Sebum essentially refers to the oil, waxy substance produced by our body’s sebaceous glands. Except for the soles of hands and feet, these glands are located around all of our skin and are specifically grouped around hair follicles.
It is said that the main function of the sebum is to protect and moisturize our hair and skin. However, excessive production of sebum can lead to severe acne, oily patches, and cracked and chapped skin.
In the scalp, it can lead to an oily scalp which attracts more dirt and leads to dandruff production and makes your hair stick together. In the worst cases, excessive sebum can clog hair roots and lead to hair loss.
There is said to be an array of different reasons behind excessive sebum or hyper seborrhea. Sometimes, it may just be a simple hormonal dysregulation that would correct itself in time or may need treatment. Other times, it is just an excessive buildup of product.
Nonetheless, it is important that excessive sebum is removed, so it does not adversely affect your hair. This is where the role of a good clarifying shampoo comes in.
Fortunately, there are quite a few goods clarifying shampoos in the market that work effectively to remove any excessive sebum. However, in an era of fake reviews and paid advertisements, we can’t help but be skeptical about any buying choice.
To help you with this, we have sifted through hundreds of reviews and did our due diligence to come up with a list of shampoos for excessive buildup. We will go through each of them and put forward what you can expect from them. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Enlisting 10 Best Shampoos for Excess Sebum 2020
Here, we were faced with a dilemma. Shampoos that are good at clarifying are not specifically good for hair as they are sometimes too harsh. Therefore, the real task was to find the shampoos with a fine balance between being a good clarifying agent and being kind to hair.
Millet Seed Extracts
1. L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo – Multiple Clay Based and Silicone Free Formula
Exfoliating or washing the hair seems most appropriate when it comes to removing excess sebum from the scalp. However, as right as it seems, this practice is flawed. When you wash your hair too often it strips away the natural oil from the scalp.
This, in turn, forces the oil-producing glands to go into emergency mode and produce even more oil. The point is, you do not have to wash the head two times a day, all you need is a product like L’Oreal Paris, that provides 48-hour protection.
L’Oreal has introduced this shampoo especially for people who have massive oil build-ups in their scalps.
The shampoo uses multiple-clay formulas that include kaolin, kaolinite, and montmorillonite. The kaolin and kaolinite essentially serve the same purpose by removing dirt from the scalp without stripping it from natural oils. The montmorillonite, on the other hand, removes toxins from the scalp and that too without disturbing the natural oils.
Furthermore, the formula is silicon-free which does not provide instant benefit but in the long run, it is instrumental for the overall health of hairs. Silicon in shampoos forms a waterproofing layer around the hair and gives an illusion of silky and smooth hair. In doing that, Silicon also forms a plastic layer over the scalp which prevents the nutrients from penetrating into it. This can ultimately lead to deterioration of the health of the scalp which in turn makes the hair brittle and dull.
Since the silicon is insoluble material it starts to build-up in the scalp and makes your hair and heads very heavy. The point is, it does more harm than good which is why you should try to avoid silicon-containing products.
- Comes at an affordable price
- Effects last for 48 hours
- Improves the hair volume
- Improves the nourishment of hairs
- The results take a while to become apparent
2. WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo – Restores Vitality and Tames Frizzy Hairs
Excess sebum is not the only thing some people have to put up with. Problems like residue buildup, flakes, dandruff, and brittleness co-exist in some cases. I know it can be frustrating but the good news is, we have come up with a shampoo that is the ultimate solution to all these problems.
The shampoo uses a natural formula and is free of harmful chemicals like paraben and sulfates. The active ingredient is argan oil along with almond oil and raw apple cider vinegar. Each of these ingredients is bioactive, natural, and completely safe for color. The mechanism of each ingredient is different but all these ingredients work towards a common goal of giving you healthier hair and scalp.
The apple cider vinegar has natural properties that balance the pH in the scalp and this reduces the production of flakes and prevents dryness. The reduction of flakes in the scalp and cleansing of residues stop the excess production of oil and prevent its buildups. In addition, the apple cider vinegar imparts its scent to the hairs which is very pleasing and treat for the nose.
Another major benefit of the apple cider vinegar is that it tames the frizzy hairs and prevents tangling. It does so by balancing the pH which ultimately causes the cuticles and makes the hair easier to manage.
