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How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: March 14, 2022
How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It

Do you have hair prone to smelling or that doesn't smell at all? Do you take a shower and the smell of shampoo does not last in your hair? Does your hair smell burnt after straightening it? If you have any of these problems or similar, you should read on. Here at oneHOWTO we want to help you always smell good, fresh and clean. Our tips on how to make your hair smell good without washing it are simple, but they might help avoid some embarrassing situations. Quick and inexpensive, they'll make sure that smelling your hair is always a pleasant experience. Like any part of your body, you want your hair to smell right. It can give you confidence and help to lift your mood with a newfound freshness.

You may also be interested in: How to Remove Burnt Smell from Hair

Steps to follow:


Dry Shampoo

There is a condition known as "smelly hair syndrome", something with little scientific background, but lots of discussion on internet forums. One of the likely culprits is due to oils released from your hair, but it could also be caused by bacteria or even fungus. Washing will help to remove these foreign bodies and natural oils, but what if you are unable to wash it?

This is where dry shampoo can come in handy, especially if your hair does not retain the delicious smells from your original shampoo wash. If you are not able to re-wash it straight away, we recommend dry shampoo. This product will help clean your hair by removing oils and fats and also making your hair smell heavenly. You just have to apply it and let it work without rinsing it out.

This is possibly an ancient method as clay powder was thought to be used as early as the 16th century in Asia to keep hair clean. However, it is also thought that over-using dry shampoo can get rid of your hair's natural oils as well as the unwanted kind. Be sparing with this product to keep your hair smelling good and looking good.


Conditioner without rinsing

Just as you can use a dry shampoo to make your hair smell good, you can also use a conditioner that does not require rinsing. With it you get to leave your hair soft and smelling good. Remember: do not use a lot of this product, as this could cause your hair to look dirty and greasy. Simply rub a little in your hands and carefully smooth it over the top.

Ideally, you should use a special "leave in" conditioner for this purpose. They are different to the rinse out ones, but are often a little more expensive. However, they will be better at not leaving your hair greasy, so they are worth a little investment if you want to stop your hair from smelling without washing.


Dryer sheets

Softener or dryer sheets - used to make clothes smell good after washing - can also help your hair emit a pleasant aroma. Depending on the quality of your hair, there are two options for application to stop your hair from smelling. If you have thick, durable hair, then you can rub the dryer sheet gently over your hair until you notice the difference.

If you have fine or easily damaged hair, then you need a long thin scarf. Take the scarf and wrap it around your hair, making sure you have enough length to wrap it a second time. Before you wrap it again, lay on 2 sheets of dryer paper so that they are locked into the wrap. Leave it on for about half an hour and the dryer sheet should absorb the smell and replace it with the fresh laundry smell of the sheet.

If you want your clothes to smell good, read our article on how to make clothes smell good without washing them.

How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It - Step 3


Air can attract as well as get rid of odors. If you notice your hair smells bad, turn on the dryer and pass it through your hair. This will cause odor particles to dissolve. Apply heat for a few minutes and then add some fragrance or scent that smells good. You'll notice the improvement.

This is not as effective a way of getting rid of bad smells as others on the list, so only use it if you have a mild funk coming from your hair. Just give it a quick boost and do not dry it for long. If you use a hairdryer on already dry hair for too long it might remove the bad smell, but it could also make your hair brittle and damaged.

How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It - Step 4

Prevent hair from smelling

One of the best ways to stop bad smells from coming form your hair without washing is to avoid bad smells in the first place. One of the most common smells to get into your hair is cigarette smoke. If you are a smoker, smoke outside in an airy place. This will help to prevent a bad smell settling into your hair.

Cooking can allow bad smells to seep into your hair before washing. This is especially true if cooking spicy food or deep frying in oil. These smells can get into your hair and stay there for a long time. Wrap your hair while cooking to help prevent these smells getting into your hair.

How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It - Step 5

Masking bad hair smells

These ways to make your hair smell good without washing involve either trying to absorb the smell or masking it somehow. One of the best ways to mask the smell is simple and obvious - perfume. You might be using perfume anyway, but you don't always put it in your hair. If you have a mild smell, a few spritzes of your favorite perfume (or even cologne) can help cover the bad smell in your hair.

Don't go overboard with perfume. If you have a particularly bad smell in your hair, covering it up with lots of perfume might just make you too pungent. It can just put two strong odors together. You might be able to use an odor elimanator like Febreeze, but the jury is still out on its effectiveness and might do damage to your hair when applied directly.

Whatever cover up you use to try to make your hair smell good, use one free of alcohol. Alcohol found in many perfumes and colognes can damage hair by drying it out.

How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It - Step 6

If you are prone to hair which smells bad, wash it daily. Scalp sebum is what makes our hair smell. Do not go more than two days without washing it and thus avoid the smell becoming evident.

There is one other way to stop your hair from smelling which might seem quite drastic; you can shave it all off. While this might seem extreme, it is also a popular style if you can make it work. Your hair might still smell, but you can throw it in the trash rather than keep it on your head.


Aren't you sure why your hair smells bad? Find out why your hair smells bad in this by reading our oneHOWTO tips and tricks.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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How To Make My Hair Smell Good Without Washing It