26 Hairstyles To Embrace If You Have Oily Hair

Living with oily hair is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, excess sebum (the natural oils secreted by your scalp) helps to protect your hair from breakage and can promote smoothness and shininess. On the other hand, it's incredibly easy for those oils to build up near the roots, leaving your tresses looking flat or stringy. When this happens, you might be tempted to reach for your go-to shampoo, but think twice! Over-washing any hair type, even very oily hair, can lead to unintended consequences like breakage and hair loss.

Simply put, your hair needs a certain amount of oil in order to maintain optimal health, not to mention shine and bounce. Per Healthline, causes of oilier hair can range from genetics (perhaps your hair was just born to self-hydrate) all the way to environmental factors like how often you tend to wash your hair (turns out, washing your hair daily can kick the scalp's oil-producing sebaceous glands into overdrive). While there are definitely more than a few products marketed to help reduce your head's excess sebum production, and a few of those products do fall under the life-saving category, sometimes the answer can be as simple as changing up your daily look. Oily hair is famous for its ability to hold styles better than freshly washed locks, so take advantage and try out one (or a few) of these hairstyles that will make you put down the shampoo and embrace your hair the way it is.

Baby braids

This '90s throwback style has been having a moment ever since last summer, when it started popping up on celebrity Instagram pages just in time for festival season. It's also an especially handy style for those whose excess oil tends to build up on the front of their hair.  And baby braids are versatile, given that they can be worn regardless of hair length or curl. In order to craft the look, simply separate two strands of hair at the part and create two classic three-strand braids. When finished, just secure the braids with a clear rubber band.


If you're looking for an easy, carefree summer style that isn't a ponytail, pigtails are the way to go. Whether you prefer to wear them loose, braided, accessorized or any other way you choose, pigtails add a bit of youthful fun to any casual style. Start with a clean middle part (you can use a rattail comb to make this part easier) and separate your hair into two large sections on either side of your head. Either secure the sections with a rubber band and go about your day, or braid them and secure the ends with smaller bands.

Claw clips

A good claw clip really is your hair's best friend on a busy day. Aside from the fact that it is far less damaging than most rubber bands or scrunchies, there is practically no end to the number of cute and easy hairstyles you can create using a clip. And most of those styles will do your oily locks the courtesy of camouflaging any signs that you skipped a wash day. For the downright easiest way to style a claw clip, simply brush your hair back with your fingers, give it a few twists, and secure with your clip of choice.

Basic half-up, half-down

Half-up, half-down styles are an easy way to elevate any look, but especially when you're running behind or just don't feel like putting too much effort into your hair on a particular day. The potential styles are also practically unlimited, with many (if not all) offering some degree of camouflage for days-old or oily hair. To test out the style for yourself, simply separate your hair into a top and bottom section, with either even amounts of hair or slightly less hair in the top section depending on the look you're going for. From there, you can simply secure the top section with a rubber band (like a ponytail) or get creative with braids, clips, or other accessories.

Messy bun

Ah, the messy bun. Few hairstyles are as versatile, or as universally loved, as the messy bun. It feels just as at-home sipping mimosas at Sunday brunch as it does in a business meeting. And because texture is what the messy bun is all about, it's great for hiding oily hair that may or may not be in need of a wash. To achieve this style, simply gather your hair where you want your bun to be placed, wrap a rubber band or hair tie around the hair once, scrunch or twist your hair into a bun, and secure with the rest of your tie and a few bobby pins. Bonus points if you want to pull out a few strands for an extra-messy look.

Top knot

Just like its sibling, the classic bun, the top knot is a versatile style that can be a real lifesaver for anyone who needs a quick, stylish 'do with minimal fuss or effort. To get the look, start with a high ponytail. Divide the ponytail into two sections and wrap them around each other. Next, twist your hair around the rubber band to create a tight bun, and secure it with pins. For extra hold, give your newly formed top knot a spritz of hairspray.

Accessorized styles

Let's be honest: Sometimes there are days when you just can't be bothered by your hair, but you're not quite ready to embrace the disheveled look. That's where accessories like head scarves, headbands, and barrettes come in. Headbands in particular are having a moment, popping up on runways and social feeds alike. Throwback styles involving scarves, ribbons, and barrettes are also posing a comeback, and for good reason. Adding that extra bit of detail to your low-maintenance 'do can elevate your look while at the same time camouflaging (or at the very least, drawing attention away from) oily roots.

