Tea Tree Oil: How Can It Work For Your Hair?

Allison Schmidt | 07 November 2017

Flaky scalp no more: Shampoo with tea tree oil is one of the latest buzzworthy additions in natural-leaning hair care.

D.I.Y. hair oil treatments are becoming more and more popular, and it’s to be expected that we at All Things Hair just love giving our hair a little TLC. Using tea tree oil for hair can be beneficial if used properly, like via a tea tree shampoo. This essential oil can soothe a host of scalp problems. It’s good to note though that using this oil is a balancing act, as you might need to counter its pure, undiluted strength with a more neutral oil. Read on to learn how to use tea tree oil, if you should invest in a tea tree shampoo and conditioner and what exactly this oil can treat.

Tea Tree Oil Shampoo + Tea Trea Oil’s Many Benefits

tea tree oil hair benefits
If only all hair oil treatments looked this chic. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Tea tree oil properties

Tea tree oil is pressed from the leaves of the tea tree. Note: This isn’t the same plant that makes the leaves for your chai! Tea tree oil is toxic when ingested, so definitely don’t use it like regular tea. It is an essential oil, so it is extremely strong and needs to be diluted for use on skin and hair. Tea tree oil is lauded for having antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and insecticidal properties, making shampoo with tea tree oil a staple in most natural dandruff shampoo variants. It has a sharp, crisp, herbal scent, is light to the touch and is also light in color.

How to use tea tree oil

tea tree shampoo essential oil vial
Pure tea tree oil needs to be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or Moroccan argan oil before application.

Because it is a very strong essential oil, tea tree oil needs to be diluted before use. If used alone, unmixed with another oil, it can cause anything from mild skin irritation to contact dermatitis. So before you whip up a tea tree special shampoo on your own, look into other oils you may want to mix it with. We are big fans of coconut oil and Moroccan oil on hair. They are extra moisturizing, which can also benefit hair and scalp treatments. To mix, place several tablespoons of your carrier oil (your moisturizing oil) in a bowl, add a just a few drops of tea tree oil, then stir to combine. Apply to your hair and scalp and let soak in for no longer than half an hour (~30 minutes). If you experience any discomfort, wash out immediately.

Treatment for dandruff

When used with a moisturizing carrier oil, tea tree shampoo benefits those suffering from dandruff symptoms like an itchy scalp and flakes. The carrier oil helps moisturizes hair and scalp to help heal dryness, while the tea tree oil combats the fungus that can exacerbate dandruff (dandruff is caused by a yeast called malasezzia). There are also several formulas available of tea tree oil in shampoo that you can use to alleviate your symptoms. We suggest trying a regular anti-dandruff duo as your first line of defense before D.I.Y.ing any more tea tree hair products for dandruff. We love Dove DermaCare Dryness & Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Dryness & Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Conditioner.

DOVE DERMACARE SCALP DRYNESS AND ITCH RELIEF ANTI-DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
DOVE DERMACARE SCALP DRYNESS & ITCH RELIEF ANTI-DANDRUFF CONDITIONER

Treatment for other scalp problems

People also use tea tree oil for treatment of many hair and scalp problems, from hair loss to psoriasis and even lice (although we don’t necessarily recommend that one!). Tea tree oil may have the ability to stimulate blood flow to the scalp, which could lead to hair growth with continued use. Although tea tree oil will not cure psoriasis, it may help with the scalp itching and flakiness that goes along with it.

Why you need to be careful

This oil is fairly strong and can cause more issues for people with sensitive skin. If you are prone to negative reactions to essential oils, tea tree shampoo is a good alternative and can provide similar tea tree shampoo benefits in a much gentler formulation.

Want more information about natural hair oils like tea tree oil? Check out our guide to using Moroccan oil