How I got rid of my dandruff and itchy scalp

I’ve been struggling with an oily, itchy, dandruff-y scalp since I was about 30 and I almost can’t believe it. But after trying just about every anti-dandruff shampoo on the planet, I now got rid of my itchy, oily, head of hair by doing just about the opposite of what is the common belief you should do. How? I’ll explain.

First, what is dandruff and what is the cause of it?

About 50% of men in their twenties have dandruff. 2/3 of all people “suffer” from it at one point in their live. Dandruff usually presents itself as white flaky particles that, in bad cases, can become very noticeable. The flakes are dead skin cells that have been shed from your scalp.  A lot of people think dry skin is the cause of dandruff, but that’s not true – dry skin can cause some flaking, but the particles are usually too small to see. Most people with dandruff have oily skin, and latest research shows that the real culprit is probably a tiny fungus called malassezia globosa that needs fat (=oil!) to grow. Now, this isn’t anything nasty – every human being has this little bastard on its skin. It only becomes a problem when the fungus grows too rapidly, and our natural renewal of cells is disturbed. It causes skin-cells to renew too fast, and dandruff will start to show, because the skin cells bond with the oil on the surface of your scalp. Result: a formation of white flakes.

When looking for ways to get rid of this annoying flaking, you usually read things like: Wash your hair daily, massage shampoo in well and leave in for some minutes, use anti-dandruff shampoo (duh), and so on.
Anti-dandruff shampoo’s can contain a lot of ingredients that, according to the cosmetics companies, cure dandruff: Coal Tar extract, Salicylic Acid, Selenium Sulfide, Sulfur, Ketoconazole, and Zinc Pyrithione, of which the last one is probably best known: this is used in most normal drugstore shampoos like Head & Shoulders, Pantene, L’Oreal, and so on.  Well, while these  ingredients might keep the dandruff under control, it certainly won’t help you get rid of it forever. And it’s a lot of work to wash and style your hair daily! It can’t really be healthy either, putting all that stuff on your head time and time again.

[quote]Do you think your (grand)parents washed their hair every day? They didn’t. The hair-washing “epidemic” only started in the 70’s and was made up by some very smart marketing people with big $$$ in their eyes.[/quote]

So called anti-dandruff-combAs you might notice, I was getting pretty desperate. I even bought an anti-dandruff comb in the US, that “leaves behind copper particles to kill the fungal infection”. Well, it did nothing for me except combing my hair (which it did and still does well), and I guess not for anybody else either. You see, companies are very good at making up stuff so they can make money on us silly believers. Because if you ask me, one of the biggest pranks the cosmetics industry pulled on us, is how they got us all addicted to shampoo.

Normal, healthy hair and scalp have a natural balance that is disturbed every time you wash them. Did you know that normal shampoos contain chemicals (mostly sulfates, like sodium lauryl sulfate) that are identical to the ones found in detergents you clean your kitchen with? They completely strip your hair and scalp  from its natural oils and destroy the balance. This makes you want to use conditioner and styling products – usually made with petrolatum and mineral oil – which act as a substitute for the oils you just rinsed out of your hair. But after washing, your body also starts making sebum (oil) like crazy to restore the natural balance. So what happens? Your hair will become very oily very fast again and within a day your scalp will be a great place  for… the fungus causing dandruff  to have a little party in. Hmmm…!

[quote style=”1″] So you wash your oily, itchy hair, stripping it from its oil, use all their fake-oily styling products, your hair becomes oily again very fast, you get flakes and itchiness, and then the whole circle starts again from the beginning: we have become addicted to shampooing our hair! When I realized that.. it made me think: what if I could break that cycle?[/quote]

I decided to do an experiment.

1. I stopped using normal shampoo’s (containing aggressive ingredients) and anti-dandruff shampoo’s entirely and switched to using natural / organic shampoo’s without silicones, sulfates like sls, and other nasty chemicals, like Rahua.

Hair after cold rinse -> and after warm rinse

2. When washing my hair, I first make it wet with luke-warm water. Then I very gently massage in the natural/organic shampoo (don’t use your nails) so I don’t irritate the skin. Then, and this is very important: rinse out with cold water. As cold as you can handle. Cold water will close the cuticles of the hair and skin pores, which makes it much easier for them to keep out dirt or any harmful substances that may cause negative reactions like dandruff. Your hair will be softer, silkier, sleeker and shinier then after a warm water rinse – so you also need to use less or even no styling products.

3. I stopped washing my hair so often. I started with every other day. Then two times per week. Then even less. This was pretty hard in the beginning – my dandruff got worse and my hair got really oily. But just when I was about to give up, I noticed a radical change:  my itchiness was gone and my hair looked .. healthy! Apparently my scalp realized something had changed and didn’t need to produce so much oil anymore. Hooray!

[pullquote]Quote from a book written in 1955: “to keep them healthy, wash your hair and scalp once every ten days.”[/pullquote]

4. I towel dry my hair with a clean towel, or a towel that I only used on my hair. This is to make sure no bacteria and stuff from hands or other parts of the body reach the hair. Do this very gently. Don’t rub, just pad and let the towel absord the water.

5. Styling – since I don’t strip my hair from its oils, I hardly need styling products.  Only if we go out and I want to look even more sexy then I already do (ugh), I use a little bit of Balm Balm with Tea Trea – this works great as a hair styling product!  Tea Tree has great antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic qualities and thus will create a climate that’s not attractive for the fungus to grow in.

6. Last tip. Water contains minerals like calcium, and natural / organic, sulfate free shampoo’s are less good at removing these from your hair. So when you have water like this – very hard water like here in Berlin – you might start to notice your hair seems to slowly turn a bit…. grey!? OMG! You can pobably imagine Ingy teasing me non-stop when this started to happen. But, then I started to see small particles of calcium, which can be mistaken for dandruff. But I knew I wasn’t turning grey just yet!

Well, I’m glad to tell you, there is a very easy solution for this buildup of minerals. As you might know, sour liquids take very good care of getting rid of calcium – next to the water tap for example. (By the way, did you know we use Dr. Bronner lemon soap to clean the kitchen, floor and parts of the bathroom with? Mixed with water this makes a perfect, toxic free, cheap  household cleaner that is totally safe for children. Read more at this awesome blog: Anyway, I remembered my mom sometimes rinsed her hair with a vinegar mix when I was little… and I had another aha moment! So I went to the supermarket and bought some organic apple cider vinegar. I think it was 2 euro for a liter.. in Germany you can just get it even at Lidl! It works absolutely great. Once every two weeks or so, after shampooing, I simply make a little mix of 1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water, put it in my hair, leave it in for a minute, and rinse it out – with cold water of course. This makes hair look amazing: shiny and healthy – just the way we want it.

Good luck!

Most important sources:

My head
My mom

Update – I learned some more… and respond to a lot of similar mails and comments I got from readers.

I did a test and tried to see if I could “cause” a flare up by using normal, or even anti-dandruff shampoo. Turns out, yes I can! I washed my hair with head and shoulders and I have to admit, cleaning my hair and scalp vigorously like that felt pretty good. So two days later I did it again. And like clockwork, my scalp became itchy, redy and started flaking again. The first thing that came to mind was to use the H&S shampoo again, but I resisted and used my normal shampoo again. It took me almost a month to restore balance!

Some readers mailed me saying their scalp resonds badly to coca betaine. That’s no surprise really. People can indeed be sensitive to all sorts of surfactants. Coca betaine is a lot milder though compared to SLS and usually causes less problems. But I know there are people for who it’s the other way around.

I learned that even though I have my dandruff pretty much under control, I’m still sensitive to it. I am always trying to keep the balance so the complaints don’t come back. I managed to do this by using only Rahua’s voluminous shampoo, which after trying many shampoo’s, seems to work the best. It also contains citric acid (which is sour) – just enough to remove the minerals from my hair so there is no need for extra rinsing (I do not particularly enjoy the smell of vinegar in the morning). I agree it’s expensive for a shampoo but I only wash my hair once or twice a week, and use just a little bit. The trick is to leave it in for 2 to 5 minutes before rinsing it out so the surfactant can do it’s work. This way a little goes a long way and a bottle lasts me months.

Every now and then, I do feel that I might be loosing control and dandruff comes back a bit. What really helps then is using a shampoo containing 2.5% selenium sulfide, but no SLS. But I use this only once! This helps enough for months, because I certainly don’t want to use that stuff a lot, so after that I go back to my regular shampoo. I did this 3 times in the last year. (I also tried a 1% selenium sulfide shampoo but this did not help at all.) The difference between selenium sulfide and other active ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoo’s is that the selenium sulfide actually fights the cause of dandruff, the fungus, while other actives like Zinc Pyrithione (which most over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos use) only clean the scalp really well. They remove the flakes, but that’s it! They do not fight the cause. So basically, they’re useless and you have to continue using them all the time. Anyway, this means that you can do a test: use a shampoo contaning selenium sulfide and if it helps, the cause of your dandruff is the fungus. If it doesn’t help, it’s something else, like irritated skin.

Knowing this, is the first step to getting back control because it can help you on your way to solve the problem!


343 Discussions on
“How I got rid of my dandruff and itchy scalp”
  • I am 68 and have had oily hair and an itchy and flakey scalp since i was a child. Several years ago … having used every store and salon product … i got quite ill and when i got my health back i decided that whatever went on my body i pretty much could EAT. After a lengthy transitional period i was a no-poo, baking soda wash, ACV rinse addict. It was fine for a year … so NO SHAMPOO whatsoever … and i was going 3 to 5 days between. But my hair was like straw. Then i discovered RYE FLOUR and began washing with it. Couple tsp. if flour and water to make paste. And it’s a pain but WOW what a change. However now dandruff was nuts. Rye flour is very coarse so i finally started double sifting through extremly fine seives. That and very very long and cool water rinses answered that problem. I am able to go a month between washes … but i rinse with cold water every day (curly hair/bed head) and then with diluted ACV every 2nd. time. Every 2nd week i get a bit itchy and can feel build up of oil on head when scratching. I squeeze and strain a lemon and pour over scalp. Apply cotton towel and leave on a half hour. Rinse well. Build up and itch gone. No dry scalp no dandruff. I ran out of flour a week or so ago and did some Googling. Found alternative shampoo. 1 egg yolk. 2 tbsp. organic natural liquid honey and a bit of water. Whisk. I put that on … scritched a bit …rinsed well with cool water and then applied ACV. Hair is beautifully soft. No itch. No dandruff. I anticipate i will not likely need to shampoo for at least a few more weeks. If my head is the tiniest bit itchy i have a container of well strained ACV in a spritz bottle. I just spray my head in the morning. I will never shampoo again. Ever. I also cannot use any face or body soap due to a skin condition. I wash my face with the same liquid honey and astringe with ACV. Body wash is a grated puree of potato and cucumber. I cannot dry brush or use any oils. I rub my skin with a cheap terry towel cloth (rough but not like brush), then apply puree. Wait half an hour and rinse with very cool water. My skin dandruff is all but gone and my itchiness completely gone. I only shower every 2 weeks in this manner. To rinse off outdoor grime or sweat i just hose myself down with cool water for a minute or 2. I have not used deodorant in 40 years. My white shirts are still white. My body is happy, as am i. I don’t feel like the “great unwashed” and my husband … who thinks i am a bit whacky … is a testament to that. He says i just smell good but he’s not giving up soap anytime soon. He is however now only showering every 2 to 3 days. His skin is much softer and not as dry.
    It’s worth a try. Chemical free for TWO years.

  • Did you stop using conditioner? Or do you still use one when you shampoo? Have you checked out the website: ? 🙂

  • Hi Floris what organic shampoo would work the best for me I have dandruff itchy scalp oily scalp itchy skin

  • Hi Floris , I have read about articles here at amazingly . They r very useful to me. I definitely have dandruff very bad . Like u said dandruff is definitely an oily scalp&not dry scalp . I would like to know if I can use any organic shampoo

  • I have long and silky hair but sometime they look unhealthy. Can you suggest me any product to get shiny and healthy hairs? Looking forward to get a reply soon . Thank you in advance.

  • Please advice me I changed my protein powder to pea protein (Growing Naturals) and sometime combined with rice protein powder (Growing Naturals). I noticed within 3-4 months that the itching reduced then finally all itching stopped. Had this condition for years….Meds from dermatologist didn’t help. I had no idea this change would cure this condition…about those home remedies by which we can get rid of uterine fibroids

  • Simply stop washing your hair frequently. I was plagued with dandruff for years-tried all the proprietery products but to no avail. Then about two years ago, I took to washing my hair every two weeks or so and the problem has disappeared.

  • Hey, I’m in the process of not using any shampoo, I just stopped and only use water. Its been about 7 weeks now and my scalp won’t stop shedding flakes. Do I continue in the hope my scalp will rebalance or should I look at an alternative way? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Jonathan.

  • sir i have a dandruff problem can you suggest me what to do like what type of shampoo used with what no of times i apply in week?

  • Hi Jack.. Ur post is so very helpful. Will definetly try it. I ha e however tried using Sebizole shampoo (anti fungal) and it has helped alot in bringing the dandruff in control. But your idea on getting the balance makes perfect sense and will definitely try the process. Thanks

  • Hi Floris,
    I see you got a ton of comments on this and I haven’t even read them all, you probably did… sorry if I am bothering you with this but I really have to get this off my chest. I’ve been having trouble with dandruff for years since puberty and after a long battle back then I started using H&S which worked miracles on me. I used it for years to come, it didn’t always get rid of my dandruff 100%, I always had a little itchiness in my scalp but it was really good. A couple of years ago I changed to Pantene Anti Dandruff, because H&S felt like it was stripping my head and hair off everything there is and Pantene was rather mild and soft and it felt different. still had good results but not really what I was looking for. So about last year I go into this whole natural organic products craze and I went to the drug store buying shampoos for dandruff, for shiny hair, for hydration but nothing really helped. my scalp got even worse, I never had very greasy scalp + hair, my scalp is always very dry and itchy and it has these patches of flaky skin, and if I scratch that off it comes back again, it’s like scratching a wound, so it only gets worse each time. I go a few days without washing my hair, because that’s how fabulous it looks, lol, but I can’t go a few days without washing my scalp because the itchiness is killing me. I tried getting back to Pantene but now it doesn’t help me like it did before and I am still using an organic shampoo but the problem remains. I started using Ket shampoo from the pharmacy, used it for 2 weeks, then started with my own shampoo again and the scalp is again very very bad. I am really desperate because I can’t find anything that works, coconut over night helps a little but it is very time consuming to do it every time before washing my hair. I am not sure if I have this fungus or something else, just that my scalp is very very dry and has these spots of flaky dandruff. and it doesn’t fall off unless I scratch it or comb my hair.

    • Hi Deia,

      I’m sorry to hear about your problem… it sure is annoying isn’t it. May I ask how old you are? Most people get dandruff, or notice it becomes (a lot) worse around the age of 30. I certainly had that as an occasional wash with a regular anti-dandruff shampoo used to be enough to keep it at bay, until even washing constantly with it did not to much anymore. In fact, it seemed better for some hours only to come back with a vengeance.

      First of all, I’d suggest you start taking vitamin D3. It seems like dandruff-sufferers very often have a shortage of vitamin D in their body. I’d recommend you take 4,000 IU per day for some weeks, after which you can start taking 2,000 IU/day – all year long, also in summer. If it doesn’t help with your dandruff, at least it will be good for your health. You should also should start to feel more fit, and stronger. (For another health boost, combine Vitamin D3 with K2 and also take Omega 3 oil each day – Omega 3 might also help fight dandruff.).

      Then, you could try a selenium sulfide (2.5%) shampoo, 3 times in 1 week. You can buy these in pharmacies all over Germany. See if this improves things. It will also dry out the scalp and please do use it as little as possible because it’s quite toxic, but in desperate times, sometimes I guess desperate measures are necessary. The week after, you can just use a little bit of it, mix it in your regular shampoo. Then try stopping entirely.

      One more thing you might have a look at, is if you are maybe allergic to something in the shampoo. For example I know some people get what you describe when they use shampoos that contain Cocamidopropyl Betaine (also known under different names, but usually called something like this). On the other hand, I know people who have less trouble with this cleanser than with variants of sulfides. So try a shampoo that does not contain sulfides (like Rahua’s voluminous shampoo – the one I use) and also try a shampoo without Coca(midopropyl) Betaine, like the shampoo from Luxsit

      I hope this helps…!

      • Hi, What a fantastic post about itchy scalp. Personally I need to watch out for chlorhexidine, dimethicone and methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothoazolinone, and chlorcresol. They will make me itch immediately. They are frequently present in handcream, handwash, body wash, shampoo and conditioner. That’s me – you may have others.
        Always try other products, especially simpler ones, before trying a treatment. You never know.

      • Hi Floris. Great Article! I was wondering if it matters what temperature I apply to my hair when I’m just getting it wet for styling purposes while in the shower and in between shampooing with Rahua? Thank you!

  • GKhair anti-dandruff shampoo makes the best in my opinion. Best for removing itch and dandruff. I am using this shampoo to combat my dandruff and I am very happy with that. 🙂 <3

  • I was looking for something more because I’m a student and I’m looking such remedies. I was using shampoo but dandruff come again but now I’ve read all of your remedies and now I’ve big hopes to get better results. Thanks for sharing it with us . Keep sharing and we will keep reading it 😀

  • Hi I read that some people have had success with using diferent types of acid to cure there dandruff. So i borrowed some hydrocloric acid from my school chem lab and mixed it with some water apple cider vinegar and tea trea oil in a bottle and put it on my head after i get out of my shower. The dandruf has only gotten worse over the 3 weeks ive been doing it and my head has been burning really bad ever since it started. An I doing something wrong? Im also losing a bunch of my hair and i think the back of my head start bleeding last week . Something doesnt seem right. Help?

    • Hi Aaron,

      I think your body is definitely telling you you are doing something wrong. The acid must be burning your scalp, so my advice is…. stop using this!

