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Help Me Choose Natural Products To Ease Dandruff & Itchy Scalp
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Help Me Choose Natural Products To Ease Dandruff & Itchy Scalp

What is it?

Dandruff remains a mystery and there is no commonly agreed upon theory about what actually causes dandruff. Hormones may play a role in dandruff and since it seems to run in families, genetics may be a factor.

While a dry scalp can cause flakes, dry scalp and dandruff are not the same things. We know that true dandruff is not caused by a "dry scalp," because people with oily scalps tend to suffer from dandruff the most.

Since the treatments for dry scalp versus dandruff differ, it is important to learn to tell the difference between the two. A quick look at the flakes may give you the answer.

  • If you are suffering from dry scalp, the flakes are smaller in size, have a whitish in color and fall off the hair and scalp easily.
  • Dandruff flakes are larger and due to the oil content have a yellowish tint and tend to stick to the hair and do not fall off the scalp as easily.

Symptoms of Dandruff

What to Look For

The symptoms of dandruff are easy to spot--white flakes of dead skin that are visible in your hair and on your shoulders. The scalp may also be red and feel irritated and itchy.

Symptoms Vary Depending on the Cause

  • Contact dermatitis: This is a skin inflammation that occurs when the skin comes in contact with a substance that is an allergen or irritant. Ingredients in harsh detergent shampoos, hair care products or hair dyes can often cause a red, itchy, scaly scalp.
  • Infrequent Shampooing: How often you need to wash your hair varies from person to person. For some, infrequent shampooing allows hair oils and dead skin cells to build up, which results in flaking or dandruff.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis:This condition, one of the most frequent causes of dandruff, is a skin condition that causes white-to-yellow greasy scales to form on the scalp and may affect the ears, eyebrows, nose and other places rich in oil producing glands. If it occurs on the scalp in babies, it is called "cradle cap." While researcher don't know the exact cause, some believe it may be due to a yeast-like fungus called malassezia that is in the natural oil secretions on the skin and scalp.
  • Malassezia (a fungus): Dried skin that flakes off the scalp is often caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia. While Malassezia is a normal inhabitant on the scalp, for some, this yeast-like fungus grows out of control, irritates the scalp and causes excess skin cells to grow. As these extra skin cells are shed, you see the white flakes in your hair or on your clothes.
  • Dry scalp: The flakes we see on our shoulders may not be dandruff, they may be due to a dry scalp. While dry skin flakes can be annoying, they are generally smaller and less oily and there is usually no redness or inflammation.

Helping with Dandruff

Treatment Varies Depending on the Cause

Treatment Varies Depending on the Cause

Contact Dermatitis: One of the causes of dandruff is actually, contact dermatitis--your scalp is experiencing an allergic or sensitivity reaction to a hair care product. Natural hair care products can help decrease the chance of contact dermatitis. 

Grab your nearest bottle of shampoo and check out the ingredients. If your scalp reacts to any of the ingredients listed, the results could be hair loss, dandruff, dermatitis or an irritated scalp. For more information click here to read "Why Use Natural Shampoo Bars."

Dry Hair: Commercial shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products are loaded with synthetic chemicals. Although detergent based shampoos will clean the hair and scalp well, they often cause over-drying which will make the condition worse. Read "Help Me Choose Products for Dry Hair."

Oily Hair: Oily hair, the result of overactive oil glands, can also be a problem. Excessive production of sebum can clog the hair roots and may cause excessive shedding, hair loss, and dandruff. Read "Help Me Choose Products for Oily Hair."

Neem & Tea Tree Oil

Neem & Tea Tree Oil

The ancient healing properties of Neem and Tea Tree Oils are well known. Neem oil has countless benefits for the hair and scalp. It is used to treat dry, itchy, irritated scalps, dandruff and other scalp problems.

Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that are especially helpful in treating dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis caused by a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia.

Try our Neem & Tea Tree Body and Hair Shampoo

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that are well-supported by research. It can help ease scalp problems related to fungus or bacteria and thereby prevent an itchy scalp.

ACV has a low pH due to malic acid. This creates an acidic environment that may help destroy seborrheic dermatitis causing fungus.

An Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse also removes scaly build-up and residue from hair shafts to cleanse and clarify the hair and scalp without stripping the hair of its natural oils.

As residue builds up on the scalp it can clog hair follicles which can lead to or exacerbate scalp issues. ACV allows the scalp to breathe naturally. A healthy scalp can help prevent dandruff build-up. 

We infuse our Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with certified organic herbs and organic essential oils that are great for the hair and scalp.

Read our blog, "The Benefits Of An Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse & How To Use It"


Herbal Hair Tea Rinses

Herbal Hair Tea Rinses

Herbal hair rinses have been used for centuries to treat scalp conditions. Our Dandruff Blend herbal hair rinse is designed to relieve flakiness and calm the itchy scalp.

