What Happens If You Put Hand Sanitizer in Your Hair?

Beautiful Asian woman using hand sanitizer while introducing products.
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Over the past few years, hand sanitizer has become a staple addition to your handbag or backpack, along with your keys, wallet, and phone. And even if you never used it before Covid, you probably use it more than once a day in these times.

Most hand sanitizers on the market are full of chemicals and alcohol, though, which strip the skin of its natural oils. This has made it popular among some people to use hand sanitizer on their hair, as a quick fix to getting rid of grease.

But is using hand sanitizer in your hair a good thing? What happens if you get it in your hair with regular use? Will it damage your locks? Help them?

Read on to find out what we’ve discovered…


Hand Sanitizer in Your Hair

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, sales of hand sanitizer shot up 600% just in 2020, and it’s predicted to become a market worth $17bn by 2026, so it seems this is a product that’s not going anywhere soon!

The majority of hand sanitizers that are available to buy are alcohol-based products, which means that they dry up and evaporate quickly. And just because it’s good for killing bacteria and viruses, using it too much can cause irritation on the skin.

Accidental Application

So if you’re regularly using hand sanitizer on your hair, and you constantly run your fingers through your hair… you’re gonna be getting hand sanitizer in your hair, whether you like it or not!

How bad is that?

If you’re not doing it too frequently, there won’t be much impact on your hair. But if you regularly are exposing your hair to hand sanitizer, you’re going to make your hair dry and brittle.

And there are those who intentionally put sanitizer in their hair as a dandruff treatment.

Dandruff Fighter?

Some people with dandruff and greasy scalps have been led to believe that using hand sanitizer to get rid of extra flakes and bacteria on their scalp can help them.

You can find videos on YouTube and TikTok of people washing their hair with hand sanitizer, using it as a substitute for regular shampoo.

The problem is, though, that eventually, even if you do have severe dandruff, using hand sanitizer as a hair wash will harm your scalp and damage your hair.

This is because just the drying effect of the alcohol alone will strip your scalp’s acid mantle and its natural oils.

The cells of your hair follicles will also dehydrate and not function properly if you use hand sanitizer on them. Your hair itself will become dry, brittle and may even break off. Having to tackle frizzy hair daily will be the least of your problems if you choose to go down this route.

The cells of your hair follicles will also dehydrate and not function properly if you use hand sanitizer on them. Your hair itself will become dry, brittle and may even break off.

Is Putting Hand Sanitizer In Your Hair Really Unsafe?

Besides the drying alcohols used in hand sanitizers, the other common ingredients include other harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances, which are irritating.

And because manufacturers aren’t required to list each fragrance, you won’t know if they will cause you an allergic reaction on top of your dandruff.

Getting back to the alcohol, if you choose to wash your hair with hand sanitizer instead of dandruff shampoo, then over time, it will lighten your hair. This may sound like a great benefit — a bleach alternative! — but the damage to your roots and hair won’t like it — trust us on this one.

Healthy Anti-Dandruff Alternatives

Besides the more recognized brands of shampoos and conditioners most people buy to control their dandruff and flaky scalps, there are healthier alternatives available that have helped many eliminate the problem for good.

1. Bentonite Clay

For example, bentonite clay, such as this No products found., is a perfect healer for your hair and scalp. Using this product will transform dry, dull, and thinning hair into soft, shiny, and voluminous locks.

No products found.

If you need to eliminate a dry, itchy, and dandruff-prone scalp, then this bentonite clay has you covered, because it will remove dirt and grease, without stripping your hair of its natural oils.

You simply mix the clay with apple cider vinegar or water to create a paste to make your hair mask, which will then pull impurities from your scalp and hair.

If you need to eliminate a dry, itchy, and dandruff-prone scalp, then this bentonite clay has you covered, because it will remove dirt and grease, without stripping your hair of its natural oils.

And the best part about bentonite clay powder? You can also use it on your skin, too! It makes a great facial mask to get rid of impurities like whiteheads and blackheads, while it rejuvenates skin by increasing blood flow, shrinking pores and softening aging skin.

2. Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar

Baking soda, which you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard, is also something you can use that’s safe to use to help you get rid of a dandruff problem. When it’s mixed with apple cider vinegar to create a hair mask, it can help to restore your scalp’s to stop yeast overgrowth.

In addition, apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that can destroy bacteria and fungus that causes dandruff to grow, while its malic acid treats dandruff. Therefore, this combination is an effective treatment for dandruff. To use baking soda for dandruff, simply mix enough apple cider vinegar into it to create a paste, apply to your roots, then rinse off with cool water after 15 minutes.

If you’re not up for getting messy with powders and mixing, then there are a couple of traditional products that will help you get rid of your dandruff in a more natural way.

3. Avalon Organics Therapy Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 

Avalon Organics Therapy Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, 14 Oz
  • Contains Organic Ingredients
  • Vegan
  • No Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate
  • No GMOs
  • No Synthetic Colors or Fragrances

Avalon Organics Therapy Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo has been specially formulated with a blend of 2% salicylic acid, aloe vera, tea tree, chamomile and essential oils, to work in harmony to treat and prevent further dandruff from developing.

This shampoo will control the itching, scaling and flaking that happens with dandruff, and helps to condition and nourish the hair with its organic and vegan ingredients. It’s also free from sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, and doesn’t contain any synthetic colors or fragrances.

4. Avalon Organics Therapy Medicated Anti-Dandruff Conditioner

Avalon Organics Therapy Medicated Anti-Dandruff Conditioner, 14 Oz
  • One 14 oz. bottle of Avalon Organics...
  • Deeply nourishes while relieving scalp...
  • Certified organic, plant-based formula...
  • No GMOs, parabens, harsh preservatives,...
  • Always cruelty-free, never tested on...

The accompanying Avalon Organics Therapy Medicated Anti-Dandruff Conditioner is also free from chemical nasties and will deeply nourish your hair while relieving the scalp of any dryness.

Its plant-based formula will condition your hair from the follicle down the entire shaft, and also contains 2% salicylic acid, aloe vera, chamomile, and tea tree to leave your hair feeling soft and looking healthy.

Final Thoughts

Using hand sanitizer in hair isn’t the best option for you if you suffer from a dandruff problem (nor is Head and Shoulders, really!). Yes, it may be a quick fix for a greasy hair dilemma, but using it on a regular basis will damage your hair because of the alcohol content.

Just keep our suggestions in mind to help heal your hair naturally, because hand sanitizer should definitely not be your first choice when it comes to cleaning your hair.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).