If you’ve ever used high heat on your hair, then you may be familiar with the smell of burning hair – there’s no smell quite like it. The scent is so powerful that it can fill an entire room.
If you’re dealing with a burnt hair smell and have been unsuccessful in getting rid of it, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll teach you how to get rid of the burnt hair smell and leave you with some tips to avoid this burnt smell altogether.
Table of Contents
- 1 Key Takeaways
- 2 How to Get Rid of Burnt Hair Smell Fast
- 3 Why Your Hair Smells Burnt
- 4 How to Avoid the Smell of Burnt Hair
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5.1 Does Burnt Hair Smell Go Away?
- 5.2 How Do You Fix Smelly, Burnt Hair?
- 5.3 How Do You Get the Smell out of Your Hair Without Washing It?
- 5.4 What Removes Smell From Hair?
- 5.5 Why Does My Hair Smell Burnt After Flat Ironing?
- 5.6 Why Does My Hair Smell Burnt After I Washed It?
- 5.7 Will the Burnt Hair Smell Go Away?
- 5.8 Related Articles
- Hair’s Structure: If you use hot tools on your hair, it can damage the hair’s molecules and make it smell burnt.
- How to Get Rid of Burnt Hair Smell: Neutralize the bad smell by using a shampoo with baking soda and essential oils. Choose lavender or tea tree oil.
- Hair treatments: Aloe vera helps remove the burnt smell and repair heat damage.
- Avoidance Is Key: Preventing the burnt smell is easier than treating it. Limit the use of hair straighteners and hair dryers, and always use heat protectants.
- Lingering Odor: The scent of burnt hair from a straightener can stay for a while, especially if it’s badly damaged.
How to Get Rid of Burnt Hair Smell Fast
A stubborn burnt hair smell doesn’t stand a chance against the right remedy. Read on to learn some helpful remedies to mask the odor and make your hair smell delightful.
Baking Soda Shampoo Formula
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has absorbing properties, making it a fantastic odor-neutralizing agent. When used at the right concentration, it immediately neutralizes most unpleasant smells. This makes it a great way to eliminate your burnt hair smell.
How to Do a Baking Soda Wash
Add a teaspoon of baking soda to your shampoo, mix it thoroughly, and use it to wash your hair.
You can repeat the process if the strong smell is not gone after one wash. It’s essential to check the condition of your hair after a baking soda wash, as both baking soda and shampoo can dry the hair.
Many essential oils are great for masking and neutralizing your burnt hair smell. This is the perfect remedy for any DIY enthusiast. Use any of the following hair oils to make your hair smell pleasant.
- Lavender Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Ylang Ylang Oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Lemon Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
- Frankincense Oil
- Rose Oil
- Cedarwood Oil
- Jasmine Oil
- Orange Oil
How to Use Essential Oils for Odor Elimination
You could use any of the above natural oils as a spritz by mixing a few drops of the essential oil with water in a spray bottle (10-12 drops of oil per ounce of water is fine). Shake the mixture well and spray it on your hair.
Alternatively, you can dilute a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil (such as almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil) and apply the mixture to your hair and scalp with your fingers. To avoid overly shiny hair, be careful not to overapply.
Warning About Essential Oils
In case you’re new to essential oils, it’s crucial to note that you must dilute essential oils! Undiluted essential oils may irritate your skin and scalp.
Aloe vera is not only a fantastic odor-neutralizer, but it also helps repair heat damage.
To try this odor-banishing remedy, purchase pure aloe vera gel or pick up an aloe vera leaf from a local plant nursery.
Make Your Own Aloe Vera Juice
If you want to DIY your aloe vera treatment, follow the steps below:
- Cut the aloe vera leaf to expose the gel inside. Continue cutting the leaf away until you’re left with a piece of aloe vera gel.
- Discard the leaf pieces.
- Add five tablespoons of olive oil and three drops of rosemary essential oil for fragrance (the essential oil is optional).
