One weapon in the dandruff-combatting arsenal of hair care is to use hot oil treatments to tend to your scalp, to restore a proper balance and to eliminate bothersome bacterial and fungal agents.
Here’s a look at what kinds of oils are best, how to prepare the hot oil treatment against dandruff, how often to repeat the process and how to keep your hair looking good in between applications.
Choosing Natural Oils to Use
Experts may each have their own personal preferences when it comes to oil recommendations, but to the person at home sitting in front of the computer and wanting a remedy now, whatever oil you have in your fridge or pantry perhaps may be the right one for you–at least for tonight. If you have some olive oil, great. If you have some additional substance like tea tree oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil or sweet almond oil, perfect. Now you can make a hair tonic blend to soothe and cleanse.
Olive oil makes a great stand-alone dandruff treatment or a great base when mixing together multiple natural oils to help your scalp. Olive oil is a gentle cleanser with fantastic moisturizing properties, ideal for treating a scalp suffering from dryness and irritation.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic with antifungal and antibacterial properties to heal scalp infections, soothe irritations and unblock hair follicles, which help moisturize the scalp and eliminate dandruff.
Jojoba oil similarly is a natural fungicide so can help treat some causes of dandruff.
Coconut oil helps moisturize and reduce protein loss so it’s good for your scalp and hair follicles at the same time.
Sweet almond oil
Sweet almond oil can reduce inflammation, irritation and dryness of your scalp so is a great add-on in many do-it-yourself hot oil treatments.
Preparing Your Hair & Heating the Oil
Think Ahead About Your Hair
For the best results, your hair will be clean when you apply a hot oil treatment but neither freshly washed nor full of styling products that will block the oil’s access to your scalp and follicles. Ideally, you could wash and condition your hair in the morning but skip the part of your getting-ready routine that involves using any drying-out products like gels, mousses and hairsprays. Then, in the evening when it’s time for a nice at-home treatment, you’re already set to go.
Choose Your Oil/Oils
The great thing about do-it-yourself treatments is that you get to decide completely what products to use. If you want to use a straight olive oil treatment, you can. If you want to mix a few drops of tea tree oil into the olive oil before heating, wonderful. If you would rather skip the olive oil this week and combine coconut oil and sweet almond oil, that works, too. If you happen to have some jojoba oil already in your medicine cabinet and you don’t want to leave the house, jojoba oil it is. You can try one kind of hot oil treatment this time around and then blend a different mix of oils next time. You’re in control.
Blend Your Mixture and Put it in a Heat-Safe Container
Blend together whatever oils you want by pouring them into a heat-safe container like a glass bowl that can go in the microwave, if you prefer to use that method, or in the top pan of a double boiler if you’re more of a stove kind of guy or gal.
Remember when pouring your oil into a container that you don’t actually need that much product. Two or three tablespoons total of oil can cover your whole scalp so if you’re mixing multiple products make sure to get your measuring spoons out and pour accordingly. Knowing what exact proportions are best for you will come through trial and error so don’t get discouraged if any one treatment time doesn’t work out that well. Simply jot down a note for next time so you don’t run into the same problem again.
Carefully Heat the Oil Blend
Since the oil will end up on the precious, sensitive and afflicted cells that make up your scalp, remember that you don’t actually want the oil to be that hot. Your microwave may take thirty seconds to get olive oil to an ideal, lukewarm temperature or you may prefer to have your double boiler going for a few minutes so that the oil will have cooled down only a little by the time you pour the mixture into a separate bowl and make your way to your vanity. Figure out what works for you and proceed accordingly. Remember, if your oil treatment cools down too quickly, you can always reheat the portion still in your bowl midway through.
Massaging Your Scalp
Slightly Wet Your Hair
Use a spray bottle to dampen your scalp and roots. If you want to treat your strands as well with oil, go ahead and spritz from root to tip. You can either wet your hair and then heat the oil or you can heat the oil and then wet your hair–either way, your hair will be a little less wet or your oil will be a little less warm when you go to apply the treatment, but the process will still work. You may also want to put on a shirt that you don’t mind spilling on in case your oil treatment stains the fabric.
Use Your Fingertips to Work All Over Your Scalp
Dip your fingertips into the oil mixture and massage the heated substance into your scalp. Gently work the treatment over the head and be careful to not use your nails, which can scratch the sensitive skin and counteract the good that you’re trying to achieve with this dandruff-treatment method. Similarly, that’s why using your fingertips is preferable over using a comb to spread the treatment all over since the comb can be too harsh on an already-suffering scalp. Continue to dip your fingers back into the oil container to add product as you work through new sections of the scalp.
Letting the Treatment Work its Wonders & Rinsing Your Hair Afterwards
Cover Your Head and Set the Timer
Once you have used all or at least the majority of your oil and are feeling good about the massage having treated all the scalp, go ahead and cover your head with either a towel or shower cap. You want to leave your hair alone for around fifteen to thirty minutes.
Some hair gurus like to advocate for leaving the oil on your hair for longer, but the skin cells and hair follicles can only soak up so much nutrients and moisture in one setting. Leaving on a treatment for hours may not actually produce any more benefits after the initial twenty minutes. Decide what time frame works for you and adjust your schedule accordingly.
Rinse Out the Oil and Condition, if Desired
You want to thoroughly rinse the treatment off of your scalp, leaving behind no traces of oil that can end up unintentionally making you look like a greaseball. If needed, you can go ahead and wash and condition your hair now or just let it air dry and then actually wash, condition and style your hair the next morning. Although a hot oil treatment may be good with helping your dandruff on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you don’t want to use this kind of option too frequently or else the oil could cause buildup and negatively affect your skin’s condition. Start with a conservative frequency and adjust as needed. Good luck!