Many of us spend a small fortune on dandruff treatments because it feels like the only way to stop the scaling and itching and scabbing is to wash our hair every day with stronger and stronger dandruff shampoos.
I did this for years. But it does not kill dandruff or get rid of dandruff permanently.
In fact, over use of dandruff shampoos can make dandruff worse because over washing dries out our scalp and strips it of just about everything it needs to keep itself healthy and keep the dandruff at bay.
So what should we do instead?
Well, we need to get to the bottom of the different causes of dandruff and use dandruff treatments that actually target these different causes. And luckily, there are a whole bunch of common natural ingredients we have in our kitchens that are super powerful in quick and easy DIY natural dandruff treatments to truly heal our scalps.
In this guide to the best DIY dandruff treatments I’ll take you through
- What really causes dandruff
- Getting rid of dandruff in one wash
- Overnight DIY dandruff treatments
- How to get rid of dandruff permanently naturally
I really do hope these DIY dandruff remedies help you get rid of your dandruff for good. Do bookmark or save for quick reference and please do let me know how you get on and what works best for you. For more DIY treatments check out my other natural remedies.
What Causes Dandruff?
Dandruff is basically a big red flag that our body is off kilter and needs help.
Our flaking, itching and scabbing scalp is a sure sign of a bunch of different health problems throughout our body including :
- High, out of control sugar levels
- Imbalanced hormones (often caused by sugar)
- General inflammation
- Poor gut health
- Nutritional deficiency – especially in B vitamins & zinc
- Persistent stress
- Poor immune system from vitamin D or iron deficiency.
These underlying causes of dandruff then create a breeding ground for the fungus malassezia which is what primarily triggers those flakes.
Yep. Horrid as it sounds, dandruff is caused by a fungal infection!!
But don’t freak out too much.
There are all sorts of fungi living in and on our bodies and lots of them – as long as they don’t go crazy – are helpful friends. But some fungi like malassezia that causes dandruff and the dermatophytes that cause athlete’s foot can become big problems.
Over growth of the malassezia fungus also kicks off a vicious cycle of scalp stress.
The flaking and itching and scabbing triggers more inflammation in our skin which makes us more vulnerable to more malassezia over growth. Constant flaking can then cause bacterial infections such as staphylococcus which triggers yet more inflammation.
And persistent use of strong dandruff shampoos massively dehydrates our scalp making it much harder for our skin to repair itself and break the stress cycle naturally.
But luckily we have an alternative as there are amazingly simple but powerful DIY dandruff treatments that can start to get rid of dandruff permanently in just one wash.
How To Get Rid Of Dandruff In One Wash
I am always super wary of anyone claiming to solve complicated health problems over night or in this case in just one wash. But sometimes incredibly simple natural treatments can break the vicious cycles our bodies get trapped in.
And the overnight DIY dandruff treatments I have for you here really can help to get rid of dandruff in one wash by doing just that. The big secret behind these dandruff treatments is they combine ingredients that are :
- Anti inflammatory
- And anti fungal.
They basically kill the dandruff fungus whilst reducing the inflammation that triggered it in the first place and hydrating our skin so it can start to repair damaged cells.
Sounds good huh?
Overnight DIY Dandruff Treatments
These overnight dandruff treatments are super simple and have just two basic components :
- A rich soothing & hydrating, anti-inflammatory base
- and a natural anti-fungal that kills dandruff fungus.
We can pick from different ingredients for each component but brilliantly they are all common natural ingredients you almost certainly have in your kitchen or bathroom cupboard.
I’ll explain the different ingredients you can use for each component below but you can basically choose from the following anti-inflammatory and hydrating base ingredients :
- Coconut oil
- Aloe vera
And these anti-fungal ingredients that can kill or control the dandruff :
- Tea tree oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Green tea
- Raw honey
- Baking soda / bicarbonate of soda
- Bay leaves
- Mugwort – (aka artemesia vulgaris, it’s less common I know but an interesting herb to know about).
All we have to do is combine the two ingredients in a small bowl to make a DIY hair mask and then :
- Apply the hair mask to our scalp
- Massage gently
- Wrap up in cling film under a shower cap
- And leave on over night
- Before washing out as normal in the morning.
Use as much of base ingredients as you need to cover your scalp and use the tips below on how much of each anti-fungal ingredient to add.
Please note not all of us tolerate all natural ingredients. If you’ve never used any of the ingredients on your skin before then do a small patch test for a short amount of time to check your reaction. If you prefer, just leave the mask in for 30 minutes.
Coconut oil is anti inflammatory and hydrating but also anti fungal and a natural antibiotic so massively helpful for healing our scalp. It is really worth keeping a jar in stock as it can also be used in natural remedies for sore throats, cold sores, athlete’s foot, pinworms, head lice and sunburn!!
Coconut oil is also great as a natural hair treatment for frizzy hair, dry hair and thinning hair but may be too heavy as an overnight mask if you tend to have greasy hair in which case one of the other base ingredients may work better.
Yoghurt like coconut oil is a real natural power house.
It is anti-inflammatory so helps to sooth our scalp but again is an anti-fungal that is also a natural antibiotic.
Yoghurt seems to be particularly helpful as a natural treatment for persistent severe dandruff as it can reduce Staphylococcus bacterial infections which research suggests are present in dandruff that is very difficult to shift.
Anti inflammatory aloe vera can soothe our scalp and help damaged skin cells to repair themselves.
It’s a good option as the base for a DIY dandruff treatment mask if you have more oily hair.
It can also be used as a natural remedy for other fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and for viral cold sores and verrucas plus mosquito bites and sunburn. Its cell healing properties can also be helpful for heartburn & cystitis.