  • Hi I am also experiencing a problem of a terrible dandruff,I have used organic olive oil,coconut oil $ organic apple cider but still no change please help…

  • Great article! Thanks for reminding me about vinegar! Vinegar is actually helping because it lowers the ph of the skin, which is slightly acidic in its natural state. Shampoos and soaps are alkaline, so they disturb the acidic balance of the skin, so fungi thrive. And if you add a high sugar diet, that favors yeasts to grow, the cocktail for the dandruff is there. I knew about vinegar for a healthy skin from an old proffesor in my pharmacy college. Vinegar (diluted) is also good as a face wash to prevent acne. Just don’t put it in your eyes 🙂
    Another GREAT reamedy I found for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp and body is olive oil. It’s another counter intuitive treatment. You have oily scalp yet you treat it with oil. But olive oil has acidity, so I’m guessing that’s why it works. I actually created at home an olive oil formula with essential oils that I used on someone in my family, who had dermatitis on face and scalp, and dandruff. I combined olive oil with a few drops of chamomolle oil (antiinflamatory), geranium oil, and thyme oil (antifungal). He applied the oil as a hair mask and on the spots on the face then washed it off after about 30 min with a mild shampoo from L’Occitane (coincidentally it had olive oil also, but unfortunately it was discontinued some time after that 🙁 so he had to get some other shampoo…. ) It took a few months until he got rid of the dermatitis and scaly scalp, but like you said, the important part is also to stay away from harsh shampoos. His dermatitis is now completely gone and it’s been a few years since the treatment.
    I got the essential oils at a Whole Foods, but any herbal remedy shop or health food store carries some.
    I think people in the old times had good home remedies and we just got too snobbysh nowadays. Old Scriptures describe how Jewish people used to pour olive oil with mhyrr and other incenses on their hair. I wonder why, it must have had a practical reason.
    Yes, you are so right, cold water on the hair makes a big difference! It leaves hair sooo shiny and keeps the itch in check 😉

  • Hey Floris i have a question is it ok to use soap to wash your head instead of shampoo and if so witch one would you recommend? Also do i need to wash my face and how often it seems to be getting just as oily as my hair way too much oil for me .Thanks

    • Hi Aleksey,

      Yes you can use soap, and I did for quite a while – the problem is soap doesn’t always get out styling products and minerals as well as normal shampoo, so after using the soap I used to rinse with vinegar. That worked quite well, but I got lazy and wanted an all-in-one product again. I used Dr. Bronner liquid soap by the way.

      • PS if you don’t use makeup, I don’t recommend you to wash your face with anything except for water. Washing the face with soap or other cleansers just brings your skin out of balance.

        If you do want to wash your face with a product, I recommend a very gentle cleanser like the one from Kahina Giving Beauty, or Pai Skincare.

        If you are used to washing your face, please note that It might take some weeks for your skin to find it’s balance back and not be so oily anymore.

        If you always have very oily skin, also if you don’t wash your face you might want to use a facial oil (oil cuts oil). Please make sure it’s organic and clean though. I’m a big fan of Dr. Alkaitis products – their entire range is superb and a very good combination for men is their cleanser, their soothing gel, and their treatment oil. Hope this helps!

  • Hey,

    Thanks for the advice on reducing the frequency of shampoo. But, should we also stop wetting the hair in the shower if we don’t intend to wash them.
    I’m a Man from a place with hard water.


  • Is it possible hair products could give one dandruff? I never use to have dandruff but now its so severe after using a particular hair relaxer.I stopped buh d dandruff has left since instead its getting worse by the day.

  • Hi ^^ i have been suffering from dandruff for already 2 years ! I think it must be stress ! And i have really really thick hair , its really thick and every morning i wake up i look like a ghost ;( my hair is really in a bad condition now , its thick, not very oily but rather dry and also very “not silky ” 😯 Just wanna ask if you know any products that can help in thinning my hair a little and making it more “straight and silky” and i think i caused inflammations on my scalp because i kept scratching it everytime i sweat a lot and come home cuz its really itchy and i cant help it
    Around my forehead theres also flaky skin and my face gets oily very very easily 😢😢😢
    Please help in suggesting something that can help in inflammation, very oily skin, thinning of hair 😭😭 its very embarrassing everytime i have to scratch my scalp and thousands of flakes come out 😢😢 will be waiting for ur reply XD

  • Hi,

    You can even try our some natural home remedies to treat dandruff. Using shampoos that are available in the market is only a temporary solution. Home remedies are safe and good for the hair.

  • Sometimes I just want to keep my head scratching because of itchiness.I think it is dandruff.I want to start applying aloe is it sufficient? because really I don’t want to use any shampoo.and please do tell the frequency of using aloe vera..please sir do reply ..

  • Hello,
    I am suffering from intense dandruff hairfall and itching…On top of it i have noticed i have a lot of amount of sweat in all parts of the body but my head scalp is dry all the time and when i rub my finger into my scalp there is oil even after 3 hrs of shampoing….
    Please help me out with this difficulty….
    Thanks & Regards

  • Your information is great! This is one of the best posts I’ve read on dandruff. Thanks for sharing the experience really great.

  • Sir, m from india as u said in ur article for stop white flakes don,t rinse with water for 4-5 days i m doing the same thing but i have lot of hairfall & dandruff too so what should i do . can i change my eating habits Or do i need to consult a doctor?

  • I get itchy scalp usually in the winter – very annoying ! My girlfriend was using the Somaluxe Argan Oil for her hair, and I thought I would try it on my scalp to see if it helped with the itchy flaking thing. It really did! I used it for 2 days, and the Somaluxe Argan Oil totally stopped any itch and flakes.

    My girlfriend says usually you are not suppose to apply oil to your scalp, but its been like 3 months now since I used that Somaluxe oil on my scalp – and its the only thing that has ever worked!

  • Floris,
    I have two questions for you. First I myself have been struggling with dandruff and dry itchy scalp for years! I’m curious with Rahua, are you using just the shampoo or also pairing it with their conditioner? Second did you just use rahua and that got rid of it or other treatments like tea tree oil or any other natural remedies along with the shampoo?

  • Great article. Great advice. Green tea , Tea tree oil and castor oil are also useful in reducing dandruff. Maybe you can try them and see the results.

  • Hey Floris,
    Is it possible to have both dandruff and dry scalp. I am very itchy and addicted to scratching the back of my head but not really the top of my head. Could I have maybe dry scalp on the back of my head and dandruff everywhere else? I took a look at my scalp by parting my hair and it looks different in the back from the rest of my head. I started using Rahua’s original shampoo (not the voluminous one since I have a soft water adapter) last week and the first thing I’ve noticed is my hair is softer. It doesn’t itch in the back, just the cowlick which I don’t know why for sure. If I shake my hair the flakes still come out so that hasn’t improved yet. I haven’t used hair styling gel in a long time but I will need to start using it soon. Will I need to get an organic gel too or will any hair fell do? I plan on getting an undercut with a size 1 on the sides and back and I’m embarrassed for people to see how gross the back of my head might look. So hopefully I can get rid of it soonbecause I want the undercut asap!

    • Hey is Ben again. So it’s been 8 weeks and only the sores on the back of my head of gone away. I did some research and found out that dandruff can cause sores. The sores have left but the flakes remain and just in the same abundance as before. I am going to the dermatologist in 5 days. Just wondering if you have any other tips?

  • I am having some chronic hair fall and I too have a lot of dandruff. Furthermore my scalp is quite oily as well so to not look greasy I feel the need to shampoo at least every other day. I use Clear for men normally. Even after shampooing I notice a lot of dandruff within the next 4-5 hours of showering. I believe most of my hair fall is related to dandruff. What must I do to reduce dandruff and hairloss. I am majoring in Engineering and I am of 21 years old. Please do give me some helpful suggestions.

  • Hi ^^ i have been suffering from dandruff for already 2 years ! I think it must be stress ! And i have really really thick hair , its really thick and every morning i wake up i look like a ghost ;( my hair is really in a bad condition now , its thick, not very oily but rather dry and also very “not silky ” 😯 Just wanna ask if you know any products that can help in thinning my hair a little and making it more “straight and silky” and i think i caused inflammations on my scalp because i kept scratching it everytime i sweat a lot and come home cuz its really itchy and i cant help it
    Around my forehead theres also flaky skin and my face gets oily very very easily 😢😢😢
    Please help in suggesting something that can help in inflammation, very oily skin, thinning of hair 😭😭 its very embarrassing everytime i have to scratch my scalp and thousands of flakes come out 😢😢 will be waiting for ur reply XD

  • Hey Floris! Thanks for the amazing write-up. This surely was of great help.
    I also wanted to share my experience and hope it helps someone else. I’ve conditions of dry scalp and flaking very frequently and badly. So taking your advice, I got off all the chemicals and decided to go all natural. I decided to try Aloe Vera gel to my scalp and it works like wow. It has been a month and I’ve not put any shampoo in my head and just Aloe Vera gel, the flaking is gone, there minimal itching and as an add on it helps in styling!

  • Hi Floris,
    What do you think of the “Honest” brand shampoo? It supposedly is natural, hypoallergenic, plant-based and non-toxic. It does have the following: sodium laurlglucosides hydroxypropylsulfonate, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, etc. The full list of ingredients is listed here:

    I’d like to use an organic shampoo as you suggest, but as I already have this one, am wondering if this is natural and gentle enough or if I should buy the Rahua sooner.

    Please let me know your thoughts!

  • Hi Floris, I have had the irritation for probably two years now, I ordered the Rahua shampoo you recommended and is it really worth it, because for $32 you get only 9.3 ounces, can it really rid my hair of dandruff and does it not contain all of those deadly components you mentioned in the article? I’ll be looking forward for your response, if not please email to

  • Hi! I was making sure I understand these tips correctly. So, basically, using shampoo (the type you specified) daily and not washing your hair for about 5 weeks should help the problem? Sorry if I don’t understand that well

  • Hi i’m Sid, i’m 13 years old and puberty is already occurring to me, this dandruff infestation in my hair has become obsessive and my scalp is disgustingly itchy, this process of yours, does it really work, because when you’re a teen, every chemical and compound in your body produces really fast. I shampoo every day and I take 30 minutes to comb my hair and after just 30 more minutes, my hair becomes really dry and twisted, I feel so embarrassed. I see all the kids at school with dandruff free hair, I just want to fit in. Can you give me some constructive feedback about how to get rid of the dandruff in my hair ASAP.

    • Hi Laura,

      If you can’t find one without, it’s not such a big deal. I would advice you to only use it if the dandruff gets really bad, or when you make the switch to shampoo’s without sulfates. Just to get a kick-start.

      I bought mine in a pharmacy in Germany. I noticed in the US they have a brand selsun which has blue bottles – these ingredients are quite bad though. I tried it and you can really feel that it simply numbs the skin. I also found that it does not work as well as the much more pure product I used.

    • Hi Alejandro,

      I did not really have a dry scalp. If you read the article you will know that most people with dandruff THINK they have a dry scalp, but it’s actually oily.

  • Hey Floris, I’m glad that I came across your writing here ! I’ve been searching in tons of website about my particular problem.
    Every year I travel to Stuttgart for a few weeks and only when I am here I see this white stuff accumulating on my scalp and it just comes immediately after my wash !! From your article I am guessing it is a mineral build up and a vinegar rinse should do ! But what’s baffling is that I use a filter (a basic one which I use for filtering drinking water as well) for the water and also it lathers up quite well without the filter too. So now I’m confused if I have dandruff or mineral build up ?? 🙁 Can you please help me with this ? Waiting for your answer !

  • I have the very same problem of yours. On top of it ive noticed i have a lot of amount of sweat in all parts of the body but my head scalp is dry always and wen i rub my finger into my scalp there is oil even after 3 hrs of shampoing. Guide me a way out plz. Sometimes there is dandruff in my eye lids too. I used candid tv shampoo as prescribed by doc

  • I m suffering from intense dandruff hairfall n itching… Doctor gave me shampoo ELZOL anti fungal shampoo but i think it increases dandrufff n itching…. I m using johnsons baby shampoo for long hairs n lamond oil for long hairs… For scalp i , using elzol shampoo… Which changes should be done to get rid off dandruff or fungus in sclap causing scalp dry n itchy?

  • Hi Floris,
    My 8 y/o has had “cradle cap”/seborrheic derm since birth. Occassionally, it manifests to her eyelid where I would then buy a bottle of H&S & shampoo 1x a month. The flaking comes and goes & she doesnt complain of itching (for now). We use a sulfate free shampoo & cond, but since her hair is curly I use a detangler. Any research on detanglers & it contributing to flare ups?

    Just to add since I entered my 30’s I too have been battling this dandruff situation. I’ve always known about using cold water to rinse, but have yet to find the right combinations. After about the 3rd day I MUST wash my hair. The build-up gets soo itchy!!! I add tea tree oil to my shampoo & let it sit in for 3-5mins. Unfortunately, my hair is very frizzy so I must straighten it. I’m using a super hold hairspray and only need to starighten once (the day I wash), but even if I don’t straighten it that 3rd day is real rough (OILY&ITCHY).
    I found your article to be very useful and will give your tips a shot. Just as an observation though… my husband had a fungal skin condition where he was given katoconazole to “treat” the flare ups”. He would get itchy dark patches along his neck, chest and back which subside in cooler months. I advised to search a natural remedy since he would revert to the meds every summer. He read that vinegar is just one contributing factor to the fungus. He stopped eating bread & beer (yeast), foods with vinegar(condiments), and all kinds of sugar & alcohol. After a month no more patches nor itchy skin when he sweats. I wonder if you cleaned off minerals with bakingsoda & lemon, would it help more than the cidar?
    Thanx again! !

  • I’ve been having dandruff since I was a baby, and my mom couldn’t even seem to get it out. Because of that, is it even possible to rid of dandruff for me? When my mom helps wash my hair to show me how to do it correctly…my hair smells way better after she does, rather than when I do it. The shampoo I use has tea tree and like lavender in it or something. I’ve tried to buy the most natural shampoo and conditioner I can get. And also, I have pretty thick hair, my hairdresser even said so. They say to only use a really small amount for shampoo and conditioner, but when I use a small amount, I can’t seem to get the shampoo all the way to my scalp, and get it through. My mom suggests using different techniques to get my hair clean; but I’m not sure what other techniques there are. Do you have any suggestions? After I take a shower and my hair is all dry, I still seem to have dandruff and oily hair (mostly in the back). I’m trying to not use a hair dryer as much, and using way less heat and products on my hair. Do you know what the best way to dry my hair would be? I’m not sure who else to ask.

  • please email me, I have extremely oily hair, and bad bad dandruff and itchy and really smelly scalp

  • Great Share !!
    Very informative post about home remedies for itchy scalp
    Thank You for such effective way to get rid of itchy scalp.

  • hi floris
    i am from india and a male. i am 19 years of age and i have a very oily scalp and because of which i have dandruff too. this is not the worst part. i am in stage four of baldness too. so my hairs in my crown position are very weak and fall off quite easily.
    i consulted a dermatologist nearby and he asked me to wash my hair daily with shampoo containing coal tar and Ketoconazole but still the itchiness and dandruff remains and i also have rapid sebum production. i oil my hair with coconut oil after wash everyday.

    waiting for your reply
    thanks in advance.

  • I have grabbed a bottle, 3/4th’s of it was filled with water whilst the rest filled with lemon extract. I tried it just like you said, nothing really changed, still lots of dandruff BUT, the itching had stopped so I decided to stick with it for a while and see what happens, thanks for posting this article, I’m just becoming a teen and it drives you CRAZY when you have to itch. I might exchange a few e-mails with you just incase.

  • This is all great information Floris. I have read through all postings and i have to admit that I am confused now where to start. My scalp is sore, itches all day and flakes all day. I tried soaking my scalp in Apple Cider Vinegar and wrapping in a warm towel and then rinse. This seemed to ease the itchiness and soreness for a few days. I also switched to a all natural organize shampoo and conditioner, but now 2 weeks later my condition is as worse as ever. So where do I start? What is the order that I should try? Thank you for your help. I’m going nuts with this.

  • I have a very flakey and itchy scalp! I don’t use a super brand shampoo (I use Ogx Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner, then apply moroccan oil but never too much because my hair is always very dry, or very oily, and still dry and brittle looking) , and I air dry my hair because towel drying mine will leave it dry, and frizzy even if I apply oils.vThe amount of oil in my hair forces me to basically wash my hair every day. I also experience a lot of hair loss, specifically in the shower, I literally see strands and clumps at a time. I try not to brush my hair when its dry or else i experience severe hair loss and plus it gets almost static, and frizzy. In addition I have naturally wavy hair so i don’t usually brush my hair excessively. If you can I would very much appreciate tips!

  • Hello,

    I have extremely oily hair, so I’m keen to try your suggestions, 2 questions:
    > Can I still blow dry my hair?
    > Can I still use dry hair shampoo on my scalp for the days when I don’t wash it..i.e. at the moment, washing 4 times a week and dry hair shampoo every other day.
    I am currently on tablets for my oily hair, have been to a Tricholigist.


  • how’s the smell of your hair? isn’t it awful especially if the weather is hot? from the Philippines here 🙂

    • Hi Jenica,

      I wash my hair every 3 days or so at the moment and I don’t have a problem with it smelling at all. But it’s probably not as hot here as in the Philippines 🙂

      • My skin is too oily and I am having extrem dandruff since birth. Now its even in my beard, eyebrows and years. As my skin is too oily but my hairs are so dull and dry and falling. What is the problem?

  • Hey Jack,

    Could you share with me the brand of the SLS-free selenium sulfide shampoo? I’m in Berlin too and I have been trying to find one – both online and by going to the pharmacy – but so far all brands I checked contained SLS.

    Cheers for your help!

  • What a great article! and you covered so many points.
    Something thing I’d like to know is what SLS-free 2.5% shampoo do you use? I am having a hard time finding one.