Argan oil works by hydrating the scalp and hairs to restore the damaged hairs and improve the vitality of the scalp and hairs. Almond oil ripples the action of argan oil by providing nourishment to hair which improves the hair strength even further.
- Imparts a pleasant smell on hairs
- Restores the vitality of hairs and scalp
- Color safe
- Slows down hair loss
- Paraben and sulfate-free
- Not suitable for dry hair
3. Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo – Natural Formula For Removal Of Excess Sebum
The market offers a wide range of hair care products including styling and cleansing creams, spray, and shampoos. Unfortunately, not all of them are safe for scalp and hair health. In fact, most of them leave their residues behind which clog the follicles that in turn lead to excessive sebum production. Thus, you need a product that can unclog the follicles and cleans up the scalp, and Avalon Organic Shampoo does exactly that.
The shampoo has 100% natural composition and uses only botanical products. Since there are no animals involved from the manufacturing to testing, it is cruelty-free as well. This is the first concern that originates in our minds when we hear the all-natural composition. Fortunately, the company has addressed the issue straight away.
Furthermore, the composition is also free of harmful chemicals like paraben and sulfates. These chemicals increase the shelf lives of products but end up damaging the hair and scalp. The fragrance is non-synthetic as well; the citrus flavor has been extracted from lemons. The point is, the company’s claim of 100% natural composition is on point.
Moving on, the active ingredient of the shampoo is vitamin E which works by improving the blood supply to the scalp. As the blood supply improves, the scalp begins to receive adequate nutrients and the scalp starts to vitalize. The result of better nourishment becomes visible when the hairs start to grow stronger, smoother, and silkier.
To repair the damaged cuticle, because of which there is excess sebum, the company has imparted lemon essential oils, quinoa protein, and aloe vera in the formula. All of these three substances have medically proven benefits when it comes to removing excess oil. Aloe vera has natural anti-inflammatory properties that control the inflammation in cuticles and close them. The remaining two substances help in the healing of these damaged cuticles and restore their health.
When the health of the cuticle improves, the body cuts down the production of extra sebum and results in a lighter scalp.
Furthermore, the blend of these substances makes an excellent cleansing formula that washes away all the residues and flake buildups. Therefore, in the end, you get a cleaner, lighter, and oil-free scalp.
- Cruelty-free natural formula
- Citrus scent
- Improves the overall health of hair and scalp
- Cleanse residue buildups and flakes
- Comes at an affordable price
- Takes a while to show its effects
4. Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two – Balanced Nourishing and Cleansing Formula
Paul Mitchel has been a leading manufacturer of hair care products and has experience of over 40 years. The company has never failed to surprise its users with their new formulas that can improve hair health. The shampoo at hand is one such product that was made for the people who have too many buildups in their scalps.
The formula contains several ingredients that blend together to form a nice cleansing shampoo. It not only removes the excess oil from the scalp but also provides nourishment to hair for better growth. Plus, the shampoo is safe on the color-treated hairs as well which means pretty much everybody can use it.
Moving on, the ingredients present in the shampoos are wheat germ oil, cocamide MEA, activated botanical shine blend, and activated botanical moisture blend. The shampoo is also free of chemicals like paraben and sulfates which is also a plus point.
Paul Mitchell obtains the wheat germ oil from the embryo of the seed that has been germinated into the soil. The germ gets nutrients from soils and the atmosphere and that seed is extracted for wheat germ oil. This oil contains high ratios of vitamin E which revitalizes the scalp by improving the blood supply towards it.
Moving on, the second ingredient, cocamide MEA, is obtained from fatty acids of coconut oil and monoethanolamine. This ingredient moisturizes the hair and promotes healthy hair growth. The cocamide essentially forms a layer over the scalp which does not let the moisture escape from it.
The third ingredient, activated botanical moisture blend, also works in a similar manner and imparts the shine into hair as well.
The fourth ingredient, activated botanical shine blend, is a blend of algae, chamomile, rosemary, and aloe vera. The blend of these materials makes an excellent cleanser that removes all the buildups including the excess oil. In addition to cleansing, these ingredients are rich in minerals and vitamins that promote the thickening of hair by providing necessary nourishment.
