How often have you run your hands through your hair, touched something greasy, and smelled something terrible? Of course, your hair deserves to be pampered, just like the rest of your body. But in the middle of sweating and the scorching sun's heat, it's impossible to ensure that it doesn't smell bad.
A bad hair day worsens with stinky hair and may eventually discourage people around you. With these expert tips and tricks, you'll enjoy your hair without the rigors of having to wash it constantly. These best practices will help you get rid of smelly hair.
What Makes Hair Smell Bad?
The common factors that cause a bad hair smell are the buildup of excess sweat, sebum (oil), and dead skin cells on the scalp. These contributors allow fungal infections such as Tinea capitis to grow, producing unusual pungent scalp and hair. Smelly hair syndrome is characterized by an unpleasant odor of the hair and scalp resembling an old shoe or sour milk.
Seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, hormonal imbalance and stress, and diet all have something in common: overproduction of oil. According to Dr. Koutam, an oily scalp favors the clogging of pores, and dandruff, including hair loss. There are also other factors to take note of that cause smelly hair.
Improper washing, such as under washing, allows your scalp to be a breeding ground for bacteria due to sebum accumulation. On the other hand, overwashing can remove natural oils from your scalp, stripping away the hair’s essential nutrients.
Pollution can also produce an unwanted odor due to air pollutants sticking onto the scalp and hair strands. According to Galliano et al., particulate matter adhere to hair in terms of longer exposure times and the presence of oily scalp. Hair products also influence the scalp's oil balance, especially those containing harsh ingredients.
There are different remedies to consider before consulting a doctor that you can explore and try. Utilizing natural home remedies can be done initially to solve (minor) smelly hair issues.
7 Tips to Make Hair Smell Good
Knowing the root of the cause will significantly help treat a smelly scalp odor. In addition, it will be easier for you to understand what to improve on your hair routine. Try a patch test before using the remedies first to obtain the best results and prevent unnecessary situations.
1. Keep Up with Your Shampoo Usage
Women commonly have scalp conditions due to their more eccentric hormonal fluctuations. Avoid buying shampoos that contain strong chemicals or surfactants as they will only weaken scalp and hair strands.
The recommended shampoos eliminate traces of grease, dirt, and flakes and repair damage. Examples are L’Oreal, Tresemme, and The Body Shop brands, but they are somehow costly and may contain minimal undesirable substance/s.
How often you should apply shampoo usually depends on your hair type. According to Dr. Goh, daily washing with shampoo is recommended for individuals with oily scalp or flakes. For those that do not particularly have oily hair, at least 3 to 4 times a week will do. Individuals with thick, dry, or curly hair can stick to weekly shampooing.
2. Use a Conditioner to Condition
It is essential to know your hair type to help you choose the best hair products. For example, Black women have diverse hair types. In addition, hair conditioners play a role in providing nourishment and preventing major damage to your hair.
The use of castor oil softens and makes it easier to detangle your hair while providing the nutrients the hair needs. Ingredients such as but not limited to shea butter, peppermint, coconut butter, and Moroccan Argan oil clean unwanted scalp residues.
Kim Williams, a campaign manager, mentioned honey as the key ingredient for her hair to smell good and retain moisture. Breanna Davis, an editor, stated the non-overpowering smell and the damage-free hair provided by her conditioner.
Maya Simeon complimented the moisturized and rewarding effect she experienced using the conditioner. These highly-praised conditioners from the reviews above are SheaMoisture Honey, Tresemme, and Mielle Organics, respectively.
3. Switch Out Your Shampoo
As mentioned before, hair type determines your way of the hair care routine. Hair types are categorized into four types that correspond to straight, wavy, curly, and coily. These are further subdivided into A to C based on the wave width, curl and coil.
The pattern size of Type As are wider than Type Bs, while Type Cs have a smaller diameters. Type 2A hair is shampoo-washed every other day using a sulfate-free shampoo allowing time for the scalp’s natural oil to recover.
Type 2B and Type 2C are washed with sulfate-free shampoo at least 2 to 3 times weekly to moisten the hair with natural oils. Type 3A hair can wash with sulfate-free shampoo every 2-3 days to maintain natural moisture. Type 3B hair can apply sulfur-free shampoo every 2-4 days, which will help hydrate scalp and hair strands.