- Blend the mixture thoroughly until it has a smooth consistency, then strain the juice into a bottle or jar. Aloe vera pulp is difficult to remove from the hair, so we advise you not to skip the straining step.
Apply the Aloe Vera Juice
Now it’s time to apply the aloe vera juice to your hair.
- Apply the aloe vera juice to your hair. Ensure that every strand is coated with the mixture.
- Cover the hair with a plastic bag or processing cap and let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Rinse the mixture out using cool water. There’s no need to wash and condition your hair after this treatment.
Each remedy is easy to try and doesn’t require much time or effort. Try one or more of them to eliminate the smell of burnt hair.
Why Your Hair Smells Burnt
When trying to achieve the perfect hairdo, it can be tempting to crank up the heat, but this could be dangerous for your hair, leading to hair damage and offensive to your nose.
When you leave a section of your hair wrapped around a curling iron for over a few seconds, the heat may damage the cuticle and molecules that make up the hair shaft.
Moreover, if you run a hot iron along a particular section of hair repeatedly, you risk burning the outer layer of your hair. You can also burn your hair when flat-ironing or blow-drying it at a high temperature.
The charred remains of your hair give off that burnt hair smell. Often, the burnt hair smell goes away after a day or two.
But sometimes, it can linger for days or weeks, especially if the heat damage is extensive. In these cases, washing your hair may not be enough to eliminate the odor.
How to Avoid the Smell of Burnt Hair
Preventing a burnt hair smell is much easier than removing an offensive odor from your hair. So, to help you avoid this scent in the future and to keep your hair smelling nice, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Avoid frequent use of hot tools. There are many natural, non-damaging ways to style your curly hair. You don’t have to constantly straighten, curl, or do heat styles on your hair. For example, opt for air-drying instead of blow-drying your hair when you’re not in a rush. Read this article to learn more about protective styling and how it can help you mitigate hair damage.
- Control the temperature. As stated before, burnt-smelling hair is a result of heat damage. You can prevent this by reducing the temperature of your hot tools. No amount of heat is good for your hair, but using too much heat can be very damaging. We recommend that you lower the temperature of your heat tools as much as possible. Also, you should avoid sun exposure (e.g., lounging under the scorching sun) for long periods.
- Always use heat protection. If you have no choice but to use heated styling tools or be in the sun, we recommend using a heat protectant. Spray it on your hair before going out or using a blow dryer, curling wand, curling iron, or flat iron. The heat protectant will help reduce the risk of heat damage to your hair. There’ll be no burnt hair smell if there’s no heat damage.
- Never use hot tools on wet hair. Hot tools that make direct contact with your hair should only be used when your hair is completely dry. If you use hot tools on wet hair, your strands will fry, and you can smell it immediately. You also risk experiencing bubble hair, which can be very damaging. Learn more about bubble hair in this article.
- Use a hair mask. Keep your hair healthy and nourished by applying a hair mask once or twice weekly. If your hair is too dry or cannot retain moisture, it’s vulnerable to heat damage. On the other hand, moisturized hair can handle heat better than parched hair. So, we recommend giving your hair the best chance of withstanding heat by moisturizing it.
Watch this video by Sierra LaFaye for additional tips on eliminating the pungent smell from your hair. This video also provides tips that might help with smelly hair syndrome and a smelly scalp.
If you have smelly hair syndrome, consult a dermatologist to ensure you follow an approved treatment plan for your specific needs.
Why Does My Hair Smell Burnt?
The burnt hair smell is caused by using heated hair styling tools like hot irons, tongs, wands, straighteners, blow dryers, and hair steamers. These tools reach high temperatures and can easily burn your hair when misused, causing a burnt odor.
It’s also important to note that heat damage isn’t repairable, so avoid overusing these styling tools.
How Do You Treat Burnt Hair?