  • Glad you got rid of dandruff Floris. I too was fighting it for the longest time, but after using an organic apple cider vinegar mixture it went away completely. ACV is amazing and I can recommend it highly to anybody who still has dandruff problems.

  • Hello, please e-mail me! I have some questions and would like to direct message each other. thank you so much 🙂

  • This is by far one of the best posts I’ve read on this subject. I have been trying everything to get rid of my dandruff, from the simplest tricks to the weird/scary/exhausting/sometimes-smelly solutions and nothing worked. I started with your tips two weeks ago and so far is going beautifully! thanks a lot!

  • Hi There. I read this article almost 4months ago. I have always struggled with Dandruff ever since kindergarten. Around grade 7 my parents introduced me to head and shoulders. It kept my dandruff under “control” so long as I washed every other day. I switch my shampoos every few years at which time my head is uncontrollae itchy. Lately (I’m now in my thirties), my hair started falling out! I was using head and shoulders and when I switched to organic, my hair stopped falling out but my head is in itchy mode again. I tried your method for a month with no good result. I’m still using organic products but my head is driving me nuts! I don’t wash my hair every day and try to build up a natural defense but it is just not working. Any advice?

  • Hi, do you wash with water only everyday until your next shampoo day? Also, i’ve stopped using shampoo for 11 days and realised that the back of my hair started to get redness (although not itchy, but its a little sore). I researched and found out that it could be because of clogged pores (dirt plus sleeping at night = no oxygen).

  • Hi, I will start this regimen but I need help picking out a shampoo. What are the ingredients I need to avoid? Sls and others? I will be buying at a natural store. Tia!

  • Hey I wanna buy a conditioner and shampoo with no bad chemicals in it could u possibly tell me most of the bad chemicals in conditioners&shampoos?

  • It’s gone Floris! My dandruff is officially gone!

    Thank you so much for the article. It really did take some time and patience to battle the itch that followed after I left H&S for a non-SLS shampoo but after I started using the 2.5% Selenium Sulphide shampoo, the 8-year old problem is gone. Besides, my hair fall has also incredibly reduced. All thanks to you! Now I’m never going back to over the counter SLS shampoos again. 🙂

  • I am just one of you guys. Suffering some itchy and flaky scalp… Please help me. Everytime my mom looks at my scalp, all she can say is that I really have to cut my hair and like 1inch long… and I really don’t want that to happen… please help me.. I have been using selenium sulfide, and it worked but then my mom said use a conditioner. and when I used the conditioner. it got worse. now, my mom said to me again that she would really cut my hair 1inch long… and i reallyy really really don’ want that to happen… please help me… please.

  • whoops I said something wrong:

    The FDA *only* approved selenium sulfide 2.5% with SLS. That means that we do have selenium sulfide 2.5% in the states, BUT ONLY WITH SLS.

  • Ok so I did some research and found images of what I think the product we need is.

    I live in the USA and I do not think the FDA has let any type of Selenium Sulfide Shampoo into our pharmacies. Yes that means with and without Sodium lauryl/laureth Sulfate (SLS) as Floris calls it.

    The one the FDA approved that we have in the states has SLS.

    I found a normal “Selsun” brand on ebay that people in thailand were selling and we are able to buy in the USA. Images below.

    I am posting images of both the kind to not buy (at the pharmacy with prescription) and also the one to buy on ebay that *I THINK* does not have SLS.

    Someone please confirm because I cannot read Thai and that is what I think the language is on the back of the bottle. Look for anything like Soldium Laureth Sulfate (or Lauryl).

    Images One To Buy On Ebay:

    Images One Not To Buy at Pharmacy:

    Please someone comment and tell me if I am right.

    Thank you Floris so much for your help!

  • sir i have suffer some hair fall some month before winter then in winter and and after it i mean now in india i suffer a seriousus much hairfall first just 5 to 6 month.before i wash my hair regularly and use oil a little but now in order to thiken my hair i stop weting my hair .in 2 to3 days i wash my hair but befpre i washes daily i daily i wet my hair more than 5 hair is not also tangle free dandruf ….how should i get rid from this

  • Hi Jack , Thank you for you nice post and sharing your experience about dandruff and itching problem.. I also have the same problem , I changed my shampoo for many times and even I changed the water which I used to wash my hair. But, unfortunately I didn’t get any benefit. I am so frustrated . Some friends of mine told me to use Nizoral andti- dandruff shampoo. So I used it , It worked well. I was comfortable , and my scalp got rid of itchiness completely and I couldn’t see any dandruff on my hair . One day I came to know that Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo contains SLS that is very harmful for hair. I read some articles regarding SLS, it even cause cancer . After that I stopped using Nizoral . And I bought biotique shampoo which is natural, but my scalp again started it’s itching. I don’t know what to do. I should mention that I wash my hair twice per week. If you any recommendation , please share it with me , I am waiting for your response
    Hizbullah Watandost.

  • Hey Floris

    Greetings to the good alte Heimat Berlin from NZ!

    is your method good for LOOOOOOOONG hair too? (we’re talking here about 90cm long)
    i switch at the mo’ between one time head n shoulders anti dandruff (sceptical about the missing results it gives me) and next time palmolive – eh fashion(girl) roses, which i think is aimed at teenagers, (2in1 shampoo and conditioner) it has the detangling-bit which i really depend on.
    i wash my hair once a week usually evening, (ignoring the oily skin-muck i collect under a long fingernail when scratching along the head) sometimes stretching it to even fortnightly. (though you can see the oil in the top 15cm when leaving it too long)
    i usually twirl my hair up into a bun or wear the same plait for 3-4 days as that means i dont have to brush it every day and it doesnt tangle up as much as it would if i had it open.

    is this shampoo thing you talked about available in NewZealand as i do not order things over the internet..?

    just thinking, how would a mixture of some tee-tree-oil drops in water poured on the scalp and soaked in work, or would that be too agressive ?

    gib dem Langen Lulatsch a virtual hug from me

    Fenia (missing the old hometown)

  • I’m suffering from mild seborrhic dermatitis since last five years.I have tried several home remedies like ginger , garlic, onion, baking soda , honey n many more…I have realise that garlic reduces the itching of my scalp. but overall there was no improvement of my scalp condition. today I saw a doctor ..he prescribed me ketoconazole tablet beside cortocosteroid lotion ,which is toxic to liver. plz suggest me should I go for ketoconazole tab or not .

    • Hi Triloki,

      Of course I don’t know how bad it is, but if it’s manageable I would wait with taking the tablets. Do you have seborrheic dermatitis only on your scalp or also in the face?

      In the next couple of weeks I will write a little update on my article, a.o. mentioning almost every seborrheic dermatitis sufferer has a vitamin D shortage. I would suggest you start using supplements, taking 2000 IU per day, to see if this helps. You might see improvement in a couple of weeks. I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know if it helped!

      Thanks and hope this helps,


      • PS I would also try to cut down on the cortisone creams. While I know these stop the flare ups, eventually they will make things worse. You don’t have to stop at once though, just try using as little as possible with longer intervals, until it’s hopefully not necessary anymore.

        • Do you have any advice for someone of Afro, kinky hair? I stopped relaxing my hair in July 2009 and I wear braids often. There is a specific location on the back of my head, just above my nape where the hair is very short and VERY VERY itchy. I try castor oil, coconut oil, tea tree oil. I don’t know what else to do. When I ask people to take a look they say the area looks gray, and my scalp is brown like my skin. I will read through the comments above to see if anyone else has similar problems. I would appreciate any feedback. Also the products you mention you think they are available in USA?

        • I’ve read the articles and the posts on this site and I realize that no one has mentioned the possibility that could be occurring with everyone. REINFECTION of the scalp.
          You can be doing all the necessary things, take all the precautions to get rid of your dandruff and then you are reinfecting yourself (a perpetual loop) which can be aggravating.
          From the article i’ve read and I asked my dermatologist about this…she agreed that it was probably the case.

          Every time you you sleep, change the pillow case, when wearing a hat, wash it daily, the same goes for towels that you use to dry your head. Yes…this can be cumbersome, but anything that touches your head has to be washed to avoid reinfection.

          What’s your tough on this?

  • I really appreciate the article Floris. I too am suffering from hair loss, itchy/dry scalp and bad dandruff and could not find any solutions till this article. Now I was just wondering do you still use conditioner or none at all? And when you started the change, did you only use shampoo? Also i just started using natural shampoo with no sulfates yesterday, its called Aveeno Active Naturals Pure Renewal. If you know anything about this specific brand/type of shampoo please let me know. Thanks and i hope you’ll reply asap

  • Hey bud great article man helped alot. Just one thing, Ever since i was young, i used to wash my hair daily with shampoos, but about last year i realised that it was doing terrible things to me scalp. As long as i can remember I’ve had a very itchy scaly scalp. So over the past year ive tried some special dandruff shampoos the doctor has told me to use but they had no effect. So about 10 months ago I started washing my hair every second day, and ive managed to only wash it about 2 times a week. My hair gets much less greasy now when i dont wash it for long periods of time, which is good. However, my scalp at times (usually 3 times a day) still gets insanely itchy and all these greasy yellowish flakes come off my scalp. It gets pretty bad, the other day on the bus to work i was scratching my head uncontrollably the whole bus ride, then when i got to work i went to the bathroom and rinsed my scalp with water at the tap. What’s your advice on stopping the itch that has continued even though ive reduced the amount of times i wash my hair with shampoo (I rinse my hair daily with cold water, is that good to continue doing?). I’m contemplating going to a dermatologist to check if ive got scalp psoriasis? What do you think, should i just stick it out for a bit longer and see if the itch goes away? Any feedback will be greatly appreciated

  • hi..thank you for this wonderfully article .. i am been facing dandruff issues but had let it go and dint wash my hair with shampoo for weeks or some times even a whole month but now that it has turned into a fungal infection and i have started to lose hair..will my hair come back once these fungal infection is stopped. i am really worries please help and went to a doctor he has given me a shampoo named TV candid 2.5 % selenium sulfide is it safe ?

    my only concern is will my hair grow back ??? and wish that i had not made this stupid mistake of not washing hair .. and would appreciate no one repeats seriously trust me .

  • Hailing from northern Minnesota here, thank you for the amazingly informative article. Anyway, I’ve been suffering from some pretty bad dandruff for about 2 years now, I already have been washing my hair only 2 times per week, I’ve done that for many years, and I still managed to get dandruff. I JUST bought an all natural/organic shampoo with tea trea, and I’m going to start the gental massage and cold rinse thing. I use a hair dryer, I always have,( I hate the feeling of wet hair!), so my question to you is if you think I should stop using it, and if that would be what’s causing my dandruff OR just be exasperating it. Any insight would be greatly appreciated- Tommy Taylor

  • Hi, I know this is an old post but I was given this link by sister, in an effort to help me. I’m a 38 yr old female from the US and recently developed, from what I understand, may be a form of dandruff. I don’t experience the itchiness (just very occasionally), but, what I do have is this “pastey” type residue, which is only at the crown of my head and runs down my bangs. Makes me look like I don’t wash my hair and in addition add some bad/cheap hair product or something! My question is, have you seen or heard of this? I’ve never had dandruff in my life! Thanks for your time.

  • Thank you so much for such concrete advice. Besides the very useful information that you have posted have you any thoughts on using yohgurt or mango purée on scalp to help when a person trying to ween off those products in that first month when the dandruff gets really bad?

  • I have severe dry and itchy scalp I wash my hair every other day with Anti dandruff shampoo but this makes my hair dry plus There’s hairfall,though it does keep dandruff off for a day or two but it comes back again … Plz tell me what to do?

    • Hi

      I m frm India i got this dandruff and hair fall problem because of hair straightening 2 years back n i am facing this problem from tat time
      Dandruff and Hair fall itchiness i tried everything still nothing is helpful and the shampoo which u suggesting rahua is that shampoo name or what?? Thanks

    • As listed by Floris I did the following things:

      1. Washed my hair with shampoo containing 2.5% selenium sulfide for 3 days continuously.
      In India we get this as brand name Selsun (60 ml for 110Rs) which is readily available in medical stores.
      before applying Selsun washed my hair with ayurvedic shampoo.

      2. Started using Ayurvedic shampoo. I used one from Dhathri ( Rs88) which is also readily available in medical stores. You can use any ayurvedic shampoo. I have seen some herbal shampoos which contain Sulfates. So use ayurvedic only. it’s cheaper also.

      It’s 4 weeks now and no sign of dandruff.
      Now I shampoo my hair once a week. I wash my hair daily with plain water.
      For styling also i use plain water.

      it’s so cost effective, for Rs200 (less than 4$) I got rid of dandruff.

  • YOU ARE AMAZING! I have suffered for years with a dry flaky scalp and was becoming desperate when I stumbled across your post. I stopped washing my hair every day and I bought a Selenium Sulfide shampoo and used that twice a week for two weeks and then began using an organic shampoo (I use Dr Organic Tea Tree – about £10 for conditioner and shampoo) And my hair and scalp are INCREDIBLE. No itching, no dryness, no flakes and my hair feels so fresh and has finally started to get longer, thank-you so much for sharing this!

  • Hey Floris,

    I have suffered from this horrendous problem for the past 7 years and in the last 2-3 years, it has only gotten worse. I have used numerous anti-dandruff shampoos and was using H&S and a Garnier Conditioner when I read your article. What you wrote made sense to me and I have been on this regimen for the past week. Since I am from India, my natural choice of shampoo had to be one of the many ayurvedic shampoos that one would find in the market. What surprised me was that even most of them had SLS! Not even Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (which is not ayurvedic though) had Sodium Laureth Sulphate. I finally stumbled upon one shampoo brand which did not have any of the harmful chemicals as in the others.

    For readers in India who would like to know, I am now using the Patanjali Hair Cleaner (not for the claims that Baba Ramdev might have of its benefits but plainly for the fact that it is SLS free). Another brand that complies with the said criteria is Himalaya. But I’d really like to give Khadi a try. It has different varieties ranging from Amla to Shikakai which we know (from our grandmothers!) have various internal and external health benefits.

    I have also noticed that massaging the scalp with a vinegar solution and leaving it to dry before going to bed reduces the itchiness to some extent. I happened to read this on another website that one should apply vinegar everyday on one’s hair until the dandruff is gone (you, Floris, have also mentioned the benefits of vinegar in the article above). It regulates the pH of your scalp, not to mention the visible change in the form of shine and volume.

    All in all, this comment is more of an action to motivate the self. I am yet to see any benefits and as Floris had mentioned how it only got worse till the point that you want to give up and go back to your good ol’ H&S. But I am positive about this and I hope everyone else reading this and suffering from the same problem keep a little faith in yourself and the science behind the procedure in this article.

    Good luck to me and everyone else!

  • Hi

    I’ve had dandruff for about 3 years I’m only 15 people in school have started to notice my dandruff however I have managed to keep it under control using a shampoo called Timotei it’s says it is 100% natural extract and contains 0% silicones parabens and colourants however this isn’t clearing the dandruff to washing it out for a day or 2 my friend had the same problem as myself and recommended going to the doctor an asking for a prescription shampoo is this a good idea?

  • Hi! I have had SEVERE dry itchy scalp and dandruff for years. The only thing I ever found that helped me was maximum strength head and shoulders every single day and constantly keeping my scalp hydrated with jojoba oil. If i stopped the shampoo and jojoba for even a day my scalp would be on FIRE. It was insidious. After reading your post I got inspired, and did some more research and I am having amazing results after less than a week using all stuff i was able to make at home super easily and cheaply.

    I should note i have very short brown hair that is very thick (as in lots of it) It gets curly if i grow it out.

    Here’s what I’m doing:

    I’m using this recipe for “shampoo” which is literally 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a spray bottle

    I’m using this recipe for “conditioner” which is also just 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. I added a few drops of rosemary oil for its numerous benefits.

    This alone worked great for cleansing and conditioning but what really took me over the top for the dandruff, and fire scalp 😉 is making a solution of jojoba oil and tea tree oil diluted down to 5% (you can likely go higher, i just started low to be safe) So for example as a tester batch, i put 5ml of jojoba and 1/4 ml of tea tree in a little vial. I still haven’t used it all up.

    Any time day or night if my scalp starts to get dry or itchy, i just rub a little jojoba tea tree mix into my scalp and its like flipping a switch. Instant relief.

    I’m about 5 days in, I’ve only washed my hair twice.. for me that’s a big deal, and my scalp has never felt so good. No itching, no burning, no flakes, no scabs.. I’m only needing the tea tree/jojoba once maaaaaaaybe twice a day. I’m amazed.

    Bye the way pro tip here 🙂 – buy some syringes off amazon.. they’re cheap and they make great precise essential oil or other ingredient measurements.

    Thanks for getting me on track with this. Its such a relief!

    • Ok so here is the first blog of my life. I live to wear black but flaky scalp on and off made me crazy. No shampoos worked tried coconut oils, face creams, salt rub all the advice people had and no help. I had a product my dentist gave me to clean my retainer that I wear at night to keep from grinding my teeth (I sound like a stress mess!) called OAP. Says it. Kills bacteria, viruses and fungus so my dentist said I won’t be re infecting myself with strep etc if I clean with it.
      Anyway my sister is a Nurse practitioner with a residency in dermatology and I read the label to her and she said it had real medical stuff in it to kill fungus etc.
      So one night I thought let me try it on my scalp, wet my hair and lathered up with this stuff waited 10 minutes and rinsed out, next morning 80% gone …did it again and no more flakes! I’m back to wearing BLack and tossing my head around Flake Free finally! I buy it online or at my dentist. I have since used it on cuts and scratches and they heal overnight, my friend tried it on a nasty cold sore that normally would kill her for a week and it healed overnight. It is not for these things but it sure does work!

      • Other than OAP can I get a bit more info on this. I like black too but have the same problem. What’s the product’s full name? Cheers in advance.