- Can be used every day
- Free of parabens and sulfates
- Contains both nourishing and cleaning chemicals
- Safe on color-treated hairs
- Comes at an affordable price
- The smell is quite pungent
5. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo – For Those Who Cannot Give Up On Grooming Routines
Almost everybody uses a variety of hair care products these days; gels, creams, conditioners, and whatnot. While most of these products provide results instantly, they have major disadvantages in the long run. All of these chemicals leave a residue behind and when the residue starts to build up it can produce a lot of problems. One of these is inflammation of the cuticle which ultimately results in overproduction of sebum.
The point is, you need to cut down the use of these products or get a shampoo that can cleanse these residues. I know not many people would agree to give up on their grooming routine. Therefore, we have come up with a shampoo that can cleanse the scalp of these residues and cut down sebum production.
The ingredient responsible for this hardcore cleansing is sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical is an excellent detergent and effective foaming agent. The foaming agents work by producing excessive lathering that cleanses the impurities, dirt, and oil from the scalp. The sodium lauryl sulfate has natural oil entrapment properties which are why it is so instrumental in the formula.
Sodium chloride, the table salt, is an ingredient that might make some people skeptical about the formula. You might think it would produce irritation and itchiness in your scalp and you are right as it can cause these problems. However, you also need to understand that these problems originate only when more than the required amount of salt is in the composition. Luckily, in this composition, the company has used a small amount of it just enough to produce a thickening effect in shampoo.
Along with these ingredients, the formula has glycerin, castor oil, citric acid, and coconut derivatives. Some of these substances work by forming a layer of oil over the scalp and hair to prevent the evaporation of hair. Others work by providing the nourishment to the scalp that in turn improves the overall health of hairs.
- Effectively cleans up the residues
- Contains hair nutrients in the composition
- Can be used for all type of hairs
- Stimulates blood supply in the scalp
- Contains sulfates
6. Weleda Millet Nourishing Shampoo – Nourishing Formula That Repairs and Restores Scalp Health
Weleda Millet Shampoo is the next entry on our list of best shampoo for excess sebum which has both cleansing and nourishing properties. However, unlike the previously mentioned shampoo, the nourishing profile of this shampoo is slightly better. Moreover, it can be used by everybody whether there is excess sebum or not.
The formula has a mixed composition containing both natural and synthetic products. The natural ingredients like organic macadamia nut oil and extracts of millet husks are present. Sodium lauryl sulfate, lactic acid, and sodium cocoyl glutamate are some of the synthetic ingredients that are present in the composition.
The natural ingredients in the composition have the intended purpose of nourishing the hairs. The synthetic ingredients on the other hand have a cleansing role to remove the residue buildups and excess sebum.
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Besides cleansing the scalp, the composition also provides nourishment to the hair to improve their health. It essentially leaves a very thin layer of oil behind which has essentially the same composition as the natural sebum. Since the required oil is already present in the scalp the body cuts down on the sebum production. This, in turn, results in a silkier, smoother, and oil-free scalp and hairs.
Another point I must mention is the scent of this shampoo which is very pleasing. Unlike some of the synthetic shampoos, it has a very subtle smell that lasts for a while. The scent is very refreshing and exhilarating which makes one feel good about oneself.
- Works with hard water
- Cleanses and nourishes
- Has a subtle and pleasing scent
- Reduce sebum production
- Improves overall scalp and hair health
- A bit expensive
7. Aesop Classic Shampoo 500mL – Mild and Basic Formula For Everyone
Aesop Classic is an impressive shampoo that cleanses the scalp and leaves shiny and fresh hair behind. Plus, it suits all hair types. It lathers well and you can rinse it off easily because of its gel-like texture. The shampoo is light-weight and does not leave much of a residue behind making it suitable for everybody.
The key ingredients in the shampoo are rosemary leaf, cedarwood bark, and juniper berry. From the key ingredients, it might seem like a natural composition but the fact is that it has more synthetic chemicals than natural ones. It even has sulfate compounds which can be damaging to hair if you use it too often. The ideal frequency would be two to three times a week.
The composition of the shampoo is mild and basic and therefore does not provide any hardcore treatment. Therefore, it may not be the best option for massive oil and sebum buildups. However, those who want a shampoo for everyday use and have mild oil problems can get the maximum benefit from it.
