Why Does my Hair get Oily Overnight?


why does my hair get oily overnight

It’s a common frustration to wake up with oily hair, especially when you went to bed with clean, fresh locks. Understanding the causes of overnight oiliness can help you manage this issue more effectively. Here are several factors that contribute to oily hair by morning:

Sebaceous Gland Activity

Your scalp is home to sebaceous glands that produce sebum, a natural oil that keeps your hair and scalp moisturized. However, these glands can sometimes be overactive, producing excess oil. This overactivity can be triggered by several factors:

Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones, especially androgens, can stimulate sebaceous gland activity.

This is why teenagers and pregnant women often experience oilier hair.

Genetics: If your parents have oily hair, chances are you might too, as the propensity for oil production can be inherited.

Overwashing Your Hair

While it might seem counterintuitive, washing your hair too often can actually lead to more oil production.

Frequent washing strips your scalp of its natural oils, prompting sebaceous glands to produce more sebum to compensate. This creates a cycle of over-washing and overproduction of oil.

Hair Products

The type of shampoo and conditioner you use can also affect how oily your hair gets overnight. Heavy, moisturizing products can leave residue on your scalp and hair, contributing to greasiness. Additionally, using too much conditioner or applying it close to your scalp can exacerbate oiliness.


What you eat can impact your scalp’s oil production. Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugars, and unhealthy fats can increase sebum production. Conversely, a balanced diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help regulate oil production.

Touching Your Hair

Touching your hair frequently transfers oils from your hands to your hair. Additionally, brushing your hair too often can stimulate oil production by spreading sebum from your scalp along the hair shaft.

Environmental Factors

Humidity and pollution can cause your scalp to produce more oil. Humid conditions make your scalp sweat more, which can mix with sebum and make your hair appear oilier. Pollution can clog your pores, leading to an overproduction of oil as your skin tries to clear out the impurities.

Nighttime Habits

Your nighttime routine can also influence how oily your hair gets. Sleeping with your hair down can cause oil from your scalp to transfer to the rest of your hair. Additionally, using certain pillowcases, such as those made from synthetic materials, can contribute to oil buildup. Opting for a silk or satin pillowcase can reduce friction and oil transfer.

How to Manage Oily Hair

If you struggle with oily hair overnight, here are some tips to help manage the situation:

Adjust Your Washing Routine: Try washing your hair less frequently and use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo. This can help balance oil production over time.

Choose the Right Products: Use lightweight hair products and avoid heavy conditioners. Apply conditioner only to the ends of your hair, not the scalp.

Maintain a Healthy Diet: Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to help regulate oil production.

Mind Your Hands: Avoid touching your hair too often and be gentle when brushing.

Improve Nighttime Habits: Consider tying your hair back loosely at night and using a silk or satin pillowcase.

Use Dry Shampoo: Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver for soaking up excess oil and adding volume to your hair between washes.

Understanding why your hair gets oily overnight is the first step in managing it effectively. By making some adjustments to your hair care routine and lifestyle, you can wake up with fresher, less oily hair.

Scalp Health

A healthy scalp is key to managing oil production. Issues such as dandruff or scalp infections can disrupt the natural balance, leading to either an overproduction or underproduction of sebum. Maintaining a clean and healthy scalp can help regulate oiliness.

Hair Texture and Type

Different hair types and textures produce and distribute oil differently. For instance:

Straight Hair: Oil can travel down the hair shaft more easily, making the hair appear oilier.

Curly or Wavy Hair: Oil takes longer to travel down the hair shaft, so the roots may appear oilier while the ends remain dry.

Understanding your hair type can help you tailor your hair care routine to better manage oil production.


Stress can impact various aspects of your health, including your skin and scalp. High stress levels can lead to hormonal imbalances, which in turn can cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or hobbies, can help improve your overall hair health.

Managing Oily Hair: Practical Tips

Implementing a few practical changes can make a significant difference in how oily your hair gets overnight. Here are some additional tips to consider:

Scalp Exfoliation

Just like your face, your scalp can benefit from regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and excess oil. Look for gentle scalp exfoliators or consider DIY options like a mixture of brown sugar and your favorite hair oil.

Aloe Vera Treatment

Aloe vera has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help balance oil production. Apply aloe vera gel directly to your scalp, leave it on for about 30 minutes, and then rinse it out with a gentle shampoo.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Apple cider vinegar can help balance the pH of your scalp, reducing oiliness. Dilute it with water (one part vinegar to two parts water) and use it as a rinse after shampooing. This can help remove product buildup and leave your hair feeling fresh.

Essential Oils

Certain essential oils, like tea tree oil and lavender oil, have properties that can help regulate oil production and improve scalp health. Add a few drops to your shampoo or create a diluted scalp treatment with a carrier oil.

Consulting a Professional

If you’ve tried various methods to manage oily hair and still struggle with excessive oiliness, it may be helpful to consult a dermatologist or trichologist (a specialist in hair and scalp health). They can provide personalized advice and treatment options based on your specific needs.

Waking up with oily hair can be frustrating, but understanding the underlying causes can help you manage it more effectively. By adjusting your hair care routine, choosing the right products, and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce overnight oiliness and enjoy fresher, cleaner hair. Remember, everyone’s hair is different, so it may take some trial and error to find the perfect routine for you.