Type 3C hair shampoo application usually depends on the hair’s actual texture, enough for cleansing excess oil or preventing dry hair. Fine 3C hair requires every two days, and medium 3C hair is washed every four days. Coarse 3C hair, on the other hand, only needs shampoo-wash at least once a week.
Fine Type 4A hair may require to be washed with shampoo at least once every 3 or 4 days. Medium Type 4A requires shampoo-washed every 4 to 5 days, while coarse Type 4A only requires once a week. These ideal shampoo schedules ensure that your scalp is clean while keeping natural oil as much as possible.
Type 4B and Type 4C hair are shampoo-washed at least once weekly to fight off dryness. SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut oil, Emerge Sulfate-free shampoo, and Dove Hydrating Cleanse shampoo are well-appreciated shampoos of the curly/wavy communities.
4. Treat Hair with Oil Therapy
When your hair is exposed to various chemicals and lacks the basic care routine, it might damage your hair. In addition, some specific products and treatments could worsen your hair condition. Opting for a safer therapy with oils could activate scalp and hair benefits.
Oil cleansing unclogs buildups and restores healthy-looking hair by applying it directly onto your scalp. Start the procedure by ensuring the hair is detangled and then parted into two. Next, spread a few pumps of the cleanser on your hair’s length and onto your scalp.
Massage your scalp well using your fingertips and wet hair with lukewarm water after 15 minutes. Oil will emulsify and then be drained out with running water until the milky appearance dissolves. Proceed to dry hair with a microfibre towel but adding a (mild) shampoo before this step can be optional.
Additionally, scentoils like Egyptian Musk oils are usually integrated into hair products like shampoo, which could promote hair growth and control dirt. An example is avocado oil which repairs and strengthens hair by removing blocked hair follicles. Essential oils are not applied directly to your scalp to avoid irritation.
They are usually added in a few drops into your shampoo or conditioner. Next, apply the oil mixture and massage it into your scalp and hair strands. Then, cover it with a towel and wait 30 minutes before rinsing.
5. Stay Natural
Natural hair care methods such as apple cider vinegar and lemon juice rinse also improve common hair problems. According to Dias et al., alkaline pH in some shampoos damages hair, and ACV helps balance scalp pH. Besides its natural pH (4.5-6), it is also rich in vitamins C and B and minerals essential for dandruff control.
The same works for skin, a moisturize skin absorb more scents. If you are interested on Ways to Use Fragrance Oil on Skin check out more of our tips to smell good.
Lemon juice can also be used as an alternative to ACV. It may contain a lower pH of 2.4 but is still considered a powerful acidifying agent. In addition, lemon juice has antimicrobial properties that make dandruff treatment effective.
6. Practice Ice Baths
There are also various inexpensive hair remedies that you can use. Anti-dandruff practices include utilizing an ice bath, as hot water weakens roots, increasing dryness and causing dry dandruff. In addition, the colder the bath, the stronger your scalp will be, so ice baths help close exposed follicles, maintaining a clean scalp.
The premature greying of hair increases with age which is more evident after age 30. Heat does not only cause dandruff but makes hair frizzy resulting in premature greying of the hair. In this case, cool baths (lukewarm is OK) preserve vitamins A, C, and B12 essential for melanin production.
7. Brush Hair With Fragrance Oil
Brushing hair with oil is another helpful way to achieve a softer result and may prevent hair damage. Start applying oil onto your scalp and massage down the length of your hair. Brushing hair with oil makes it easier to maintain shiny hair and supply the nourishment to your hair needs.
On the other hand, salt for hair stimulates scalp circulation and fungal growth protection. In addition, it targets excess oil production and exfoliates dandruff. This salt-based shampoo can be used at least twice a week when opting for this procedure.
Dissolve a tablespoon or two of each salt and shampoo you can apply to your hair. Massage the solution with your fingertips onto your scalp and then rinse with cool water. Depending on your preference, you can also explore by combining salt with olive oil or go with a salt rinse!
Get rid of Unpleasant Odors and Smells from the Scalp
A good hair routine can help prevent and eliminate unpleasant scalp odor. How to get rid of smelly hair you ask? A smelly hair only suggests the presence of excess oil, sweat, and scalp residues. Different remedies are available to eliminate bad smells you can make in the comfort of your home.
Achieve the best results by knowing the causes of your scalp odor to derive immediate solutions. Your hair type also plays a role in successfully removing odors and dirt from your scalp.
Do you want to continuously learn about keeping healthy and good-smelling hair? Follow for more!