a build-up of those oils, which then results in greasy hair. Unfortunately, the dryness of your scalp remains. What can be done?

The good news is that there are ways to treat the conditions of dry scalp and greasy hair at the same time. Once you’ve addressed both of the problems, you’ll enjoy lovely locks that don’t appear oily after twelve hours, and a nourished scalp that doesn’t itch or flake.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the things that cause a dry scalp and greasy hair. We’ll also examine the different ways you can treat these conditions for instant relief and beautiful hair. Let’s explore the issue more deeply.

Table of Contents:

Why Do I Have a Dry Scalp with Greasy Hair?

When you’re looking to treat any condition, you first need to look at the cause. How can you find appropriate treatment for your dry scalp without establishing why it became dry in the first place?

There are many reasons why your scalp might start to become dry – let’s take a look at some of the most common.

Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition which can affect any area of the body. People with psoriasis suffer from an overproduction of skin cells, which can cause flaking, dryness, and itching. Many people misdiagnose scalp psoriasis as dandruff – but the flakes produced by each condition are different.

If you’re not sure whether you’re suffering from scalp psoriasis or regular dandruff, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Red, scaly patches on the scalp.
  • A burning sensation, which may even become very painful.
  • Bleeding when you scratch the scalp. Dandruff doesn’t often cause itching so intense that you draw blood trying to relieve the itch.
  • Silvery flakes. Dandruff flakes are pure white, while psoriasis flakes often have a silvery tinge.
  • Loss of hair. Scalp psoriasis can lead to temporary hair loss, depending on how severe the case is.

Those suffering from psoriasis of the scalp may not experience all of these symptoms, but they’re likely to notice at least two or three. This form of psoriasis can also disappear for weeks or months, before flaring up again unexpectedly. Triggers can include stress, dry air (air-conditioned environments) and particularly cold weather.


Eczema is a similar condition to psoriasis. The cause of eczema is still unknown, but it can affect anyone, in any area of the body. It’s estimated that more than 30m Americans deal with eczema at some point during their lives – so it’s pretty common.

Eczema causes symptoms that are very similar to psoriasis. The two are often mistaken for each other. Signs and symptoms of eczema include dry skin, redness, itching and rough patches of skin anywhere on the body.

The most common type of scalp eczema is called seborrheic dermatitis. Confusingly, its most common symptom is dandruff. This is why so many people can get mixed up between eczema and psoriasis. It’s important to be able to distinguish between the two if you want to treat your dry scalp effectively.

If you’re not sure whether you suffer from eczema or psoriasis of the scalp, see a doctor. A medical professional will be able to carry out tests to establish which of the conditions is affecting you.

Too Many Hair Products

Many of the most popular hair products on the market contain chemicals and artificial substances. These ingredients (silicones, parabens, and SLS) can strip the hair and scalp of the nutrients they need to stay healthy and nourished.

If you have a dry scalp, it can be tempting to wash your hair more often, trying to introduce some moisture from your hair products. Unfortunately, you could be doing more damage, stripping the hair of its natural oils and leaving it dry.

On a similar note, too much heat styling can play a role in drying out your scalp. Blow-drying your hair might leave bouncy, shiny results, but if you do it too often, you can be left with a dry and irritated scalp. Explore ways to dry your hair without the use of heat.

Extreme Weather Conditions

If you live in a particularly cold or warm climate, it can have an impact on the condition of your scalp. Cold environments can affect the moisture level of your scalp, just as it does any other area of your body. Have you ever experienced chapped lips or dry hands because of colder weather? It’s the same for your scalp.

At the other end of the spectrum, hot weather can also wreak havoc with your scalp’s natural condition. Sun exposure without a good sun protection product can cause your scalp to become burnt and dry. This can be painful, and it can take a long time for your scalp to heal and go back to normal.

What Causes Greasy Hair?

So we’ve taken a look at some of the causes of a dry scalp. Now let’s take a look at why your hair might become greasy.

All bodies produce a substance known as sebum – a type of oil. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, your body needs sebum in small amounts to keep your hair and skin soft and protected from the elements. However, if your body is producing too much sebum, it can result in some unwanted side-effects. These include oily skin, an increased chance of pimples, and greasy hair.

Our production of sebum is controlled internally and dictated by a number of factors, including:

  • Genetics – if your family experiences problems with excess oil, it’s likely you will too.
  • Use of the wrong hair products – using products with artificial detergents can strip their hair of its natural oils. This means the body works extra hard to replace them and can end up producing too much sebum.
  • Hormonal imbalance – your hormones play an important role in the production of sebum. That’s why so many teens suffer from acne. The influx of hormones causes sebum production to rise, which can result in pimples, greasy hair and other side-effects. Controlling hormones and achieving balanced levels is key to managing sebum production.
  • Lack of sufficient cleaning – ironically, your hair can become greasy if you wash it too often, and if you don’t wash it enough. A dirty scalp can very quickly become greasy – it’s all about finding the right balance.

What Causes Greasy Hair & a Dry Scalp at the Same Time?

With so many causes for a dry scalp and greasy hair individually, it can be hard to narrow down the cause. But if you experience both problems, the causes are narrowed down slightly.

If you suffer from both conditions at the same time, it’s likely that the problem lies in the hair products that you’re using. We’ve already covered the fact that many popular hair products are packed with artificial ingredients that strip your hair.

It’s also important to ensure you’re choosing a product that works for your hair type. Not all hair products are suitable for all hair types. For instance, thick conditioners do not work well with thin hair – they can weigh down your hair and cause it to look oily.

When your hair looks oily, you’ll be tempted to wash it more frequently, which strips the scalp of the natural oils it needs. This is what causes the problem. If you don’t act, it can become a vicious cycle that is hard to break.

