Dry Hair and Skin? Remedies and Recipes

Want healthy hair and skin? See tips to beat the drys!

By Margaret Boyles & Margaret Ross
March 20, 2020
Dry Skin

Do you have dry hair, hands, or skin? If there’s one thing that we love, it’s making our own natural remedies and treatments. Check out these fantastic recipes that will restore and liven up your hair, face, and skin—and not break the bank.

Dry Hair Remedies

Weekly Conditioner for Fly-Away Hair

Try a weekly deep-conditioning. For a rich conditioning treatment that you’d pay $30 to $100 for at a salon, mix a couple of tablespoons of olive, coconut, or castor oil with ½ cup of full-fat mayonnaise (alternatively: a ripe, mashed avocado), and massage into your hair and scalp. Then wrap your hair in a large plastic grocery bag and top it off with a warm, dry towel for about 30 minutes. Wash and rinse as usual (but sometimes twice is needed, to remove the oil).

Moisturizing Leave-in Conditioner

Mix two parts water, one part witch hazel, two parts vegetable glycerin (a natural moisturizer available online or in health/natural food stores), and a tablespoon of olive or other cooking oil per cup of liquid in a spray bottle. If you have aloe vera gel on hand, add one part of that to the mixture. A few drops of essential oil will give you a scented product. Spritz on wet or dry hair before styling

    Baby with frizzy hair. Photo by Martin Novak/Shutterstock
    Control frizzy (or static-y!) hair with the above tips! Photo by Martin Novak/Shutterstock.

    More Body and Bounce

    • Mayonnaise, straight from the jar, will make hair soft and shiny. The egg nourishes brittle hair with protein, while the vinegar gives it body and bounce.
    • Try this mixture to regain supple hair: Mix one teaspoon powdered brewers’ yeast with four ounces of apple cider vinegar to create an after wash rinse. Pour it over wet hair and let stand at least a minute before rinsing.

    Oily Hair and Skin

    • Add one teaspoon baking soda to two ounces of your shampoo. This works as an alkali to absorb excess oil.
    • Baking soda works the same way with skin, it will absorb oil and also neutralize excess acid in your skin. Make a paste with baking soda and water.
    • Try lemon juice as an astringent facial cleanser.

    Dry Hands and Nails

    Let’s start with some good tips and basics on keeping your hands from getting dry and cracked.

    • Add moisturizer right after you wash your hands. Apply when your skin is a little wet to help it hang on to some of the water.
    • Avoid any alcohol-based cleansers on your skin. Consider liquid soap that contains moisturizers.
    • Use the right moisturizer! Look for products which lists ceramides (oils), dimethicone (a type of silicone), and shea butter provide a good seal for your hands. The thicker the cream, the better.
    • If you polish your nails, find an acetone-free polish remover, as acetone is a serious drying agent.
    • It goes without saying that you need to wear gloves when using any harsh or chemical ingredient to clean the house.
    • Also make sure to wear gloves or mittens when you go outside to prevent the dry winter air from drawing moisture from your hands and nails.
    • If your hands get so dry that they crack, be careful of infection. Clean the area with hydrogen peroxide and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment.
    • Some dermatologists suggest coating hands and nails with Vaseline or another strong barrier and wearing cotton gloves overnight to treat dry nails and cuticles.

    To prevent brittle nails and ragged cuticles, try this handmade cuticle massage:

    Cuticle Massage:
    5 red seedless grapes
    1 tablespoon sugar

    Wash the grapes, then slice them in half widthwise. Dip the cut side into the sugar. Using half a grape for each finger, massage the skin around each fingernail for about 30 seconds each. Wipe off the excess sugar with a soft towel, then rub hand cream onto hands and cuticles.

    Dry, Itchy Skin

    Again, let’s start out with some basic tips on caring for your skin so that it doesn’t become dry and itchy.

    • Apply moisturize every day or even twice a day if you are over 40. Apply immediately after showering or bathing when your skin is a little wet. Do not scrub skin dry. For superdry skin, use olive oil. Rub it in prior to a bath or shower. You may substitute peanut, sesame or sunflower oil.
    • Dermatologists also suggest taking shorter baths or showers in warm (not hot) water. If you have severe problems, keep your showers to no longer than 5 minutes and use lukewarm water.
    • Use a mild, glycerin-based soap. And stay away from hair or skin-care products that contain any forms of alcohol, which are drying agents.
    • Avoid oversrubbing. Gentle clean around the “fold” areas of your skin—underarms, neck, and groin—and feet. Use very little, if any soap, on your trunk and limbs.

    Oatmeal Bath for Itchy Skin

    If you have itchy skin, try a soothing oatmeal bath. 

