Are those pesky white flakes stopping you from wearing your favorite dark-colored dresses? Dandruff comes not only with itching and irritation but also with embarrassment. And, to get rid of this plight, we don’t mind splashing out money at the salon.
The market is flooded with a plethora of anti-dandruff products that may give you relief from dandruff in a short while but can cause damage to your hair in long-run. Wondering what are the best ways to get rid of dandruff then? Here, natural remedies work like charm! These remedies not only help you prevent dandruff but also add luster and volume to your hair.
Causes & Symptoms of Dandruff
The underlying causes of dandruff are the dry scalp, stress, poor hygiene, fungal infection, oily skin, changes in weather, infrequent shampooing, chronic health conditions, sensitivity to hair care products, improper diet, and poor immune system (3).
If not treated, dandruff may lead to other skin problems such as acne and pimples.
Oils for Dandruff
The best dandruff treatment is massaging your scalp with oil. You can use any of the following oils.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has low molecular weight and high affinity for hair proteins, so it penetrates deep inside the hair shaft (4). Coconut oil is also rich in fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins that nourish the hair, keeping dandruff at bay (5).
Take coconut oil in a bowl and heat for a few seconds. Massage the warm oil on the scalp using your fingertips. Leave it overnight and wash off with a mild shampoo in the morning. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice or other oils like jojoba oil, rosemary oil, etc. to coconut oil. This home remedy will eliminate the build-up of dirt, dead skin, and sebum, thus preventing dandruff and hair loss.
2. Olive Oil
You simply need to massage your scalp with warm (not too hot) olive oil. Leave it for at least 30 minutes and then wash off with a normal shampoo. You can also mix olive oil with coconut oil or onion juice. This remedy will not only help you get rid of dandruff but will also make your hair silky-smooth.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Add 4-5 drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo. Mix well and rub on your scalp. After 4-5 minutes, rinse off with water.
Note: Avoid direct application of tea tree oil on your scalp as it may cause rashes or inflammation.
4. Lemongrass Oil
Research studies have revealed that lemongrass oil is effectual anti-dandruff oil (10).
Dilute a few drops of lemongrass oil with water and apply it on the scalp. You can also mix 2-3 drops of the oil with your regular shampoo.
Note: Don’t use lemongrass oil directly on your scalp as it can result in allergic reactions or irritation.
5. Jojoba Oil
Simply massage your scalp and hair with jojoba oil. After 20-30 minutes, wash off as usual. Jojoba oil can also be mixed with other oils such as coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, etc.
6. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil is one of the wonderful essential oils for dandruff and hair fall (13). Further, the antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties of the oil keep the scalp free from infection (14).
Mix 4-5 drops of rosemary essential oil with your favorite carrier oil. Apply this oil mixture on your scalp with the help of your fingertips. Then, soak a towel in hot water, squeeze it, and wrap around your hair. Wash off after 20-25 minutes.
7. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil, an antifungal essential oil, is a natural cure for dandruff (15).
You just need to mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with coconut oil, olive oil or any other carrier oil of your choice. Massage it onto the scalp. Let the oil sit for 25-30 minutes and then rinse off as usual.
Natural Remedies for Dandruff
Onion is used as a natural treatment for stimulating hair growth and cure scalp related issues (16,17). The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of onion make it one of the effective home remedies for dandruff and itchy scalp (18,19).
Extract juice from an onion. Soak a cotton ball in the onion juice and dab it on your scalp. After applying the juice on the entire scalp, massage for a few minutes using your fingertips. After 15-20 minutes, rinse off with a mild shampoo. Onion juice can also be mixed with olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and honey.
Garlic is packed with a multitude of nutrients such as iron, manganese, zinc, copper, sulfur, etc., which altogether aid in intensifying hair color and preventing hair loss. The sulfur component along with antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic help remove dandruff quickly (20,21).
Take 8-9 cloves of garlic and crush them. Now, put ½ cup carrier oil (castor, coconut, olive, rosemary, etc.) in a pan. Add garlic paste to the oil and heat it until the paste starts turning brown. Then, strain the oil and massage it onto your scalp. Shampoo your hair after 25-30 minutes. You can add ginger or onion paste to garlic paste in this DIY dandruff remedy.
10. Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is used for various medicinal purposes due to its antifungal property (22). Baking soda acts as a cleansing agent and removes the build-up of dead cells and dirt, making your hair naturally clean (23).
Sprinkle water on your strands to wet them. Rub baking soda on your scalp and hair. Leave it just for 1-2 minutes and then rinse off thoroughly with a mild shampoo. Alternatively, prepare a paste by mixing apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and fresh lemon juice. Apply this mix on your hair and wash off as usual after 7-10 minutes.
Note: Do not leave baking soda for too long on your hair, else it will make them dry.
11. Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
Amla, being rich in Vitamin A and C, helps treat dandruff. The anti-inflammatory properties of amla prevent itching caused due to dandruff (24,25). The dried fruit boosts hair hygiene and also promotes hair growth.
You can prepare a hair mask for dandruff by mixing amla powder with water. You can also add crushed tulsi leaves to this paste. Apply this mask on your scalp and strands. Wash off after 30 minutes. Alternatively, massage your scalp with amla oil.
Dilute raw honey by adding a little quantity of warm water to it (10% water + 90% honey). Apply this solution in hair and let it stay for 30 minutes. Then wash off with warm water. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice to this honey solution.
13. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Dilute 2 tablespoons of ACV with a cup of water. Wash off your hair as normal and use the diluted ACV solution as the final rinse. Alternatively, pour 5-6 drops of tea tree oil, ½ teaspoon of olive oil, juice of ½ lemon, ¼ cup of ACV and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle and mix well. Squirt this solution on your hair and scalp. Then wrap your hair with a towel. Rinse off with a mild shampoo after 30 minutes.
You can also prepare a paste by mixing equal quantity of baking soda and ACV. Apply the mixture on your scalp and massage gently. After 7-8 minutes, wash off with cool water.
Combine an egg with one cup of curd and mix until you get a thick creamy consistency. Add a few drops of lemon juice to this mixture. Spread the mix onto your scalp and hair. After 30 minutes, shampoo your hair.
You can also apply curd directly to your scalp. Let it stay for 15-20 minutes and then wash off thoroughly.
Prepare orange juice rinse by combining 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ¼ cup fresh orange juice, and 1 cup water. You can also add 1 teaspoon honey to it (optional). Keep your hair as usual and apply this mixture on the scalp and strands. After 5-10 minutes, rinse off with plain water.
Aspirin is one of the best home remedies for severe dandruff. Surprised? Well, aspirin can do a lot more than providing you relief from pains and fever. Aspirin contains salicylic acid that helps overcome the problem of dandruff (36,37).
Take 2-3 aspirins, crush them and add to your shampoo. Use this aspirin mixed shampoo to wash your hair. Alternatively, prepare a fine powder by crushing 2-3 aspirin tablets. Fill a spray bottle with hot water and dissolve aspirin powder in it. Let it cool down. Then shake well and squirt on your scalp and hair. After a few minutes, shampoo as usual.
Mix 1 teaspoon each of vinegar and lemon juice with ¼ teaspoon of salt and 3 teaspoons of water. Apply this mixture on your scalp. Rinse with shampoo after 15-20 minutes.
Salt can stop dandruff. It may stun you, but this is the fact! Salt exfoliated the scalp and is used in the preparation of many shampoos (41).
You just need to mix salt with your regular shampoo and use it as usual. You can also use salt for preparing homemade scalp scrub for dandruff. Mix 2 tablespoons each of lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Apply it on wet hair and scalp, and massage with your fingertips in circular motions. Wash off with a mild shampoo after 5-7 minutes.
Vitamins have an indispensable role in stimulating hair growth (42). Bestowed with the goodness of vitamin A, B6, and C, bananas are no less than a boon for curing hair problems, including dandruff (43).
Prepare banana hair mask for dandruff. Mash a banana until you get a consistent, lump-free paste. Add a few drops of lemon juice, honey, and olive oil to this paste. Spread it on your scalp and wash off after 25-30 minutes with a mild shampoo.
Alternatively, add 2 teaspoons of honey and 4 tablespoons of unflavored curd to the mashed banana. Blend well. Spread the resultant paste from the roots to the ends of strands. Let it stay for half an hour and then rinse off with a shampoo.
20. Egg Yolk
Take the yolk of an egg (the quantity depends on the length of your hair) and beat properly. Add a few drops of lemon juice to it. Apply it on dry hair. Thoroughly wash with shampoo after an hour.