  • What do you use to stop frizzy hair? I have curly frizzy hair with dandruff, and nothing i try can flatten my hair completely

  • Works like magic!!!

    Thanks a lot Floris,

    As listed by Floris I did the following things:

    1. Washed my hair with shampoo containing 2.5% selenium sulfide for 3 days continuously.
    In India we get this as brand name Selsun (60 ml for 110Rs) which is readily available in medical stores.
    before applying Selsun washed my hair with ayurvedic shampoo.

    2. Started using Ayurvedic shampoo. I used one from Dhathri ( Rs88) which is also readily available in medical stores. You can use any ayurvedic shampoo. I have seen some herbal shampoos which contain Sulfates. So use ayurvedic only. it’s cheaper also.

    It’s 4 weeks now and no sign of dandruff.
    Now I shampoo my hair once a week. I wash my hair daily with plain water.
    For styling also i use plain water.

    it’s so cost effective, for Rs200 (less than 4$) I got rid of dandruff.

  • hi. i am from india. and i am a working i am facing dry dandrauff amd lots of hairfall in every brush about 6 months. can u suggest me what to do

  • You’re assuming that the scalp produces sebum in response to sebum levels on the exterior of the scalp. This assumption is no better than witchcraft. The “balance” probably has more to do with *cultivating a stable population of fungus on your head.* Harsh shampoos are like nuclear bombs—they wipe out your existing fungal population. Good fungus/yeast/bacteria, bad fungus, everybody goes. What happens then is that a new population rapidly recolonizes your head. The new population triggers a full blown inflammatory response from your immune system. It’s war.

    The 5-6 week period? That’s the battle. The immune system, except in sick people, always wins the war. After 5-6 weeks, your immune system and the fungal/bacterial/yeast population on your head reach a stalemate. I don’t know the exact biological mechanism here. Maybe the “bad” fungus gets killed by your immune system; the good fungus stays on your scalp. The good fungus doesn’t trigger such an inflammatory response. Also, the good fungus crowds out competition from bad fungus—there’s no more room to colonize your head.

    I don’t know how occasional touch-ups affect this theory. You said you used a medicated shampoo maybe 3 times a year? And I don’t know why something like athlete’s foot—your immune system never wins that war. (Maybe because the head is not an ideal location for fungus. The scalp is a pretty exposed, dry place—even on oily scalps (compared to dark, cramped, damp places like your feet). So maybe that’s it.

    • Hi Brock!

      Thanks for your insightful reply. I am indeed assuming that the scalp produces more sebum when it is stripped from its oils, because otherwise I can not explain why, when you stop washing your hair entirely, it gets so oily in the beginning. I think this is because your scalp is used to producing sebum so much. And when it “realizes” that is not needed anymore, the over-production of oil stops, and the hair stops being so oily. I’d love to hear it if you have another explanation though!

      About medicated shampoo, actually I didn’t really need it anymore, but I have done lots of experiments, trying different shampoo’s, natural treatments, and so on and occasionally needed it when things got out of control.

      I will write a little update to my article soon, about everything I experienced. It’s funny you say that about the immune system because I am also pretty much convinced the two are related. Especially since many people with dandruff also have things like eczema, psoriasis, and so on – it can’t be all about shampoo and topical treatments. I also have some eczema spots every now & then, like redness next to my nose.

      I read a lot about it and think it might have something to do with the gut, and have started taking pro-biotics very recently, to see if that makes a difference.

      Anyway, I’ll be back with an update, soon!

  • Hello Friends,
    I have had this dandruff problem when I started using shampoos! I started using apple cidal vinegar(organic one) 2 weeks back without mixing anything else and voila what a result! I am so happy at your recommendations, awesome! I was suffering from this monster from past 20 years and I feel so relaxed after 2 weeks of using it. Very simple steps:
    1) With luke warm water wet and moisten your scalp
    2) Use 4 teaspoon of non-diluted apple cidal vinegar in your scalp, make sure to apply all over your scalp gently and keep it for 5-10 mins
    3) Rinse and wash your hair and scalp gently with as much cold water as you can bear
    4) Use dry cotton towels to dry your hair, do not use hot blower. The vinegar stink will be there for sometime but will go away when hair dries

    Continue this practice for 7 days and you will see big difference in dandruff menace.

    Good Luck.


  • Hello. Thanks for the tips and everything but I feel as if it’s not working for me. I took your advice and stopped washing my hair so often but now it feels like my head is on fire and I need to scratch it so bad. Is this normal or should I start washing again? Also I got some advice from wikihow that using things like Lemon or Salt helps so I tried using lemon juice and it worked but only temporarily so I’m just hoping to find a permanent solution to this problem.

    • Oh and one more thing I’ve been shampooing my hair daily for almost 10 years. I stopped once I realised how stupid it was. Do you think this has anything to do with my dandruff and itchy scalp?

  • This is awesome. I’m totally buying some of those shampoos recommended in here for a friend who’s been suffering from very painful scalp issues. She literally can’t go a day without washing her hair. I hope they help!

    Also everything sounds awesome- except the vinegar part. DONT DO IT. It will destroy your hair. I almost tried the “no-poo” method of baking soda (wash) and apple cider vinegar(rinse) and then actually did some research on it. Watch the video.

    If anyone is looking for a natural hair remedy try coconut oil. I’ve been doing it for two years and my hair is extremely healthy.

  • hi! love your article. i currently use the rinse-only method and have stopped putting shampoo (or even baking soda/vinegar) for a few months now. i have very oily scalp and i read that stripping off all the oil would just make your skin produce more oil hence i dont even use sulfate free shampoo. rinsing with only water feels not too bad since i really do save lots of time and money. and when my hair gets oily, i use a cocoa powder/arrowroot starch dry shampoo mix and it works great! but recently i’ve been noticing flaky scalp and when i use my nails to scratch it, large and tiny pieces of flakes come off. my scalp isnt red neither have i noticed any itch. i was surprised since i thought by not using ANY shampoo would be my best bet. do you have any suggestions? would rinsing with only water wash away the flakes? my last resort would be to use a castile soap on my hair if all else fails.

  • My name is Jeanique,

    I’m not really happy not because my hair keeps on producing dandruff and my scalp is white.Am afraid that just now i’m going to get hear lose. M y mother and I try plenty of dandruff removal shampoos but it like every time i use them it gets worse. What are your suggestions on getting rid f it.

  • I have been suffering from itchy dry scalp very long time ago, and then I found this article and it helped me a lot. It was very hard to try not to wash my hair 3 or 5 days until my scalp gets better, but it really helped for me.

  • hi,floris.
    i have dandruff problem for a long time. forthese i have grate hair fall problem. i have noticed that all the hairs that fall down have some white dry or wet substance at bottom of the hair. i cant understand what is can i get rid of this?
    pls help me bro

  • Hi Floris,

    Firstly -great post and also very good seo – your article ranks 1st for “natural cure for dandruff and itchy scalp” search on Google.
    Secondly – very informative and helpful article.

    I was amazed by your answers on the fungal side of itchy scalp – as I was dilusioned that dry skin could be due to dehydration of internal body cells.

    I have been to the local General Practioner but in vain. I will be trying few of the options you mentioned.

    Thank you for sharing such informative tips about health on your blog.

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Floris, I shifted to US two years back from India and my dandruff has become real bad. I have oily scalp and kind of dry wavy-curly hair. I used to use a medicated shampoo in india which used to keep my dandruff in control. After coming here I tried Jason dandruff relief 2 in 1 shampoo+conditioner and Nizoral anti dandruff shampoo, but sadly nothing works. I tried using coconut oil with lemon juice on the scalp but dont know if it actually helped. I wash my hair twice a week and sometimes once a week. I use jojoba oil once a week and recently started using castor oil. Should I mix tea tree oil or peppermint oil or lemon oil to castor oil and apply it on scalp? I recently read that mixing castor oil, olive oil and lemon juice and applying it on the scalp can reduce dandruff. Is it so? Please advise. Thanks.

  • Hi Floris,
    Its been abt 3 yrs suffering frm dandruff. I wash my hair with shampoo daily. Coz if i did not wash everyday, it becomes itchy and feel like dandruff become thicker. I want try the no wash technique. Also my hair becomes very oily it i do not wash regularly. Also i use h&s anti dandruff shampoo to wash. So can u give some tips on what can i do?

    • Hi Jake,

      Your hair becomes very oily because the scalp is used to having it’s oil removed by the frequent shampooing with aggressive shampoo’s. Therefore your scalp keeps producing oil; it want’s it’s protective layer back.

      Switching to washing less can be hard, but you should try washing less frequently. Start with every other day… then every 3 days. Myself, i’m OK with washing my hair about twice a week now but I know people who go weeks

      Hope this helps!


  • I am suffering from so bad dundruff, I tried many products, however it did not work.what is more, my scalp itchy, burns, and really irritating .i am loosing my excessively.i don’t know what to do, this problem stressing me all the time, as I can not deal with this, if anyone guys knows how to help me please contact me on my
    Please if u have any advice do me a favour and contact me

  • Hi Floris,
    I have dandruff from past 6 months and i tried all kinds of shampoo to get rid of this irritating dandruff but i am not able get rid of them.I feel dry scalp and I feel itching after i dry my hairs after taking head wash .A day after i take shower dry flakes with hair start to fall.And i am not able t o know What to try.I am from India andI read below comments and your suggestoins. So I would love to know your advise and suggestion and I would love to work on it .I will be waiting for your reply….
    Thank you.

  • Hi you already know you have one of the greatest blog for dandruff out there bu t i wanted to know do you have dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis if although they seem the same i don’t think they are if they are mabye seb.d is the big brother And if you have seborrheic dermatitis did changing the bath schedule help

    • Hi Kendrick,

      Dermatitis means inflamed skin, and seborrhoeic means it affects the areas where there are sebaceous glands (that make oil). So yes, dandruff basically is a form of seborrheic dermatitis, although some very mild dandruff sufferers might not really have big inflammations. The two also have the same cause most of the time: the yeast I talk about in the article. Seborrheic dermatitis can also occur on other parts of the body, most often the face and chest.

      I used to have a little patch on my chest, that I always washed vigorously because some website suggest that that can help. However, after many years I finally got rid of it now, by NOT washing it with any product at all, but just with water.

  • Hi Floris,

    Article is too helpful for Dandruff victims.

    let me share my problem with you
    This is Manohar from India,i am suffering with severe itching on my scalp,with no visible flakes on scalp,when ever i scratch my hair my nails are filled with white particles with black dirt,my scalp is oily ,could you please help me in getting rid of my problem.
    there is a myth that once follicles got closed and mixed with skin ,o way to regrowth the follicles is it true.

  • In India ritha (shikakai) is the best natural shampoo and anti-fungal solutionl. Avoid eyes as it burns badly for an hour. Unfortunately most of us don’t use it these days.

  • So I workout and by doing so I produce a lot more oil that way too. By working out should I still follow the rules of just washing 2-3 times a week or how should I go about taking a shower? The help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • Thank you! I suffer with the very same symptoms.. Good to know what I am doing to my hair (literally letting it go back to a natural state… ) is something beneficial and tried. Thanks again, kindest regards, Kirra xx

  • Dear Floris, I have read about the less washing method, but never in so much detail as you have provided. So thank you! I am currently in the beginning of the less washing, massively oily and flaky, ponytail-only stage of the process. It completely sucks, but after using prescription shampoos for years with the condition only worsening, I’m hoping for relief soon. My question for you is have you heard anything about boars hair brushes? Someone told me that it helps to pull oil away from the scalp. Just wondering if you’ve researched this at all or if it makes a difference. Thanks!

    • Hi Laura,

      Ha yes it can get pretty bad in the beginning. If it gets really bad, you might want to try selenium sulfide shampoo, 2 times or so, this will probably take care of most flaking. However, don’t use the selsun brand available in the US if possible. This contains only 1% vs 2.5% and lots of other nasty stuff.

      Brushes with Boar Bristles (like those from Kent and Mason Pearson and Less if More (Kent being my favorite) most certainly divide the oil from your scalp all over your hair. They are super good for your hair and usually you won’t have to use styling products, or way less, when using them. You have to make sure to use them right though. Bend over forwards, and brush from the scalp outwards. There are plenty of movies on the internet that will show you how to use them. I’m not sure if they also work against dandruff, sorry.

  • Hey Floris

    Thank you for the article. It was great and really explained the problems with normal shampoos. I’m a guy with very thick hair that i’m trying to grow now. I just got Macadamia Natural Oil Rejuvinating shampoo. It’s sulfate and paraben free. Also color-safe.

    Is that enough for a natural shampoo as It’s hard to find Rahua where I live. Any thoughts?

  • Hey I’m hoping you still check your site here i live here in America and I’m using head and shoulders shampoo but now that I read in your article it works better to use organic shampoo can you tell me what kind u used oh and I’m 12 turning 13 in 2 weeks I’ve had dandruff sins I’ve been 12 years old i hate it I have to go to school with this stuff only a few people have noticed sofar and their kind enugh to not be a bully about it so i need to git rid of it I’ve got my teen years coming i can’t have flakes fall frome my head every time someone messes with my hair or I come it so can i git some advice . Umm ohh i forgot i actually kinda notice my dandruff kinda calmed after i use head and shoulders but in the morning it’s a dandruff party up their agian so yeah i just need some advice plzz

  • Dear Jack,
    In having a bad case of dandruff and in only 14.This is a serious problem for me. I don’t know where to get the items u have listed. I am so confused and in need of serious hair treatment.Please awnser back soon
    Sincerely, Dijhzon W.

  • Do you have solution for oily scalp dandruff which doesn’t cause flaking instead resides on the scalp like a film and stops hair growth?????

  • Hi, I’ve read your article and I’ve been using organic shampoos and washing my hair every other day to drying my hair with my hair towel…been doing this for a little over a month now but my dandruff is still there and nothing has changed. Before I started using organic shampoos, I was using selsun blue, its an anti-dandruff shampoo and id use it two times a week and it actually works and gets my dandruff away. But id hate to use that shampoo for the rest ofmy life. Pls give me any advice you have for my situation. I just want nice healthy scalp. For the past few years, this has always been a problem..

  • Hi Floris,
    I must say, this is the BEST study, example and resolution I have ready from internet so far. Thank you very much for sharing this with us and also the comments are very helpful.
    I read the article and I still do have some doubts and queries, if you can help me with!
    I am from India, and the place is very hot and very humid. People here cant think of skipping hair wash even for a day and yes, I do suffer from dandruff… I have tried using vinegar, baking soda, egg white but it seems, my scalp hasn’t found its balance yet!!! still continuing 12th year…. Things that I have noticed is that, my hair becomes very dirty due to sweat and dirt accumulates in hair and scalp. So I have no other way but to use shampoo…. the mildest available in here.
    I got dandruff for the first time was after I started using shampoo instead of bathing soap, at least once in every week.
    So, my question is,
    1. is it ok to use shampoo and after drying off the hair completely, massage oil into the scalp? so when the scalp gets enough oils, it stops producing more, right?
    2. I can not let my hair devoid of oil, because i find my hair volume is diminishing day by day. I do take multi-Vitamin tablets daily and I am a pure vegan. Also, I can not leave my hair even slightly brushed in oil, because all dust and dirt accumulates and this gets deposited in the scalp. How can I not damage my hair by keeping it oil free yet black and shiny?
    3. I strongly believe that my hair fall is due to dandruff. My hair falls off teeny tiny round areas. But no itching, scratching, no any kind of irritations on my scalp. My hair is becoming thin and brown, instead of thick black. I guess its because of dryness due to shampooing, even using the milder one.
    Can you help me? Please consider the climatic conditions also. U will be a life saver for me, from becoming bald 🙁

    The greatest day of my life is just 3 months away, and I think I may need at least 8 weeks to try and win over dandruff… still fighting (fight with dandruff;) )

    Waiting for your reply
    Thank you.

  • Hi! I’m having some issues and wanted to know a bit more about your experience…

    I’ve always had mild dandruff–annoying but not that terrible. When I was younger I used Head and Shoulders and some Tea Tree Oil shampoos but nothing really worked so I kind of gave up. I started using Rahua Volumizing Shampoo/Conditioner about a week ago for completely unrelated reasons. I simply wanted to try switching to a natural shampoo and that one had great reviews. However, after using it 3 times in the past week, it seems to have made my dandruff flare up a lot more than usual. It seems like patches of scales have formed all over my scalp and its freaking me out.

    I’m wondering what your experience was–did you have any sort of flare up before it got better? Or do you think maybe I’ve had a reaction to the shampoo? I don’t really have sensitive skin and have never had a reaction to skincare/haircare products before but I’m really confused by this, especially since apparently its supposed to help dandruff, not make it worse

    What was the experience like for you?

  • Hi Floris, thanks for sharing this great article. I had dandruff issues in the past too and a medicated dandruff shampoo recommended by my doctor helped me to get rig of my problem. Now I sometimes use some homemade remedies when I feel stresses and notice the appearance of dandruff again.


  • Greetings. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
    I would like to have your opinion about my condition- I have curly hair, lately my scalp is itchy and have dandruff. Some place I feel like tiny bumps on the scalp which are itchy. My hair is damaged and dry due to high protein treatment (too much coconut oil. Didn’t know it can cause a damage). Due to this condition, my hair got thin and have a hair loss a bit.

    I am using only organic products, completely confused what I need. Could you please help me?
    Thank you and wish you all the best.

  • Hi Floris,

    I’m currently living and working here in Kuwait with a bad weather and water. I am suffering from a very bad dandruff for years now. I’ve tried already the apple cider thing, putting it before you wash your hair but it does work only for a month and after that it becomes worst. I’ve tried already almost all the commercial anti dandruff shampoo but it doesn’t work to me.

