Dandruff and flakes are so embarrassing – none of us wants a dry, flaky, itchy scalp! But many people suffer from it so here are my top natural remedies to heal it and be happier with your scalp!
1. Use Natural Products
Become an ingredient detective when it comes to your hair products! I have an in-depth post on this (click here), but for now, here are the main offenders that irritate the scalp.
- Sulfates – Sodium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate, among others
- Silicones – particles of plastic that coat the hair and clog up the pores in your scalp. Look for ingredients ending in -cone.
- Drying Alcohols – not all alcohol are bad, some are actually moisturizing!
- Mineral Oils – can clog the pores
- Parabens – besides being endocrine disruptors, they can also be skin irritatants
- Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone – common preservatives in hair products, linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions, and possible neurotoxicity.
- Avoid artificial fragrances – represents more than 3,000 different chemicals and many of them are phthalates and toxic
2. Clean Up Your Diet
Our skin is a direct reflection of our health. If you want healthy skin, hair and nails, take a close look at what you're eating and clean up your diet! In general, eat as close to nature as possible. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where you'll find fruits, veggies, meats and dairy. Take care to avoid excess sugar and processed foods. Many people are also sensitive to the gluten in wheat and proteins in dairy products and both can cause skin issues, allergies, digestion problems and more. I suggest seeing holistic or naturopathic doctor for more help advice.
Modern day bread is not made like it used to be made before. First of all, wheat is doused with an extra dose of pesticides so we are literally getting trace amounts of Roundup in our systems, which build up over time (bioaccumulation) and start to cause disease in our bodies. I mean, think about it. Something that's a poison is sprayed on our food!
Secondly, in order to make bread fluffier, bread manufacturers backfill it with gluten. So we are eating a much higher concentration of gluten that our intestines simply can't digest well.
Now, this doesn't mean that you have to give up bread altogether. Many are making their own bread from scratch using organic wheat. The healthiest way is to grind your own fresh wheat, which I talk about in this post. This is more time consuming, so we just eat less bread and when I have the time, I make cookies, muffins, waffles, pancakes and loaves of bread from scratch. It's a wonderful treat!
Dairy products can also be very irritating and cause eczema, psoriasis, allergies and digestion problems for many people. We drink mostly almond milk, but do eat butter (lots of it!) and my kids and their digestion do much better on it.
Processed foods in general are just not healthy. They are usually loaded with sugar, salt, preservatives, and artificial dyes and flavors, all of which can cause digestion problems and contribute to overall inflammation in the body.
Now, in my family, we do eat some processed foods, but in general, we try and eat as close to nature as possible. I'm not legalistic about it because this is the world we live in and I don't like being too strict about it, especially when we are at other people's houses. But while we are at home, we eat very healthy and all of us used to have skin and digestion problems before I cleaned up the food in our house!
Drink More Water!
This almost goes without saying, but it's important, so I'll say it anyway! Drink more water! This helps with everything! I'm totally addicted to drinking water all day long. It helps control appetite, increases focus, concentration, and energy, helps with every cell in the body and every bodily function. Water that's infused with cucumbers and lemons is super tasty and makes it easier to kick a soda habit. I also like to use Citrus Fresh or Lemon essential oil in my water to add flavor and help with digestion (all you need is a drop or two)!
3. Do Regular Scalp Massages
Do regular scalp massages with my Mermaid Hair Serum recipe. If you're not a DIY person, The essential oils in this recipe, Lavender and Cedarwood, are so therapeutic for the skin. You can even add in other skin-loving essential oils like Tea Tree, Lemon, Neroli, Sandalwood, and one of my favorite blends for the skin, Gentle Baby.
The castor oil will help with hair growth! You can even use this on your eyebrows and eyelashes to help make them thicker and grow longer.
To do a scalp massage, just squirt some of the oil on your fingertips, flip your head upside down and massage the oil for a minute or two on your scalp. That's it! If you wash your hair in the morning, I suggest doing this the night before so the oils can work their healing powers on your scalp while you sleep. If you're prone to product buildup or an oily scalp, doing it this way will also help as you'll be able to wash it off in the morning.