    Blend one cup of oats in a food processor or blender Run a lukewarm bath (NOT hot). Pour the oat into the warm water and stir. Soak in bath for 15 to 20 minutes and very gentle rub into skin.
    Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry. While skin is still moist, apple a hypoallergenic moisturising cream.

    A quart of milk in a hot bath is a luxury as well as a skin toner. It’s a trick nearly as old as time.

    Homemade Oatmeal Scrub

    For a homemade scrub, mix ground oats and honey. Rub all over your face—especially your nose. The abrasive will remove dry, scaly skin while the honey seeps in as a moisturizer. Rinse completely off and pat dry, and your skin will be glowing and baby soft. Only use this remedy once a week.

    Oatmeal soap. Photo by Natalia Malnychuk/Shutterstock
    Oatmeal soap. Photo by Natalia Malnychuk/Shutterstock.

    Chickpea Facial

    • ¼ cup chickpea flour
    • ¼ cup tumeric.  (Note: use Kasturi tumeric because regular turmeric can temporarily stain the skin)
    • Yogurt, as needed

    In a small bowl, mix the chickpea flour and turmeric. Store the mixture in an airtight bottle. When ready to use, place a teaspoon of the mixture in a small bowl and add enough yogurt to make a paste. Apply the paste evenly to the face and leave on until it dries, about 10 to 15 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

    Coffee Scrub

    Coffee grounds work to help diminish cellulite and varicose veins, in addition to improving circulation and smoothing the skin’s texture.

    • 2 cups used coffee grounds
    • ½ cup sugar or sea salt
    • ⅔ tablespoon unscented massage oil

    Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Massage gently on the skin, then rinse with warm water.

    Dry, Tired Eyes

    • Used teabags make excellent eye cosmetics. After being dunked (and allowed to cool slightly), drain the tea bag and place it over your closed eye (one for each) and hold it there for a few minutes. Redness, soreness, swelling and irritation will disappear like magic.
    • If you suffer from dry, scratchy, itchy, eyes, try laying a warm, moist washcloth over your closed lids for a few minutes each day.
      • This simple, effective treatment helps to liquefy the lubricating oil in glands located along the eyelids. It may take a few days, but if you use the compresses faithfully, you should experience relief.

    Dry, Chapped Lips

    • To prevent cracked or chapped lips, use a lip balm and apply it often. See our post on how to make your own lip balm. If you make a big batch that’s a bit heavier on the olive oil, you can use your homemade balm for hands, fingernails, facial moisturizer, and (just a dab) hair conditioner, too.
    • Plain honey is an excellent remedy for chapped lips. Blend fully into lips. 

    General Advice for the Drys!

    • Forget the idea that drinking plenty of water will keep your skin (eyes, nasal passages, nails) moist and your hair well behaved. Dermatologists say that while drinking water is important for overall health, as far as moisturizing skin, hair, and nails are concerned, you need to add moisture from the outside and prevent it from escaping into the drier surrounding air.
    • Use a humidifier. Indoor heating removes moisture from the air and your body. Humidifying dry indoor air helps to provide that indoor moisture. Try to maintain indoor air at 30 to 50 percent humidity. It’s especially important if you suffer bloody noses and lots of respiratory infections. You could run an electric humidifier, but passive solutions may do the trick for you. We maintain a lot of well-watered houseplants that transpire water into the indoor air. We keep steamers going on each of our stoves that pump moisture into the air whenever the stove is running.
    • Hanging your laundry on bars indoors is another great strategy. It doesn’t take much longer to dry near the woodstove than it would in an electric dryer, and while it dries, your laundry humidifies the air around it.

    Humidifier. Photo by Michael Ahanov/Shutterstock
    Use a humidifier or an alternative method (see above) to keep air humid. Photo by Michael Ahanov/Shutterstock.

    When Dry Skin is Severe

    If your dry skin just gets to a point of inflammation, unbearable itchiness, or scabbing, you may need to see a doctor. They can prescribe thicker, richer emollients.

    You also need to ensure that you don’t have psoriasis, atopic dermatitis  and other skin conditions may also need prescription medication and treatment.

    Learn More

    See more natural home remedies and check out our Living Naturally blog!


    Parts adapted from The 1977 Old Farmer's Almanac.


    Reader Comments

    Leave a Comment

    See our Best Days on when to

    The Editors's picture

    See our Best Days on when to cut hair to encourage growth: http://www.almanac.com/bestday...

    The Beer thing is funny

    The Beer thing is funny though, but yeah I think they really use beer back then to stiffen hair. I heard that from my grandmother.

    my 4month old daughter skin

    my 4month old daughter skin is dull , very dry and getting slightly dark after using cream atogola on her face so tell me the best natural care

    We are not doctors, but have

    The Editors's picture

    We are not doctors, but have you ever tried glycerine mixed with water (1:1)? Apply on semi-wet skin a couple times a day.

