Newborn Greasy Hair: Causes, Management & Bathing Tips

Following the birth of your baby, you may notice their hair appearing oily. This is a result of hormonal changes and the secretion of oils in the womb. While it may cause concern, this is a normal phenomenon and usually resolves on its own.

Why does my newborn have greasy hair? Your newborn has greasy hair because of the vernix caseosa, a thick protective coating on the skin. Babies also undergo hormonal changes after birth that affect oil production on their skin. Excess oils influence the look and feel of the baby’s hair. 

Keep reading to learn more about greasy hair in newborns and how to care for your little one’s hair.

Greasy Hair in Newborns

Here are some interesting facts about greasy hair and how to treat it.

Why Some Newborns Have Greasy Hair

Some newborns have greasy hair due to vernix caseosa from birth, hormonal changes, and elevated oil production.

The vernix caseosa is the thick coating around a baby’s skin that keeps the baby moisturized after delivery. After birth, babies produce sebum, a natural oil that keeps the skin lubricated.

Is It Normal for Newborns To Have Greasy Hair?

Yes, it’s normal for newborns to have greasy hair, especially during the first few months of life. Some parents might not notice oily hair on their babies’ heads if there’s only a little hair present.

Just like it’s normal for newborns to have greasy hair, it’s also normal for it to go away on its own, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Newborn’s Hair Greasy After Washing

Your newborn’s hair may get greasy after washing because shampoo dries out the hair, and their body produces extra oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. It’s best to wash your baby’s hair every once in a while instead of every day.

When To Expect Baby Greasy Hair To Go Away

You can expect your baby’s greasy hair to go away when their hormones level off after a few months. 

Greasy Hair vs. Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is another common skin condition in newborns caused by hormones produced by the mother. This condition often causes a scaly rash and may either be greasy or dry.

While cradle cap isn’t usually a reason to worry, you should reach out to your child’s pediatrician if you notice any pimples or water blisters on your baby’s scalp.

How To Manage Newborn Greasy Hair

It may be tempting to wash your baby’s hair when it’s greasy, but it’s probably best to leave it alone. Follow these tips for managing newborn hair:

  • Instead of shampooing your baby’s hair every day, comb it often to keep it neat and beautiful.
  • Only wash your baby’s hair with shampoo about two times a week, and use a damp cloth daily.
  • Avoid rubbing your baby’s scalp too hard.
  • If you need to fix greasy hair in a pinch, use a little bit of talc-free baby powder.

What Is Vernix and Why Is It Important?

Vernix caseosa is a thick, greasy coating on a baby’s skin after delivery. This coating offers the following benefits for you and your baby:

  • During pregnancy, the vernix protects the baby’s skin from amniotic fluid.
  • In the womb, your baby swallows the vernix, promoting healthy gut bacteria growth.
  • During delivery, the vernix can be a natural lubricant to help ease friction out of the birth canal.
  • After delivery, vernix maintains the moisture of your baby’s skin to help fight off bacterial infections.
  • Vernix also might help heal perineal wounds and ease vaginal birth recovery.

When To Wash Newborn Hair for First Time

A parent washing their newborn baby's hair for the first time.

You can clean your newborn’s hair immediately after birth, and most hospitals wash your baby as a protocol to remove the vernix from their bodies.

If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your newborn’s hair right away because of the benefits of vernix on the moisture of your baby’s skin, you can wait up to a day.

How Often To Bathe Newborn

Bathing your newborn every day can dry out their skin. Instead, you can give your newborn baby a bath three times a week. You can start giving your baby a bath more frequently when they become more mobile and start eating solids.

How Often To Wash Newborn’s Hair

After that first bath in the hospital, you can wash your baby’s hair about once or twice a week. Even if your baby doesn’t have a lot of hair, remember to be gentle as you massage your baby’s scalp.

Between times when you wash your newborn’s hair, you should use just water and a washcloth.

Shampoo for Oily Baby Hair

The best type of shampoo for baby hair is gentle and all natural. Check out these shampoos that may help with oily baby hair.

Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash

Burt’s Bees is a brand that promotes natural ingredients in its products. This blend that you can use on any part of your baby’s body encourages moisturization while softening and cleansing sensitive skin. It also has a pleasant, fresh scent.

Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Wash & Shampoo

This 2-in-1 wash and shampoo contains natural oat extract and is free of parabens, phthalate, and soap. It moisturizes the skin and produces a fresh, light fragrance. Pediatricians recommend this brand, especially for babies with sensitive skin.

Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo

Bond with your baby by washing them with Johnson’s hypoallergenic baby wash and shampoo. This product is clean and natural and is free of harsh fragrances, parabens, dyes, phthalates, and sulfates.

Its tear-free formula is safe for your baby’s skin and eyes and is effective in killing germs.

Baby Dove Sensitive Skin Care Baby Wash

This fragrance-free baby wash is also effective for moisturizing your baby’s hair and encouraging healthy skin development.

It’s gentle enough to be part of your baby’s first bath at home, and its safe ingredients will give you peace of mind during bathtime.

How To Dry Baby Hair After Bath

After you give your newborn baby a bath, follow these tips for drying their hair:

  • Gently stroke your baby’s hair with a soft towel.
  • If your baby has thick hair, use a soft brush to pick up some excess moisture.
  • If you want to blow-dry your baby’s hair, use the cool setting, and keep the dryer at least 12 inches away from their head.

Related Questions:

Should You Wash Baby’s Hair Every Day?

No, you should not wash your newborn baby’s hair every day. Washing their hair too often can cause too much oil production. Instead, you should only wash your baby’s hair about once or twice a week.

If your baby’s hair looks greasy, you can wash it between baths with a warm, damp cloth.

Is It Normal for Babies To Hate Baths?

Yes, it is normal for babies to hate baths. Babies may feel insecure because of the change in temperature or feeling of floating in the bathtub.

When you wash them and shampoo their hair, they might not like the feeling of water on their heads or near their eyes.

Final Thoughts

Greasy hair in newborns is normal after birth and usually resolves within a few months. Take care of your child’s hair by not washing it too often, brushing it regularly, and bathing your baby about once or twice a week.