The Best Shampoos To Stop Head Sweat—And Other Products Hair Experts Swear By

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As the ancient, sagacious Home Goods framed print proverb goes: “The cure for anything is salt—sweat, tears, and the sea.” While my inner self won’t argue with the latter two (I’m a Cancer, after all), I raise eyebrows at “sweat.” I don’t like it anywhere, and rarely consider it a “cure,” especially if it comes anywhere near my scalp. If you’re like me, sweat might conjure a negative connotation. Turns out, Home Goods was right: Sweat isn’t all that bad, even for our hair. Mitigating sweat, particularly in warm climates or when exercising, though, is key—and the best hair products for sweaty scalps can help.

Experts In This Article

What to look for in the best shampoos and hair products for sweaty scalps

The primary goal of hair products for sweaty scalps is to sop up excess oil and, ideally, reduce the amount of times you have to wash your strands.

Incorporating a “clarifying” or “purifying” shampoo into your hair-washing routine is worth consideration, says Carlie Kazimir, a cosmetologist and store manager of beauty supply store StoreCentric in New Jersey. Clarifying shampoos work to remove stubborn oil, dirt, and product build-up, but it’s typically recommended to limit use to once a week or a month. Many formulas contain sulfates, which, while effective at cleansing the scalp, can be drying to the hair if overused. That said, there are sulfate-free options for people who wish to avoid them. You might also want to opt for products that incorporate mint and eucalyptus, says Kazimir, as well as absorbent ingredients, like charcoal and tapioca or rice starch, which help sop up excess oil.

For those who wash their hair more frequently, Stephanie Sey, a trichologist and hair specialist at Grow Gorgeous, suggests looking for a non-drying shampoo with ingredients that lock moisture into the strands without weighing them down. One ingredient she swears by is niacinamide. The B3 vitamin, which has long been purported to hydrate and plump up skin, is beneficial for the hair, too. “It helps with collagen production [to improve] the quality of the skin, and [it] also helps the scalp create a lipid barrier on the surface of the skin—meaning it helps retain moisture for longer [and] the drying effects of sweat,” she says.

As for what to avoid in hair products? Sey mentions that you might want to avoid products that list salt (or sodium chloride) as one of the first ingredients on their label. That said, you also might want to steer clear of products with the word “moisturizing” or “hydrating” in its product name, says Kazimir, as well as options with argan or coconut oil, which can leave hair oily rather than refreshed after it’s been washed.

Additionally, there are hair products, such as dry shampoos, hair refreshers, and scalp treatments, that can keep oil at bay in between wash days. If you frequently style your hair, there are also products that promise to prolong your hairstyle while keeping it looking as fresh as possible.

For some, sweat is a cure, but others may be looking for a solution for their sweaty scalps—if you fall into the latter category, scroll on to find the best shampoos and hair products for sweaty scalps.

Best shampoos and hair products for sweaty scalps

Best shampoos for sweaty scalps

Clarifying shampoo from Drybar
Drybar, On The Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo — $26.00
  • Hair product type: Shampoo
  • Key ingredient: Activated charcoal
  • Fragranced? Yes

Activated charcoal is the star ingredient in this clarifying shampoo from Drybar. The formula is free of sulfates and phthalates, but this doesn’t make the shampoo any less effective. According to the brand, it absorbs 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities, making it ideal for deep-cleaning the scalp.

Clarifying shampoo from Ouai
Ouai, Detox Shampoo — $30.00
  • Hair product type: Shampoo
  • Key ingredient: Apple cider vinegar
  • Fragranced? Yes

Ouai’s clarifying shampoo features apple cider vinegar to rid hair of excess oil and buildup—and FYI, it doesn’t smell like ACV but a combination of rose, bergamot, lychee, cedarwood, and white musk. Keratin alsomakes an appearance, promising to leave your hair soft and smooth after every wash. As a plus, this formula is sulfate-free and safe to use on color-treated hair.

Clarifying shampoo from Aveeno
Aveeno, Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo — $7.00
  • Hair product type: Shampoo
  • Key ingredient: Apple cider vinegar
  • Fragranced? Yes

Like the pick from Ouai, this sulfate-free shampoo relies on apple cider vinegar to cleanse the scalp of dirt and product residue, only it will set you back under $10. While ACV is an important component in this shampoo, its primary ingredient is colloidal oatmeal extract, a natural ingredient that is beloved for its soothing properties.

