FAQ: How Do I Get A Bad Smell Out Of My Hair?

Whenever I wash my hair and do not dry it immediately (I actually prefer not drying my hair), I notice that it smells quite bad. I use a good quality shampoo and it still doesn't help. Is there any way I can combat this embarrassing smell?

Have you ever thought that you have this problem because you may be over washing your hair? Just imagine what happens to surfaces that are left wet. With your cleanliness (everyday washing your scalp yet not drying it) you are most likely helping miniature creatures (mold and bacteria) to thrive. You give them food (shedding skin) and humid environment, and they'll love you for it.  If you want to get rid of them and combat your problem you may have to change your hair care habits a bit.
  1. Use a tea tree shampoo
  2. Whenever you can skip shampooing, skip it
  3. After shampoo rinse your scalp with a vinegar rinse (see below; do not worry the smell should go away as soon as your entire hair dries) - mold and bacteria do not like vinegar much. After vinegar rinse, give yourself a very quick rinse with water if needed.
  4. Dry your scalp every time you shampoo your hair - first wrap your hair into a turban for couple of minutes to suck excess water out; then towel dry your scalp only; then comb your hair (de-tangle it); flip your head upside down, and using your blow dryer dry your scalp (no need to dry entire hair if you do not like to dry it, just make sure the scalp is dry). When scalp is dry, flip your hair and style it the way you like it. 
  5. Whenever you are sweating (hot summer, exercising, working etc.), use a vinegar/tea tree oil water (see below) instead of shampooing your hair, spray your palm and fingers, and rub it on your scalp. If you make your solution too strong then rinse your hair, and blow dry your scalp well (see #4).
vinegar rinse - 3/4 parts of water + 1/4 part of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is also good)

vinegar/tea tree oil water - 3/4 parts of water  + 1/4 part of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is also good) + few drops of tea tree oil (see the tea tree oil directions how to use it). You can put all the ingredients into a spray bottle and before each use shake it well (to blend the tea tree oil with vinegar and water).

At first you may feel "funny" about your new habits (ie. skipping shampooing), but you will get used to them and hopefully if you take good care of your hair, you may no longer have smelly hair. It will take some time, but you need to be patient and diligent. Vinegar and tea tree oil should eliminate bacteria (and/or mold) that loves to live on scalp. Dryness will keep them away.


This post should be taken as a first step for a discussion with your hairdresser and/or colorist about your ideas, desires or problems with your hair. Under no circumstances, you should act upon this post ONLY. I strongly advice you to have your hair done by a skilled and reputable hairdresser/colorist in your area.