Tea tree oil, which is an essential oil extracted from a small Australian tree of the same name, is used in many cosmetic and health applications. The oil is naturally nontoxic, antifungal and antibacterial, and is effective against many infections. Its properties make it a popular treatment for dandruff and head lice. Adding tea tree oil to your hair-washing regimen can be done in minutes.
Use a dropper to add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 8 oz. of shampoo. This creates a 2 percent solution. You may increase the amount of oil you add up to 5 percent, but don't use more than that to prevent possible irritation. Add only 5 drops of oil to the shampoo if you are treating a child for head lice.
Mix the shampoo and oil together, and apply directly to the scalp. Massage into the skin with your fingertips. Let it sit on your head for five minutes.
Rinse hair thoroughly and style as usual.
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Make a tea tree oil conditioner by adding 5 drops of oil to one egg and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Mix thoroughly, and apply to damp hair for five to 10 minutes. Rinse.
Add a few drops of lavender oil to your homemade tea tree shampoo for a relaxing scent.
Tea tree oil is a concentrated essence and should not be used undiluted. Add it to a carrier fluid such as an oil, shampoo or lotion.
Tricia Ross is a full-time journalist who studied English at the University of California-Los Angeles. She has run a marathon and three half-marathons and has training in sports massage therapy.