This blend of specially selected organic herbs and botanicals will help soothe the irritated and inflamed scalp from conditions such as dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Burdock helps soothe irritated scalp conditions like dandruff, decrease breakage and repair hair while adding sheen
  • Thyme has antiseptic and antifungal properties that cleanse, heal and soothe the scalp
  • Peppermint leaves are widely recognized for their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and astringent properties
  • Chamomile promotes healthy hair growth by correcting issues with scalp inflammation

Read our blog about "Hair Care Herbs"

Things to Avoid

Overdrying hair

Many believe that drying out their oily scalp will help decrease dandruff. However, oily hair is actually made worse by drying shampoos. The chemicals in these products strip natural oils and dry out the scalp, which then encourages the oil glands to produce more oil. It becomes a vicious cycle.


Nature's herbs and botanicals have a life force of their own. The vinegar extracts the healing phytochemicals from medicinal herbs and botanicals we use.

Basil, Ocimum basilicum, stimulates hair follicles, increases scalp circulation and promotes hair growth. Basil helps protect hair from breakage, its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe the roots and it adds luster to dull hair.

Burdock, Arctium lappa, nourishes and strengthens hair follicles, to promote healthy hair growth and improve the condition of hair. It helps soothe irritated scalp conditions, decrease breakage and adds sheen, body & luster. The mucilage in burdock root adds “slip” to hair to make detangling easier.

Horsetail, Equisetum arvense, is nourishing and hydrating, stimulates the scalp and has been used for centuries as a hair growth herb. The silica in horsetail helps to keep hair strong and adds shine and luster to hair.

Lavender, Lavendula officinalis, has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antifungal properties that may help with irritated scalp conditions and hair loss. It helps balance oil production as is a great herb for all hair types.

Nettle, Urtica dioica, stimulates the scalp, improves circulation, helps decrease breakage and promotes body, bounce, and shine. Nettle hair rinses are an old remedy to help reduce hair loss and encourage hair growth. Nettles balance oil production and help with dandruff.

Rosemary, Rosemarinus officinalis, encourages the growth of strong healthy hair by improving blood flow to the scalp. The stimulating and revitalizing properties of rosemary help increase manageability, add shine, and condition the hair and scalp.

Natural Organic Hair Care Vinegar RinseHow Often Can I Use A Vinegar Hair Rinse?

Since everyone's hair is unique you should use your own judgment on this. You will need to experiment to find a dilution that works best for your hair type.

Remember--dry hair likes less vinegar and oily hair likes more.

Some say that vinegar rinses may be drying if used every day and it is best to restrict use to two times per week.

I used a vinegar rinse every other day for the first few weeks when I switched to natural shampoo bars--until my hair adjusted to the new shampoo--now once or twice a month keeps my hair healthy and shiny. Many customers have found this regimen to work, but do some experimenting!

Some Helpful Hints

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Hair RinseWhile you can use any container to make your vinegar rinse, I like a plastic squirt top bottle. It is easier to squirt it all over my scalp and then massage it through, rather than pouring it all over my head from a cup. Recycle any clean plastic bottle with a squirt top.

Pouring a cold rinse on your hair may be a more invigorating experience than you would like. (Although if you're feeling brave, the cold water will give your hair added shine.) If you would like a warmer rinse, make it just before you step in the shower using very warm tap water.


For more information read our blog, "Using Chagrin Valley Vinegar Rinses"

When comparing vinegar hair rinse products
and prices please read the label ingredients

  • Our ACV Rinses contain no water they are a pure concentrated vinegar rinse so you can add your own water to create the perfect rinse for your hair type. 

  • Many vinegar rinses are not concentrates, they are made with water--often as the first ingredient--which means that you are paying for a product that is mostly water.

  • Our apple cider vinegar (ACV) finishing rinses are made with only USDA Certified Organic ingredients.

  • Our ACV rinses are made with only raw apple cider vinegar which contains the "mother," the storehouse of natural bacteria and enzymes that make this product so wonderful.

  • We infuse our organic vinegar with certified organic herbs and organic essential oils that are great for the hair and scalp.

  • Our ACV Rinses contain no water and therefore need no artificial preservatives.

Why Raw Apple Cider Vinegar for the Hair Rinses?

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar RinsesAlthough plain white vinegar may work, Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be the favorite hair care vinegar. Some say that wine vinegars may be less drying for those with dry scalp conditions.

The process for making apple cider vinegar begins with the juice of fresh apples. Bacteria and yeast added to the juice begin the fermentation process which breaks down fructose, the naturally occurring fruit sugar, into alcohol.

The alcohol is converted to vinegar (which means “sour wine” in French) by acetic acid-forming bacteria.

The natural raw non-pasteurized vinegar is packed with nutrients. It appears cloudy with stringy stuff and sediment on the bottom due to the "mother" which contains the natural bacteria and enzymes that make this product so wonderful.

