The summer heat, humidity and chlorine from pools can leave your hair feeling brittle, dry or greasy. Healthy hair starts with a healthy diet as well as good mineral and hormone balance. However, it’s also dependent on the products that we use topically. Many commercial products contain harsh chemicals such as alcohols and sulphates which can dry out and strip your hair of its natural luster overtime.

Ingredients such as perfumes and parabens can irritate people with allergies and possibly disrupt your hormones. This has led companies and consumers alike to seek natural and organic alternatives to traditional hair regimens. The good news is that many natural alternatives can be found by shopping the ingredients in your kitchen. Natural, do-it yourself hair remedies made from ingredients in your pantry can bring life back to your hair and scalp.


Rosemary or Rosmarinus officinalis is a woody and fragrant perennial herb native to the Mediterranean. The essential oil of Rosemary, as well as the tea, is an effective hair tonic and as a bonus, some scientific studies have shown that inhaling the essential oil may increase cognitive function. To nourish your hair follicles and to increase circulation to your scalp, add 10 to 20 drops of Rosemary essential oil to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Massage into your scalp and leave it in for 15 minutes before shampooing out.

To intensify the treatment cover your head with a plastic cap or warm towel or leave the mixture in overnight. To make a hair rinse, boil 3 to 6 large sprigs of Rosemary in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Strain the herb and use the cooled tea as a final hair rinse before styling. Regular use over time may darken your hair, therefore, be careful with this treatment if you have blonde hair and wish for it to stay that way!

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is truly one of my favorites. I often skip shampooing altogether because apple cider vinegar rinses can leave your scalp and hair squeaky clean without the extra step. Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting crushed apples. It is best to use an organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized product available from your local health food store. As a hair rinse, apple cider vinegar can restore the normally acidic pH of your hair and scalp which can be altered by the usage of hair products such as hair gels and sprays.

Furthermore, apple cider vinegar can remove product build up, decrease dandruff and deter the growth of bacteria and fungus on your scalp. To make a hair rinse or wash, mix 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of warm water. Slowly pour the mixture over your hair and scalp, while massaging it in. Follow up by rinsing it out and immediately styling or use your shampoo and conditioner as you normally would.

Black Strap Molasses/Honey

Honey and black strap molasses contain vitamins and minerals that strengthen hair strands and moisturize your hair. The stickiness of both molasses and honey dissolves once it is added to a water based product. An important rule of thumb is to use black strap molasses for dark hair and honey for lighter tresses.

To make a prewash treatment, combine ¼ cup of honey or black strap molasses with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or conditioner. Apply the mixture to damp hair and leave it in for a minimum of 15 minutes. Avoid using honey if you are allergic or sensitive to it.

Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is my favorite topical remedy to suggest to patients who require a soothing, topical treatment for dandruff and itchy scalp. In some cases the cause of an itchy scalp can be a build-up of fungus or bacteria. Coconut oil has natural antifungal properties and can be used as a treatment prior to shampooing your scalp.

Simply massage 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, onto your scalp and hair and let it sit for a minimum of 15 minutes before washing it out. This treatment can be done on a weekly basis.

Healthy hair and scalp is within your reach. Give some of these natural, do-it-yourself remedies a try; however remember to patch test each ingredient first to avoid any negative reactions. If you are being treated for a scalp condition such as hair loss or psoriasis, always check with your health care provider before combining any of the above treatments with medicated creams or shampoos.

About the Author

Dr. Olivia Rose graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences and in 2006, she graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Rose is the director of Fertility Acupuncture Services, a mobile service that brings acupuncture to couples undergoing in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination at Toronto fertility clinics. Her special areas of interest include infertility; children and teen health; stress management; weight loss; heart disease; digestive and immune health; skin rejuvenation and pain management. She is a birth doula and has additional training in cosmetic acupuncture and needle-less therapies for skin rejuvenation and joint pain.

Dr. Rose is a sought-after lecturer for community organizations; a freelance writer and mentor to new graduates. She has been interviewed by various media outlets including Global Toronto’s, “The Morning Show”, “News at Noon” and “News Hour”. In her free time, she unplugs at the spa and she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, son and tea-cup Yorkie. For more information on Dr. Rose's practice and special events, please visit -