There’s nothing like a warm shower to get rid of all the dirt, grime, and sweat that your body has accumulated after a long day.
But when it comes to hair, for many people, the situation is completely different. The moment they step out of the shower, their hair starts smelling like a wet dog.
You may have thought of buying hair products that claim to keep your mane smelling good– right? Before you spend your hard-earned money on them to get rid of foul odors, it’s important to find out the reason behind your smelly hair and scalp.
So, why does your hair smell awful after taking a shower? If you’re wondering the same, read this guide till the end, where we’ll answer the question and discuss some tips to help you deal with the problem.
Let’s dive in, then!
Common Reasons Why Your Hair Smells After Showering
1. Not Washing Your Hair Enough
One common misconception is that hair does not need to be washed regularly, as that can remove the natural oils from the scalp, which promotes growth.
When you wash your hair less, the natural oils accumulate on the scalp and block the hair follicles, leading to a bad smell. To prevent that from happening, wash your hair at least once in three days.
2. Frequent Washing
Just like washing your hair less can lead to an imbalance in sebum production, doing it too frequently can make your hair smelly. Not many know that overwashing hair strips off the natural oils from the scalp.
This, in turn, stimulates the scalp to produce more sebum to compensate for the loss of natural oils from the scalp. While you may shampoo your hair too often to keep it squeaky clean, the result is the opposite– hair that smells bad, so avoid washing it too frequently.
Another reason why your hair smells terrible is sweating, a natural phenomenon that cannot be avoided, no matter what. Some people are naturally very sweaty, while others sweat when they work out or exert themselves physically.
When sweat builds up on the scalp, it mixes with bacteria, making your scalp smelly. If not tended to right away, your scalp will allow bacteria to thrive on it, leading to itching.
4. Using Hair Products With Synthetic Chemicals
Many hair products on the market contain harsh synthetic chemicals, which can disturb the balance of natural oils on the scalp. If any such product is used to wash the hair, the likelihood of your hair smelling bad is high.
Hence, you must avoid using hair products that are packed with chemicals if you want to have hair that smells great.
5. Washing Your Hair With Hot Water
Washing your hair with hot water can cause several problems, but did you know it can make it smell bad? Hot water removes natural oils from hair, which the scalp compensates for by producing them in excess. Increased oil production makes the scalp a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in foul odors.
Other problems caused by washing your hair with warm water include hair dryness, brittleness, and breakage.
6. Excessive Use Of Mists And Shampoos
Many shampoos on the market claim to solve the problem of smelly hair, especially dry ones. Unfortunately, such shampoos, mists, and sprays can cause more harm than good by leading to product buildup on the scalp. That is why you should avoid such chemical hair products to prevent your hair from smelling bad.
Dealing With Hair That Smells Bad
1. Washing Your Hair Properly
To prevent your hair from smelling like a wet dog, it is recommended to wash your hair at least once in two to three days. But make sure to consult your dermatologist before doing so since this washing period is not the same for everyone.
For some people, washing hair once in three days is sufficient to prevent it from smelling. But others may have to wash it on alternate days to deter foul smell from their hair. As such, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to washing hair because it depends upon the hair type.
2. Using An Appropriate Clarifying Shampoo
Using the right shampoo can prevent your hair from smelling awful. People with smelly hair must use a mild shampoo that does not contain any sulfates for cleaning the scalp. You must always apply conditioner only on the lengths; using it on the scalp is a big no-no!
A clarifying shampoo is very effective in eliminating scalp smell by cleaning the follicles without removing the natural oils. Additionally, you can use a DIY scrub that contains sugar or a charcoal mask to cleanse the pores. Oh, and did we mention that sugar can also absorb wet dog smell from your scalp?
3. Try Essential Oils
Using essential oils, such as peppermint essential oil, is one of the fastest ways to eliminate hair odor. Just add a few drops of the essential oil to your shampoo, which will not only add a fresh, minty smell to the hair, but also soothe your itchy scalp.
Besides peppermint, you can use other essential oils to keep your hair smelling great at all times.
4. Avoid Certain Ingredients
The majority of shampoos that you come across on the market contain lots of harmful ingredients, which make your hair smell bad. These include lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth, parabens, PEG’s, phthalates, propylene glycol, and alcohol.
Such ingredients lead to a buildup on the scalp and can cause your hair to smell bad even after showering.
5. Altering The Water Temperature
Using normal or lukewarm water can prevent smelly hair, and the difference can be noticed with a single wash. As such, you must avoid washing your hair with overly hot water.
Preventing Hair Odor
While the methods mentioned above can help you deal with smelly hair, there are certain ways by which you can prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.
1. Check For Problems Like Psoriasis And Dandruff
Problems like psoriasis and dandruff are among the leading causes of smelly scalp and hair. This is because they cause the scalp to produce excess oil and flaky residue that leaves an unpleasant odor, which is transferred to pillows and towels.
Also, conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and dandruff can cause irritation; as such, they require professional treatment. Generally, professionals recommend using a lotion, cream, or a medicated shampoo to deal with these problems and prevent smelly scalp syndrome.
2. Check Your Diet
Different foods have different smells, but the smell of certain foods is overly strong. Consuming these foods will make your body and hair smell bad. Such food items include garlic, onion, broccoli, spicy foods, fried food, dairy, and beetroot.
It is recommended to consume such foods in moderation to prevent your hair from smelling bad. Alternatively, certain food items such as apples, citrus fruits, fennel seeds, herbal tea, mint, rosemary, and lemon can make your hair smell great. These should be consumed in greater quantities if you want to smell good.
3. Use A Head Covering
If you step out without covering your head, the pollutants present in the air get deposited on the scalp and combine with the sebum. When that happens, your hair will start smelling bad despite taking a shower. Removing such particles is not easy, as they are tiny, so you’ll have to wash your hair vigorously.
To avoid this, cover your head before stepping out, which will prevent pollutants from accumulating on the scalp. If possible, book a spa cleansing treatment that can nourish and hydrate your hair. Also, avoid using tools like hair straighteners or curlers too frequently.
4. Consult A Physician
Not many know that stress and hormonal imbalance can also cause your hair to smell bad. These two factors affect sebum production, which may irritate the scalp and make your hair smell awful. Visiting a general physician can help you understand how to deal with such problems, and the physician may even recommend some medication for resolving these issues.
Or, you can deal with stress and regulate your hormone levels by consuming adequate amounts of protein, avoiding undereating and overeating, working out, etc. Relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can also be helpful.
Having unmanageable hair isn’t as much of a problem as having smelly hair. But this problem is often linked to your way of living, so you can get rid of it by adopting a healthy lifestyle. The tips mentioned above are some of the best ways to prevent your hair from stinking.
However, to be on the safe side, you must consult a dermatologist to find out the underlying cause of smelly hair syndrome. They will suggest the best shampoos and medication that will make your mane smell great, so you can bid farewell to smelly hair days.
And now time to conclude this guide. Until next time!