What is a Scalp Conditioner?

Micki Elizabeth

A dry or irritated scalp can lead to several health and beauty problems with the skin and hair. Scalp conditioner is a product rich in healthy oils, proteins and vitamins meant specifically for the scalp rather than the hair. When introduced into a hygiene or beauty regimen, the benefits of scalp conditioner may include decreased dandruff and hair loss and improvement of the hair's look and feel through the targeting of the roots.

A bottle of scalp conditioner.
A bottle of scalp conditioner.

An effective scalp conditioner should both prevent and treat unwanted hair and scalp problems. These issues can exist naturally for some people, but for others, the problems may be the result of insufficient scalp and hair care. Whatever the case, scalp conditioner is believed to alleviate the causes and symptoms of conditions such as fine or thinning hair due to hair loss, unhealthy hair and a dry scalp. The right products can also make hair both softer and stronger, thus making it less prone to damage caused by everyday pollutants and beauty regimens.

Using olive oil as a conditioner is soothing and gentle to the scalp.
Using olive oil as a conditioner is soothing and gentle to the scalp.

When the scalp is bombarded with irritating oils secreted naturally by the body, it reacts by increasing the turnover of skin cells more rapidly. The result is flaky clumps of cells known as dandruff. While many dandruff shampoos and conditioners can be found on the market, some believe that scalp conditioner is the best way to alleviate this problem because it regulates the amounts and types of oils on the head. Among consumers who buy scalp conditioner, a large number of them began to use the product to deal with dandruff, but say that they continued using it due to the various added benefits.

Scalp conditioner may be used to treat a dry scalp.
Scalp conditioner may be used to treat a dry scalp.

Many hair conditioners are not meant for the scalp; their rich moisturizers can clog hair follicles and leave the scalp greasy. Scalp conditioner is generally made of oils that nourish the scalp, such as tea tree, jojoba and olive oils, to name a few. Protein in the conditioner can help aid hair growth, as hair is made mostly of proteins. B-vitamins may also promote healthy hair growth and texture.

Tea tree oil is a common ingredient in scalp conditioners.
Tea tree oil is a common ingredient in scalp conditioners.

Finding the right scalp conditioner will be different for each person, because the combination of a conditioner's ingredients will have various effects on each scalp. Some consumers state that finding scalp conditioners can be an exhausting search, as few manufacturers make conditioners specifically for the scalp. Those that do sometimes charge a relatively large sum of money. One can, however, find many recipes for mixing homemade scalp conditioners. Doing so could save time and money and may allow individuals to mix a conditioner that is perfect for their needs.

Using a scalp conditioner may help prevent dandruff.
Using a scalp conditioner may help prevent dandruff.

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Discussion Comments


I use olive oil on my scalp as a conditioner. Sometimes I put crushed garlic in olive oil and let it sit for a while before applying it to my scalp. It doesn't smell great but olive oil is hydrating and garlic helps prevent hair loss. So it's worth it.

An egg yolk could also be added to olive oil and used as a scalp and hair conditioner. Again, it doesn't smell great but it's very nourishing.

These are remedies that I learned from my mom and they have always worked for her.


@stoneMason-- Have you tried coconut oil? I suggest buying 100% coconut oil and using it as a scalp conditioner about twice a week. I have been using it for a few months and I love it.

I had the same issues as you-- dry, itchy and flaky scalp. I also had very dry hair that would not grow. I started using coconut oil on my scalp and hair and I'm amazed with the results. The dryness and flakes have disappeared. My hair is also soft and hydrated. My scalp and hair feel completely different now and I know that it's all because of the coconut oil.

Coconut oil is solid in room temperature, so you need to put it in a bowl of hot water or keep it under running hot water for a minute. When it has become liquid, take some in your hand and massage it into your scalp. The massage improves circulation and helps the scalp absorb the oil. Keep the oil on your scalp for at least several hours before washing your scalp and hair. Some people keep it overnight.


I have a very sensitive and dry scalp that flakes and itches. I need a scalp conditioner but unfortunately I can't use many conditioning products because of the fragrance and chemicals. My scalp reacts badly to those. I wanted to try tea tree oil but it turned out I'm allergic. I'm not sure what to do.

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