The rosemary leaf promotes blood supply to the scalp and ensures the scalp is getting all the necessary nutrients. Cedarwood oil on the other hand has a cleansing action that removes excess oil, dirt, and dandruff from the scalp. The last key ingredient, juniper berry, works as multiple effects. It detoxes the hair follicle in addition to cleansing the scalp. Plus, it has antifungal properties which prevent the production of dandruff and flakes.
- Can be used on all hair types
- Revitalizing formula
- Anti-fungal properties
- Pleasing smell
- Turns the hair soft
- Contains sulfate compounds
8. Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo – Best Clearing Shampoo For Colored Hair
We have talked about the problems associated with the use of multiple hair care products and how they lead to excess sebum production. Some of the products mentioned before address the issue as well. However, the product I am about to get into is a very specific product that targets a particular audience.
The products mentioned before do cleanse the scalp but they also strip off the hair color in the process. I am not talking about the natural colors but those that have been chemically imparted. These days people are into those colors and they need an appropriate product for their care. The Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo is the right product that these people need.
In essence, the composition of the shampoo is safe for the chemically treated hair. This means it would remove the residue buildup from the scalp without stripping off the color. However, since it is a residue cleaner, it only has to be used once a week or month depending on your use of hair care products.
In case you want to strip off the color, you can increase the frequency of its use which will gently strip off the color. Confused? How can a shampoo that is supposed to protect the hair color will strip off the color? The answer is, it is the safest shampoo that you can use on the color-treated hair. However, it has a deep cleansing effect which will gradually strip off the color if you use it too often.
The point is, it would not wash off the color in just two to three showers like most deep cleansing formulas. It will protect the hair color but if you start using it too often it will also strip the color away but would take a much greater number of washes than ordinary deep cleansing formula.
The key ingredients of the shampoo are Panax ginseng root extract, rosemary leaf extract, and sage leaf extract. Though the composition has sulfate products, however since it has to be used only once or twice a month that should not be a problem.
The Panax ginseng root extract is essentially a DHT (dihydrotestosterone) inhibitor. It must be noted that DHT is a hormonal compound that promotes sebum secretion. Thus, this shampoo reduces DHT production and this in turn leads to less sebum secretion.
- Has a pleasing herbal smell
- Cleans the residue, excess oil, and dirt
- Safe on color-treated hair
- Free of paraben
- Contains sulfate
9. Kerastase Bain Divalent Shampoo – Produces Instant Results
Inflammation in the cuticle is the most common problem that leads to excessive sebum production. The inflammation can be due to different reasons including excess residue buildup and dandruff. There are a variety of products that address these problems but there are not many that address the inflammation straight up.
However, the product we have at hand is one of such products that address the inflammation straight away.
The active ingredient of this shampoo is salicylic acid which is an anti-inflammatory chemical. As this chemical comes in contact with the inflamed scalp it begins to reduce the inflammation. Thus, the cuticles begin to close, and sebum production also decreases.
Since all other formulas eliminate the root cause of inflammation it can take them some time to decrease sebum production. On the contrary, this formula addresses the inflammation straight away and provides instant results.
However, it does not mean that the shampoo does not work to eliminate the root cause of inflammation. The composition contains several strong detergents like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate that can clean up the scalp from all sorts of residues. The point is, not only does it decrease the inflammation but cleans up the scalp as well. This, in turn, produces an instant and long-lasting effect. Furthermore, it can be used on color-treated hairs as well which is a plus point.
Since the composition contains sulfate compounds you should avoid using it too often.
- Provides instant results
- Results are long-lasting
- Comes at an affordable price
- Improves the hair volume
- Reduces tangling
- Contains sulfate compounds
10. Hask Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo – Paraben-Free Formula At An Affordable Price
The last, but not the least, entry to our list of best shampoo for excess sebum is Hask Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo. As its name indicates, it is a clarifying shampoo that would strip all the residue and excess sebum builds from the scalp.
The key ingredients in the shampoo are argan oil, coconut oil, charcoal citrus oil, keratin protein along with a whole lot of mineral and natural oil. Moreover, the shampoo is free of all the harmful chemicals like alcohol, sulfate, and parabens.
The most important of all these ingredients is Charcoal Citrus Oil which has a cleansing function. It targets the impurities at the root of the hair and unclogs the follicle which ultimately results in reduced sebum production.
