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How to Use Essential Oils for Dandruff Treatment

Dandruff can affect any hair type and has many possible causes. Here are some suggested essential oils for dandruff, along with blends for shampoo and hair treatments.

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art suggests geranium, juniper, lavender, patchouli, rosemary, sage, tea tree, and ylang ylang essential oils.

A man looking over his shoulder at the dandruff on his jacket.

The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness suggests bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), West Indian bay (Pimental racemosa), bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, lavender, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, and tea tree.

Here's a dandruff shampoo blend from the book:

  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • 4 teaspoons melted coconut oil (omit if hair tends to be oily)
  • 25 drops essential oils of choice
  1. In a glass measuring cup, stir together the castile soap and 1/4 cup of the distilled water.
  2. Stir in coconut oil, if using it.
  3. Pour the mixture into an 8-ounce PET plastic bottle.
  4. Add the essential oils. Put the cap on the bottle and shake to combine.
  5. Remove the cap and add the remainder of the distilled water to fill the bottle. Cap again and shake

Note: This shampoo is runny and doesn't produce much lather.

More Essential Oils For Dandruff

The best essential oils for dandruff may depend on the underlying cause of your dandruff. Here's the suggestion of one source:

  • If the cause of your dandruff is fungus, tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is probably your best choice. You can also try rosemary.
  • If your scalp is oily with dandruff, cedarwood, juniper, or patchouli may help.

  • If you have a dry, flaky scalp, try roman chamomile, myrrh, or sandalwood.

Aromatherapy Dandruff Shampoo

An easy way to use aromatherapy for dandruff is to add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to an unscented, nondetergent shampoo. Adding 8 to 12 drops to an 8-ounce bottle is a good place to start, though you can use more, if you don't find it too strong.

For an anti-dandruff, conditioning blend, add 8 drops lavender and 4 drops tea tree to your 8-ounce bottle of shampoo.

Aromatherapy, A Holistic Guide to Natural Healing With Essential Oils states it's OK to use up to 80 drops of essential oil in an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo. Here's the book's suggested essential oil blend:

  • 40 drops lavender
  • 20 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops birch (Betula lenta)
  • 10 drops cedarwood

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy suggests the following two essential oil blends for dandruff. Add the blend to 3.5 ounces (100 ml) of natural, unscented shampoo. (For an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo, double the blend.)

  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil
  • 2 drops manuka or tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops neem oil


  • 4 drops geranium essential oil
  • 3 drops ho wood essential oil
  • 3 drops basil linalol essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil

Pre- and Post-Shampoo Dandruff Treatments

Here are before- and after-shampoo hair treatments for dandruff:

Pre-Shampoo Treatment

  • 5 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops carrier oil (jojoba is particularly good for hair)
  1. Blend the oils.
  2. Thoroughly massage one teaspoon into your scalp for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  3. Leave on for 15 minutes.
  4. Shampoo as usual, adding 2 to 4 drops of a chosen essential oil to one teaspoon shampoo.

Source: Essential Oils Desk Reference

Post-Shampoo Dandruff Hair Rinse

  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water

Mix ingredients and shake well. Use it to rinse your hair after shampooing. 

Note: The vinegar smell quickly goes away.

Source: Essential Oils & Aromatherapy for Dummies

Also, according to the EPA, witch hazel helps fight dandruff. Add a few drops of essential oil to half a cup of witch hazel. Use the mixture as a rinse.

Oil Treatment

Use this blend once a week.

  • 8 drops lavender essential oil
  • 6 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 6 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 2.5 tablespoons jojoba oil
  1. Combine oils.
  2. Massage blend onto scalp.
  3. Cover head with a shower cap or plastic film wrapped by a towel.
  4. Leave 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Shampoo.
  6. Rinse using a mixture of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup warm water.

Source: Feeding Your Skin

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