We only use organic raw apple cider vinegar with "mother." The difference between raw apple cider vinegar and a commercial clear vinegar brand is that the commercial vinegar is heated, distilled, and clarified. This processing removes much of the naturally occurring bacteria, nutrients, and living enzymes, thus stripping away the natural benefits.


Shampoo Bars Are One Of Our Favorite Discoveries!

The wholesome goodness of our handcrafted soap is available for your hair.

Natural Organic Sunflower Shampoo Bar


Shampoo bars are an all natural conditioning shampoo in a solid bar form. Yes, this is real shampoo in a solid bar. Shampoo bars are not a new idea.

They were commonly used before liquid detergent shampoos and conditions were invented in the 1940s.

Although the process for making a shampoo bar is the same as making soap, our shampoo bar "recipes" are specially formulated with natural plant oils, butters, botanicals and essential oils that nourish your hair and scalp.

Natural Carrot Shampoo

Our shampoo bars contain no artificial fragrance, color, preservatives, detergents, alcohol, urea, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate, DEA, propylene glycol - or any of the other synthetic hair care additives.

Each of our shampoo bar selections contains a different blend of natural plant oils, essential oils, and herb infused oils. No two recipes are the same.


Which Shampoo Bar Is Best For My Hair?

Click here for help choosing an all natural shampoo bar!

Everything You Want To Know About Shampoo Bars!

Please read "Everything About Shampoo Bars!"

Related Articles

Make Your Own Natural Vinegar Hair Rinse

Make Your Own Natural Vinegar Hair Rinse

An Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse is a great addition to any hair care regimen. Raw apple cider vinegar (ACV), packed with nutrients, can help with tangles and frizzy hair, bring back body and shine, decrease residue and clarify, stimulate the scalp, decrease dandruff, and unclog hair follicles which may help with excess shedding or hair loss. These rinses are especially helpful for those new to shampoo bars.

Beer Hair Rinse

Beer Hair Rinse

As you wash, rinse, or spray your hair with beer, its natural ingredients coat each strand and lend hair-nourishing benefits. The proteins found in the malt and hops help repair damage and enhance body and bounce. The natural sugars help tighten and strengthen the hair cuticles for greater shine.

Using Chagrin Valley Vinegar Hair Rinses

Using Chagrin Valley Vinegar Hair Rinses

Apple Cider Vinegar is a great addition to any hair care regimen and can be a critical part of a natural shampoo bar regimen. It can help decrease tangles and frizzy hair, restore life to hair and remove build-up. Here are some tips, FAQs, and Recipes for using Chagrin Valley's Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses.

Hair Care Herbs

Hair Care Herbs

Herbal infusions have been used for centuries to naturally soften hair, increase manageability, and restore luster, body, and bounce. Herbal hair rinses can provide a deep cleansing, lighten, darken or enrich your natural hair color, soothe irritation, prevent dandruff or stimulate the scalp to increase growth.

Customer Tips for Help Me Choose Natural Products To Ease Dandruff & Itchy Scalp

Seborrheic Dermatitis/Oily Scalp

I am 51 years old and have been in and out of dermatologist offices since I was nine years old. I've been prescribed almost everything under the sun to treat my Seborrheic Dermatitis (I was first diagnosed when I was in my early twenties). SD is a very frustrating condition and even worse when you have very thick, wavy, long hair. I finally found relief by shampooing 3X a week (one lathering) with the Neem and Tea Tree shampoo soap. I lather and leave it on while rinsing the rest of me, then rinse, comb out my hair, and use one of your vinegar rinses. I do not rinse out the vinegar rinse. I have found when I follow this routine, my scalp is healing, is less oily, and I can go 2-3 days without having to shampoo again. I do not use the vinegar rinse every time I shampoo - only once a week or so. Hope this helps someone else with the same frustrating condition!


Medical Disclaimer

The content and information on this website, provided by The Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company, is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended and should not be construed as medical advice to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information regarding folklore or health-related benefits of certain ingredients is for educational purposes only. The information provided is not intended to prescribe or be taken as medical advice.

The information provided is not meant to substitute the advice provided by your personal physician or other medical professionals. Do not use the information found on this website to self-diagnose any medical conditions or treat any health problems or diseases. If you have medical concerns regarding yourself or your family you should seek the advice of qualified, licensed health professionals. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Read our Full Medical Disclaimer. 




People with severe allergies--please note: If you have severe anaphylactic-type reactions to ANY of the ingredients in ANY of our products, please do not buy our products. We have dedicated soap rooms and product rooms that are kept meticulously clean, but we cannot guarantee against possible cross-contamination of individual ingredients.

Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft is not responsible for any individual reaction to any particular ingredient. Each product description on our website includes a complete list of ingredients. People with sensitivities to any listed ingredient should not use the product. In case you are in doubt always try an allergy patch test and if at any time irritation occurs, discontinue use of the product.