Clarifying shampoo scrub from Christophe Robin
Christophe Robin, Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt — $53.00
  • Hair product type: Shampoo
  • Key ingredient: Carbohydrate complex
  • Fragranced? Yes

This purifying shampoo by Christophe Robin is ultra-clarifying, and it’s blended with sea salt to really detoxify and de-gunk the sweatiest, stinkiest scalps. Your scalp will thank you for rubbing this minty, tingly stuff all over it, and your strands will be clean as a whistle, ready to stave off oil and grease even when the temps turn up.

Best dry shampoos to absorb hair sweat and oil

Dry Shampoo from Living Proof
Living Proof, Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo — $22.00
  • Hair product type: Dry shampoo spray
  • Key ingredient: Rice starch
  • Fragranced? Yes

If you were to ask the W+G team what their go-to dry shampoo is, you’re bound to hear “Living Proof Perfect Hair Day” unanimously. While other dry shampoos just sit on top of the follicle to absorb grease and sweat, Living Proof cleans your hair, giving it a fresh wash without the actual wash. Its high-tech formulation de-greases your scalp and releases a burst of fresh-smelling goodness on a time-release, so your hair always smells good.

Dry shampoo powder from R+Co
R+Co, Skyline Dry Shampoo Powder — $32.00
  • Hair product type: Dry shampoo powder
  • Key ingredient: Tapioca starch
  • Fragranced? Yes

If you prefer sucking up grease and sweat with a powder dry shampoo, do it with R+Co. It comes in a pump that allows you to get really technical about what parts of your scalp need a little TLC. Its super-absorbent formula is boosted with mane-loving ingredients, like burdock root extract (which is known for its antioxidant properties) and jojoba seed oil, a weightless conditioner that adds shine but not weight. Its fresh, clean scent doesn’t hurt either.

Dry shampoo from Davines
Davines, Hair Refresher — $30.00
  • Hair product type: Dry shampoo spray
  • Key ingredient: Rice starch
  • Fragranced? Yes

For the days when your hair just needs to hit refresh, get Davines’s Hair Refresher. It’s technically a dry shampoo, but it goes on a little misti-er and less spray-y than your typical aerosol can. Its star ingredient is rice starch which automatically sucks up sweat on even the hottest, swampiest days, giving you a, “I swear I showered this morning” fresh ‘do. A warning: Using it will make you almost never want to shower again. Almost…

Best scalp treatments

Scalp treatment from Awaken
Awaken Surface, Awaken Treatment — $33.00
  • Hair product type: Scalp treatment
  • Key ingredient: Mint
  • Fragranced? Yes

Kazimir recommends the entire Awaken Surface line for oily hair, but if you’re really struggling with sweat and grime, this treatment should do the trick. “It’s designed to change the pH balance of your hair and scalp,” she says. “So whatever that challenge is—oiliness, dryness, or any other problem—it helps balance your scalp to get it back to a healthy point.”

Scalp serum treatment from Grow Gorgeous
Grow Gorgeous, Scalp Care Volumizing Niacinamide 10% Scalp Booster — $30.00
  • Hair product type: Scalp serum
  • Key ingredient: Niacinamide
  • Fragranced? Yes

As Sey mentioned, products with niacinamide are key for regulating oily scalps as they aid in collagen production and help retain moisturizer. If you struggle with sweat and oil and want to stimulate hair growth, she recommends laying the foundation with this booster from Grow Gorgeous. Using it is simple: After your wash, massage it into your scalp and let it work its magic (don’t worry—it won’t dry greasy). Your hair will be set up for success, quite literally, from the ground up.

Best root refresher

Root refreshing spray from Sunday II Sunday
Sunday II Sunday, Root Refresh Micellar Rinse with ACV — $31.00
  • Hair product type: Root refresher spray
  • Key ingredient: Apple cider vinegar
  • Fragranced? Yes

No gym bag or yoga duffel is complete without this tangy root refresher that strands suck right up. It’s formulated with apple cider vinegar which has been shown to help with balancing scalp pH and bacterial growth. After your sweatiest sesh, spritz this stuff on your roots and use your fingers to distribute the product—you’ll notice almost instantly how well it brings hair back to life (and makes it smell fresh, too).

