Living Healthy Naturally

Herbal and Natural Home Treatments for Dandruff

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Natural Dandruff Treatments

The healthiest version of ourselves involves addressing what we eat, what we use in our environment, and what we do in our everyday lives influenced by the viewpoint that nature provides us with much of what we need to accomplish these tasks.  We often find ourselves worried about this or that environmental pollutant and yet forget about the items we use everyday on our skin.  This is a review of 5 natural home remedies for dandruff and itchy scalp.


Dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis is a common scalp disorder causing itching and excessively dry skin flaking on the scalp.  Common causes are irritated oily skin, dry skin, bacterial or fungal growth on the scalp, certain inflammatory skin conditions and other such factors.Dandruff on scalp

While there is no magic button to push or switch to flip, dandruff can be controlled or even eliminated by following a healthy hair care routine using simple, natural home remedies.  Some will be more effective for more advanced dandruff that is not antifungal resistant and some may be useful only in minor cases of dandruff.  In this microwave age when we expect immediate results, we must remember that natural remedies may take time to show results.  After all, your scalp didn’t develop dandruff overnight!

Ranking the Natural Choices

While ranking the natural choices for dandruff treatment may seem a bit counter-intuitive, there are individuals who wish to try all-natural treatments before heading the doctor for the treatment of dandruff.  While dandruff is not a life-threatening condition, it certainly can drastically impact the quality of one’s life on a personal, medical and social basis.  Certainly, there’s nothing to be lost by trying one or all of the following choices.  But in the end, if after 2-3 months of trying one of the choices (one at a time), a visit to the doctor would certainly be in order as there are other conditions which may need to be addressed.

Natural Choice #5. Baking Soda

Baking soda as a mild exfoliant helps remove dead skin cells and absorbs excess oil. It may help the balance pH levels on the scalp and thereby reduce the growth of fungi that cause dandruff.

Method of use: Wet your hair and rub a handful of baking soda onto your scalp

Dandruff treatment

.  Wait 2 minutes, rinse well with warm water.  Do NOT shampoo.  Repeat 1-2 times a week.

Pros:      Least expensive alternative.  Easiest of all the choices to use.

Cons:     Will probably be effective for minor cases only.

Shelf Life:    6 months after opening


Natural Choice #4. Apple Cider Vinegar and Tea Tree Oil

Scalp treatment with apple cider vinegar and Tea Tree Essential Oil restores the pH balance of the scalp and inhibits the growth of yeast.  Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural hair clarifier and helps clean clogged pores and hair follicles.

Method of Use:                 Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 3 ounces of warm water, and 15-20 drops of tea tree oil.  Apply to the scalp and massage.  Allow the mixture to remain on the hair 5-10 minutes.  Wash hair with castile soap and use the remainder of the mixture to rinse hair.  Repeat 2-3 times weekly.

Pros:      Less time involved in masking the hair prior to washing.

Cons:     Odor of apple cider vinegar and tea tree may be offensive.

Price:  Tea Tree is $10-$12 per ounce yielding 30 uses per ounce.

Apple Cider Vinegar:  $.27 per ounce/treatment

Shelf Life:      1.5- 2 years


Natural Choice #3:  Coconut Oil and Lemon Juice

Coconut oil is the best source of monolaurin, a well known antiseptic substance found in breast milk, it is antifungal and contains Vitamins E.  It moisturizes dry scalp and provides relief from itching.  Lemon (or lime) juice contains citric acid which restores the normal pH balance of the scalp thereby inhibiting the overgrowth of yeast on the scalp. The astringent effect of lemon juice balances the sebum level of the scalp, preventing it from becoming excessively greasy or dry and itchy.

Method of Use:                Gently melt a tablespoonful of coconut oil and mix in one and one-half teaspoonfuls of slightly warm lemon juice.  While it is still in a liquid form, rub into the scalp and massage for 1-3 minutes.  Leave on the hair for 20 minutes and wash the hair with a mild soap such as a castile soap (made with olive oil).   Rinse with a cup of water warm into which 4 tablespoonfuls of lemon juice has been added as your last rinse.  Repeat 2-4 times weekly.

