Getting rid of Dandruff – The best oils to use

Dandruff can be a very embarrassing thing especially if you wear black and the white flakes on your shoulders are very noticeable. Many teenagers are struggling with dandruff as if hormonal changes was not enough to deal with. As a hairdresser I can tell you that dandruff is quite common and most of the time it is easy to control and to get rid of dandruff if you have a good understanding of the hair and scalp science and what type of dandruff you are dealing with. Can essential oils help to get rid of dandruff ? What about coconut oil or castor oil? Well, let’s have a thorough look at the flakes on your scalp and the best oils to for getting  rid of dandruff.



What causes dandruff

1.Contact dermatitis

Dandruff can be caused by an allergy to a shampoo or a conditioner or styling products. This normally happen soon after you start using the new product. Itchy red scalp associated with the flakes are normally an indication of contact dermatitis.

2.Scalp ph

An unbalanced scalp ph can cause dandruff.

3.Poor hygiene

Not shampooing your hair enough can cause dandruff because the oily flakes are not removed and you get a build up on the scalp.

4.Dry skin

Fine white flakes are normally associated with dry skin on the scalp. An indication whether this is the case would be if you have dry skin all over your body. This happens a lot during winter.

5.Overgrowth of a yeast fungus on the scalp

Malassezia , formerly known as Pityrosporum, is a fungus that lives on your scalp. When there is an overgrowth the skin cells multiply faster than usual and that can cause dandruff.


Hormones play a role in dandruff and it is interesting that more males struggle with dandruff than women.

7.Autoimmune disorders

Sometimes dandruff is caused by an internal issue or a systemic disturbance.

Different types of dandruff

Dandruff is not limited to only your scalp, it can appear on the beard and eyebrows as well.

Dry dandruff

Dry dandruff can be because of a gut imbalance or a dietary intolerance like dairy. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies sometimes shows up as dandruff as well. Vit A and Zinc deficiencies are connected with dandruff. A diet low in essential fatty acids can also cause dandruff.

Oily dandruff

Oily dandruff can be due to a hormonal imbalance but sometimes, especially with teenagers, it is just that the conditioner is not rinsed out properly. So now you have a double whammy. You have an excess amount of oil due to the hormonal changes in the teenage body and you have the added oils from the conditioner and it all get stuck to the oily flakes.

Often just showing your teenager how to properly shampoo and rinse out the conditioner can help. I would recommend switching to a plant based or vegan conditioner. The protein in the animal based conditioner just add another thing for your scalp to deal with .

Cut out any refined sugar as diets that are high in refined sugar can contribute to oily dandruff.

Oil treatment

Best essential oils to use for dandruff


1.Rosemary oil

Rosemary essential oil is anti-fungal and anti- bacterial which will address your dandruff if you have a fungal yeast overgrowth. It also stimulates the blood flow to the hair follicle to encourage nutrient dense blood to the hair follicle that will improve hair health.

2. Lavender oil

The linalool compound in Lavender oil will help to calm an inflamed scalp especially if it is really itchy. Lavender contains antiseptic properties which is escpecially helpful when the scalp is broken from all the scratching due to the itchiness. The cell regenerative properties  it will help with the healing of broken skin as well. It is a great choice when the person is quite nervous to calm them down. Often dandruff can cause a fair bit of anxiety in which case Lavender is a fantastic oil to use to deal with both the anxiety and the dandruff.

3. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is effective against the fungi Malassezia due to its anti-fungal properties. Adding Tea tree to your shampoo to a

5 % dilution and using that daily is a very easy and effective way to combat and prevent dandruff.

Avoid Tea tree oil if you are diabetic.

4. Cedarwood oil

Cedarwood increases bloodflow to the hair follicle and is great for a dry scalp dandruff. Cedarwood oil is also very grounding and calming, combatting depression and low self esteem. It is easy to sometimes feel overwhelmed with which oils to choose but I want you to think about the plant in nature to understand the oils better. Cedarwood oil is made from the Cedarwood tree which is a strong sturdy tree with a strong root system. Most of the ‘tree’ oils are great for circulation and making you feel grounded.

5. Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil has antiseptic properties which makes it a great oil to reduce and remove dandruff and also to tackle head lice.


How to use essential oils for dandruff

Rule number one is always dilute your essential oils. Essential oils should never be applied in a neat form on the skin, that means undiluted. So to dilute the oil you need a carrier oil if you want to make an oil treatment. One of the best carrier oils for hair care would be Coconut oil just due to its own anti fungal properties.

Get Carrier Oils at Plant Therapy Now! 

Putting your essential oils into your conditioner is also an easy and effective way. Essential oils does not mix with water but will mix with an emulsion, that means an oil base product such as your conditioner. .

You can add the oils to the shampoo but always just give it a good shake before you start to mix it in. The oils might rise to the top of the shampoo which will give you a concentrated amount of oils which you are applying to your scalp when you shampoo your hair.

The best treatment would be though to do a weekly oil treatment. I have put the method and recipe down below.

Now, when it comes to choosing which oils on the list to use it really is up to your personal preference and of course the benefit of the oil.

If you suffer with dry dandruff I would probably recommend Lavender, Cedarwood and perhaps Peppermint.

For oily dandruff I would recommend Tea tree and Rosemary. Having said that, you need to figure out which combination of oils work for you. I have a highly sensitive olfactory system myself so when a smell is too intense it really affects me. Rosemary, Tea tree and Cedarwood are strong smells so figure out what combination you like and can tolerate.

I have seen some other bloggers recommending Oregano or Thyme oil for dandruff but both those oils are just so strong and have such a strong smell that I have not included them in my list of best essential oils to use for dandruff.

The best essential oils to use would be organic essential oils. Organic is much better than therapeutic grade or pure oils. Since you are applying the oils to the scalp I would recommend that you use organic essential oils as well as organic carrier oils.

Dandruff weekly  treatment

15 ml carrier oil such as coconut, olive, almond or castor oil

5 drops Tea tree oil

5 drops Rosemary oil

Total amount of essential oils 10 drops to 15 ml carrier oil. So if you want to add another oil in there go ahead just don't exceed the 10 drops.

Mix this together and apply on the scalp focusing on the roots of the hair. Cover your hair with a towel. Leave it for at least 15 minutes before shampooing it out of the hair. Now you might have to apply the shampoo to the hair before adding the water. Castor oil is a very thick oil so you will need to shampoo your hair twice or add just a little bit of castor oil to your carrier oil mix.

Do this once a week for at least 4 weeks.

Essential Oil Dilution Chart

General Safety Information

Always use good quality essential oils, preferably organic. One of my favorite companies where I personally get a lot of my oils from is Plant Therapy.

Do not take essential oils internally or apply essential oils undiluted on the skin.

Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil.

Dilute according to body mass. For children you can use a 1 % dilution and for adults 5 %

Pregnant women have to consult with a qualified aromatherapist and or midwife and doctor before using essential oils, especially topically.

If you have liver damage, cancer, suffers from epilepsy or other medical problems and take medicine on a regular basis  then you have to use essential oils under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist.

Check whether the essential oil of your choice is safe to use around your pets. Here  is a list of essential oils safety for dogs.


Take care of you so that you can take care of those you love





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