This Shampoo Is the Best Thing I've Ever Used for My Oily Hair

And the tingling is just a bonus.

This Shampoo Is the Best Thing I've Ever Used for My Oily Hair
Photo: Paul Mitchell/ InStyle

Being an oily person is something I've had to handle my entire life. My face? Shiny just a few minutes post-wash. But there are products for that. Having oily hair? A hat can only do so much — and the same thing goes for dry shampoo. So instead of trying to control the grease with sprays alone, I was told that shampoo for oily hair can keep things in balance (or at least help out).

After trying medical-grade shampoos and even expensive salon brands that promise everything from oil control to scalp exfoliation, Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree Special Shampoo (the brand's no. 1 best-selling product) has managed to both soothe my sometimes-inflamed scalp and control the oiliness of my hair, all while giving me the brand's one-of-a-kind tingling experience, something that may be worth the price of admission alone.

Read on for my honest experience with Paul Mitchell's superstar shampoo.

What Is Oily Hair?

It may be easy to just assume that oily hair is caused by oil, but that's not always the case. While greasy hair and scalp may be part of the equation, the bigger picture may include other products in your hair care regimen. In addition to the natural oils and sweat that come from your skin, various styling products and environmental factors can lead to oily hair.

"Oily hair can have a number of different causes. Sometimes what is perceived as oily hair is actually a build-up of hair products. Oil production can also be an attempt to restore balance when overdrying hair care products are used," explains Snehal Amin, MD, co-founder and surgical director of MDCS Dermatology.

Benefits of Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

  • Paul Mitchell's unique combination of tea tree, peppermint, and lavender gives a cooling and "tingling" sensation on the scalp
  • Tea tree oil helps remove impurities from hair and scalp, without overdrying or stripping
  • The formula is safe for color-treated hair and is both vegan and paraben-free

The Tea Tree Special shampoo hits all the marks from Dr. Amin, who notes that it's important to look for formulas with "clarifying" claims and special ingredients that address scalp health as well as cleaning the actual hair shaft. He adds that waxes and silicones can build up in hair over time, so shampoos that skip out on those ingredients are great for anyone trying to triage the oil on their head.

"Look for shampoos that can cleanse without stripping and damaging hair. Avoid cheaper brands that utilize waxes and silicones which build up at the cuticle and weigh down the hair with residue. With oily hair, you may wash every day but another strategy is to do a more thorough wash every other day," Dr. Amin adds. "Look for shampoos that are 'clarifying.' Key ingredients to look for are salicylic acid and acetic acid (found in vinegar), which remove oil from the scalp and hair. Although sulfates fall into this category, they are over-drying and damage hair so it's best to stick to sulfate-free shampoos especially if you have color-treated hair."

How to Use Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

The best part of using the shampoo is that it's just like any other, with the added benefit of aromatherapy and Paul Mitchell's signature tingle. Lather it up in your hair, massage it into your scalp for maximum cooling and tingling, then rinse. While the brand does offer a conditioner in the same scent, it's not necessary to use both to get a squeaky-clean wash with this product. Even with heavy products in my hair (think: pomades and super strong-hold hair spray), everything is fresh and clean after one shampoo. No repeat wash is needed.

What to Expect Using Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

The tingle is no joke — and neither is the lather. The Tea Tree Special Shampoo is a traditional shampoo with a huge amount of bubbles. Originally, the formula was marketed as a hair and body wash and you'll feel the cooling tingle all over as you rinse.

If you can't get enough of the feeling on your scalp, the brand offers the same scent in a wide range of body products, including bar soap, a liquid hand soap, and body lotion in addition to several styling and treatment products that tout the same key ingredients. So, that means you can get the same benefits all over your body, which is great for anyone dealing with a super-hot summer or looking for a way to add a jolt of wake-up energy to their shower in as many ways as possible.

The Final Takeaway

Having tried more than a dozen shampoos to get my oily scalp and hair under control, Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree Special Shampoo is the only one that combines a combination of ingredients that works for me with a scent that isn't too medicinal or cloying. No matter what I try, I come back to this one over and over. Even special shampoos that claim to be designed specifically for irritated or itchy scalps or specifically made for oily hair just don't compare.

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space. Find out what's really in your products — and what's being left out.

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