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Ditch the Head & Shoulders: DIY Essential Oil Dandruff Relief

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Besides the fact that our skulls hold our incredibly strange and amazing brains, they also sprout out all sorts of peculiar hair types that can take up way too much of our time to manage. From the combing and washing to the conditioning and drying—it's enough to, well, make you want to pull it all out. As if. And to complicate our hair obsession—many of us also struggle with dry scalps and dandruff. Gag.

We all shed skin cells from our scalps. For some of us, that can be a whole lot more than others, leading to embarrassing dead piles of your head resting awkwardly on your favorite black blazer (check, please!). Naturally, many of us turn to chemicals for help like the popular shampoos Head & Shoulders and Selsun Blue. But these chemical-laden treatments can often have the opposite effect, making conditions come back stronger and more difficult to treat. They smell awful. They contain toxic ingredients.

Here's how to treat your dandruff condition naturally.

First, stop washing your hair daily. This may seem counterintuitive if you have a lot of flaking, but it's likely contributing to—if not causing—the problem in the first place. We way over-wash our hair. Try to cut back to once or twice a week. Even less is better if you can get away with it!

Next, give coconut oil massages a try. Work coconut oil into your scalp gently rubbing for at least ten minutes. You can start at your hair end for a totally deep hair moisture treatment as well. Coconut helps lubricate the scalp and lessen some of the inflammation associated with dandruff. You get the best results if you leave it on overnight before washing out.

When all else fails and you're unable to decrease the dandruff or dry scalp conditions this way, try this recipe. It includes potent essential oils that can help to kill a fungus (Malassezia furfur) believed to be connected with an overly dry scalp. It also moisturizes the scalp to help decrease flakes immediately. And, unlike those detergent products, it smells amazing.


Apricot kernel oil or jojoba oil (or a mix of both)

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From the Organic Authority Files

Essential oils of: tea tree, lavender, sweet orange, eucalyptus and peppermint

Calendula liquid extract

2 oz spray bottle (glass is best and you can find small cobalt or amber spray bottles at natural food stores or repurpose one you have at home)


Fill the bottle two-thirds to the top with your carrier oil. Pour in one teaspoon of the calendula extract and add 10 drops of each of the essential oils. Close the lid and shake well. Store away from direct sunlight.

To Use

On dry hair, spray the mixture at close range into the scalp. Using a small spray bottle (instead of a large one like you use for cleaning supplies) will make this much easier and more effective. If you have thick hair, you can use a comb and clips to give you better access to your scalp. Once it's covered, gently massage with your fingers or a brush.

You do not need to wash this mixture out, but if you have very fine hair and find it makes it too oily, feel free to wash out the next morning.

Use as often as needed. And note that it can take several treatments to notice a difference. Be patient!

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: eioua

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