Pros:      Benefit of using coconut oil (antifungal, Vitamin E), lemon juice (pH regulator, Vitamin C) and Olive Oil (in the castile soap) is a trifecta of beneficial, natural ingredients.

Cons:     Coconut oil may produce a greasier moisture than our #1 choice; lemons must be fresh (do not use artificial lemon substitute).

Price:     Coconut Oil         $.50/ounce for 2 treatments

Lemons:               Market price

Shelf Life:            Coconut Oil         2 years

Lemons:               Variable

Natural Choice #2.  Tea Tree Oil

Product Description:   Tea tree oil, Melaleuca alternifolia, is one of the most widely respected and used essential oils.  It is remarkably beneficial in supporting optimal immune function, healthy skin and hair, is antifungal and supports overall wellness.

Use of Tea Tree Oil

Method of Use:                Add 5-6 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of our #1 recommended oil and apply to the hair.  Leave it on for at least 30 minutes or overnight and then wash your hair with a castile shampoo (made of olive oil) once or twice weekly.

Pros:      Tea tree essential oil has strong antifungal properties, making it a good treatment for dandruff, especially when diluted with our #1 Choice.

Cons:     Has a medicinal, woody scent which used at 15% rate is not strong, but may offend.

Price:     $10-$12 per ounce yielding 10-15 uses per ounce.

Shelf Life:   1.5 – 2 years.


Natural Choice #1.  Jojoba Oil

Product Description:       100% natural jojoba offers the traits and benefits of both an oil and a wax. It is highly emollient and penetrating. It closely resembles the natural sebum within our skin. It does not clog the pores and provides excellent non-greasy moisture to the skin.  Read my in-depth review of jojoba oil here.

Pros:      Sebum (skin wax) is deposited into hair follicles, resulting in dandruff and/or seborrhea, split ends, or excessively dry or greasy hair. Jojoba oil penetrates and dissolves sebum deposits and regulates excessive secretions in the scalp.   It is an excellent carrier oil for Tea Tree (our #2 choice), allowing for cost-effective, complementary treatment.

Cons:     While adverse reactions to the oil are rare, they may occur.  Patch testing is advised for those with sensitive skin.

Price:  $2-$3 per ounce

Shelf life – 2 years.  Obtaining 100% pure jojoba oil assures the oil you use has no additives, the plants from which it was harvested had no pesticide use or were not genetically engineered to produce higher crop harvest and that the oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the jojoba plant.

16 thoughts on “Herbal and Natural Home Treatments for Dandruff

  1. I am really glad that I stumbled on this article. I have changed so many shampoos because of dandruff but nothing help. I even tried to eat some food that friends recommended me but nothing. I heard something about jojoba oil but I did not know that it was true. I will definitely try it and see the results.

    1. Hi Daniel!  I’m so glad you found this article helpful.  I’d love for you to share back with me if you find one of the options cited more favorable than another.  Love sharing information on natural healing.  As a pharmacist I can tell you – there’s not always magic in a bottle from the drugstore.

      Bless you!



  2. I was not aware that there was a natural way to treat this condition. I remember family members of mine having this condition and going out trying expensive specialty shampoos only to have mixed results. We all prefer a natural approach in my family so the fact that this works to solve both problems is really nice. Thank you!

    1. Hey Dave.  So glad you found my article informative and helpful.  After 50 years of practicing pharmacy, I’m learning each day that drugstore options are really NOT the initial go-to for a lot of conditions.  It’s just a cultural phenomenon that we all rush to the store as tho magic is in the bottle!  I with you on natural (and now reformed (:)

      Glad you found this information useful.  All the best!


  3. Wow, many options for someone with dandruff. I personally think a natural remedy is best versus seeing a Dr for treatment. I would use the jojoba oil as it is not a greasy formula and won’t clog pores. Secondly, I would chose baking soda since it is inexpensive and most people have it in the home any way.\ and looks to be effective. Thank you for presenting the choices someone has with this problem. It is a great and informative article. I would say “natural” is the way to go!

    1. Thank you Jennifer!  Another reader says he was quite pleased with the baking soda option – so I’ll just pass that along to you for info!  I really like jojoba oil and I know that tea Tree is also very effective – I just  don’t personally care for the scent!   Check out my article on jojoba oil for more info!

