Do you want to learn how to make your hair smell good? It’s not all about shampoo!
In fact, there’s way more to it than you think. In this article, we’ll give you 12 tips to make your hair smell good. If you put them to good use, you won’t believe how amazing your hair can smell.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Wash Your Hair Regularly
- 2 2. Utilize Hair Perfume
- 3 3. Scented Hair Products
- 4 4. Use a Leave-in Conditioner
- 5 5. Always Clean Your Combs, Brushes, and Tools
- 6 6. Avoid Smoke
- 7 7. Protect Yourself From Strong Scents
- 8 8. Remember to Wash Your Bedding
- 9 9. Try Dry Shampoo
- 10 10. Use a Heat Protectant When Using Heated Styling Tools
- 11 11. Apply Lemon Juice to Your Hair
- 12 12. Cleanse Your Scalp With Baking Soda
1. Wash Your Hair Regularly
There’s no surprise here – but we didn’t want you to overlook the most obvious option. Before you try anything else, you should make sure you’re washing your hair regularly.
However, we understand that there are times when washing your hair isn’t an option, and you still want to keep your hair smelling fresh.
We’ve written extensively about this topic, including an article on how to eliminate a smoke smell from hair without washing it. So, if shampooing your hair isn’t an option, we have several other options for you to consider.
2. Utilize Hair Perfume
Everyone knows about regular perfume – but did you know there’s hair perfume you can use as well?
Plus, if you’re not aware, there are several hair fragrances. All you have to do is spray a little bit on your hairbrush or comb before you brush or comb your hair. If you do that, you’ll notice a change in the way your hair smells almost instantly.
Note: These products are often called hair perfumes. However, you might also notice them called hair mist, hair refresher spray, and hair fragrance. These terms can all be used interchangeably, as these products are all designed to make your hair smell good.
3. Scented Hair Products
If you feel like using hair perfume is a little too much, you can opt for scented hair products. For example, using scented shampoo and conditioner is a great way to make your hair smell wonderful.
Then again, if you don’t feel like switching shampoo brands, you can also use scented hair mousse or incorporate essential oils into your regimen. We especially like lavender oil, coconut oil, cedarwood oil, bergamot oil, and ylang-ylang oil in terms of natural oils.
Also, you could create a DIY rose water hair spray. It’s straightforward to do and smells wonderful! Here’s what you need: a handful of rose petals (fresh or dried), rose oil, and distilled water. You could also substitute lavender oil if you don’t have rose oil readily available.
First, put the rose petals in a pan and cover them with water. Then, let them simmer for ten minutes over low heat. After that, add the essential oil of your choice to the mix.
Once that’s done, strain it all and pour the water into a spray bottle. It’s now ready to use. We do recommend storing DIY products in the refrigerator to prolong their useful life. DIY hair products tend to expire more quickly than commercial hair products.
4. Use a Leave-in Conditioner
In the previous section, we mentioned using scented hair products. However, this product category deserves special mention. A leave-in conditioner is often utilized immediately after your normal hair washing routine.
These leave-in conditioners are often scented hair products – and they will keep your hair smelling great, feeling soft and moisturized. For an even better result, you can incorporate a deep conditioning routine into your natural hair regimen.
5. Always Clean Your Combs, Brushes, and Tools
Having clean hair will not last long if you’re using dirty combs, brushes, and other hair care tools. As you regularly use these tools, you’ll notice a build-up of oil and product residue.
Every now and then, use a little bit of soap and water to remove the product residue and oil build-up on your combs, brushes, and other hair-related tools and accessories (such as headbands and satin bonnets).
6. Avoid Smoke
If you want your hair to smell great, you need to stay as far away from smoke as possible. If you smoke cigarettes, attending a campfire, or around smoke from outdoor BBQ, you’ve likely experienced the clingy nature of smoke.
Ideally, you can protect your hair from smoke (see #6). If not, consider using a dryer sheet, fabric softener sheet, baking soda, hair dryer on a cool setting, or any of the other options discussed within this article.