    I have a 4-yr-old daughter

    I have a 4-yr-old daughter who's biracial and has the most awful dry frizzy hair. I have tried all types of salon products and have even gotten suckered into buying crap off tv claiming its magical benefits however nothing has worked yet. I even tried washing her hair less from everyday down to every other to even every 2 days but with summer comes the heat and humidity and it's so unmanageable. Looking to find something to keep in moisture and help the frizz as well as keeping it looking shiny and healthy. Right now it's dull and dead looking... Please help :-/

    Here are two remedies to

    The Editors's picture

    Here are two remedies to try:

    Rub a small amount of coconut oil into her hair starting at the scalp and working all the way down to the tips. Do not use too much, or her hair will be weighed down.

    Peel, pit, and scoop out an avocado. Puree the flesh and then work it into her hair, covering it all. Wrap her hair with a towel and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then rinse with warm, not hot, water.

    When my bi-racial child was

    When my bi-racial child was young i search high and low for a product. She screamed when I tried to brush her hair. The best product I ever used is very inexpensive and works wonderfully. It took her hair from dry and brittle to soft and silky. its called CARE FREE CURL Instant Moisturizer with glycerine. its made by SoftSheen Carson. After washing hair put a generous amount in your hand and massage it into the hair. Use your fingers like a comb to create wringlets. It will look wet for a few hours then dry like silk. I used it every morning; combed through her hair once a day b/c it is so thick; style and don't mess with it again. I could never comb through it dry. its about $8.00 for 32 oz. Look in black hair care section of some Walmart stores or Sally's Beauty Supply. It was a life saver for me. Good Luck!

    You should wash her hair once

    You should wash her hair once a week. You can use a drop of olive/coconut oil daily, and put it in two braids/ pigtails. Or you can blow dry her hair and use a flat iron then put the oil in her hair. If any water or moisture get to her hair it will frizz up again. If you comb and oil daily and keep braids in, it will tame her hair.




    HI MOM:

    To help biracial hair only

    To help biracial hair only style it wet and as soon as you are done washing apply 100% pure unrefined organic coconut oil. Never comb it while it's dry. Buy a spray bottle and fill it with water. Use it on days that you aren't washing to de tangle and keep it braided as much as possible. Hope that helps! Btw i have 2 biracial daughters. A 2 yr old and an 7 month old.

    * YOGURT oops

    * YOGURT oops

    To mommyonthego2004,I

    To mommyonthego2004,I recently discovered that yougurt with lemon juice is amazing for acne/blackheads. I have had stubborn blackheads my whole life and more acne now as an adult than ever. I use plain or vanilla yougurt and add lemon juice. It works amazingly! I am now, for the 1st time since age 13, blackhead free! I have found that it does dry my face so tell your daughter to experiment and try honey, oatmeal or just plain yogurt!My daughter thinks I'm crazy but i tell her to just wait til she's a teen and she'll be doing the same time!My face has honestly never looked better and younger!

    My sister is losing her hair

    My sister is losing her hair by the hands full and breaking off too. She was a natural blond but now that she's older not so much..is there anything that can stop this maddness?

    I have always had fine hair

    I have always had fine hair with body and my color is brunette. Female hair loss runs in my family----grandmother and mother. I was losing my hair around age 38. I did some research on vitamins and found that I may have been mineral deficient. So I started taking a multi mineral, which is hard to find, but I found it with a company called GNLD, but I'm sure there are others. Very soon after I started taking the multi minerals, baby hair appeared and my hair returned to normal. Hope this helps.

    While your baby hairs are

    While your baby hairs are coming in, use .5:1 baking soda:(any)shampoo. Use far less conditioner and you're hair will be thick after every shower. They say only once or twice a week, but I am IN LOVE with this method and use it every day with no issues.

    go to a doctor first!!! for

    go to a doctor first!!! for blood tests, check for lice, thyroid, STRESS,hormone tests make sure there isn't a medical reason besides menopause..,have the water tested in your areas or ask for the test results.. Quit drinking alcohol and coffee, drink more plain water- not bottled it has carcinogens, take those hair vitamins and stress vitamins found at a good health food store with lots of water. take something with omegas, eat less garbage. Get a better shampoo and conditioner and wash hair LESS often.overprocessed? get a hairdresser to color the hair instead- may be time to give up platinumn blonde,,blonde hair is more delicate, and now being replaced by the silver ones and not as many.. . ...she could be balding just like men do, its genetic.. all things being equal you won't even notice regrowth for a year or two, and everyone loses 50 hairs a day at least. but most grow back eventually- even if it is silver :)

    Firstly thanks for your idea

    Firstly thanks for your idea . I agree with you , it is necessary go to a doctor first . If find any beauty tips ...........


    yes, there is a great remedy.