When treating burnt hair, be sure that you stop using heated tools immediately. The next step is eliminating the order using a baking soda wash, essential oils, aloe vera, lemon juice, hair perfume, dry shampoo, or other hair care products to remove unpleasant odors.
Additional products designed to eliminate bad smells include various products you might have around the household, like a dryer sheet and body perfume.
Next, you’ll want to attempt to repair your burned hair strands. Even though burned hair isn’t completely repairable, you should wash your hair with a gentle sulfate-free shampoo and follow the shampooing process with a deep conditioning treatment.
Going forward, you’ll want to mitigate (or eliminate) the use of heated styling tools and gentle hair care products to preserve your damaged hair strands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Navigating the aftermath of burnt hair can lead to several questions. Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions to help you better understand and tackle this issue.
Does Burnt Hair Smell Go Away?
Yes, the burnt hair smell often goes away after a day or two. However, in cases where the heat damage is extensive, the odor can linger for days or weeks. In severe cases, simply washing your hair might not eliminate the smell.
How Do You Fix Smelly, Burnt Hair?
You can use a baking soda shampoo mixture to fix smelly, burnt hair. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to your regular shampoo and wash your hair. If the odor persists, repeat the process.
Essential oils like lavender, tea tree, or peppermint oil mask the smell. Dilute the oil with water or a carrier oil and apply it to the hair. Additionally, aloe vera juice can neutralize odors and help repair heat damage.
How Do You Get the Smell out of Your Hair Without Washing It?
You can get the smell out of your hair without washing it using a mixture of essential oils diluted with water. You can also dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil. For instance, mix a few drops of oils, like lavender and tea tree, in a spray bottle and spritz it onto your hair.
Essential oils not only help mask the odor, but some oils can also neutralize the smell. Another method is using dry shampoo or hair perfumes. These products are specifically designed to refresh hair’s scent. Lastly, running a dryer sheet over your hair can also help reduce unwanted scents.
What Removes Smell From Hair?
To remove smells from your hair, add baking soda to your regular shampoo. This simple recipe will neutralize most unpleasant odors. Diluted essential oils, such as rosemary oil, can mask and even eliminate some odors. Also, aloe vera juice acts as an odor-neutralizer when applied to hair. It also has the added benefit of helping mitigate heat damage.
Why Does My Hair Smell Burnt After Flat Ironing?
When you use a flat iron on your hair, the high heat can damage the hair cuticle and shaft, leaving a burnt smell. Repeated exposure or prolonged contact with the hot iron can burn the outer layer of the hair. Burning the hair’s outer layer results in a burnt odor.
Why Does My Hair Smell Burnt After I Washed It?
If your hair smells burnt after washing it, there might be leftover residue from heat damage. Even after washing, the burnt hair smell can linger if the heat damage is extensive.
Will the Burnt Hair Smell Go Away?
Yes, the smell of burnt hair typically fades away on its own after a day or two. However, the odor may persist longer in cases of extensive heat damage. You can quickly remove the burnt smell from your hair using baking soda washes or essential oils.
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We all know that the burnt hair smell is an annoyance, but more importantly, it’s a sign of heat damage. While this is bad news, there are things that you can do to prevent further damage.
Once you get the burnt odor under control, give your hair some love with moisturizing treatments, deep treatment masks, and fewer heat styling sessions. The steps within this article should be followed regardless of hair type, as it’s the best way to deal with the bad odor and introduce damage control.
We hope this article enables you to eliminate that awful burnt hair smell and encourages you to take better care of your hair going forward.
Kenneth Byrd, with a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has over 15 years of experience and is a recognized authority in hair care. Co-founder of Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box, Kenneth has dedicated himself to promoting ethical and scientifically-backed hair care practices. Rigorous editorial guidelines, industry recognitions, and features in numerous media outlets evidence his expertise. Kenneth’s commitment to transparency, quality, and empowerment has positioned him as a trusted voice in the field, empowering readers to confidently embrace their natural beauty.