So what can you do? Here are some of the best ways you can treat the issue.

What Are the Best Treatments for a Dry Scalp & Oily Hair?

Treating these conditions starts with the products that you use to clean and care for your hair. Firstly, you’ll need to select the right shampoo to ensure your hair and scalp is clean with every wash. Here are some of the best options available.

Natural Oily Hair Shampoo

Honeydew Products’ Natural Oily Hair Shampoo with Organic Essential Oil Formula is one of the best-selling natural shampoos to fight against oily hair. It contains absolutely no parabens, harsh chemicals or sulfates that can dry out the hair and scalp. It’s also packed with essential oils like rosemary, red thyme, yarrow and evening primrose to help address sebum imbalances.

The gentle shampoo is suitable for all types, even if you dye your hair. It’s been specially formulated to help hair retain moisture without becoming greasy, and is suitable for daily use if necessary. Best of all, the product is backed with a 100% money-back refund policy if you’re not satisfied with the results.

Daily Shampoo for Oily Hair and Oily Scalp

Amaze Haircare’s Daily Shampoo for Oily Hair with Pure Jojoba is also a fantastic shampoo for those suffering from a dry scalp and greasy locks. The gentle, sulfate-free formula helps to remove product build-up on the scalp and address the excess oil problem. It promises stronger follicles, healthier hair growth and even has antibacterial properties to keep your scalp protected against infections.

The shampoo is enriched with argan, rosemary, lemon and basil oil, as well as jojoba, which is renowned as a fantastic product for those whose hair is in serious need of rescue.

Hot Oil Treatments

Speaking of jojoba oil, you can also carry out a hot oil treatment on your hair once a week to help relieve a dry and itchy scalp. Simply snap up some pure jojoba oil from a pharmacy or health food store, then heat the oil gently until it’s warm to the touch.

After washing your hair with a natural shampoo, massage the warm (not too hot, this could damage your scalp) oil into your scalp thoroughly. Cover with a plastic cap or bag, then wrap a towel around your head to contain the heat. Leave for fifteen minutes, then rinse thoroughly. You can shampoo again if you wish to make sure all of the oil has been rinsed out.

With this option, you’re not limited to jojoba oil, though it is one of the best options for your hair. You could also use coconut oil, almond oil, grape seed oil or carrot seed oil for your hot oil treatment.

Dry Shampoo

Use dry shampoo at the roots to avoid a lank and lifeless look. Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo Powder is 100% vegan-friendly and will effortlessly refresh your hair when it starts to look a little greasy. Simply sprinkle a small amount at the roots after you’ve dried your hair. This product will help you go that extra day in between washes. Just make sure you wash your hair properly afterwards to remove any powder build-up.

Salicylic Acid Shampoo

Another treatment you could try is a shampoo which contains salicylic acid. MG217 Therapeutic Salicylic Acid Shampoo is a great option. The shampoo helps to soften and remove build-up on the scalp, as well as gently loosening scales to decrease flaking. The salicylic acid within the shampoo also helps to prepare the scalp for other treatments – so if you’re considering a hot oil treatment, you could use this shampoo beforehand for best results.

Useful Tips

Using the right hair care products and trying out hot oil treatments will certainly help your dry scalp and greasy hair. But there are lots of extra tips and tricks you can try to help speed up the process. Here are just a few of them:

  • Only use conditioner on the ends of your hair until your greasy hair has subsided. By applying heavy conditioner at the root, you can weigh your hair down, and if you don’t wash it out properly, your roots can look greasy immediately after washing.
  • Use a shampoo with tea tree oil. This miraculous oil can help to balance out the pH of your scalp, creating a harsh environment for bacteria to grow. This leaves your scalp healthier, which will naturally lead to healthier and less oily hair.
  • Avoid touching or playing with your hair too much. As we mentioned earlier, sebum is used all over the body to keep our skin protected and hydrated. You may not realize it, but your fingertips contain tiny amounts of this oil around-the-clock. If you touch or play with your hair too much, you could be transferring this oil to your locks.
  • Avoid super-hot showers. Your scalp is a naturally sensitive area of the body, and hot water can cause it damage.
  • Try not to wash your hair every single day – even if you’re using a natural shampoo. This may be initially tough, especially while you’re waiting for the treatments to work their magic. But eventually, you’ll fall into a routine of washing every other day, or every two days, which is much better for your scalp and your follicles.
  • Use a home remedy to restore the pH balance of your scalp. Simply mix a teaspoon of baking soda into your regular natural shampoo and wash as normal. You can also rinse your hair with water and apple cider vinegar, which has a multitude of restorative properties that are great for the scalp.

How can I have a dry scalp and oily hair?


We know that having this issue can be challenging. With two problems that seem to be the opposite of each other, it can be hard to know how to treat one of the issues without making the other worse!

The most important thing is to figure out the cause of your dry scalp and greasy hair. In most cases, the key factor is the hair products you’re using. Maybe you’re using one which strips your scalp or natural oils, or perhaps you’re using one that isn’t right for your natural hair type. This can result in needing to wash your hair more often, which in turn dries out your scalp.

The answer for most people is to try out all-natural hair products, such as Honeydew Products’ Natural Oily Hair Shampoo with Organic Essential Oil Formula. This product is far less drying and will help to rebalance your scalp and roots more effectively. They won’t weigh down your hair, nor will they cause it to dry out.

Of course, if you try out a natural shampoo and don’t feel that it’s working, consider seeing your doctor. It could be that you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis of the scalp that’s preventing you from recovering properly. We always emphasize getting to the bottom of your own specific cause before attempting to treat dry scalp and greasy hair without washing.

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Copyright 2018 by DryScalpGone.