Best styling products for sweaty scalps & oily hair

Matte styling spray from Amika
Amika, Un.done Volume and Matte Texture Spray — $27.00
  • Hair product type: Texturizing spray
  • Key ingredient: Zeolite
  • Fragranced? Yes

As Kazimir mentioned, those who suffer from a sweaty scalp have to be really careful about the products they add back into their hair once it’s dry. This matte texture spray from Amika answers the call for a less oil-inducing product that gives hair volume and life. Instead of salt, it uses zeolite (another natural mineral) to give hair that windswept, “undone” look without weighing it down.

What causes scalp sweat?

There are plenty of situations in which head sweat can occur. It happens when you’re in a warm environment, for example, or while you’re exercising. One study also shows that there is a link between sweaty scalps and stress—and interestingly, the researchers found that the more stress its participants experienced, the more they sweat from their scalps or heads. Overactive sweat glands can also come into play. “Excessive head sweat is a form of focal hyperhidrosis called craniofacial hyperhidrosis, which is characterized by overactive sweat glands on the head, face, and scalp,” according to board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACET Dermatology, Geeta Yadav, MD. “Unlike general hyperhidrosis, which could be connected to certain conditions, there isn’t usually a medical cause behind [craniofacial hyperhidrosis]—just miscommunication between your nerves and sweat glands.” Dr. Yadav adds that factors, like stress, hormones, and hot environments can exacerbate the condition.

Is scalp sweat bad for your hair?

Typically, sweat isn’t bad for your hair, so if you’ve ever wondered  whether you should wash your hair after the gym, you might be pleased to learn that it isn’t always necessary. “Sweat is a healthy bodily function,” says Stephanie Sey, a trichologist and hair specialist at Grow Gorgeous. However, she mentions that sweat can leave a salty residue on the scalp, which can strip hair of necessary moisture if you let it sit on your head for an extended time. People can also experienceoily hair in addition to a sweaty scalp. “This may affect some more than others,” says Sey, adding that certain factors, such as hormones, can cause some people’s scalps to produce more oil, and as a result, cause unwanted odor, make hair look greasy, or leave you susceptible to dandruff. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that “head sweat is not an oil problem,” says Dr. Yadav, and unfortunately, “this is not something that can be controlled by shampoo [or hair products].”

How can you stop your scalp from sweating?

Unfortunately, even the best shampoo for sweaty scalps can’t prevent sweat from happening, so if you want to stop head sweat, one of the best ways to do so is with neurotoxin injections to the scalp—otherwise commonly known as scalp Botox. “Neurotoxins prevent your nerves from triggering sweat secretion, reducing activity for a less sweaty scalp,” Dr. Yadav says, adding that the effects can last for several months.

If you aren’t concerned about head sweat but notice that your hair becomes oily whenyou perspire, shampoo and other hair products can serve as great greasy hair remedies. Shampooing your hair will help remove sebum, sweat, and product residue, plus it can also prevent dandruff. However, it’s also important to avoid over-washing it. It might seem counterintuitive, but the more you wash, the drier your hair and scalp becomes, which can lead to more oil production.

Frequently asked questions

Why do I sweat from my scalp?

Whether it’s because they're in a particularly warm climate or they are perspiring while they exercise, there are many reasons why people sweat from their scalps. Stress is also a factor, and if you experience excessive sweating, it could be due to overactive sweat glands.

Is there a shampoo or hair product that stops head sweating?

Hair products can’t stop your head from sweating, but it can help mitigate the oiliness that might come with it. If you want to stop head sweat, Dr. Yadav, says the best course of action is with targeted neurotoxin injections to the scalp (aka scalp Botox).

Is there an antiperspirant for your scalp?

A few antiperspirants on the market for sweaty scalps exist. However, most topical antiperspirant products—many of which contain aluminum—aren’t typically recommended for use around the face. According to one study, it may lead to the risk of skin irritability.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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