Not everyone tolerates aloe vera well, so do a patch test if you have not used before.
Not all of us are up for putting raw eggs on a head but an egg based scalp mask can be helpful for clearing dandruff if you have thinning hair and also want to stimulate hair growth.
Hair masks usually just use the whites of the egg but if you have dry hair add some of the yolk as well.
For extra impact you can actually combine any of these four bases.
Once we have chosen the base for our mask we need to pick an ingredient that can help to kill off the overgrowth of the Malassezia fungus and add a small amount to the base.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been shown in research to control the malasezzia fungus.
I’m not a big fan of essential oils but do think a little bottle of tea tree oil is super handy in the bathroom cupboard for helping treat dandruff and other fungal, viral & parasitic infections including verrucas, head lice & cold sores.
Tea tree oil can be very strong so should be used used diluted in one of the four scalp mask bases and you need to follow carefully the instructions on your product. You should always patch test first.
Neem oil is another traditional anti fungal remedy research shows can control the malasezzia fungus.
It has also been used to treat acne, scars, warts & verrucas. And can be super handy for all sorts of pest control in the garden. But again it is strong so should be well diluted in your base and patch tested first.
Green tea is another anti fungal and anti bacterial wonder in our kitchens that can control both the malasezzia fungus and the staphylococcus bacteria.
Drinking green tea can also kill off the different bacteria behind cystitis and gastritis and soaking our feet in it can clear the fungus behind athlete’s foot. It’s also great for blackhead removal and beautifully clear skin. How amazing is that?
To add to your dandruff mask just make a cup of green tea but leave it to infuse for a good five minutes or more – much longer than you would if drinking it – and then add to your scalp mask base tea spoon by tea spoon so it doesn’t get too liquidy.
Alternatively use it as a rinse after shampooing out your mask.
Lemon juice also has both anti bacterial and anti fungal powers and seems to have a useful role in maintaining an environment that stops fungus coming back. So it can be a great addition to your scalp mask to help get rid of dandruff permanently. Just squeeze a small amount into your mask.
Raw honey is anti bacterial and anti fungal but also anti inflammatory and promotes cell healing so can be very helpful in your dandruff scalp mask if your dandruff is inflamed and scabby.
Ginger can kill off bacteria but also helps to control fungal overgrowth so is another good ingredient in your mask to help get rid of dandruff permanently. Drinking ginger tea also seems to be helpful in managing stable fungal levels in our body.
Fenugreek seed has been used as a traditional Indian anti fungal and anti bacterial remedy for dandruff that also helps with thinning hair and encouraging new hair growth.
Boil up a desert spoon of seeds in cup or so of water and then simmer for a good 20 minutes. Leave to cool before adding teaspoon by teaspoon to your mask to get the right consistency.
Mugwort – also known as Artemesia and St John’s herb – is a helpful little herb that has traditionally been used to both relieve itching and promote hair growth. Scratching our scalp can make very itchy dandruff worse so if you do have an itchy scalp you might want to try adding a little mugwort tea to your mask or using it as a rinse.
It can also be helpful with psoriasis and eczema.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The final anti fungal you could add to your DIY overnight dandruff mask is good old apple cider vinegar.
It gets touted around as a miracle cure for just about everything – and it isn’t!! – but it can have an uncanny ability to switch off inflammation all over our body very quickly. Some people swear by it for heartburn and others for lower back pain and if you are lucky it may rebalance your scalp in one sitting.
You can add a small amount to your dandruff mask or combine half a cup with half a cup of cool water and use it as a rinse after you have shampooed out your mask.
How Can I Permanently Get Rid Of Dandruff Naturally
An over night DIY dandruff treatment mask can kill of fungi and bacteria overgrowth whilst soothing an inflamed scalp and promoting skin cell healing but simple healthy scalp nutrition is key to getting rid of dandruff permanently.
Healthy Scalp Nutrition
If we don’t keep an eye on our nutrition the conditions that encourage the overgrowth of fungus and bacteria in our scalp will come back. So follow these simple healthy scalp nutrition tips to keep dandruff away permanently …
- Cut down on sugar & only eat it in meals
- Ditch sodas – even the diet versions are evil!
- Eat yoghurt
- Drink green tea
- Drink ginger tea
- Eat loads of vitamin B rich food : whole grains, seeds, pulses, green veg, good quality red meat
- Get enough zinc in food : pulses, seeds & nuts but meat is a great source for many of us
- Keep an eye on nightshade vegetables – tomatoes, peppers as they are quite common triggers for scalp inflammation.
- Eat a good range of anti inflammatory berries
- Eat some simple probiotic food every day to restore gut health. The bacteria in our gut do actually help to keep fungi and bacteria all over our bodies at stable levels.
Healthy Scalp Habits
Some other simple good habits can help to keep our scalp healthy and prevent dandruff returning :
- Reduce hair wash frequency
- Use the gentlest shampoo you can
- Wash & condition scalp not just hair
- Wash brushes & combs thoroughly once a week
- Add a little tea tree oil to your shampoo every week or so but don’t over do it
- Wear hats when your scalp needs protection from harsh weather – cold and strong sun – but not when it doesn’t.
I really hope these simple DIY dandruff remedies help you treat your dandruff successfully and get rid of it for good. Do bookmark or save the post for quick reference later. And if you found these dandruff treatments helpful please do share on social media.
For more super simple but very effective home treatments you can make from common kitchen ingredients, check out my other natural remedies covering :
- Natural Remedies For Skin Problems
- Natural Remedies For Gut Health
- Natural Remedies For Coughs & Colds
- Natural Remedies For Menstrual Cycle
- Natural Sleep Remedies
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