Home Remedy to Reduce Dandruff

Woman with dandruff
Photo: Suriya Yapin/Shutterstock
Q: I have read that a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water will help reduce dandruff. How will that affect my recent foil color treatment?
A: Well, first of all, most resources disagree on the cause of dandruff - and in many cases what dandruff actually is. It is widely believed that dandruff is caused by a fungus found in the scalp. It should not be confused with a simple dry scalp, or with other more serious skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis).
Among home remedies for treating dandruff flakes, vinegar is very common and many people report greatly reduced dandruff after using vinegar on the scalp. There have been replies from readers of dandruff websites that using vinegar on color treated hair can lead to alteration of the color (particularly when exposed to sunshine afterward).
In your case, I highly recommend that you perform a strand test on your hair before applying the vinegar all over your head. You can isolate small locks of the color treated hair (or cut them) from an inconspicuous place on the head. Saturate the locks of hair with the vinegar you intend to use, blow dry the locks of hair and look for any changes in the hair color.
Personally, I don't recommend leaving the vinegar on the hair. In fact, there really isn't any reason that the hair should be saturated in vinegar for treating dandruff. Dandruff resides and develops on the scalp therefore the vinegar should be applied to the scalp and not the hair. Use a long-tipped applicator bottle (such as is used in applying hair color), cotton pad, or swab to apply the vinegar.
Once applied, let the vinegar sit on the scalp for 15 to 20 minutes, then shampoo the hair using a gentle shampoo and conditioner. This will help to prevent undue damage to the hair (or hair color) and remove the "salad dressing" smell.
See also:
Scalp problems
The cause of dandruff
How to do a strand test on hair
Hair care with household products