The gentle power of plant extracts can work wonders on your hair and scalp. Certain aromatic oils penetrate deeply into hair shaft and follicles and help produce healthy, shiny hair. Specific essential oils can soothe a dry, irritated scalp while others influence and balance the sebaceous (oil producing) glands to control excessive oil.

Essential oils can be used to:

  • Promote healthy hair growth
  • Strengthen hair shaft
  • Improve condition
  • Help with dandruff
  • Soothe an irritated scalp
  • Manage cradle cap & psoriasis

Common Chemicals in Hair Detanglers

If you check the ingredients list of a hair detangler, you’ll likely see one or more of these ingredients:

  • Silicone (e.g., dimethicone or cyclomethicone)—polymer that adds gloss to hair by binding to its surface.
  • Acidifier—chemical that lowers the pH of the detangler, strengthening the hydrogen bonds between keratin molecules in hair, smoothing and tightening each strand.
  • Hydrolyzed Protein—helps to repair damaged keratin, smoothing the broken edges so strands of hair don’t catch on each other as much.
  • Cationic Surfactants—Bind to the negatively-charged keratin, becoming the new smoother surface of the hair.
  • Oil—Oils fill in the pores of dry or damaged hair, making it softer, more pliable, and less likely to tangle.

Not all of these are bad, necessarily, but most commercial brands use cheap synthetic chemicals that may cause allergies and other health problems—plus they charge exorbitant prices for the privilege of their brand.

Why not make your own DIY hair conditioner?

No reason I can think of when it is so simple and inexpensive.


  • 8 ounces distilled water
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
  • 10-15 drops grapefruit seed extract
  • 1-2 drops glycerin
  • 10-20 drops essential oil

Special Equipment and Containers

  • 8-10 ounce glass spray bottle


  1. Combine all ingredients in the glass spray bottle.
  2. Swirl to mix completely.
  3. Although this is now ready to use, I like letting it sit 24 hours to let the oils “cure.”

Essential Oils of Choice

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)—all hair types

Native to tropical Asia, ylang ylang has been traditionally used to promote healthy hair growth as well as smooth skin. It balances oily scalp by helping to normalize sebum production. The natural antiseptic and tonic properties of this oil aid in healthy scalp maintenance. In addition, ylang ylang oil stimulates blood flow to the scalp which nourishes hair follicles and encourages growth.

As an extra bonus, ylang ylang relaxes facial muscles; a massage with ylang ylang can ease tension headaches and reduce anxiety, anger, and insomnia.

With a sweet, floral aroma, Ylang Ylang is generally safe for anyone over 2 years old.

Rosemary (Cananga odorata)—all hair types and hair growth

Rosemary essential oil is a premier hair growth enhancing oil. Packed with antioxidants which help scavenge free radicals (responsible for greying and hair thinning) this wonderful oil stimulates blood flow to the scalp and promotes strong and healthy hair growth.

Because rosemary oil is naturally antiseptic and anti-microbial, it’s also effective for treating dandruff on older folks—please do not use rosemary on people under age 10.

Plus, this oil is said to improve memory and increase alertness (I just sniffed this oil—love the light, woodsy scent).

Roman or German Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis, Matricaria rectutita)—dry flaky scalp and dandruff

Chamomile is a recognized skin healing treatment with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-itching and anti-allergenic qualities. It helps treat dry scaly scalp, dandruff, eczema, and scalp acne. This wonderful oil with its warm, sweet, herbaceous scent is relaxing and calming for both mind and body. It adds beautiful golden highlights to blonde hair and a sheen to dark hair. It also conditions the hair and greatly improves its softness and luster.