    yes, there is a great remedy. after all medical problems are ruled out, then do this;every day till you start getting your hair back, put lots of 100 percent olive oil on your hair, take a hair brush and massage your scalp in circular motions for about 15 or 20 minutes.wash with a good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner with protein in them. i have stopped using a comb or brush , i just run my fingers through my hair to comb because they will just keep breaking the hair.always use a leave in conditioner all year round.dont wash your hair often , just rinsing with your conditioner will clean it although while you are doing the scalp treatments you will need to wash it.dont put it through any stress like curlers, curling irons,hair clips, etc. i think i have covered every thing. i have a beautician that is all organic. i learned this from her. if you can find one that can give you oil scalp treatments also, that will help, mine does.i was almost bald when i met her and now have my hair back and it didnt take very long for results.i tried bunches of other stuff before i met her including vitamina and nothing worked. i wasted a lot of money. this works...at least it did for me. worth a try..remember,do these treatments every day for a long time, i had to and then when you get to where you can start not having to do it every day, then dont always use shampoo to clean your hair, conditioner will clean good.but you may always have to keep doing this ever once in a while after you get your hair back, i do. i think with me it will be a contuining problem. i do this at least 2 timea a week.

    HI I was having a problem

    HI I was having a problem with my hair it was getting thin and I have always had a head full of hair. I first asked my pharmacist if any of meds might be causing it, there was one of them that might have been causing it so I quit taking it (with my Dr.'s permission) But he also told me to start taking BIOTEN you can get it really cheap at WalMart just take one a day it has helped me.
    Good luck. Hope this works for your sister..BTW I am 63 yrs old and I have my hair back again.

    Hi ladycherokee62' Be careful

    Hi ladycherokee62'
    Be careful with Biotin. I found that it can cause acne break-outs. I'm 44yrs old and was using Biotin daily for hair and nails. About two or three weeks into using it, I started having acne problems. I never had much acne as a teen/young adult, so I was quite shocked! I thought it was a "phase" of pre-menopause and I continued to take it. I finally realized after another month or so that it was the Biotin. I stopped taking it immediately and the acne subsided. Just wanted to give you or another reader a heads up. Thanks. :)

    xhi, again. if you try the

    xhi, again. if you try the oil scalp treatments i forgot to tell you to always rinse your hair with cool water, not hot, i think i covered every thing, if you have any questions , you can email me at amazing_grace81@hotmail.com Elaine

    There is an amazing thing

    There is an amazing thing called green soap it is an all natural vegtable oil based soup you can find it on the internet i know this sounds strange but tattooing sites have it http://shop.technicaltattoosup... this is the exact kind i have i
    think i paid 8$ for a gallon of concentrate (great deal because you can dilute and dilute and dilute & it still works great) either way add ground or fresh sage to a diluted bottle use as shampoo it is amazing leaves you squeaky clean and sage is supposed to help not only re-grow hair but restore color for extra help get a sulfate free conditioner and add tea tree oil best of luck peace love and nature <3

    Losing that much hair could

    Losing that much hair could mean your thyroid level is low. Talk to your doctor, a simple blood test will be done and if positive may need to take daily medication.

    Does anybody have any good

    Does anybody have any good ideas about acne? My daughter is struggling with it. Also blackheads in her ears...

    Good morning. I heard on The

    Good morning. I heard on The Dr.s to clean out acne use 1TBs. of low fat sour cream mixed with 3/4 cup of mustard. spread on the areas, let it sit for 20 mins.and then wash off this will clean out pores. My daughter(14) is afraid to try it. But it makes since. acne is clogged pores. I find that washing her face consistently(that is a problem too) with Bonners natural soap helps. She likes to change things around. Keep me posted

    how old is your daughter?

    how old is your daughter?

    She is 12 years old. She has

    She is 12 years old. She has been struggling with pimples and blackheads for over 2 years.

    bless her heart..i did too at

    bless her heart..i did too at that age

    water and fingertips....so easy...twice or 3 times a day...work so natural and brings out beauty

    I am 32 years old and have

    I am 32 years old and have had problems with acne my whole life I have found through trial and error a few tricks, used coffee grounds mixed with your favorite facial soap help to exfoliate skin and clear up black heads. witch hazel is great!! after you wash your face just apply with a cotton ball. tooth paste(not the gel kind) will shrink a pimple overnight, just put a dab on at bed time and wash it off in the morning. hemroid cream will help to reduce swelling of problem pimples, and clear eyes or any redness reducing eye drops applied with a cotton swab will reduce redness. honey is a great moisturizing facial. but a clay ( I like mint julip) mask will also help to clear and shrink pores. but be shure she is using an oil free moisturizer and facial wash. eucerin makes a great skin cleanser and moisturizer that is great for sensitive skin. over washing can make acne worse !! just wash at bed time and in the am and she should be good.