Relieve an itchy scalp with this calming DIY scalp serum. Made with rosemary hydrosol, chamomile water, sage extract, and other calming ingredients, the homemade scalp remedy soothes itchiness and provides hydration to alleviate dryness.
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Homemade scalp serum
If you’re looking for ways to prevent your scalp from itching, give my homemade scalp serum a try. It’s enriched with all-natural, gentle materials, has a pleasant smell, and is suitable for all hair types.
If you aren’t yet familiar with scalp serums, allow me to explain what the product is and how it may help relieve an itchy scalp. The serum does 2 things: it restores your skin’s moisture levels and harnesses the benefits of plant-based extracts that tame itchiness and rebalance the scalp.
And can I tell you the best part? The serum is fuzz-free and easy to make. You don’t need any experience to create this home remedy for itchy scalp. I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step. We also talk about the ingredients that make this scalp relief serum so soothing and how to use the product.
For more homemade hair care recipes, have a look at my moisturizing hair spray and DIY leave-in conditioner spray.
What causes an itchy scalp?
It’s easy to forget about your scalp until it acts out and becomes itchy, irritated, and flaky. Many factors can contribute to scalp itchiness, such as over-shampooing, dry skin, dandruff, skin sensitivity, seasonal changes, stress, hormonal fluctuations, or contact allergies to certain products.
What is scalp serum?
Scalp serum is a stay-on hair care product that provides hydration for dry skin and alleviates itchiness and irritation. It’s almost like a mask for your head, intended to stop an itchy scalp.
Benefits of scalp serum
- Itch Relief: My scalp serum is packed with soothing ingredients that can help to ease a dry, itchy scalp.
- Hydration: The dry scalp remedy provides plenty of hydration to thirsty skin and restores the scalp’s natural moisture levels.
- All Hair Types: The head serum is suitable for all hair types, whether you have straight, wavy, or curly hair. I also share a serum specifically designed for dandruff.
- Non-greasy: The formula is entirely water-based. It has a super light texture, unlike oil-based serums, and helps your scalp stay moisturized without becoming oily.
- Natural: I selected only gentle, vegan, and Ecocert-approved ingredients for this dry scalp serum. You won’t have to worry about synthetic chemicals and potentially toxic materials.
- Easy: You can whip up the cold-process formula in minutes and don’t need any special equipment.
Scalp serum ingredients
The full ingredient list and exact measurements can be found in the how-to card at the end of the post. Here is what goes into this plant-powered dry, itchy scalp remedy:
- Distilled water dilutes the other ingredients.
- Rosemary hydrosol is packed with antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can calm irritations and has an analgesic effect, helping to comfort itchy skin. The botanical water has a woodsy and fresh aroma that smells energizing and uplifting.
- Chamomile hydrosol features anti-inflammatory activity and is effective at relieving itchiness and irritated chaffed skin. The plant hydrosol is also cicatrisant, meaning it promotes cell renewal. It imparts an herbaceous and refreshing aroma.
- Sage extract (or sage leaf extract) boasts astringent and toning effects. The herbal extract is said to reduce skin irritation and help to improve a dry, itchy scalp. Most sage extracts contain alcohol, which isn’t desirable as it dries out the skin. Formulator Sample Shop offers a product that only contains water, glycerin, and sage leaf extract. I recommend you use that if possible.
- D-Panthenol (provitamin B5, optional) boosts the soothing qualities of the serum. The provitamin has anti-itching, calming, and moisturizing properties. It is known for its ability to attract and hold moisture and aid irritated skin.
- Preservative: You probably already know that water-based products need a preservative to inhibit bacteria, microbes, yeast, and mold. I used Preservative Eco (Geogard ECT), a natural, broad-spectrum preservative made from salicylic acid and sorbic acid.
- Lactic acid reduces the pH of this DIY hair care product to a skin-friendly level.
- Peppermint hydrosol is a good substitute for rosemary hydrosol.
- Calendula hydrosol is a suitable replacement for chamomile hydrosol.
- Iris Florentina root extract improves skin hydration and balances oiliness, making it a wonderful swap for sage extract.
- Allantoin or urea share some properties with panthenol and can be added to the recipe in place of the provitamin.
- Preservative: Optiphen Plus and Liquid Germall Plus are excellent preservatives if the formula doesn’t have to be 100% natural.
How to make scalp serum
From start to finish, the itch relief serum can be ready in 10 minutes or less. There’s just 3 super simple steps standing between you and this itchy scalp home remedy. Let me show you what to do!
Step 1: Measure
- Add the distilled water, rosemary hydrosol, German chamomile hydrosol, sage extract, d-panthenol, lactic acid, and preservative into a glass beaker.
- A digital scale will garner the most accurate results, but measuring spoons work too if that is what you have.
Step 2: Mix
- Using a glass stirrer or spoon, swirl the solution until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Step 3: Store
- Transfer the mixture into a glass dropper bottle or glass spray bottle.
- Screw on the dropper or spray nozzle to seal the storage vessel.
- The homemade scalp serum is ready!
Scalp serum for dandruff
The serum, as written, is excellent for dealing with a dry, itchy scalp. However, if you want to reduce dandruff, you can tweak the formula to make it more effective against dandruff. You need:
- Distilled water
- D-Panthenol (optional)
- Lactic acid
- Tea tree hydrosol lessens the itchiness and greasiness associated with dandruff by reducing Malassezia, a fungus that causes dandruff overgrowth on the scalp.
- Willow bark extract 10% is a natural source of salicylic acid, which is helpful to reduce dandruff on the scalp. The material provides gentle exfoliation and anti-inflammatory action without being irritating.
