Scalp Ick (natural buildup removal)

We try to keep the kids clean, really we do. But the other day I noticed that my daughter’s scalp was covered with this kind of icky yellowish cruddy stuff. And her hair was sort of straw-like and dried out from 3 weeks of day camp and twice-daily swimming pool time.

Obviously we could have gotten some expensive clarifying shampoo or something, but I tried an assortment of home remedy things and it worked absolutely great. It was a lengthy process, but she loves sitting in the bathtub, so it was not a big deal.

Step 1: mix 1/4 cup baking soda and just enough water to make it a barely pourable paste.  Scrub into scalp, rubbing all over. Some sources say to let it sit for half an hour, but I didn’t want to dry her out any more than necessary, so I rinsed it out after about 5 minutes or so.

Step 2: mix about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in 3-4 cups warm water. Pour over hair, again rubbing into scalp and through length of hair

Step 3: hot oil treatment: heat up about 1/4 cup olive oil, jojoba oil, or a mixture in microwave until hot but not too hot to touch comfortably. Pour over scalp and hair, let sit for 15 minutes or so.

Step 4: shampoo hair very very well, to get all the oil out of it.


As of this morning, her hair is lovely and soft, 80% of the buildup is gone, and there were no tears from icky stuff dripping into her eyes. We’ll try it again in a few days to see if we can get the rest out.

Seriously–when I think of how much I used to spend on spa-type products for hair and body, and how I’m now getting not just as good but better results using stuff from my kitchen…

Food for hair. Food for thought.


Posted on August 26, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing this tip! I found your post yesterday, and I tried your remedy this morning–worked like a charm on my own scalp/hair.

  2. Awesome, I’m so glad! I have started doing a much weaker version of this (just half a spoonful or so of baking soda in a cup of water, with vinegar rinse and hot oil as above) on my own hair every month or so…it keeps it clean and keeps all kinds of builduppy stuff away!

  3. Fantastic. I was thinking of trying something like that. I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on how shiny my hair is:)

  4. I tried this on my 9 year old daughter who had yellow buildup on her scalp. It worked great. Thank you

  5. It worked! Thank you!! My 10 year old daughter told me that she gets yellow gunk under her nails when she scratches her scalp. I knew she’s not the best at washing out her conditioner, but when I inspected closely I was horrified at the buildup that was lurking. It was yellow and thick and was flaking off in chunks. I am a pharmacist and was *thisclose* to throwing some Nizoral shampoo or other medicated shampoo at it when I landed on your site and figured your remedy was worth a try before I spent money trying drugstore shampoos that may or may not take weeks to resolve the situation. Your remedy took about 30 minutes of our time, we had a little “spa” afternoon, and her scalp is clean and clear and her hair is shining. She keeps scratching, looking for the gunk and is amazed that its not there. Thanks again!

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