Argan oil is the most suitable moisturizer when it comes to hair because of its composition which includes vitamin E and many fatty acids. These substances work by improving the blood supply to the scalp and therefore improve the nourishment of hairs.
Coconut oil also has a similar composition and it improves hair growth. Plus, some of its components remove the sebum buildup from hair follicles and unclog them. This, in turn, results in minimal tangling and lighter weight. The keratin protein adds strength to the hairs by feeding to the hair follicles.
Since this is clarifying shampoo it will remove everything from the scalp including the oils that are necessary. Therefore, you must use a conditioner afterward in order to prevent dryness and brittleness.
The shampoo has a charcoal scent which might be too much for some people. However, for the betterment of scalp and hair health, the compromise is not big. Besides, it vanishes the moment you wash the head under a shower, so it should not be much of an issue.
- A nourishing and cleansing formula
- Comes at an inexpensive cost
- Safe on color-treated hair
- Strengthen the hairs
- Paraben and Sulfate free
- Scent can be overwhelming
Shampoo for Excess Sebum Buyer’s Guide:
The struggle of putting up with greasy hair is real and only those who encounter this can understand. It is not only uncomfortable but frustrating and infuriating as well. Out of sheer embarrassment, some people cannot even go outside with their oily scalps.
Understanding the Problem
Before proceeding on to buy a shampoo one must realize and understand the issue he/she is facing. In case otherwise, you would end up with the wrong product that can make the problem even worse.
Sebum is naturally produced from our sebaceous gland that has multiple health benefits. However, the overproduction of this sebum can pose several threats to the overall health of the scalp and hairs. There are several reasons that can contribute to excess production of the scalp including hormonal and anatomical dysfunction or the buildups in the scalp.
The first two problems are major health concerns and you should immediately get a consultation from a physician. However, the third problem can be addressed by simple lifestyle modifications and the use of appropriate shampoo. This is the problem we would discuss hereafter.
Look For Natural Ingredients
Natural ingredients are safer, least irritating, and non-damaging to hair which is why you must look for these in composition. You must have heard that natural substances do not have as good cleansing effects as synthetic compounds. This is not true, there are a lot of natural compounds that even have better cleansing activities than synthetic detergent, Kaolin is an example of it.
Moreover, the natural ingredients also have nourishing properties that contribute to better health of hair and scalp which is their plus point.
However, the catch is the product that contains all-natural components come at much higher prices. If you can’t afford these, you can go for products that are within your price range and have a large number of natural ingredients in them.
Paraben and Sulfates Free Composition
Paraben and sulfates are a family of chemicals that are widely used in skin and hair care products. Parabens are used as preservatives, while sulfates are utilized as a surfactant or foam-forming agents.
Multiple pieces of research have shown that both of these chemicals are associated with irritation and other skin conditions like dermatitis. Therefore, while purchasing the shampoo you must look if these chemicals are present and if they are look for a better product that does not have these in its composition.
Understand the Composition
Each product has its own composition that serves a specific purpose which is why understanding the composition is very important. In case you want a shampoo that can be used every day, never go with clarifying shampoos. Similarly, in case you want to get something to clean up the residues do not go with regular shampoos.
While dealing with excess sebum, in most cases than others, you would have to go with clarifying shampoos. These shampoos have a composition that cleans up the scalp and removes all the buildups. This ultimately results in reduced sebum production.
Therefore, while selecting the shampoo to get rid of excess sebum always look for clarifying shampoo.
Excess sebum in the scalp can have different causes and can lead to a variety of hair problems. The greasy hair due to excess buildup not only look unhealthy but also can cause hair loss in the long run. Therefore, it is important that we get rid of the excess sebum and do it fast.
Selecting the best shampoo for excess sebum is finding the right balance between strong clearing properties and some moisturizing capabilities, so you get rid of the buildup without damaging your hair.
Above we list some of the top anti-sebum shampoos. Most of them contain natural ingredients and these do not damage hair with regular use.
They are all good and you can trust them with your hair but if you would ask for my personal favorite, it would be Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two. It has a nice blend of different and unique ingredients that work to cure most causes of excess sebum and oil production.
In the end, we have put forward a buyer’s guide to make you understand what went behind selecting these shampoos for our list.
That’s all we have for now. Do comment below if you have any questions or concerns and we would love to respond.