DIY Exfoliating Shampoo For A Flake-Free Scalp

A few kitchen ingredients made my scalp flakes disappear.
Publish date:
February 2, 2015
shampoo, scalp treatments, winter skin, dry scalp, exfoliating shampoo

When I first started noticing little white flakes in my hair, I thought I had dandruff. Countless zinc shampoos later, the problem seemed to be getting worse. Finally, the matching flakes I get on my cheeks this time of year made everything click: Those flakes weren’t dandruff, they were just dry skin. And all those dandruff shampoos were just drying and irritating my scalp further. Mega-boo.

Enter exfoliating shampoo. Kara turned me on to the Aveda Invati line when I complained about my scalp ills. The products are supposed to prevent hair shedding and increase thickness, starting with their exfoliating shampoo. Sulfate-free and super gentle, it contains turmeric and ginseng to stimulate the scalp and salicylic acid to remove buildup (though the latter doesn’t really stay on your scalp long enough to actually exfoliate, so I attribute the magic to the spices).

Within two weeks the flakes were totally gone, but um, did I mention it’ll set you back $28 for a seven ounce bottle? That’s a little steep for me, so while I’m socking away my pennies for another bottle, I’ve improvised a DIY version that’s keeping the flakes at bay. You want in? Great.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon shampoo of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (to remove build-up; apple cider vinegar is a fave for hair but white vinegar works just as well for me)
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric (anti-inflammatory, stimulates circulation, and provides mild physical exfoliation)
  • Optional: a few drops of a scalp-friendly essential oil (rosemary, cedarwood, and myrrh are all good choices)

A word of caution to the platinum and pastel set: Turmeric can stain very light hair, so if that threatens your gorgeous unicorn mane, sub out the turmeric for powdered ginger or ginseng.

Once you’ve whipped up your shampoo, get to washing. This concoction will have a bit of a drippy texture, so be extra careful to make sure it gets distributed across your entire scalp. Massage it in for a few minutes to buff off flakes and get your circulation going, then rinse and continue your hair routine as normal.

Used once a week, this shampoo gets rid of flakes and itchiness. In my case, it seems to be slowing down my shedding as well.

  • Do you deal with icky scalp issues in the winter?
  • Have you ever tried an exfoliating shampoo?