4. Shampoos & Scrubs for Troubled Scalps
BrioGeo Scalp Revival
I LOVE this shampoo! It's like a sugar scrub for your scalp. It contains so many healthy ingredients for your hair and skin, such as:
- Activated charcoal – detoxifies the hair and scalp by absorbing impurities such as dirt, oil, sebum and product build up
- Coconut oil – moisturizes and prevents a dry scalp that can lead to flakiness
- Tea Tree Oil – A natural antimicrobial that reduces flakiness and itchiness, while supporting healthy hair
- Peppermint – soothes itchiness and maintains a healthy scalp pH
It also gently exfoliates, which is so good for removing dead skin cells and product buildup from your scalp, all of which can contribute to an itchy, flaky scalp. Get the shampoo here on Amazon.
Shea Moisture Purifying and Hydrating Exfoliating Hair Mud
I also love this shampoo! It also contains activated charcoal, which lifts away dirt, impurities and product buildup. It also contains coconut and white tea, which both nourish and hydrate the scalp. The sugar in it is a natural exfoliant and my scalp feels so clean after using this.
Make Your Own Sugar Scrub
I have a recipe for a sugar scrub here on the blog that would be a super cheap and easy way to exfoliate your scalp! You can also use it on your heels and elbows to soften the skin there. Grab the recipe here.
5. Helpful Supplements
I have an in-depth post on how supplements can help your hair, skin and nails, but the basic idea is that they can help you digest and assimilate the vitamins in your food better and provide necessary ingredients for your tissues and organs.
- Sulfurzyme – contains sulfur, which is has a multitude of health benefits:
- Supports healthy detoxification
- Maintains structure of proteins
- Protects cells and cell membranes
- Preserves the molecular framework of connective tissue (this is where it helps your skin!)
- Replenishes connection between the cells
- Supports healthy immune system
- Supports circulation, liver, and proper intestinal function
- I have watched my hair, nails and skin improve and heal with this supplement! My nails are long and thick and my hair grows about 3/4 to one inch a month. It has helped to heal the eczema I used to really struggle with.
- Detoxzyme – gives your body essential enzymes, which are lacking in our modern-day diets, to help you digest your food properly and assimilate the vitamins and nutrients from your food.
- Probiotics – there are thousands of articles on the benefits of probiotics! They help to restore the good bacteria in your gut (intestines), which helps with overall health and immunity.
6. Color Your Hair? Use a Healthier Hair Color
I'll admit, as natural of a lifestyle that I like to live, I do color my hair because I've been going grey since I was 15! I've used many different hair colors and almost every one from the store and even salons give me major itchy, flaky scalp issues. So I've found a few brands that are healthier and don't cause me any scalp issues. They are:
- Henna – this is a 100% non-toxic way to color your hair! It doesn't cover grey well, unfortunately, but it is a healthy alternative to hair color. I have a whole blog post about how to use it here!
- Madison Reed Hair Color – this is not a “natural” hair color, but it doesn't contain some very toxic and irritating ingredients such as PPD and ammonia. Get $15 off your first order through this link!
- Naturtint – I used this brand for many years and it works well! No scalp issues with it.
- Light Mountain – I also used this brand for several years and was happy with it. It covered grey pretty well and is formulated with henna so it really non-toxic. It gets a very good rating on the EWG.org for toxicity (see here)!
7. Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
Apple Cider Vinegar is a homeopathic remedy for SO many skin and health issues! I have written several articles on it: Apple Cider Vinegar and All of Its Wonders, DIY Hair Clarifying Shampoo, DIY Facial Toner, and DIY Anti-Itch Rub.
Human skin is acidic in nature, so when it becomes more alkaline, it is prone to problems like acne and skin rashes. Apple cider vinegar is good for maintaining the pH balance of the skin because it is acidic. It is an effective antiseptic with antibacterial properties and keeps away pathogens like bacteria from the skin.
Make a rinse for your hair using a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (one with the mother is best) and 8 oz. of water. Add 5-10 drops of oils that are good for the skin like Lavender, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Cedarwood, Melrose, Gentle Baby or Neroli. Pour over your scalp and hair and gently massage in and then rinse out. Don't worry, the smell will not last! It goes away as soon as your hair is dry.