These days, my hair has never looked better thanks to finding just the right colorist (Aveda) and stylist (French Cut Hair) in my hometown of Portland. Before I met French-trained stylists, I thought my hair was too coarse and thick to rock a long, layered style—but their cutting technique makes my hair all wavy and bohemian without even using a heated tool. Yipee!
Recently though, I’ve noticed dryness and, ahem, flakes on my scalp. What we commonly call dry scalp can be caused by three major factors: dandruff, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Anything from bacterial and fungal overgrowth, to changing weather, low vitamin D3 and ferritin (a protein that stores iron), and using the wrong hair products can cause dry and itchy scalp. Aside from the obvious ickiness of flakes, a healthy scalp free of demodex and bacteria is key to shiny, full, resilient tresses.
So how to get rid of dry scalp? Trichologist William Gaunitz says that about 70% of all dry scalp issues (dandruff, dermatitis, and psoriasis) go away after taking vitamin D3. Good vegan sources of D3 include fortified soy milk, mushrooms, broccoli, kale, and collard greens. You can also take vegan D3 supplements derived from lichen.
But if you’re wanting relief right now, and a dose of self-care to boot, DIY scalp treatments may be your best bet.
Both extra-virgin coconut oil and castor oil are excellent options for hydrating and nourishing the scalp while fighting off microbes.
Castor oil in particular contains ricinoleic acid, which is shown to reduce scalp inflammation. It also helps promote hair growth, thanks to high Omega-6 content.
CBD oil is often used for joint and muscle pain, and its anti-inflammatory properties are just as beneficial for dry and itchy scalp. It also strengthens hair, prevents breakage, and promotes new growth.
Tea tree oil is a well-known anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. Be sure to mix a few drops into a carrier oil like castor oil before application.
How to apply scalp treatment
Have you ever tried to do a “hot oil pack” and ended up with greasy hair that just won’t wash away for days? (Just me?) How you apply the scalp treatment is just as important as what you apply. Gaunitz suggests warming up the oil first to about 100°F and massaging it thoroughly onto your scalp only. If you get oil on your hair itself, it will be hard to wash off!
You may roll your hair in a towel or a turban and relax for an hour or two. Then, thoroughly shampoo your hair and scalp, followed by conditioner focusing on mid-lengths and ends. Repeat the treatment once a week until your scalp health is restored. Enjoy your blissfully clean scalp! 😊
Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: Eugene Chystiakov via Unsplash