  • First off, this is the best article I’ve read on dandruff/hair products in general. Thank you, it is very insightful.
    I know this article is two years old so I’m not sure if you even still reply to comments, but I’ll post this anyways.
    About a year ago when I was using H&S, a new hairdresser told me that I didn’t need to because I didn’t actually have dandruff, but just dry scalp. She said I just needed a nicer shampoo, so I switched to Redken. It worked for a time but then I noticed some flaky/itchyness again. Around the same time I decided to chop my long hair off and go for a short bob. After that I noticed even MORE dandruffy problems. I switched to this:,default,pd.html sulfate + silicone free shampoo and the matching conditioner and tried to follow the steps of this article. It has now been 2 months since and it just seems like my flakes are getting worse.
    Should I try a different shampoo + conditioner? Should I try washing my hair less (I still wash it every other day)? Do you think I have the actual dandruff fungus or a different problem?
    Thanks again for this article!

    • Hi T,

      Thanks for your kind words and I’m sorry about my late answer. I’ve been swamped with people mailing me about their dandruff problem 🙂

      When I hear your story, I actually do think it might be dandruff, but it’s hard to tell from here. If it’s just dry skin, I would suggest trying some coconut oil.

      2 questions I have: how is your scalp now? And how was it when you were using H&S?

      I am pretty much on track now so promise to answer fast this time!

      • As far as I remember my scalp was fine when I was using H&S, but my hair was pretty damaged/frizzy.
        Since I posted this I caved and started using Selsun Blue selenium sulfide shampoo. It’s only 1% since that’s all you can get without a prescription. It hasn’t really helped. My hair also gets oily faster now, it was more balanced when I was using the natural stuff.
        I might try finding a different sulfate + silicon free shampoo and start over… possibly along with trying out some home remedies. In the past before I used selsun blue, apple cider vinegar helped some.

  • Hey, I have problems with some seriously bad dandruff (think crusty cradle cap for adults) and I’ve actually been totally shampoo/conditioner free since October/November 2013 so that’s about 8-9 months now. I’ve had my good days since I got through the “coming off” stage of oilies, but I just can’t seem to shake the dandruff for more than 3 days at most. I guess not washing my hair for up to 3 weeks at a time probably doesn’t help, but I just really don’t have time to wash my hair all that often. I’ve never used the baking soda/ACV combo as I’ve always thought this sounded just as bad as the harsh stuff in store bought cleansers, but I have used ACV as a rinse before. Currently, my routine involves milk and honey with lavender essential oil as a shampoo (which makes my hair feel fabulous!), but I’m thinking of ditching the milk and just using water now that my hair is doing better in the moisture department. As a rinse, since ACV was kinda making me a little greasy, I switched the acid to fresh lemon juice mixed with water, which does the same job (but better, at least for my head) and smells better. I had read that both lavender and lemon are good for fighting dandruff and as mentioned, it works for a few days, but it never lasts. Is this just something I’m going to have to deal with forever and just be happy that I at least get a 3 day respite? Or is there maybe possibly another natural thing I could try that you could suggest? I’m thinking in terms of herbs, spices, juices, etc. not a pre-made something… I like making it myself 🙂

  • Hi All, My name is Balachandar and i am from India. I am suffering from hair loss due to the dry scalp with dandruff and flaking since 5 years. I tried using many professional shampoo’s and conditioner’s and my hair is unmanageable.
    Let me know what i have to follow and how do i control or cure this. I am washing my hair regularly (3 days once ). I am trying to grow my hair lengthy to do my hair styling. I am 29 years old. Appreciate if you really help in this.

    • Hi Balachandar,

      I’m sorry to hear about the problems with your hair and scalp.

      To be honest I don’t think hairloss is connected to dandruff. Hairloss could be an auto-immune illness or simply hormones. Did you see a Doctor?

      Concerning the dandruff, please see my article for much more info.

  • Great article. A little more than two years ago, I completely stopped using shampoo and soap, and now I only wash with water. I started to get flaky skin, like Seborrheic Dermatitis, on my scalp and face. I used coconut oil to get rid of the flaking skin on my face, but I have still not done anything about my scalp.

    In tip number 3, by not washing your hair for days do you mean not even getting it wet? At this point, I want to use an external remedy, even though I believe that the root cause lies internally and can be addressed through lifestyle changes. It isn’t really noticeable if I don’t scratch, but it is always something in the back of my mind.

    Having you heard of the company Living Libations? I’m considering ordering their seabuckthorn shampoo: Their products are made up of essential oils and herbal tonics. I have been so hesitant to try any product, because I was convinced that using absolutely nothing would be the solution, but it has been two years and no change.

    • Hi Alex,

      I totally know what you mean with “it” being in the back of your mind. It’s extremely annoying!

      Concerning your question, by not washing my hair for 3 days I do indeed mean I don’t get it wet. Unless I wake up with Kramer Hair, then I just splash in some water with my hands and use a styliing product (I use less is more’s honeywax – a great all natural wax). But I never wet it completely as I noticed this sometimes seems to flare up the dandruff, especially when showering warm.

      Flaky skin on the face can be caused by many things but if you have dandruff it most probably is, as you already said, Seborrheic Dermatitis. I have a couple of spots too that sometimes go away for months but they keep coming back every now & then. Personally, I am 99% sure the dandruff and flaky skin on the face are connected, and that they are both caused by an over-active fungus. What I hear from customers and people responding to this article like you, this only strengthens my opinion. I wonder, did the coconut oil totall fix the flaky skin you had?

      I have heard of living libations, and it looks like a great brand. I wonder if the shampoo cleans enough though for all people and with hard water. But definitely worth a try. Please do let me know if you have already tried!



      I have tried various treatments with customers and using myself. Switching shampoo’s creams, lotions, oils, and so on.

    • P.S. I agree that the cause could very well be internally for some people, and I have been trying to experiment with different diets but so far I haven’t had much luck. More about that in half a year or so.

  • Hi bud, that’s definitely the best article I’ve read on treating dandruff, thanks so much!

    I suffer from dry +itchy scalp, and I’ve tried treating it with several shampoos my doctor has recommended, however these shampoos often only control the dry scalp temporarily and comes back. And now I’m starting to get a lot of days where my dry scalp is so bad that all day it’s becoming a horrific struggle of trying not to scratch my scalp, and when I do it only creates more dandruff. I’m just finishing school and I want to cure this dandruff+itchy scalp immediately so that I do not suffer from it when I’m older.

    Currently, I wash my hair daily with a very light,natural shampoo with little or no aggressive ingredients. I have attempted to try not washing my hair daily, however whenever I do, I become very annoyed with greasy hair.

    I will like to hear your opinion on what my plan is to battle this: Washing my hair with shampoo every second night, and just rinsing my hair with cold water every other night. I have had people tell me that just washing my hair with water will just make my scalp more itchy, what do you think???

    If you take the time to read all this I will love you dearly, and if you can provide me with any advice, I will not be able to express how much it will mean to me.

    Just to remind you, my biggest worries are
    1. dry scalp
    2.. dandruff
    3.greasy hair

    THANK YOU SOOO MUCH :)))))))) <3

    • Thanks Robert!

      I’m sorry to hear about the problems with your scalp. How are things now? Are you sure you have dry scalp? Because most people with dandruff seem to think so, while the opposite is true. They actually have a scalp that generates a lot of oil, then start using aggressive shampoo’s that remove all the oil, making the scalp produce more oil, and so the circle is complete and the problem only worsens.

      I agree that washing your hair with just water makes it more itchy. That is at least my experience. At the moment I was my hair every 3 days or so and I keep it as dry as possible in between. Please read my upcoming addition to the article with some extra info and tips and explanations.

      hope this helps,


  • I have been trying to get rid of my dandruff for almost five years now. I went to the doctor and he gave me steroid scalp cream after I had tried every over the counter dandruff shampoo.

    Washing my hair every other day with cold water and natural shampoo got rid of it within two showers.

    Sometimes your doctor doesn’t know better.

    Thanks for the help!


  • you said that point where you almost gave up…. how long did this “point of no return” last?

  • Hello Floris,

    So I’ve been using alternative hair care for some time now. In part because I’m a bit of a hippy and I already believed the things you wrote about advertising and also because I have an allergy to fragrance/perfumes and my skin is very sensitive. I’ve used a fragrance free shampoo bar, dr. bronner’s organic wash and conditioner, even baking soda and vinegar (not at the same time. lol), but when I moved back to a dryer climate this January, my scalp became dry and painful. Yes, I had started showering every other day – because I started a new job and am living nearer my family who I’ve always felt pressure to be and act “normal” and here in the states, maybe even especially, I don’t know? that means showering every day. Anyway, I hopped on the no ‘poo movement – no shampoo that is – and at first it was horrible, but then my scalp started to feel wonderful, except, though dandruff had never been a problem before, I started getting flaky. This was counterintuitive to everything I’d assumed. My hair comfortably creating sebum, I figured my scalp would be healthy as a whittle. If whittles can be healthy. I love my hair sans shampoo, but I don’t know what to do about the flakes. Lately I’ve been putting coconut oil on my head hoping that it’d help moisturize. I haven’t it done it quite enough to know if it’s working, but am I on the right path? I’m afraid if I start washing my hair, even with organics, that I’ll have to start over on the whole healthy sebum deal. What would you suggest? Cheers.

    • Hi Libby,

      From all the mails I received due to this article, I can tell you a lot of people had the same experience.

      I suggest going to back shampooing your hair again every week or so. This might be enough for the flakes to stay away and it won’t mess up your scalp and sebum production. Of course it could also be something else, namely that something (hormones, diet, stress) changed and is causing the dandruff.

      Anyway, I’d try the once per week method first.

  • Where can I find a shampoo that has 2.5% selenium sulfide and no SLS or other harmful ingredients?


  • Do these methods work for dry scalp as well? I thought I had dandruff but after about a month of only washing my hair once to twice a week like you said I wasn’t seeing results, or does it just take longer time to?

    • Hi Jesus,

      If you have a really dry scalp and not specifically dandruff, I would suggest using a very nourishing shampoo and conditioner like the one from Rahua.

  • Dear Floris, Update: You are correct… The Dr Woods Tee Tree soap/ Shampoo is definitely not the right product for hair. It definitely does makes it stiff and heavily oiled. It seems to stay wet. Strange texture. However the product cleared my shoulders and forehead patches of itchy peeling/rash back to 100% normal skin immediately.

  • This was a great read. I love when people do case studies and show actual results. I know that coconut oil is also very helpful in battling dry and itchy scalp, and you can easily make a coconut oil hair mask yourself for very little money

    • Thanks Arielle, I will have to try the coconut oil treatment myself someday. I heard people who it really helped, but also the opposite, where the coconut oil just caused more itchiness and dandruff.

      • Hi Floris,
        I suffered more than 40 years of this itchy scalp due to dandruff. I tried using so many brand of shampoos for a lot of hopeless years. No remedy for my stubborn dandruff.
        Then i tried this steps: Itake a bath using mild sampoo , tap my hair dry a little, wit9h cotton ball apply 6% salicylic acid solution to my entire scalp morning and evening. After a week my dandruff is gone and my scalp looks 100 % cured and my hair very shiny. Cheers, i just want to share.

        • Hello Renato,
          Did you wash your hair twice a day and every day? And do you wash your hair a while after applying the acid solution?

      • Hi Floris,
        I am Poornima from India, 34 yrs and I am suffering from major dandruff issues. Fortunately, I came your article on “How to get rid of dandruff”. Let me try and I will be back to share my experiences. Wish me the best !:)

      • My experience with oil of any kind (coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, etc… I’ve tried a lot) is that it is impossible to wash out unless you use a real shampoo which I personally refuse to do, so depending on ones personal cleansing routine, you may or may not end up walking around with a grease head for the following month or so.. or more, depending on how much oil was applied…. ick! Of course, if you don’t mind looking like you just stepped out of the shower (wet hair) 24/7 for that long, or if you DO use sudsy shampoos that can remove the oil after application, go for it! All those lovely oils do work wonders for softness and moisture as most claim 🙂

  • Ok one more comment !! :-O

    First, got it! …(SLS=sodium lauryl sulfate).

    Next… I want to say for your readers… I have become allergic to chemical preservatives (Formaldehyde and others) that are in our Cosmeceuticals in the US which has created contact allergic dermatitis for me. I believe I am not the only one. I think that many of us are suffering from this which could be the reason for the peeling, flaking skin and itchiness.That being said after much study on this subject of harmful ingredients (Europe has better laws than we do in the US preventing usage of harmful chemicals in our cosmeceuticals). I have determined that chemicals in our products, drugs as medicine and GMO foods are the cause of many of our ailments today.

    Holistic, natural & Organic is healing and healthful for our bodies. Whenever I hear of a death 98% of the time I learn there were drugs involved. Whenever I hear of an ailment, 98% of the time a chemical/ pill/ OTC/ or prescription drugs were the culprit. Whenever there is an allergy more times than not it is due to the exposure to chemicals. If we just try to take away as much chemical exposure as possible and go back to Organic we can heal most things IMO…. & u are right about the shampooing as I have experienced stopping and starting with H&S and yes, re-starting usage does cause you to need it more… (terrible cycle) one which creates more of a need.

    Hopefully u can let me know what you think about the Dr Woods Tea Tree Shampoo and whether or not it is too harsh especially on very long highlighted/colored hair.

    Thanks again!

  • Also another Question Floris…
    I used Dr Woods Organic Tea Tree all in one soap/ shampoo with very cold water just on scalp trying to avoid my long hair as much as possible. (I have colored/ highlighted hair) and harsh shampoos can strip color. Is this product even right for what you are suggesting to try to achieve here…. or is it too harsh for hair especially color treated hair?

    Do ALL organic shampoos automatically contain NO SLS and the negative ingredients which you have discussed avoiding so as long as they are Organic? So there would be no need to check for harmful stripping ingredients (or SLS whatever that is) if Organic, correct? Or is the Tea Tree to harsh for washing or for color treated hair?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Dylan,

      I like those ingredients. They are very much like Dr. Bronners Soaps. I tried these for a while but they didn’t really work for my hair. It became very rigid. I think they will work better on (very) short hair..
      Also, soaps like these tend to not remove minerals from the hair, resulting in hair that will look dull and even a bit grey-ish. So make sure to do the vinegar rinse as described in the article.

  • Dear Floris,

    What do you think of this?

    I woke up with a scalp so itchy I was writhing on the floor in pain. I’ve had lesions and dandruff on my face and scalp for years. I found the above, as well as your suggested method, which I had tried once before. Slathered some honey water on my scalp and the itchiness is gone. Will keep using.

    Like me to keep you posted?

    • Very interesting! We are actually testing raw manuka honey (the most active, anti-bacterial honey there is) at the moment, which has many great benefits.

      So, yes please do keep me posted!

  • This might be too late of a comment, but I’ve actually not used shampoo at all, purely because I’m too lazy, in several months and mainly I wash my hair with water and soap because it takes less effort and I don’t need to buy any products.
    After a while of not really bothering to take care of my hair I’ve noticed quite bad dandruff coming off when I bother to brush it – and am wondering if maybe I should start using shampoo/brush more to get rid of the problem?

      • Hey Floris,
        I use mustard oil once a week before washing my hair. I leave the oil for two or three hours and then wash my hair.What do you think about it? Is mustard oil better than argan oil?

        • Hi Parker,

          Mustard oil is great for hair as well. I wouldn’t call it better than argan, it’s just a matter of preference. I know a lot of blogs and people (and salesmen!) will say mustard oil will stimulate hair growth but even though it does probably stimulate the scalp a bit because it increases the blood circulation I don’t really believe this.

  • Dear Floris,
    I wanna thank u 1st for ur article ,
    My problem is a actually like urs , I’m trying to lower washing my hair , the problem is that I go to the gym 3 times a week so it’s not possible to not wash after sweating that much ..
    What should I do in that case
    Thanx xx

  • Thanks for the great article and I’m planning to follow your way to get rid of dandruff which is a pain for me nowadays. I didn’t see you recommend to use a conditioner after the organic shampoo wash. Do we need to apply the conditioner after the shampoo?

    Thanks and have a great a day!!

    • Hi Nair,

      I do not use conditioner, as I feel it makes my hair oily again quickly, meaning I have to wash it again sooner, which I don’t want 🙂

  • I am in India . I have a very thin hair. I don’t know whether my scalp is oily or dry . I have dandruff for the past 12 years . Still it is continuing. Rahua brand is too costly to afford. I request you to suggest organic shampoos that is available in indian market. At the same time it should yeild good results similar to rahua. U had mentioned taking head baths have been in use only after 1970s. But in our culture we take head baths regularly to keep ourselves clean. I don’t know when it would have started. But would have started very very earlier than u mentioned. Will ur strategy work for me too in curing dandruff.

    • Hi Adhi,
      Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry to hear about your dandruff problem. It certainly is annoying. I didn’t say the “western world” only started to shampoo in the late 70’s, I said they started to to it daily. Before it was very common to wash hair once, or twice a week, or even less. I can not tell if my strategy will work for you, you’ll have to try. Try washing your hair with a selenium sulfide shampoo 3 times in one week, and IF the dandruff is than gone, switch to a very gentle shampoo without sls and see if it stays away.

      Hope this helps.

  • Hi Floris,

    Was delighted to find your article and will soon try your method. I have been struggling with annoying hair pretty much since I hit puberty, when I was 13 or so.

    My problem is like this:
    – I have very thin and soft hair
    – I have greasy skin & hair but a dry scalp
    – It gets very itchy, especially if I don’t wash it more than one day
    – it is a huge pain to style in any way which is why for year I’ve been resorting to crew-cuts, i keep it short an cut it once every 6-7 weeks

    When it grow a little, most morning I wake up with my hair, especially on the right side which is the one I sleep on mostly looking as it a category 5 hurricane has just passed through 🙂 I have to use water from the tap most morning to wet it down a bit, comb it and then dry it with a towel before I can leave for work, even though it’s short. (I normally shower before going to bed rather than in the mornings).

    I have been using H&S for a long time, more recently I have also tried Alpecin Dandruff Killer which was good in calming the irritation a bit but it didn’t help at all with the greasiness.