Herbal Remedies for Dandruff
Castor plant extracts and castor oil are effective against dandruff and hair loss (46,47). The castor plant extract possesses various biological properties such as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant that keep your hair strong and healthy (48).
Mix castor oil with any of your favorite oils – coconut oil, argan oil, almond oil, rosemary oil or tea tree oil. Massage your hair and scalp with this oil blend. Leave it for overnight and wash off with a mild shampoo in the morning.
22. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a medicinal plant having various health and beauty benefits. It prevents fungal infection and inflammation on the scalp, thus keeping dandruff at bay (49).
Take an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel from it. Apply this gel on the scalp. Let it stay for 15-20 minutes and then rinse with a mild shampoo.
Take 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds and crush them with a pestle. Add crushed seeds in 2 cups of hot water and keep them soaked in the water overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture. Use this water to rinse your hair.
You can also prepare a hair mask by grinding fenugreek seeds (soaked in the water overnight) and mixing it with curd, amla powder, and a few drops of lemon juice. Apply this mixture on your scalp and hair. After half an hour, wash off with a mild shampoo.
Massage your scalp with neem oil. Or, soak some neem leaves in hot water and leave them overnight. In the morning, strain the water and rinse your hair with it. Don’t throw away the soaked leaves as they can be used to prepare a hair mask. You just need to prepare a paste of the soaked leaves and apply on the scalp for 30 minutes. Then wash off as usual.
25. Basil Leaves
In addition to a superb culinary spice, basil leaves are a good herbal cure for a multitude of health and beauty related issues, including dandruff. All the credit goes to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties (55).
Dry some basil leaves and grind them to prepare a powder. Mix 1 teaspoon of basil powder, 2 teaspoons of amla powder, and water. Apply this paste on your hair and scalp, and let it dry for 50-60 minutes. Then wash off as usual. For the best results, use this home remedy twice a week.
Mix 4 tablespoons of henna powder, a few drops of lemon juice, and yogurt ensuring there are no lumps and the paste is not drippy. Apply the paste from hair roots to the tips. After 1 hour, wash off with a mild shampoo.
Alternatively, mix whipped egg white (2 tablespoons), olive oil (1 tablespoon), henna powder (3 tablespoons), and water to prepare a lumps-free paste. Apply the paste on hair and let it stay for 1 hour. Then wash off with a shampoo.
27. Green Tea
Take a cup of water and steep 2 green tea bags for about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and let it cool down. Then spray on your hair. Rinse off after 30 minutes.
28. Witch Hazel
Pour ½ cup each of witch hazel and water in a spray bottle. Mix well and spray the solution on your scalp and strands. You can also apply the solution with the help of a cotton ball. Massage your scalp for 2-3 minutes using your fingertips. After 15-20 minutes, rinse as usual.
Ginger is used for adding a unique flavor to our food, but did you know that it is also used in various shampoos to cure dandruff due to its powerful antifungal properties (62)?
Grate ginger and squeeze it to get its oil. Mix the ginger oil with sesame or jojoba oil (you can take any of your favorite carrier oils). Massage your scalp with this oil mixture and leave it on for 30 minutes. Wash off as usual.
30. Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s is packed with aluminum, iron, magnesium, and silica, and it absorbs oil and dirt from the scalp, thus cleansing the scalp and preventing dandruff (63).
Mix fuller’s earth with yogurt, a few drops of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of honey. Apply the paste from tips to roots of your hair and cover your strands with a shower cap. Shampoo your hair after 15-20 minutes followed by conditioning.
Quick Tips for Dandruff Prevention
The probability of dandruff can be minimized by following the below-given precautions.
- Take a diet rich in vitamins, protein, and minerals
- Drink plenty of water
- Wash your hair twice a week to keep them clean and prevent the build-up of dead cells
- Wash thoroughly ensuring there is no shampoo and conditioner left on your scalp
- Dry your hair in natural air
- Massage your scalp with oil at least twice a week
- Use herbal shampoo to wash your hair
- Wear a hat or scarf when stepping out to protect your hair from sunlight
- Do not scratch an inflamed or itchy scalp
- Do not tie wet hair
- Avoid using chemical-laden hair products
- Don’t use hot water to rinse your hair