I’ve listed the exact measurements in the how-to card at the end of this post. The process of making this anti-dandruff serum is the same as described above.
How to use scalp serum
The serum absorbs fast and permeates your scalp and roots with no build-up or sticky residue. Follow these easy steps to apply the product:
- Section. Part your hair into sections.
- Apply. Charge the dropper with serum and apply a few drops along your part directly onto your scalp. Continue sectioning your hair as you work around your head.
- Massage. Use your fingertips to evenly distribute and massage the product gently into the skin. Massage in circular motions, moving from the front to the back. Massaging the scalp will also stimulate blood flow and circulation, which can help to improve hair growth.
- Leave on. There’s no need to rinse the product off. It’s meant to stay on to hydrate your scalp.
- Towel-dry or dry hair. The serum can be used on slightly damp and dry hair.
Massaging serum applicators or liquid combs are another way to dispense the serum on your scalp.
How often can I use the serum?
You can use the natural itchy scalp remedy 3 to 4 times per week.
When is the best time to apply it?
The best times to apply the serum are:
- After washing your hair: Appling the itchy head serum after a wash soothes the scalp and helps restore the skin’s natural moisture balance. Shampooing temporarily removes all oils and sebum from the hair and scalp, which can cause dryness, itchiness, and flaking. As I mentioned, the oil-less formula won’t make your freshly washed hair greasy or limp.
- Between washes: You can also put on scalp itch relief between washes whenever itching strikes.
Dry scalp serum FAQ
What is the pH of this serum?
I aimed for a 5 to 5.5 pH value, which is in harmony with the natural pH of the scalp. Maintaining the correct pH is essential for the overall health of your scalp and hair.
You need only little lactic acid to adjust the pH because hydrosols are slightly acidic. You can optionally measure the serum with a pH meter to double-check that pH is where we want it to be.
Is this recipe suitable for all hair types?
Yes, this homemade scalp treatment is beneficial for all hair types and everyone looking for ways to alleviate a dry, itchy scalp.
Does it make hair greasy?
Absolutely not! The itchy scalp relief is feather light and won’t make your hair greasy. Many hair scalp serums contain oils, which can lead to an oily scalp and greasy hair. This effect is more noticeable in fine and straight hair than curly hair.
My goal was to create an irritated scalp treatment that feels light and refreshing and doesn’t weigh down your hair. The water-based formula delivers on that.
Does the serum stimulate hair growth?
Yes, the serum may potentially stimulate hair growth. Rosemary improves circulation and promotes nerve growth, which can help to strengthen hair follicles and increase new growth.
Can I add apple cider vinegar?
No, because it will throw off the pH of the serum and can have an adverse effect. I know that apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in homemade hair care products, but often too much is used, damaging the hair.
Can I add essential oils to the serum?
You could, but I don’t recommend it because the serum is already plenty packed with active ingredients. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate, especially when your skin is already dry and itchy.
You would also have to include a solubilizer to dilute the essential oils, which can be tricky with an all water-based formula like this scalp serum.
- Packaging: Keep your itchy scalp relief in a dropper bottle or spray bottle. Amber glass, cobalt blue, or opal white glass vessels are best as they offer the best protection against UV sunlight. I used an opal white glass dropper bottle with a glass pipette.
- Storage: Store the serum in a dry, cool location away from direct sunlight, for example, a bathroom cabinet. Refrigerate the serum if you enjoy a cooling effect.
- Shelf life: The serum for dry scalp will keep for up to 6 months. Discard the product if you notice a change in smell or color.
Hi is there a substitute for sage leaf extract, the only thing i can find where i live costs 60$? Hoping you can help, thank you
Hi Chloe! You can make your own sage extract that will cost only a fraction. You need a pure organic sage tea. Heat water until it almost boils and brew a cup of sage tea. Let the tea cool completely, then use it in the recipe in place of the distilled water. I hope this helps you out and happy making!
Hi! Would I be able to add menthol in this? Wouldn’t want to assume and mess up the entire batch!
Hi Hana! Yes, you can add menthol crystals but it’s a bit tricky because menthol crystal don’t dissolve in water.
You would need to dissolve them in alcohol first and then add the alcohol solution to the serum. The downside is that alcohol is very drying and could worsen a dry scalp.
I hope this helps you out and please let me know in case you have another question. Happy making!
I looked up all of the ingredients and discovered that this would cost me at least $64 to make (and then hope it works for my daughter – I’m nearly at my wit’s end trying to find something that can help her with her dandruff and oh so itchy scalp!). Is there any chance you would be willing to sell me a bottle of your creation?
Hi there! I would love to help, but unfortunately we do not sell physical products. Sorry about that.
However, you could create a simplified version of this serum with just water, sage leaf extract ($6.50) and willow bark extract ($8.00). Sage leaf extract can calm the skin and soothe the itchiness, while willow bark can assist with the dandruff.
Here is what you do:
Combine 1/8 cup / 1 oz water with 20 drops / 0.03 oz sage leaf extract and 6 drops / 0.01 oz willow bark extract.
Either use a dropper bottle or spray bottle to apple the serum to your daughter’s scalp. You can gently massage it into the skin if she can handle that sensation.
When you use the serum for the first time, do a patch test in a small area and wait overnight to see if a reaction occurs.
Since the serum doesn’t contain a preservative, you want to use it up rather quickly and store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.
I hope this helps you out and please let me know in case you have any follow-up questions. Best to you and your daughter!
How do I multiply the measurements if I want to fill a 12 oz bottle please.
Hi Anna! The recipe makes 3.5 oz. So you’d have to multiply the measurements by 3 to get approximately 12 oz of product. I hope this helps you out and happy making!