    I was thinking to start trying your method but since this Rahua shampoo it hard to find and a bit expensive , was consideing this one instead> BURT’S BEES BABY BEE SHAMPOO. It’s advertised as being sulphate-free as long as many other types of xxxx-free so hopefully will do the job ?

    Would be really grateful to hear your response

    • Hi there! It sounds like you were at the point where I was: getting a bit desperate.
      I always wet my hair in the morning as well because, well, I don’t look like hurricane went through, but more like Cosmo Kramer. So don’t worry about that.

      I totally get the Rahua shampoo is expensive and of ourse you could try out Burt’s bee’s first. It contains some surfactants like lauryl glucoside which is pretty gentle so it might do the trick.

      Good luck and keep me posted on your progress!

  • Very nice article, Ive tried alot of diffrent shampoos but nothing really works.

    Right now i am trying Esperanca Professional Dandruff Kit and i will keep everyone updated with it.

  • How long did it take for your hair to adjust to less washing?
    I wash my hair every day and when I don’t, my hair gets really oily, itchy and full of dandruff. I want to stop washing my hair so often because I literally can’t go one day without shampooing it because it gets so greasy, and I can’t stand the itchiness.
    I’ve started only shampooing every other day. I still shower every day (is that ok?) but I just wet my hair and condition the ends. I hope that once my hair gets used to that, I’ll decrease the amount of shampoo bit by bit.

    How long did it take your hair to get used to shampooing less?

    • Hi Emily,

      It took about 6 weeks for my scalp to adjust fully. You can stil shower every day but make sure you don’t shower to warm – this tends to make you sweat which can lead to itchiness as well.

  • Hi! I was wondering how often do you wash your hair after you got rid of the itch? Because I’m doing exactly what you wrote here. I washed my hair every other day, then every other 2 days, then once a week. Now that the itch is gone, I don’t know if I can wash my hair often. I’m worried that it will start itching again. Also, I haven’t tried using the apple cider vinegar. Did you use it when you were washing your hair less and trying to remove the itch?

    • Hi Teej! I was my hair twice to three times a week now. I used the apple cider vinegar to get rid of the minerals in my hair (that were not removed well enough by the shampoo I used at the time).

      I now use Rahua’s voluminous shampoo and don’t need to rinse with vinegar anymore – even though it’s still a good trick to get super shiny hair.

  • I have used every shampoo there is from dandruff to natural shampoos and my scalp remains the same its so bad that i have build up in certain areas of my head nothing seems to work. Ive read your article and was hoping you had some advice for me or a product you recommend…

  • HI great article

    My question is what if you don’t use shampoo. I stopped using shampoo about a year ago my hair feels great but I do have dandruff. I wash it in cold water only every day. I do use an anti dandruff conditioner occasionally which is slightly effective. . I’d still prefer to avoid shampoos so will try the apple cider vinegar rinse and maybe a tea tree rinse. Your thoughts?


  • I am from Newzealand. I am 29 years old and i am suffering from severe dandruff. I am having this problem from 4-5 years. I used to shave my hair to get rid of dandruff . Can you suggest me to take a medicated shampoo or organic one? I am seeing severe hair fall and patches on my head. I started taking saw plametto , omega 3-fatty pills and vitamin E capsules. Can you suggest me how to go ahead further to treat my scalp

  • Hey Floris,

    I have a few concerns. One is that I am a weight room supervisor and exercise very regularly. I work up a good sweat and my head usually gets drenched, to say the least. I have still been trying your ideas and I have only been washing my hair with an organic shampoo once or twice a week. However, I am wondering if I should rinse my hair with cold water when I have an after workout shower. I have been letting my hair stay dry, but should I change this?
    Also, I have very dry skin on my face, especially on the edge of my scalp and face. Is this connected to my dandruff problem on the areas close to my scalp? Will it matter if I use a face moisturizer?
    Either way, I love the article you have written and I am hoping with all my heart that it will work. I’m in it for as long as it takes. Thanks!


    • Before going to bed put oil in a small container. The quantity of the oil should be in proportion to the length and density of your hair so as to be applicable on your complete hair. Apply oil on the tip of your fingers and rub it gently on the base of your hair enabling it to penetrate in to the roots of your hair. Let the oil gradually seep into roots of your hair & nourish them for the whole night.Do not apply on your palms and rub it vigorously as it may uproot weak hair. Slow application and massage of hair only would yield better results. The oil may be removed in the morning with washing of hair with a mild shampoo which does not contain chemicals

    • Hi Jeremy,

      If you sweat so much, I’d wash my hair after the workout. When I sweat a lot this usually causes some itchiness too. Always cold rinse after washing.

      Have you tried a selenium sulfide shampoo yet to see if this makes the dandruff go away after using it about 3 times?

      Indeed, most probably the patches on your face and dandruff could very well be connected and have the same cause: a fungi or a combination of bacteria and fungi. Now there is nothing strange about this, everyone has these on their face, some people just seem to have less resistance to them in some times of their life (or some places, mostly hairlines and skin folds). I also have a little patch on a scar on my cheek, where my skin seems to have trouble keeping control. What really helps me is a cream containing 2% ketoconazole which I put on if it comes back. A corticosteroid hormone cream does nothing for me there.

      If it’s just dry skin you have, than a moisturiser or good oil with help, yes. I really like Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel, which is also a great after shave and has a nice fresh smell to it (that goes away quickly) so it’s very suitable for men. It’s also does’t look too girly! 🙂

      Let me know how you’re getting along!

  • Hey Jack ,

    I been trying your method for 3 weeks now. I stopped washing my hair every day. For the first 2 weeks I only washed my hair every 2 days with the Rahua shampoo you suggested. It seemed to be clearing up a bit then I started washing every 3 days and it got a lot worse again. Any suggestions? You mentioned a apple vinegar rinse would I use that in between days of washing my hair or one of the days. Thanks

  • Hey Floris,

    I read your advice and I’m going to try it out to solve my dandruff issue. But before I begin, I have one question. I exercise on a regular basis and my hair tends to get wet as well from the sweat. Since I exercise 4-5 times a week, should I be washing my hair after every workout?

    • Wash your hair with onion water. Get your tresses to be super sleek and shiny while supplementing them with nutrients by rinsing your hair with onion water. Cut up an onion and boil it in several cups of water. Allow the onion water to cool, strain out the onion, and pour it through your hair. Massage it into your scalp before rinsing the onion water out again.
      Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar. Among the multitude of uses for apple cider vinegar is increasing hair growth through frequent rinsings. After you finish shampooing your hair in the shower, rinse it out with apple cider vinegar. Follow with your regular conditioner and rinse with warm water.
      Try a grapeseed oil massage. This lovely oil is often an ingredient in popular hair care products, and can be used on its own to increase hair growth. Pour some oil (room temperature or warm) onto your scalp and massage it in with your fingers. Allow it to set for up to an hour. Do this 2-3 nights a week for the best results.
      Add a bit of palm oil to your strands. Rather than focusing on the scalp, adding palm oil to the length of your strands will increase its vitality and prevent it from breaking. Thoroughly coat the ends and middle sections of your hair with palm oil, and allow it to soak in for 10 minutes. Rinse it out with your regular washing routine as you normally would. Doing this 2 times a week for several months will keep your hair stronger over time.
      Switch over to silk pillow covers. Pillowcases made from cotton or linen, although may feel soft, are rough enough to grab strands of hair and cause unnecessary breakage. Prevent this from happening by simply switching to a silk pillowcase. It will stop unwanted friction on your hair while you sleep, and is extra comfortable for heading to bed.
      Biotin is an inexpensive vitamin that helps renew the hair follicle and grow healthier roots which when taken long term, makes your hair grow longer and healthier faster
      Eat protein food. Especially green leafy vegetables and fruits
      Most importantly use Ayurvedic Kesh King Hair loss therapy regularly.

  • Hey floris thanks a ton forgivng this beneficial advice.i hav a question tat will the hair oil like almond oil would work curing dandruff and should we use hairoil to control dandruff.even i hav ths dandruff problem since 3 years not able to find a permanent solution so plz plz plz help me out.and i use shikkakai its a herbal shampoo is it ok to use.and is it k to massage hair wit oil

  • Hi Jack

    You’re post has made me do a lot of research on how to deal with danruff. Just a question. Have you tried teetree organic shampoos? If so do they work and is there one you would recommend?

    Kind Regards


  • I like the Rahua’s voluminous shampoo, and the conditioner. I can’t get the Tea Trea from Balm Balm in Canada, but i’ve been using Goe Oil by Jao website:
    It has natural products and I was wondering what your take on this product would be. I have the organic Argan oil, but to use on a daily basis…Goe oil works well.
    But as you mentioned, you might have to use a shampoo (Nizoral that has ketoconazole in it) that will kill the fungus that can causes the dandruff first, get a handle on it then proceed with the organic shampoos.
    What’s your thought?


  • Hello Floris,

    I read the article and most of the comments.

    Here is my background. I have had dandruff on and off for like 2 years. I used to use vinegar(after a wash) to stop it but eventually that stopped working and it got worse.

    I moved the tea tree oil and would wash my hair 2x a week with that (I only washed my hair 2x a week and would use it every time)

    That did not work after ~2 months. On 1/1 I washed my hair with the recommended shampoo and then I stopped washing my hair hoping to reset it and restore the balance.

    I have good days and bad days. I have been wearing a loose hat (knit) for the entire time because the dandruff is VERY bad. ok so back to the bad days, I those days I get a very itchy scalp. What can I do to combat that? What can I do to get rid of these huge flakes too (do I just need to wait for the reset?)

    I want to keep not washing it but on the bad days it is very hard.


    • Hey Jeremy,

      The not-washing method also didn’t work for me. I keep things in control by washing twice or three times a week, leaving the mild shampoo in for a minute or 2, and rinsing with cold water.

      I also still have good and bad days or weeks, but since I do this it’s never been bad like before.

  • Hi, I’ve been dealing with dandruff for the last 18 months. It coincided with the birth of my son, so for a while I thought it had something to do with insane hormones. In the meantime, I switched to a natural shampoo with no sulfates that contains tea tree and peppermint. The shampoo has worked great to prevent itching and burning, but the flaking is still bad! A couple of months ago, I started washing my hair only every other day (I’ve always been one of those people whose hair was terribly oily again 24 hours after washing.). My hair has finally gotten to the point that it doesn’t look like I haven’t bathed in weeks by washing it only every other day and I’m hoping to be able to start washing only every three days soon. A couple of weeks ago I also started to use a natural boar hair bristle brush to help distribute the oils from my scalp down the entire length of my hair – my hair is just past my waist in length. So, anyway, that is my situation. I’m going to try the Rahua shampoo you suggested. I wanted to know your thoughts on the conditioner, as well. Should I use it, or just rely on my scalp’s natural oils? Or maybe just on the ends? Any other thoughts and tips would be greatly appreciated. I really loved your article – it’s great to hear all of this from someone who used their own advice to cure their own dandruff. A lot of the advice on the internet is to get a chemical-laden dandruff shampoo and wash the hair every day or twice daily and it really felt wrong, especially since I don’t like to use any beauty products that contain harsh chemicals. So again, thank you.

  • Hello, I have a question about the article regarding the not washing as often tip…

    I wash my hair every day (yes using H&S although I plan on changing after this article). My hair is itchy, looks greasy, and has moderate dandruff. Now the reason I wash my hair everyday is that it feels awfully dirty whenever I go even a day without washing it. I can’t stand it. Will this become less of a problem with the shampoo mentioned? Also, I’m afraid I can’t avoid wetting my hair in the morning, as I move around a lot during sleep. So will that affect the recovery process at all?

  • Hi Floris,
    I suffer quite severely from dandruff and even a couple of hours after washing my hair the flakes return and it gets quite embarrassing. I use T-Gel neutrogena anti dandruff shampoo which helped reduce the dandruff but didn’t totally eradicate it. The T-Gel shampoo in combination with another anti dandruff shampoo, Palmolive alternativley helped for a short while of about 2 weeks but the dandruff returned after i stopped using the T-Gel shampoo. Currently the dandruff is getting out of hand I believe i have a oily scalp with red irritations on my scalp. I read your article and was entrigued by the way you did this so how could you help me use your routine to help me with my dandruff. Hopefully i’ll here from you soon.

  • This is by far THE MOST HELPFUL article I’ve come across. A lot of other sources recomend popular dandruff shampoo’s like Head and Shoulders because they say they get rid of dandruff when they really don’t make much of a difference…well not to me at least…
    This really helped me understand why my dandruff got so bad and what I should do to get rid of it. I’ll definitely try out that organic shampoo.
    Can’t wait to read more of your articles-you’ve got a new fan! ^_^

  • Great advice, thanks so much! What has been your experience with salicyclic acid-based shampoos? I had used a natural shampoo with this as the main ingredient for years, but while it worked for a day or so, if I didnt wash every other day I’d be so oily and flaky. Time to try your methods out, thanks again so much for your help!

  • Hello.
    First of all thanks or this very detailed article and for sharing what has worked or you so far.

    My scalp gets very oily, but my hair is usually dry starting from the middle and my ends are very dry, so I tend to put coconut oil in it every now and then. My hair is very curly too, so it needs more moisture. You mentioned that using oils and other products will only repeat the cycle and not solve the problem, so would it be fine to just use the shampoo and then natural oils only where it’s dry i.e. on the ends? and about the conditioner? Can I use apple cider vinegar instead?

    I have been exploring the “no shampoo method” too which basically is about using baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner. Have you ever come across it/tried it? what is your opinion on it?

    Thank you very much

  • Hey ,
    I am just fed up with my hair ! used to be so healthy…but from past 2 years my scalp has become full of dandruff sticked to my scalp ! keep on scratching my scalp half time and it ends up bleading ! my hair has also started thinning ! my hair is in a very bad condition ! No texture ! Totally dull and I am just 20 ! My mother says if I take care of my hair …it will grow back ! please help me!

  • I’ve read your article and it has given me some renewed hope. I will go and try your method ASAP, my only question is with dry scalp because mine seems to be under moisturized, I keep my hair very short, basically wash and wear mentality.
    So my question to you would be what would i use to moisturize my scalp? I understand what to do for dandruff because of your article, but what about dry scalp?


    • Hi Denny,

      People with dandruff usually do not have a dry scalp, even if it appears so (see my article). However, if you have a really dry scalp, you could try argan oil (make sure you get a good product like Kahina’s), or an organic balm (I use the one with Tea Tree from Balm Balm) as styling product.

      • I m from india so its said here that you should oil your hair atleast twice a week , so is it ok to oil ur hair when u r having dandruff as u said that bacteria loves oil. so plz tell me is oiling good for ur hair or not.

  • Hello,

    I have dandruff problems. I already believe in not washing your hair too much, so I only wash it about once every week or 10 days. I don’t use shampoo because my hair becomes clean when I use water only, and I do not like the fluffiness that comes with using shampoo. Do you think that doing the water warm then cold would thing work for me without shampoo? Should I start to use a shampoo like the one you described or can I get rid of the dandruff by just using water like I usually do?

    Cheers and have a good day!

    • Hi Aerin,

      If you are happy not using shampoo, I’d try sticking to that and try a cold rinse after the warm rinse for the reasons I mentioned in the post. You might also want to try the apple cider vinegar rinse every now & then to remove the minerals from your hair.

  • Hey bro I read your article about this and its really an eyeopener. I’m from the U.S bjt I’m currently deployed in Afghanistan for 9 months and I’ve had this issue since I was 12. Just a few questions: how long did it take to get rid of the dandruff at first and what kind of shampoo did you use? Thanks.

    • Hi Shane,

      It took about 5 or 6 weeks for my scalp to find back it’s balance. Dandruff started to become way less then as well and now, even when it does come back a little bit (some people just seem to sensitive to it) it has never become bad again and I can keep it under control, using the Rahua voluminous shampoo.

  • Hi Floris,
    This year I lost the half of my original hair volume, and can’t still put a finger on the reason. I’m having sticky dandruff near my hairline (I guess this is where the scalp gets the most exposed during parting), and my hair’s thinned down enough to show my scalp. I’ve been using Nizoral, a ketoconazole based shampoo. So far I’ve not been getting any satisfactory results and I’m nearly desperate! I’m losing more than a hundred hairs everyday, with a bit of my scalp attached to the end.
    Please advise 🙁

    • Hi Sanghamitra,

      I’m really sorry to hear that, I don’t think the dandruff and hair loss are connected. Are you eating enough and healthy?
      It could also be an auto-immune disease like Alopecia Areata. These can be triggered by all sorts of things, like hair dye, or allergies.

      I would advice you to see a doctor about this because this and I hope you will find the cause soon.

  • hey, I’ve been wondering if the itchiness I get when my scalp is wet/sweaty comes from having dandruff because I don’t see a lot of flakes, only bits of white dots.. but my scalp gets really itchy and it annoys me because it happens every after i do some walking or something tiring that causes my scalp to sweat. even taking a bath causes my scalp to get really itchy!!…help me please!!!

    • Hi Krystel,

      Yes I know this feeling. I think the reason is that sweat is quite acidic (it has a low pH) and when yout skin is irritated (due to dandruff) it start itching. So the only thing you can do about it really is try to cure your dandruff problem.

  • Thanks for the great article. I completely stopped using shampoo and conditioner all together and just rinse with water once a day. I have been doing this for about 6 months now and my hair has looked and felt great. There is no need for me to use any type of styling product on my hair and I don’t have as many crazy hair days as I did when I was shampooing every day. Within the last month I have started getting dandruff and now it is getting pretty bad. I was hoping it would go away but now it’s getting to the point that I will have to do something. I really don’t want to start down the road of using these anti dandruff shampoos everyday like have been doing pretty much my whole life. I’m struggling to find an answer here, I will try to find some of this organic shampoo hopefully it will do the trick.

      • Thanks for the speedy response Floris.