Because chamomile is safe to use on bodies over 3-months old, it is a useful option for cradle cap and other infant/toddler skin issues. But proceed with extreme caution and always do a test patch—a very tiny mix of your blend on a small patch of skin and watched for several days before using any essential oil regularly.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)—dry hair or flaky scalps

Lavendar has a wonderful fresh, clean, and calm scent with a well-established tradition as a folk remedy. It helps balance natural scalp oils, which makes it valuable for all hair types. With its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and analgesic properties, lavender oil is a good treatment for a dry, flaky scalp. It soothes and nourishes the scalp, providing relief from inflammatory scalp conditions.

Lavender oil has a mild sedative and antidepressant action which makes it useful to ease down nervous tension and stress-related conditions as an added bonus.

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)—dry hair or dandruff

Myrrh is a resin extracted from the low-growing branches of the Commiphora. This essential oil is great for dry hair or people who suffer from dry scalp. It is also excellent remedy for dandruff issues and under-active sebaceous glands.

Myrrh can improve the appearance of dry, dull skin, and can be added to all of your favorite skincare products; especially nice when combined Frankincense for an earthy and uplifting aroma plus skin de-wrinkling and healing properties.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)—thinning hair

In addition to its ability to regenerate skin and smooth wrinkles, Frankincense is packed with anti-oxidants that improve all areas of health—numerous studies show how Frankincense can calm inflammation improving symptoms ranging from arthritis to cancer.

Best of all, with its earthy, uplifting aroma Frankincense helps regenerate the scalp and can restart hair growth.

Sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum)—dry ends and dandruff

Extracted through steam distillation of the wood from 40-80 year old sandalwood trees, the essential oil has a rich, sweet, warm, and woodsy aroma that is both sensual and romantic. Used traditionally for meditation, this oil is uplifting and relaxing and is valued in skin care for its moisturizing properties.

When it comes to hair care, sandalwood essential oil can stimulate hair growth and promote long luscious locks. Sandalwood essential oil also helps cool down the scalp and its antimicrobial, antiseptic properties help destroy bacteria and germs to address dandruff.

Apply this leave-in conditioner to dry, dull ends after your shower to balance the pH and retain moisture. You’ll give those dry dull locks a natural sheen.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)—thinning hair and oil balancing

Peppermint essential oil’s scent invigorates the mind and senses, while inspiring a sense of peace and a boost of positivity! Used topically, Peppermint oil creates a cool, tingling sensation on the skin. But tread with caution, peppermint oil too concentrated can irritate and feel like it is burning sensitive skin or scalps.

When it comes to hair and skin, peppermint improves circulation, moisturizes dry scalp, normalizes scalp pH and reduces dandruff while its astringent propertes can help balance natural scalp oils. It can help regrow thinning hair by stimulating the hair follicle and increasing blood circulation and oxygen supply.

Lemon (Citrus limon)—oily hair and dandruff

Containing the naturally occurring constituent limonene, lemon is a key component in cleaners and soaps for its refreshing scent. Generally safe on younger bodies, lemon is a great treatment for dry scalp and dandruff and helps balance natural scalp oils.

Lemon is phototoxic meaning that applying lemon essential oil can make the skin extra sensitive to sun exposure and will create blond highlights.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)—clarifying and dandruff

With its warm and spicy floral notes, bergamot oil adds a lovely natural fragrance to your homemade hair and body care products.

Added to hair conditioner and then rinsed out, bergamot oil can clarify and remove hair and scalp build up. Bergamot will leave your hair shiny and helps tame frizzy ends.

Bergamot oil is phototoxic so please don’t expose yourself to the direct rays of the sun immediately after opting for a bergamot oil treatment for your hair and skin.

About Young Living Essential Oils: After personal inspection of many companies—and there are a number of reputable companies—I elected to become a distributor for Young Living as a provider of consistently high quality and even food quality oils. I’d love to have you join my team and explore the world of essential oils together.

For 24% off the cost of Young Living Oils, sign up here: and say member #2838107 sent you.

Disclaimer: None of the recipes on these pages are intended to be taken as any medical advice whatsoever. These are fun and aimed at giving safer options than their chemical counterparts.

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