Home Remedies for Dry Hair and Skin

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

By Margaret Boyles & Margaret Ross
October 23, 2020
Dry Skin

Do you have dry hair, hands, scalp, 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.

Remedies for Dry Hair

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.

    Remedies for 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.

    Remedies for 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 over-rubbing. Gently 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 gently 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.

    Remedies for 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.

    Remedies for 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 Beating Drys!

    • Forget the idea that drinking plenty of water is the only thing necessary for keeping 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

    Tea Bags for Eyes;

    I use either Green Tea Bags or Black Tea Bags; (Lipton); I make hot regular tea; before I put milk in; I take the tea bags; (I use two tea bags); while warm; apply tea bags to eyes; hold; u can rinse with water; very refreshing eye-relaxing; (Chamomile is good; mint might sting);

    What kind of tea?

    What kind of tea bags can you use for your eyes? I have had dark circles and tired eyes for a week now, and the compress sounds inviting. Does any kind of tea work? Like peppermint? Or should it be green tea?

    that was great thanks for

    that was great thanks for that,you know i just recently stumbled upon your website.but i just binge read almost every article on your site,great stuff.

    itchy feet

    I've been having really itchy feet especially in between toes. could be athlete foot. What can I do to help?

    Itchy feet

    Catherine Boeckmann's picture

    Yes, athlete’s foot is common between toes, especially the little toe and the toe next to it. You just need some antifungal powder and air out your feet. Wear socks that aren’t cotton; keep your feet dry.

    This blog is really

    This blog is really informative and nicely explained. Thanks for sharing. All the tips and remedies are so effective and easy-to-apply. Another and most important good thing about ayurvedis beauty products is that there is no side-effect. So, I always prefer home made remedies and ayurvedic cosmetic products from Kama Ayurveda. They offer 100% natural ayurvedic beauty products.

    I’d recommend Pro Naturals !

    I’d recommend Pro Naturals !

    Looking for a remedy- Hello,

    Looking for a remedy-
    Hello, I'm looking for a natural remedy for adult cystic acne. I'm nearly 30 yo and have had acne for most of my life. As I became older it changed into more cystic, hormonal-type acne. Please advise, thank you!

    I have heard that borax. Yes,

    I have heard that borax. Yes, the laundry detergent 20 mule team clears all skin and scalp ailments. It has been used for over a century. Ladies used to wash their hair and it kills parasites, fungus and has antiviral properties. Do not confuse this with Boric Acid which is highly poisonous.

    Try Manuka honey....I hear

    Try Manuka honey....I hear its excellent for skin issues such as acne and or eczema...it has many benifits. You want the right kind tho, there are many imposters so i would research and purchase from a whole food or health store.

    Trying to get my hair to

    Trying to get my hair to grow. What can I use??

    Tips for Long Hair

    Make a pack by mixing 1 cup of henna powder in half cup of curd or yoghurt. Apply this pack scalp as well as on the hair and leave it till it gets dried. After getting dried wash the hair with mild shampoo. This will help you in getting strong hair and growth will be fast.

    I have read on this and i

    I have read on this and i found that cold pressed castor oil or black african castor oil...it has the ash of the castor bean added to it...ive read many blogs stating that it can be put on eyelash line for growth as well.... goodluck

    Grow hair

    How can I get my hair to grow and stop falling out

    Low thyroid causes hair loss

    Any ideas appreciated. Have started having hair cut on suggested days to encourage growth.

    Awesome treatments! These

    Awesome treatments! These will definitely keep me looking good when starting my new job! These natural remedies pretty much solve all my problems :).

    i had lovely hair once but in

    i had lovely hair once but in the last two years or so it has fallen so much and thinned even. is there a remedy? am only 47.
    thank you.

    annie Emily

    Does more than normal come

    Does more than normal come out in your comb? That's one way of knowing for sure. If it's not sudden and has been over time as you say, it is usually hereditary. Is this something other family members have experienced? But if you are taking too much Vitamin A or losing lots of weight, that could contribute, too. You could talk to a dermatologist.

    For those of you asking about

    For those of you asking about hair growth I have found something that helps. It is caffeine. There are shampoos and hair care products that have caffeine added. Caffeine de-stimulates the hormones that cause hair to die and fall out and it boosts the hormones that create full, healthy hair. I am now in the process of trying to find a way to use coffee as a home treatment for hair & skin. Surely, there is a way to do it. You can rinse your hair with coffee, it's boosts color for brunettes and I'm experimenting to see if it helps with fullness and healthiness. My hair thinned out while using the depot shot as birth control and have been looking ever since for a booster.

    Biotin vitamin supplements.

    Biotin vitamin supplements. B6 50 or 100 mg every day.

    Great article ! As the

    Great article ! As the summers has already started and it is really important to take care of everything whether it is skin, hair or dark circles.

    I have also heard that if you

    I have also heard that if you apply ice to the inflamed area it increases blood flow and can really help with your Acne by reducing inflamation.

    What is a really good natural

    What is a really good natural remedy to get rid of flakey hair?

    Oatmeal and baking soda might

    The Editors's picture

    Oatmeal and baking soda might help. Take a bath and soak your head in water with some uncooked oatmeal or baking soda sprinkled in. Otherwise, be sure to use fragrance-free products and thoroughly rinse all products from your hair. You may want to visit a health professional to ensure it's not a more serious skin problem.

    ya, this is right. this site

    ya, this is right. this site is really enjoyed. This is such a Great resource that you are providing and it’s really helpful for me. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this wonderful information. thanks

    I will be taking some of the

    I will be taking some of the treatment's into consideration first need to talk to Dr. But, I do thank everyone.

    Is there anything good to use

    Is there anything good to use to put elasticity back into skin?

    There are countless theories

    The Editors's picture

    There are countless theories out there, from coconut oil to vitamins C & E to avocado, but we don't have any guaranteed methods to recommend.

    Please, I hope one of the

    Please, I hope one of the Almanac staff will answer my
    question. I'm Jeana Lim and I
    tried almost different treatments, products and some advice from my friends but my hair is still very dull, dry and no life at all and sometimes my classmates always bully me that I have a very ugly and no life hair and I don't know what to do
    and sometimes I'm so jealous on my classmates that have a beautiful, bouncy and full of life hair please what can I do to have a beautiful and full of life hair easily in a natural way.. I hope you will answer me..THANK YOU

    what is the best way that I

    what is the best way that I can do avoid frizzy hair