        One more thing … I just want to understand the science behind this.

        This whole regimen is based on simply based on not applying chemicals (or hot water) that strips the hair of its natural oils and upsets the pH balance … Its just about moisturising your hair until your scalp realises it doesn’t need to produce so much sebum …. essentially resetting itself …. Is this right? (makes sense, dermatologists are so full of shit)

        I have short hair – my dandruff isn’t that noticeable – nonetheless I want to break the dandruff cycle.

        Would a weekly cold-water wash with a sulfate-free conditioner do the trick or does it have to be SLS-free shampoo?

        Furthermore (sorry), what the exact science behind the apple cider vinegar wash? removing dead skin and flakes?


        • Glad to help Andrew. Your first point is almost spot on, but I wouldn’t call it upsetting the pH balance (more about that here: it’s not even about moisturizing your hair or scalp, it’s more about not stripping it from it’s oils with every wash, which is exactly what SLS does in an extremely aggressive way. Therefore I’d advice not to use anything with sls on your hair, or body for that matter.

          The cold water rinse is only good for one thing: closing cuticles. The cold rinse should be done after rinsing out regular conditioner and before adding leave-in stuff like leave-inconditioners.

          Apple cider vinegar does not much, if anything against dandruff. What it does do is clear your hair of any minerals, like calcium… making your hair shiny like never before.
          I think some people mixed up mineral buildup in their hair with dandruff, which might be the reason why so many people seem to think it’s a solution for dandruff… which it unfortunately isn’t.

          • Hey Floris.

            Right …. so I’ve just done a little bit of research and it turns out ‘Dandruff’ and ‘Dry Scalp’ are two different things. This is probably not news to you, lol.

            Dandruff is caused by the too much oil feeding that bacteria you mentioned leading to accelerated skin generation … dandruff is characterised by yellowish-whitish flakes (literally a form of oily dead skin as you mentioned) and itchyness. Was this your issue?

            Dry scalp is apparently less serious small white flakes from having an undermoisturised scalp.

            Either way removing SLS from shampooing and moisturising is the best solution for both – it seems the recovery process is just alot longer for dandruff.

            I think I might have dry scalp. Can you sort of explain what your flakes looked like?

  • Hey Floris,

    I’ve got skin flakes in my scalp for ages. I’m a bit unsure whether it is dandruff or dry scalp since none of the dermatologists I have been to have specifically told me whether it is dandruff or dry scalp. I was advised to use a medicated shampoo and a gel to get rid of it. The gel has ketoconazole and the shampoo has salicylic acid and ketoconazole. I’ve been using them three times a week (Mon, Wed and Fri) for around 2-3 weeks now and while the flakes have reduced, I’m wondering if it is simply because I wash my hair every other day as opposed to any effect of the treatments. I suspect this because today I was combing my hair out after a shower and I found some large wet flakes in the comb. What would you recommend? Should I carry on with the medication for a bit longer or should I stop and let my scalp get back to normal? The water here is not too hard. If at some point I stop the medication, how long does it normally take for the scalp to normalise? Also, does the flaking increase during the period when the scalp is healing?

    • Hi Abhinav,

      Ketoconazole can work wonders against some funghi and I think this definitely has to do with your dandruff becoming less. Of course you don’t want to use this all your life though. So you could try my method while slowly using less and less of the ketoconazole treatment. It could be that the fungi will feel less at home in the “new” environment and you will be able to manage it without medication.

  • Hi Floris, I have another question for you..

    where can I find shampoo containing 2.5% selenium sulfide, but no SLS. ?

    only one I can find is Selsun Blue 2.5 selenium sulfide , but is has laureth sulfate …

    tks again

    • It’s a simple balm in a jar, for on the skin, hair, lips, etc. You can click on the word Tea Tree in my article and then it will pop-up. For resellers, visit balm balm at where they have a list of stockists, they will probaby have some webshops shipping to you.

  • Hey Floris. I’m trying to grow out my hair (am a guy) and i’m finding im getting dandruff much more often than when i had shorter hair. Have you experienced the same thing?
    A few other questions: What is your take on conditioning? and would any organic/natural shampoo, like maybe herbal essence, be okay?

    • Hi Ramon,

      Hmm, it shouldn’t really matter, but I guess dandruff is more visible in long hair. Or maybe because less hair gets to your scalp when your hair is longer, it gets worse. That sounds plausible actually.

      I don’t condition my hair myself as I don’t see the need. Please see my answer to Shannon for more info.

      Hope this helps!

  • Hi, My dandruff started since i was 3rd grade and now I am in 7th grade. My hair is really dry and sometimes it becomes really itchy. I keep on scratching my head to remove the dandruff and I think I have lack of hair growth. I want to bring back my old hair. How can i get rid of my dandruff and my hair growth

  • Hi Floris,

    Thank you for this article it was super helpful. My question for you is, what about conditioner? Do you use it, or since the natural oils are more balanced using Rahua would it make hair to oily/greasy? Normally I would use conditioner to add moisture back when using “normal” shampoo since it strips so much out of your hair and also to combat frizz and fly aways. Do you find you need to use a conditioner with your hair regimen? Or would the excess oil possibly make or influence a case of oily dandruff to return?


    • Hi Shannon,

      To test I have tried both Rahua and Luxsit conditioners 3 or 4 times after washing, and they didn’t influence the “dandruff situation” as far as I noticed. However, I never really use(d) conditioner as they tend to make my hair sleek and I don’t like that.

      I guess if you need conditioner to get the look you like, the only thing you can do is try.

      Hope this helps!


  • Hello Floris,

    My dandruff started since 8th grade and it was a pain to deal, it was also one of my most embarrassing year of my life, because a lot of people noticed my dandruff and started to judge me. Since 8th grade I used some anti-dandruff shampoo and I didnt think that it made much of a difference. This summer before my 10th grade of high school started my dandruff went away. I used organic shampoos, conditioners, massaged my scalp well, washed it well and dried it well, also kept my hair pretty short. But now my dandruff came back, I even did the same thing as I did that caused my dandruff to go away. Do you know why is that? And any tips to get rid of it again? (Sorry for my horrible grammar)

    • Hi Sam,

      It could be many things, from hormones to your diet or stress. Did you start eating differently maybe? Or did you have a lot of stress lately?

  • Hi there Floris, nice article! In addition to all the types of organic and natural shampoos and remedies you’ve mentioned, I was curious what you thought of pure coconut oil. I was told it can treat dryness, and is naturally anti-fungus. I believed adding some form of oil would be soothing to the scalp, but now that you mentioned the dreaded “malassezia globosa,” I’m not sure if it will feed on the coconut “oil.” Maybe putting the coconut oil on the scalp, wrapping a towel, and letting it soak in overnight, then rinsing out won’t hurt, just once every other week? What do you think?

    Just a bit more info… I recently started using Wen (Mango Pineapple & Tea Tree) conditioning cleanser, washing in warm and rinsing in cold water. I only need to wash my hair but a few times a week (thank goodness). I also have learned to massage my scalp more, it naturally removes dead skin better than scraping. I too have used the vinegar rinse, but now I know WHY my hair needed it! I have hard water! I have been putting essential oils of lavender and peppermint on the really itchy parts, and it seems to relieve the symptoms. Do you use essential oils? What do you think about them in general?

    I also agree with the comments regarding starch and yeast contributing to scalp (skin) problems. When I am on a very mild ketogenic diet, most of my skin problems reduce significantly. However, as you mentioned, things can get out of balance from time to time, but at least we know how to manage it. It’s nice to know there are others out there who know what we are going through.

    Thanks for the info. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.

    • Hi Cathy,

      No, I haven’t! I did try some “tablets” that I could have made myself – they were a bit like a block of soap, and they worked pretty well!

  • Hi Floris

    I have been dealing with oily scalp lately. I have recently bought a balancing shampoo, clarifying shampoo, I even tried switching to a organic shampoo (the brand is called live clean) but nothing has helped for me. When I did switch to the organic brand, I felt as if there was built up and my hair was still dirty like I could feel the grease. When my hair is not oily, it is either dry. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore because I have invested in so many different shampoos and things. I am also frustrated because I can’t find a balance, my hair is either dry (when its dry, I don’t have flakes or anything so it’s not that bad) or oily. What do you suggest I do? Should I go back to using the organic shampoo and using a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the build up? Should I use a light conditioner at all?


  • Hi. My hair has been really itchy and full of dandruff lately, even though I just get it done at the hair salon. When I washed it myself, I noticed I still had dandruff flakes. Any products that you recommend for treating this?

    • Hi there! Unfortunately most hair salons use very aggressive products which can be the cause of dandruff because it destroys your scalps natural balance.. I’d advice you to read my article completely and start using less aggressive shampoo’s so hopefully your scalp will return to it’s natural balance.

  • Hey, thanks a bunch for the article! One quick question; what would you suggest to someone that has a heavy workout schedule? I am finding the notion of leaving my hair to marinate in my own sweat all week a little gross! Thanks for your time.

    • Haha yes I can totally imagine. What I do is wash it with just a little bit of shampoo. Anyway, once balance is back and you have found a gentle shampoo that works, washing more often won’t hurt at all.

  • Hi Floris,
    I live in India.
    Read your article from start to end. An excellent article, Kudos!
    I’m also having this problem of itching scalp and dandruff. The particles (flakes) are so tiny. I usually apply oil on my head before taking bath and I take batch daily. Now that I have decided to follow your method, should I discontinue the use of oil completely (ref : ” a tiny fungus called malassezia globosa that needs fat (=oil!) to grow”). I use a natural shampoo. Waiting eagerly for your reply.

  • Hi Floris !

    That’s a really great article and you’re the one who made me realize that SLS and chemicals in general are not a good mix with dandruff (even Lush’s shampoo bars has them). I would really like to follow your advice, but I have a problem. I have long, big, curly hair and it’s very fine. That means that after two days it really doesn’t look good. I can’t brush it when it’s not wet because, then I get an afro. So … do you think I can not wash often, but brush under water every other day (so that it looks presentable) ? Having straight hair would be much easier!

    Also, I study everyday and work in a clothing store, so I have to be decent (meaning no greasy and flaky looking hair). You said it would get worse and look greasy before it gets better (in around 5 weeks). Is it really noticeable and awful or is it bearable ?

    Thanks a lot for your help 🙂

  • Hey my name Is Joseph I been having this problem for awhile i can’t get rid of it I’m trying everything I get made fun of with my family saying it’s snowing and I’m a skater and when i skate my hair starts to itch like crazy!! when I’m around something that is hot or have heat My hair starts to icth and it’s destroying me looking in the mirrior and all i see is white flakes on my shoulder it sucks i hate it so much 🙁 Please help please!

  • Excellent!
    You’re right on target about the cosmetic industry specifically so called hair care products. They are very harsh on the scalp and hair.
    The body is a wonderful machine born balanced and tuned naturally, until we fall prey to marketing and social peer pressure to use products that advertise themselves the “cure” to your problems. When in fact keep you in a cycle of dependency and generate revenue for these companies.
    Letting the body take care of itself is easy enough but it takes little time and self discipline. Unfortunately we live in an instant society that has no time or patience for self healing.
    Anyway good post – I my scalp is healthy by not shampooing often and using natural ingredients.

  • Hi Floris,
    Firstly i want to say thank you for writing us such great article.
    I am from India,Male/25 years.Once upon a time i was having very thick n huge amount of hair.Then after when i stopped using any oil for hair protection upto more than 5 years…it started damaging(dandruff,hair fall,formation of dirt).
    I Think the reasons for my Hair loss are –
    From my earlier stages,i used to have head bath very rarely – once a week or 2 weeks.For such reasons i spoiled my hair myself.And second other main reason i think of for my hair loss is Stress,Pressure.

    Present condition of My hair –
    It was very dirty,Greasy..and very very Thinned hair.when i rub my hand on head,i get minimum 10 hair strings.And there was a very huge hair loss now.Even my father doesnt have such kinda issues(whether if to worry cos of hereditory).I was very much worried of my hair loss.And i think that is because of mainly heavy dandruff,dirt,Grease and lack of no solution to remove those three.

    I request you to please mention me which product(shampoo or oil or etc) do i use to be solved from that greasy scalp n dandruff n dirt and to make hair thicker.Please do mention products that are available in India.And you said to use shampoo containing 2.5% selenium sulfide.Pls can u mention some Products that contain 2.5% selenium sulfide(that are available in India)…and pls let me know in detail about…What should be done first…and then what procedure..

    Thank You.

    • ITS CALLED GOOGLE PEOPLE> i guarantee if you type selenium sulfide 2.5% India SOMETHING will pop up..

      it took you longer to ask this guy a question then it would have if you just looked it up yourself.

      lastly, the man ISNT INDIAN, i dont know if he has ever BEEN to India. So why would he know where to find this or that IN INDIA… He also doesn’t know every oil compound and shampoo ever made. and even if he does say yes or no, its just HIS scalp he can talk about. yours may be completely different.. SO at the end of the day just READ the article he already wrote, and try it. if it doesn’t work you MOVE ON WITH YOUR LiFE and read another article..

      Floris you give into these people writing and you answering so often. made them lazy. if one more person asks you for what shampoo to use im gonna flip..

      • Hahaha thanks for that. It’s quite funny that most people ask stuff that is already explained in the article. I’ll write an update soon though!

  • Makes perfect sense. It got me wondering…what about our skin? I shower everyday and use soap on my body, then no wonder I have to use lotion afterwards. Should I try using soap less often while I try using shampoo less often?

  • This is one of the most detailed articles i have read. It seems legit so im gonna try it out. I have Pretty bad dandruff and its really annoying. Like you said, Head and shoulders doesn’t really get rid of it completely. Thank you sooooooo much for the article man! Helps alot! You gave me better information then my own docter! 😀

  • I’ve had horrible dandruff or dry scalp my entire life. I’ve tried all the natural and commercial dandruff shampoos to no avail. They always made the problem worse. I’ve recently begun eliminating soap from my body and face cleaning routine. The results on my skin have been amazing. No need for lotion anymore. Our skin when treated properly moisturises itself. Cleansers kill all the good bacteria that is naturally on our skin. Our scalp is the same.

    I’ve been using the no poo shampoo method, washing my hair with conditioner only and the results were heading in the right direction. I decided to begin washing my hair with only water. Well, the dry scalp/dandruff condition is practically gone.

  • hello mr floris i’m glad to read an amazing article i’m from india and i’m suffering from the same problem about san year ago i came across a hair oil named nuzen it worked on the same principals as you stated in the above article the company asked to not to wash hairs for around a week in starting and than twice a week and the use of chemical based shampoos were prohibited i got completely rid of dandruff problem and the oil production was also normal and hairs felt healthy but after around half an year i again started using chemical based shampoos unknowingly that it would again cause dandruff and due to your article i’m enlightened with the exact cause of the dandruff m thinking of using that oil again should i use it or must i go with ur treatment only and also im a sports person so deal with lots of sweat than too should i wash my hairs or not is sweat connected with dandruff.

  • Hi, I had heard about a vinegar rinse awhile ago so I gave it a try — you’re right, it works wonderfully, especially when combined with a cold water rinse. I use regular white vinegar with water and then add a few drops of almond extract — I don’t know why it works but it gets rid of the overwhelmingly astringent vinegar smell.

    Thanks for the informative article. I’m going to have to find a new shampoo; I’ll be sure to read the label this time.

  • Hi Mr Floris, This is Sanjay and I am from India, I am 21 years old. I too have itchy scalp, Irritating dandruff. Each and every time when it starts itching me, my head irritates me a lot and I feel like to throw my head away. I used to take head bath daily. Only at the time of taking bath, my head stops irritating then again it starts and it is going worse nowadays. What is the solution for this? and what kind of shampoo should I use for it? Can U name any one of the shampoo?. O feel happy if you help me. Waiting for your reply. thank you…….

  • Hi Floris,

    A big thanks for writing this up! I am gonna try this out starting today. Before that I just wanted to ask couple of things, if you don’t mind.

    My situation is very similar. I feel recently I have started losing hair at a rapid rate. Apart from all that itchy, flaky dandruff, I get boils on my scalp which are painful.

    Physician has advised me to use Ketoconazole based medicated shampoo (these are the ones we get here from pharmacies and not consumer shops) twice a week and avoid any other type of rinsing agent on hair. I read online that Ketoconazole helps remove Malassezia furfur. Now at many places it is mentioned that dandruff is caused by its kin M. globosa I am little confused if this is all going in the right direction. I am still to get any relief after 3 months of use.

    The water here is hard too. Somehow I think it is connected to water and climate too. 10 years ago, I was living in another part of India, and I had dense hair with very little dandruff.

    Seeing this, would you suggest me to take exactly same steps as you have taken or should I try some modifications? I will obviously stop using Ketoconazole once I start tracing your steps.

    • Hi Vikram,

      If the ketoconazole still doesn’t after after 3 months, stop using it. It should have helped within a week if it was a fungus that ketoconazole can kill. (for anyone else that this shampoo did help: use it for about 3 weeks to make sure you killed all the little buggers).

      If I were you I’d do the following:
      1. Wash with a 2,5% selenium sulfide shampoo 3 days in a row (to make sure malassezia globosa is almost entirely gone).
      2. Then Go my route and try using less aggressive products to see if the dandruff stays away. Don’t forget the cold water, ad if your water is hard, the vinegar rinse, the remove minerals from your hair.

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi Floris, I just read the update to your article. I did have one question, you said “I do not particularly enjoy the smell of vinegar in the morning”. So do you still occasionally wash your hair with the “1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water” solution and use the citric acid shampoo to remove the vinegar smell, or do you no longer use the vinegar solution and only use the shampoo?

