When looking for something to deal with cradle cap, I rejected the products available in the pharmacy and made up my own remedy. Our reliance on chemicals started with the small step of stopping using shampoo back in 2008. Since then, when we’ve needed to replace a product, we’ve started choosing something more organic, more environmentally-friendly and less dependent on petrochemicals.

Our girls all have some residual cradle cap on their scalps. Because we aren’t using shampoo to wash their heads and hair, the dead skin has built up. It’s not dirty, it’s not unhygienic, and doctors aren’t certain what causes it, but I thought it was time to deal with it.

In the past I have used warm olive oil to soften the cradle cap before combing it out which leaves the baby smelling like yummy salad dressing. Recently, I heard a story that large quantities of hair conditioner also soften the cradle cap, so I decided to try that method.

When at the shops earlier this week, I bought some Australian-made organic conditioner (we don’t use shampoo or conditioner, remember) and in the morning, I massaged it into the tops of the girls’ heads. At the end of the afternoon, I rinsed their hair in the bath, combing to remove as much of the cradle cap as possible.

Calista with conditioner in her hair, December 2011
The conditioner coats Calista's hair, and after taking this photo I can see that her face also needs a good scrub!

The method works well. Success is in the amount you comb the scalp, and the conditioner is only to soften the scalp — not remove the cradle cap.

Three-year-old Calista is the only one who still has large quantities of cradle cap on her head. I may repeat this for in the near future, but until then, more regular brushing of her head will help loosen the dead skin.