      All the best!


  4. Dandruff can be a huge problem for people who frequently wash their hair, and for those who are prone to dry skin during the winter months. Anyone who has to deal with the itchy dryness of dandruff caked on their scalp will certainly be thankful for this article. I have heard of apple cider vinegar as a cure for many interesting ailments, as well as teatree oil. Personally, I prefer to find natural methods to solve my problems, but there are always exceptions where a non-natural solution may be better. My advice would be to try the natural methods first, and then move to other treatments if those prove to be ineffective.

    1. I think you and I are on the same page about using natural (inexpensive) solutions and then moving on to others. As a pharmacist I spent over 50 years helping people cope with this embarrassing condition and wish at the time I had the information I’ve now uncovered.  Drugstore solutions are not always the best go to for dandruff!

      Thanks for reviewing my article.

      All the best!


  5. The good ol dandruff,  i used to get so much of it at one point. I’m glad I came across your article, now I’ll be able to prevent dandruff, and help some of my fellow family members act ok natural remedies like the ones you mentioned. We always have coconut oil and lemon juice, along with baking soda laying around, and I never thought about using them for my scalp, how eye opening. I can see how the acidity and the PH levels sort out and balance the effects of dandruff. I took a lot of chemistry, and I wish we learned a little more on life examples with PH like these ones. Jojoba oil is a very popular one, and one I keep hearing about. I’ll have to give that a look sometime. I’m bookmarking your page. Thank you for writing a great article!

    1. Thank you Michael.  It’s amazing how many things we have around the house that are so useful if only we knew! Check out my review of jojoba oil at the end of the post to get the full info on it.  It’s quite an amazing oil.  Please share the info with family and friends.  Sometimes, just talking about jojoba oil can open a discussion – hey did you know? – and really help someone.

      Thank you for your comments!


  6. Thank you for this post.  I have a dandruff condition that drives me nuts.  It’s not super-bad but it’s bad enough to cause a light snow when I scratch my head.

    I just want to confirm that I can try solution #1, Jojoba oil, first and then add #2, Tea Tree oil to it or should I try 1 then 2 then 3 before combining options?  Also, the post was a count down from 5 being the last recommendation to 1 being your first recommendation right?  That’s how I read it but I want to be sure.

    One last question…Are your recommendations different for a man vs a woman?  I ask because you speak of balance and I know that can differ between the sexes.  To be completely honest, short of showing and brushing my teeth every day, I don’t put too much thought into a cleaning routine so anything above and beyond is outside of my wheelhouse.

    Thanks again

    1. Hey Scott!  You’re right and I probably needed to clarify I did count down backwards with my recommendations. Everyone’s body has its own unique pH balance (so there is a range and normally you’ll see the pH number expressed as an average), so the treatments simply allow YOUR body to adjust back to its normal, so there’s no difference according to sex.  If you’re having a light snow, I might suggest option #1 first if cost is a factor, then move on to #2.  It’s really a matter of preference. Some folks really don’t like the Tea Tree smell so that’s I why put the jojoba oil as #1.  Check out my complete blog on the jojoba to see more info.

      Best to you!


      1. Thanks! I actually don’t mind the Tea Tree “smell”. I used to have a Tea Tree shampoo, yes it’s strong but not offensive in my opinion.

        I’ll get started on the Jojoba one first and go from there.

        Thanks again for getting back to me!

  7. Hi Sharon,

    thank you for this useful information. I tried Baking Soda and it really felt good for my skin. I like the choise #3 – Coconut Oil and Lemon Juice. I have a perfume with lemon scent and I do love it in a shampoo. I also used some shampoo with coconut, but never only oil. This mix sounds delightful.

    I will for surely try this. My hair is strong and healthy, but sometimes I feel like the skin is dry.

    I read also your detailed post about jojoba, and I think that this is also good product/oil for me.

    Thanks once again, I’ll bookmark this post.


    1. So glad to have your feedback and know that you were pleased with the baking soda option.  Jojoba can also be combined with the lemon juice (to substitute for the Coconut) and with Tea Tree.  Let me know which combo you end up being most pleased with.

      Thank your for your comments!


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