Read this article for a more detailed guide on how to get a smoke smell out of your hair, even if washing it isn’t an immediate option.
7. Protect Yourself From Strong Scents
Other than smoke, many other scents can cause your hair to smell, and some of them come from things you deal with every day.
For example, working around food all day will make your hair smell terrible, and you don’t want that. This problem is magnified if you work in a smokehouse since dealing with smoke is bad for your hair.
If you can, avoid any strong scents. If that’s not possible, cover your hair in some way, like using a head wrap or a headscarf.
8. Remember to Wash Your Bedding
Every night, you go to sleep and rest your head on a pillowcase for hours at a time. Before you even realize it, you’ll find that you’re using a dirty pillowcase – and potentially the remainder of your bedding as well. If your bedding, including your pillowcase, isn’t properly maintained, it could make your hair smell bad.
So, make sure you wash your pillowcase and remaining bedding to remove dirt, product build-up, and excess oil from your hair and scalp. Plus, you could use a hair spray (or your favorite perfume) to freshen your pillowcase between washes.
9. Try Dry Shampoo
Unpleasant smells are often noticeable, and if you can’t wash your hair with regular shampoo, dry shampoo is an alternative solution. It’s a quick way to eliminate hair odor, a smelly scalp, or a related unpleasant odor.
Oily hair leads to bad-smelling hair – and dry shampoo can help you soak up excess oil from your scalp. We like Hair Dance (use this link) and Penny Pincher’s dry shampoo, although there are dozens of great brands, and you can pick the one that smells best to you.
Some women also use arrowroot powder or cornstarch as their shampoo to deodorize their hair. Be careful not to overdo it, though. Apply a little bit of powder to your hair until your hair absorbs it. Remove any excess with a microfiber towel.
10. Use a Heat Protectant When Using Heated Styling Tools
If you tend to heat styling tools, like flat irons and hair steamers, you should always use a heat protectant to mitigate the possibility of heat damage occurring.
In addition to incurring heat-damaged hair (i.e., burned hair), heat styling tools can leave your hair smelling terrible – like burnt hair. If you’ve not experienced burnt hair, it doesn’t smell good.
Heat protectants often provide a “scent” that keeps your hair smelling good after the heat styling session.
11. Apply Lemon Juice to Your Hair
Lemons can give your hair a nice and fresh-smelling scent. Squeeze lemon juice and massage it into your hair and scalp to create great results. Lemon juice is also great to help you reduce dandruff and excess oil from your hair. Lemon essential oil is also a popular option with a great citrus scent.
12. Cleanse Your Scalp With Baking Soda
Finally, baking soda is a great home remedy to keep your hair smelling fresh. The basic baking soda recipe is to mix water and baking soda using a 1:3 ratio.
For example, mix three tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of baking soda. Apply it to your wet hair, massage the scalp for five minutes, and then rinse your hair with water.
Final Thoughts on How to Make Your Hair Smell Good
If your hair and scalp don’t consistently smell good, there are several natural ways to fix this problem. Although, I think most beauty experts would agree that washing your hair regularly is the best solution.
We also recommend using scented hair care products. In addition to the ones listed in the article, we also really like aloe vera gel, jasmine oil, tea tree oil, hibiscus oil, and several yummy-smelling shampoos.
Some women have mentioned using tomato juice, fresh flowers, cinnamon powder, and various household items with a subtle scent.
We haven’t tested all of these options, but the key takeaway is that you have numerous options. So, feel free to experiment if there isn’t a solution on the list above that meets your needs.
If you have smelly hair syndrome or excessively dry hair and scalp that’s potentially leading to a foul odor, we recommend consulting a medical professional to deal with a potential medical issue.
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. With over 15 years of experience, Kenneth has been dedicated to hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box alongside his wife. As a team, they promote healthy hair care practices through their comprehensive platform, Curl Centric. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care. At Curl Centric, we aim to help our readers take control of their hair care journey and make good decisions about products, hairstyles, and maintenance techniques. We also have strict editorial integrity; here’s an explanation of our editorial guidelines and how we make money.