Slicked back bun

Think of this as your top go-to style when you've skipped a critical wash day and wearing your hair down is no longer an option. While gel or mousse is typically recommended to get a truly smooth appearance, those with oily hair can usually skip the extra product and go straight to styling. Simply pull your hair back into a ponytail using a brush (preferably a boar bristle brush) to smooth down any stray strands, and twist the pony into a classic bun. Secure the style with pins and be on your way.

Subtle curls

Looking to rock a stunning lengthy hairstyle in spite of your oily hair? Consider adding some subtle curls to the lower half of your hair. The interest and movement created by the curls will draw attention away from your hair's roots, which are more likely to show any buildup of excess oils. Use a curling iron to achieve the look, or opt for even subtler waves by braiding your hair while it is still wet. Just be sure to limit any product to the bottom half of your hair.

Conventional single braid

Though it may seem a little conventional at first blush, there are many good reasons why the single braid is a classic. It's cute, it's easy, and it's versatile, just a twist or two away from any number of other styles you can try if the baseline braid isn't quite enough for you. Otherwise, a classic single braid can present an interesting alternative to your go-to casual ponytail or bun. Perhaps most appealing is the single braid's ability to draw attention to your hair's extremities and away from oily roots.

Slicked back high ponytail

We all know who's to thank for popularizing the sleek, sky-high ponytail. But Ariana Grande's signature look also happens to be an excellent way of camouflaging the fact that it's been a minute since your last wash day. Though gel is usually recommended to get the sleekest possible look, our oily-haired friends can typically skip this step and go straight to the ponytail. Any extra flyaways can easily be tamed with a bit of hairspray.

Bubble braids

It's hard to think of a casual style that says "summer" quite like bubble braids. They're fun and playful, and they're also great at disguising hair that has skipped a wash day or two. And, the basic style is incredibly easy to achieve. For a single bubble braid, simply pull you hair back into a ponytail. Take a handful of extra rubber bands and secure the first about an inch to two inches below the first. Pull and tease the hair in that section to form the first bubble, and continue the process until you reach the end of your hair. You can also get creative with the style, creating multiple bubble braids or incorporating them into a half-up, half-down style.

Space buns

The lovely Carrie Fisher gave us many great things while she was still with us, and the space buns style is just one of them. The name is taken from the double-bun style Fisher sported in the original Star Wars trilogy. Turns out, the out-of-this-world style is just as trendy today as it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. To achieve the space buns look, part your hair down the middle and separate it into two sections on either side of your head. Then, simply twist each section into a bun, and secure it with bobby pins.

Bantu knots

For natural hair, bantu knots are and always will be an adorable and on-trend style staple. It's said to have originated with the Zulu people of southern Africa over 3,000 years ago; clearly, the style has survived for a reason. In order to achieve the look, start by sectioning off your hair. You can proceed by simply twirling or wrapping each section into a knot, or further divide each section into two more sections that you'll twist over each other to achieve a more textured knot. Tuck the ends with your fingernail or the end of a rattail comb, and you're ready to slay the day.

Double Dutch braids

Despite its name, this trendy and incredibly convenient style actually originated in South Africa, not the Netherlands, where it made for a great way to protect the hair and scalp from the harsh sun while also keeping hair out of the way. These days, Dutch braids are a favorite of sports stars and celebrities alike. Start by separating your hair into two sections on either side of your hair. Then do a three-strand braid at the front of the hair, feeding more hair into the braid as you go. The main difference between a French braid and a Dutch braid is that the Dutch braid crosses hair sections underneath each other as opposed to over each other.

Side bun

Few styles are as versatile as the bun. From office to after-hours, from messy to sleek and professional, the bun will always be one of our hair's best friends. That being said, wearing the same bun style day after day can get a little tedious. Try switching things up by moving your bun's placement. Side buns offer a classic, yet understated, bit of elegance to any look. Bonus: They're as easy to do as your regular bun. It's the same principle, just in a different place on your head.

Sleek side part

Once again, maybe you're not in an updo mood. Maybe you're determined to make your oily, unruly hair cooperate for once in its life. Enter the classic side part. Even though middle parts are all the rage at the moment, and have been for a while, this subtle '00s throwback is a great way to change up your look and get in on a budding trend. Simply use a rattail comb, or any other favored parting method, to create a part on either side of your head instead of the center. The extra oil in your hair will help to give the side part a sleek appearance that can work for any occasion.