      I read your article several weeks ago, and have read others similar to it, but not as informational as yours. I’ve been trying the no-shampoo routine for about 4 weeks. I first started with washing my hair in water daily, and then washed in water every other day. Now I go 3 to 5 days without washing, and only use water when I do, I haven’t used vinegar or anything else though. I stopped wearing hair gel daily, but occasionally still do it for events like bachelor parties and weddings. My flakiness is really bad at this point, it hasn’t really changed, if anything it’s worse. I spend about 10 minutes every morning and night combing out the flakes! I don’t know why I’m even still trying, I honestly still believe it will work. I have no other skin conditions, I’m perfectly healthy, why would I have excess flakiness on my scalp but no where else? The cause has to be shampoo.

      I’ve had dandruff now for about 11 years straight, I remember dealing with it when I was sophomore in college, now I’m 30. I remember once as a kid, I’m guessing between 12 and 14, getting either dandruff or psoriasis, large chunks of skin were coming off my scalp. My mom got me a prescription of coal tar shampoo and washed my hair with it, and made me leave it in for 30 minutes before rinsing. She did this I’m guessing for 4 or 5 days straight, and after that I didn’t have dandruff for years, until my college years. I guess the dandruff got smarter cuz now the coal tar shampoo doesn’t work lol. I’ve used the highest percent solution Neutrogena coal tar shampoo, and see improvements when I use it, but my dandruff always comes back. When I used the the coal tar shampoo more recently I tried using it daily, and leaving it in for 5 minutes at a time. I still haven’t tried what I did when I was kid, i.e. leaving the shampoo in for 30 minutes at a time. My scalp feels awful though when I use the coal tar shampoo, I feel like my hair will all fall out if I continue to use it!

      I’ve tried so many other things too: pure vinegar left in for 30 minutes at a time, lemon juice daily, anti-fungal foot cream, H&S, and every other kind of anti-dandruff shampoo, lost cause. I now have faith in the routines you suggested, even though I haven’t seen improvements yet. Honestly I will probably stick to it for a few months even if it doesn’t work. Not washing my hair hasn’t been as bad as I expected. My hair doesn’t smell bad, it doesn’t look greasy, it has more volume, and when I wash it out with water it actually feels nice and soft.

      Do you have any suggestions for me? Should I try vinegar and/or the citric acid shampoo? Use cold water instead of hot? I want to wait a few more weeks before I start using shampoo again, and then I will try an SF shampoo like you recommended in your update.

      Dandruff sucks. It’s like an annoying co-worker that wants nothing else but to talk to u when you have a million things to do, eh leave me alone!

  • Hi there Floris

    What a great and interesting article you have written. I was wondering however if you have any tips for someone who is trying to not use ANY shampoo at all. Have you tried washing your hair only in water, allowing your hair to clean itself? I am trying but I find my hair feels greasy and I have plenty of tiny particles of Dandruff which isn’t pleasant. I’ve been doing it for 8 weeks now so I was hoping my hair would naturally start to sort itself out. I will try rinsing with cold water though – that I haven’t been doing.

    • Hi Sarah,

      I have tried that actually, and while after about 5, 6 weeks it went better, I still felt the need to wash it occasionally. So the whole no-poo movement, it’s not really for me I guess.

      You could try rinsing with the vinegar / water mix I talk about at the end of my post. This will at least take out the minerals that probably have been building up, and is sometimes being confused with dandruff.

      • Hey firstly thanks for your reply 🙂

        I think I am starting to agree with you – the no-shampoo thing just doesn’t feel quite right (and I’ve managed it for around 9 weeks now) I did believe that your hair naturally started to clean and balance itself if you didn’t constantly strip it with shampoos which is why I worried that using shampoo even occasionally would mess up my hairs own balance.Do you feel that this is not the case and that you can just use shampoo a lot less rather than not at all?

        ‘Styling – since I don’t strip my hair from it’s oils, I hardly need styling products.’

        This comment confused me as you ARE still using a shampoo albeit a natural one. Could you explain further?

        Finally would you tell me simply what your routine is now. For example do you wash your hair once a week with natural shampoo and then rinse with vinegar every other wash avoiding conditioners entirely. Also when you shampoo – do you do so quickly so that the soaps aren’t in your hair stripping it of its natural oils too long?

        Thanks again for your time in replying to these posts 🙂

        • Hi Sarah,

          While the no-shampoo wasn’t really bad either, I got really bad mineral buildup until the point someone asked if I was turning grey! Now, except for some very mean hairs in my beard that remind me 40 is not far away, that’s not the case (not just yet – my “lovely” wife says).
          The vinegar rinse did help take care of that but even so… I still went out quite a lot at the time, and in Berlin clubs the smoking ban is mostly ignored and I hate smelling like smoke. So I started to wash my hair again, but with only mild shampoo’s.

          My point is: the natural shampoo I use simply doesn’t clean as well as normal shampoo’s. It only contains one surfactant (coconut betaine, aka coco betaine or cocamidopropyl betaine) which is a lot milder than SLS, and it’s not as high up in the ingredient list either. So even though my hair and scalp do get cleaned, it’s not where near as clean as had I washed it with a normal shampoo. And this means I don’t or hardly have to use oily styling products.

          For everyone that’s interested, after some testing, the one I prefer and use once or twice per week is Rahua Voluminous Shampoo. Now it’s quite expensive so what I do is not use too much of it, but I do leave it in for a minute or 2, and then rinse it out.

          Hope this clears things up a bit again!

      • “No poo” is simply washing with baking soda and water paste and rinsing with apple cider vinegar. I have been doing this for about 2 months now. I have never had so many good hair days, I have had a lot of hair loss in the past but now my hair is growing back, and my scalp is so much happier most days.
        I am in search of something that will heal my scalp completely and give me extra cleansing when need be, but after much research I honestly think the solution is DIYing a bunch of concoctions and seeing what balances my PH. Good luck to all. <3

  • I was wondering if you have any options besides Rahua organic shampoo? Maybe some other brands??? I live in Texas, USA, and I was wondering if you have alternatives to other brands. I have tried every single dandruff shampoo out there and nothing has worked for years. My dandruff comes and goes, at some point I started using Tea Tree Lavender Mint shampoo by Paul Mitchell, but it didn’t work for long. Right now it is the worse it has been so far, I can’t take it anymore!!! Please what can I use that will help???. Going to the dermatologist didn’t work either. Please help!!!

    • I just wanted to say that I used have dandruff problems pretty much all of my adolescent/adult life, but it got really bad when I used a commercial shampoo. I switched back to my natural shampoo, Nature’s Gate Tea Tree Shampoo, and it has helped heal my poor scalp. Try it, it’s all natural & only about $8. Also I notice when I eat products with lots of yeast it can feel itchier. Things like pizza, bread, or very sugary bready foods like donuts. So I would cut out unhealthy foods. I really hope this helps. Oh, and don’t ever use conditioner on your scalp.

    • Oh, I forgot to mention my routine: first I brush my scalp gently over a couple times. Then I shampoo with small amount first just to clean up hair a bit, rinse out, then shampoo again but this time adding 4 drops pure peppermint oil (feels sooooo good!), massaging shampoo into scalp very gently & leave on for 3-5 min (think of it as gentle cleansing followed by medicating). Then rinse out very, very thoroughly. Then conditioner on ends. The peppermint helps balance the PH of the scalp. The shampoo used to add it in but they don’t anymore so I fixed that 🙂 Another I’ve heard is good but haven’t tried is Bumble & Bumble Tonic shampoo.

      • Thanks for the great tips Nicole. It would be better for everyone to leave whitebread and sugar alone, so even if it doesn’t help against dandruff, at least it will be good for the rest of the body! 😀

        I like the fact that you mention peppermint oil. This should indeed feel as a relieve if your scalp is acting up. This shampoo: also contains peppermint. It’s great and my wife’s favorite. In fact even if you are looking for simply an alternative to conventional shampoo but don’t find natural shampoo’s cleaning well enough, this one is a winner.

        I really like it too but have to watch out while using it though, as it cleanses a bit too well for my scalp. I like mixing a little bit of it with my organic shampoo though when I feel I need it.

    • Hi Janet,

      Sure, there are plenty of nice organic shampoos out there. Nicole here already names one.
      You could also checkout Acure Organics – which is not available in the EU -, ILA, Dr. Alkaitis, Luxsit, and so on.


    • Try Tea Tree Shampoo/conditioner from Trader Joe’s, you probably have one nearby 🙂 All natural and cheaper than most all-natural brands.

      • Thanks for the tip Allison, I’d love to try it, even though it contains C12-14 olefin sulfonate which can be just as irritating to the skin as sodium lauryl sulfate.

      • Hi Floris,

        Your article seems giving me some hope. (thanks for sharing the experience)
        I am one of the culprit, having similar problem.

        I live in India, consulted with Doctor as well for this problem. he has given me a shampoo (Fluocinolone Acetonide) and skin allergy tablet (for itching).
        but as usual, its not working permanently.

        just having couple of questions, since I am about to follow your process
        – Having problem of hard water, what should I do?
        – I’m also planning to have cod liver oil capsules, heard its good for hair. your views?
        – Do I also need to have clean towel, pillow etc (more hygiene)

        • Hi Sunil, to answer your questions:

          1. Follow the last part of my article: rinse with vinegar/water mix to get the minerals out of your hair.
          2. I don’t know if this is good for your hair. But I do know a lot of those supplements contain loads of vitamin A (as retinol). I strongly advice you NOT to take these. I am planning to write a good article on vitamins and supplements this summer in which I will explain why.
          If you do want to take supplements, take vitamin K, D, B complex (make sure to get all 8 B vitamins), and Omega 3. Actually I recommend everybody to take these – although they won’t help you get rid of dandruff 😉
          3. Well, I’m not sure about a pillow. Actually I wouldn’t worry about that too much. I do however advice you to use a clean towel when drying your hair – don’t use the same towel you use on your body. Or, use a clean towel on your hair and after that dry your body.

          Hope this helps!

          • Thanks Floris,

            I am waiting your next article on nutrition supplements 🙂

            Just one more query – can I use lemon juice instead of Vinegar?

          • Yes that might work just, since they are both sour 🙂

            My nutrition article has been postponed for some time, I’m working on an article about sun protection at the moment which will be published earlier.

    • Hi! Ethan,
      Follow this steps: Take a bath, shampoo your hair with little amount of any shampoo, tap your hair little dry, aplly with cotton ball to your entire scalp 6% salicylic acid solution morning and evenig. Your dundruff will gone and looks 100 % cured after a week, repeat as necessary . Cheers.

  • hie floris
    i am facing an itchy scalp aswell as grey hair problem . i am only 25yrs old and have around 30% of my hair grey. i have a totally dry hair texture and so i have lots of oil in my hair on a routein (and ma head absorbs that aswell without giving it a wet look). now this dandruff and grey hair has to be stopped so i started to apply lemon and curd on ma hair and got this new shampoo called tresemme for dry and rough hair. Please help me out from these hair issues.

    • Hi Faisal,

      I’m sorry to hear you are having such problems with your hair. Concerning the grey hair: there is not much you can do about this, as this is genetic. The only thing I can think of is colouring your hair, or to accept that you’re turning grey on a fairly young age.

      Concerning the dryness and dandruff: I’d advice to use a much more gentle shampoo – it might not seem to work in the beginning, or make things even worse. But goal is to find your scalp’s skin balance again. By using aggressive shampoo’s containing surfactant like SLS, which can destroy balance because it removes all oil from your skin.

      Using less aggressive shampoo, and/or washing less, will cause the sebum glands to excrete oil at a slower rate, resulting in a less greasy scalp, which can result in less or no more dandruff – as explained in my article.

    • I have had the same thing for about a year now and have tried everything. I also have acne like spots on my face that take forever to heal. I have tried EVERYTHING for the scalp hair and my face. Just when I think its healing; I wash my face and it was really only the top layer that has healed. I also have the grey coming in everywhere the irritation is. It also seems like its irritated because the (course, kinky, dry clear,white or silver color hair) can’t come through and becomes irritated. It also seems like where I concentrate the salicylic shampoo is where the hairs turning more white, dry, dead like hair; also noticing more split and thinning hair than ever. Little white balls on hair sometimes that are like glued on and wont come off; could be at scalp, middle or end of hair. To sum it up, lol, wondering if you ever found any good solution for scalp issue or what exactly is going on with the hair turning. Thank you ahead for any answers you might have. Danielle

    • You may have a copper deficiency. Something to think about, gray hair that is course is a sign of a copper deficiency and too much zinc can cause this or it can just be a hereditary copper deficiency . You should notice your hair coming back to its normal color if it is copper within a few months . There are other concerns with copper deficiencies. So do your homework, but don’t be afraid to take copper.

  • Hey! This is one of the best posts I’ve read on dandruff. Thanks a million for the detailed information! I’m going to start with your tips, starting with ditching my regular and anti-D shampoos and switching back to the organic one I was using before!

  • Dear Jack,

    Its 4:40 Am here in Dubai, UAE but still im so awake :(. It happens that I’m so stress plus my dandruff adding my tension its been 8 years now hence then i have tried everything to get rid of my dandruff but still its becoming more and more and now its start with white circle with flakes all over my head. I’m so interested to follow your instruction but i want to ask about the organic shampoo that you are referring for ? any specific brand and where can i buy it here in Dubai? One more thing i dont think that mine is cause by oily because my scalf is very dry ? I use to apply an ointment but i stop it and it comeback again, Your response would help me solving my problem an i appreciate it.

    I like your blog its helpful.

    I’ll be waiting for your reply…. Bye

    • Hi Aynghel,

      I’m very sorry to hear that. Let’s see what we can do about it.

      When I’m talking about organic shampoo, I use the one from Rahua, which is very gentle and excellent for a dry / sensitive scalp:

      There is a normal one and one called voluminous. The normal one is a bit more gentle, but the voluminous cleans a bit better, which is important if you have hard water (with lots of calcium). The citric acid in it will take care of that.

      However, since you have such a bad case of dandruff, I’d try a strong medicated shampoo containing selenium sulfide (2 to 2,5%) first. Use this every other day or so to see if this solves your danruff problem. If it does, you know the cause is the fungus I wrote about. I wouldn’t want to use this forever though, since this is pretty nasty stuff. So when the dandruff is gone, you can switch to a very gentle, organic shampoo and try the things in my article (rinse with cold water, etc)

      Of course, when someone is really sensitive for the yeast fungus that irritates your skin and causes it to start flaking, dandruff can come back occasionaly. This usually happens when you are stressed, tired, or simply feeling a bit under the weather, or with changes of the season. I have this too. Usually it goes away again and I don’t have to do anything about it. But about twice a year I use a medicated shampoo just to keep things under control.

      P.S. could you tell me more about this ointment? I’m curious to hear what this was.

    • This article is great. I have recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, fun fun!! And dandruff has been a problem for years. I believe that yeast fungus is the cause of many ailments we see today! Like gastrointestinal problems, acne, arthritis, and many more. We take too many antibiotics, steroids, and eat too much sugar. Diet and natural products have helped me fight many uncomfortable ailments, and has kept dandruff and my skin clear. (Honey water is great for morning face washing, and mixed with purified water can be used as a hair rinse, many essential oils are anti fungal, like patchouli and of course tea tree) good luck everyone! Eat less sugar and more fresh veggies and remember to look at life as a gift and this will lessen stressful situations. Godspeed!!

  • I’m just wondering : on the days you don’t shampoo, do you still rinse your hair with water? Or do you not get it wet until you wash again?

    • Hi Emma,

      I keep it dry, unless I look really crazy when I get out of bed (for the Seinfeld fans, my hair can become very Krameresque after a wild night).
      Then I make a just a little bit wet, comb and style with my fingers… that’s it. Hope this helps!

  • Hi Jack, I have seen your message about dandruff, me too have the same problem and Am from India, I dont know what to do for this oily, itchy dandruff. will you please guide me for preventing of oily, itchy scalp. I have used all types of shampoos, but it still constant. there is no any change in my hair. And there is a lot of hair loss. What remedies should I take for my hair. Did really tea tree oil works for this problems. I will be waiting for your reply. after shampooing am not getting any satisfaction, after some hours it becomes dusty, itchy. Im getting irritation with this hairfall & dandruff. I will be waiting for your reply Jack. Bye………

    • Hi Shasra,

      I’m sorry to hear you are having such problems. The only thing I can suggest, is what I wrote in my article. Try washing less, and with less aggressive shampoo. Even though your dandruff will become worse, hopefully your scalp will find the correct balance again and stop producing so much oil.

      Concerning hair loss: this has nothing to do with dandruff as far as I know.. and I’m afraid there is not much you can do about it.

      Concerning tea tree: this can definitely help, since the fungus really doesn’t like it.

    • Hi Sashara, after sufferring more than 40 years of very itchy scalp and dundruff using almost every brand of shampoos, i tried using 6% salicylic acid solution applied with cotton ball directly to the entire scalp after bathing using mild shampoo my dundruff was gone after 1 week and no trace of flake is visible on my scalp anymore. 100% cured like magic!.I just want to share my luck, regards.

      • I have been suffering with scalp psoriasis for 7 years and try every alternative treatment that I read about. You mentioned that you applied salicylic acid 6% on your scalp after bathing. Did you leave it in for a while or did you wash it out after a few minutes? That is wonderful that you cured your scalp after 40 years of suffering. Congratulations!

      • hi Renatc, I saw your article and I wanna know, after apply 6% salicylic acid on my scalp should I wash my scalp after some time or not? I will be waiting for your reply!! bye.

      • Hi Renatic T.

        I have been trying to get rid of my dandruff for years. I want to try what you did. Can you attach a picture of this salicylic acid so I know what it looks like? What mild shampoo did you use? Also how often did you apply the solution to your scalp and how often did you wash your hair? Please help me. I want to get rid of this dandruff so bad.

      • Renatic: I just want to clarify your process you used. You bathed using a mild shampoo and THEN applied the acid? Thanks

    • i have that too! and I’m from india :3 we went to golden temple and my mum thinks i have dandruff because i was using different water from NZ (New Zealand) to IN (India) but i don’t wash my hair that much…..

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