Bubble pigtails

In case choosing just one hairstyle is not enough for you, you can always combine more than one into a single, fun, trendy 'do. Enter bubble pigtails. This style offers all the youthfulness and fun of pigtails, with a bit of a twist. After creating your pigtails, take a handful of smaller rubber bands, and start securing them onto each pigtail an inch or two below the one above. Tease the small sections in between bands to create the bubbles, and soon you'll have this ultimately playful summer style.

Side braid

Just like the classic bun, the classic single braid is great. But sometimes you just want a change from the regular. Cue the side braid. Changing the side of your go-to style, in this case the braid or plait, is a great way to switch up your look but still remain safely within your hair's comfort zone. Simply start with your normal braiding routine, but this time, bring the braid over one shoulder and continue until you reach the end of your hair. Secure with a rubber band or tie, just like a normal braid, and voila.

Low bun

Another variation of the classic bun, the low bun is a great way to add some elegance or professionalism to your everyday look. While classic, messy buns, or other gathered styles that sit higher on the head tend to convey more of a casual vibe, low buns are more understated, making them perfect for the office. In order to achieve this look, simply follow all the necessary steps to create a bun, but position it as low as you can, close to the nape of the neck.

Halo braid

It's hard to think of a hairstyle more elegant than the halo braid, and we're not the only ones who think so. The style was popular in Greece during the first century as well as with Norse, Dutch, and Swiss cultures throughout the ensuing centuries. Today, the style is just as hot, gracing carpets, runways, and social feeds alike. Achieving the look without another pair of helping hands can be tricky, but it is certainly possible with enough practice. The style essentially involves creating a Dutch braid that wraps around the head. The end is then tucked into the first few plaits of the braid, creating a seemingly endless halo.

Brun (braided bun)

There really is no end to the number of fun and creative ways to play with buns. This variation, aptly dubbed the brun, combines braids into everyone's favorite updo. As a bonus, the style looks complicated, but in reality it's super easy to create. Start by creating a basic ponytail, and bring it in front of your face. Halfway down the pony, start braiding your hair until you reach the end, and secure it with a clear elastic. Next, go about twisting your hair into a bun as you normally would; the unbraided part of your hair should form the traditional bun, while the braided part is wrapped around it and secured with a bobby pin.

Fishtail braid

Taking the traditional braid up a notch, fishtail (or mermaid) braids have been on trend for years, and they probably will be for years to come. This technique can also seem intimidating if you're new to braiding or if you tend to stick to tried-and-true styles. However, with practice, fishtail braids can be one of the quickest and prettiest styles for those days when your hair needs a wash or you don't have the time for anything else. Start with two even sections of hair, and divide those sections into three even strands, just like a traditional braid. For a fishtail braid, you'll need to keep those three strands separate from each other, but you'll use small sections of each to create the tight plait that resembles fish or mermaid scales.

Half-up top knot

Yet another example of two different hairstyles that work perfectly together, the half-up top knot is a lifesaver for oily hair that could use a wash but will just have to wait. Like the name suggests, it starts with a basic half-up, half-down style. But in this case, you'll take the top half of your mane and twist it into a tight (or loose or messy) top knot. Just secure that with a pin, and you've got a cute style worthy of both daily errands and a night out.

French braids

French braids really are the original upgrade from traditional braids. They add a touch of sophistication and neatness to any look, though there are some messy variations that are truly a Sunday dream. For the classic look, start by brushing your hair back, and section it into three even strands near your forehead. Start braiding those strands, but remember to add hair to each strand as you go. When you reach the end, secure with a clear elastic, and you're good to go!

Classic chignon

Few other styles can come close to the classic chignon when it comes to elegance and sophistication. The name comes from the French phrase "chignon de cou," literally meaning the nape of the neck, which is typically where a chignon is placed on the head. Unlike buns, chignons are usually not twisted around themselves. They may be simply tucked under and secured with a pin, or they are tucked and built around a certain hair accessory. There are several ways to create a chignon, but the easiest starts with a low ponytail. Next you'll part the hair just above your hair tie and pull the end of the ponytail through, creating what's called a topsy tail. Wrap the remaining hair up into the middle section where the hair tie is, and secure with bobby pins.