We’ve all been there – one minute you’re heat styling your hair happily, and the next, you’re hit with an awful burning smell. Even if you stop heat styling immediately, the smell often lingers and clings to your unfortunate strands. And what’s worse, despite your best efforts, the smell just won’t fade away.
Getting rid of this burnt hair smell may be somewhat of a challenge, but it is definitely achievable. In this article, we will discuss what causes this burnt hair smell, the most powerful ways to deodorize your locks, and what you can do to prevent this burnt smell from occurring again. Read on to find out everything you need to know!
- What Causes a Burnt Hair Smell?
- Remedies to Fix a Burnt Hair Smell
- Caring for Burnt Hair
- Pro Tips for Avoiding a Burnt Hair Smell
- Achieving Happy Heat Styled Hair
What Causes a Burnt Hair Smell?
There are several factors that can contribute to creating that easily recognizable burnt smell on your hair. The main culprit of this odor, however, is heat styling. When you start to smell burning while heat styling, it is a sign that the heat has burnt through the cuticle and molecule element of your hair shaft.
If the burnt hair smell lingers past a few minutes or persists for several days, this is a sign of major hair damage. It is also a sign that you should be laying off the heat styling for the time being. The risk of a burnt hair smell and hair damage increases if you are heat styling overly processed hair, you heat style on maximum temperatures, or you heat style consistently every day.
Other factors that cause the burnt hair smell can be extreme sun exposure where your hair is completely unprotected. If you are planning to spend a long time outdoors in sunlight, we recommend investing in a hair heat protectant designed to protect your locks from UV exposure, or purchasing a large, protective sun hat.
Remedies to Fix a Burnt Hair Smell
While it may seem like you will never get rid of that pungent burnt hair smell, there are actually quite a few remedies you can easily try to help you refresh your hair.
One of the most potent burnt hair smell fixers, baking soda can be applied to your hair before you shower to help deodorize your locks.
For this remedy to work, simply mix equal parts baking soda and water, applying the resulting paste to your hair. You can focus on the parts that smell the worst or work the mixture into all of your hair.
Rinse the paste off in the shower and then shampoo and condition as normal. The burnt hair smell should be gone, but if it isn’t, you can try again the next day.
Simple hair washing may be the solution to your burnt hair problem, especially if you don’t have the items for any other remedy available throughout your house.
Using a clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup and a strong scented conditioner may be the easiest option for deodorizing your hair.
The citric acid in lemon juice allows it to strip the hair of any residue or unwanted odors.
You should apply lemon juice directly to the parts of your hair that seem to carry the most odor to prevent the juice from drying out all of your hair too much. Wash out the lemon juice in the shower and follow up with a hydrating conditioner.
Tea Tree Oil
With a host of hair-healthy benefits, tea tree oil is a great option for getting rid of a burnt hair smell. It has a strong natural smell that works to deodorize individual strands and can even help moisturize and hydrate your hair, an important activity after heat styling.
Just remember to always dilute tea tree oil into a carrier oil or a conditioner before adding it to your hair to prevent the oil from being too strong.
In addition to tea tree oil, other essential oils can help you remove any type of burnt hair smell. You can select oils like lavender, citrus, or eucalyptus to deodorize your locks and leave your hair smelling fantastic. For a list of hair-friendly essential oils, check out this article.
A hair-benefiting powerhouse, coconut oil can help freshen up your hair and leave it soft and shiny. Work the oil into your hair before a shower and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing off.
Shampoo and conditioner are optional, but if you want a really deep clean, you can go ahead and use them after your coconut oil treatment.
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a little bit of sun and some fresh air. If the burnt hair smell on your strands isn’t too strong, you can let your hair down and go outside for a bit to allow your hair to air out and freshen up.
Caring for Burnt Hair
Once your hair has been burnt and you’ve gotten rid of any unpleasant smells, you can follow these tips to care for and revitalize your hair.
Use Nourishing Treatments
Hair that has been burnt is more than likely missing many important nutrients that make it strong and healthy. In order to repair to look and feel of your hair, you can use hair masks or hair oils on a routine basis.
You may also want to invest in a leave-in conditioner to use on a daily basis in order to keep your hair soft.
Rehydrate Your Locks
Your burnt hair will be lacking in moisture that keeps it feeling soft and looking silky and smooth. In order to stop your hair from looking and feeling like straw, choose products that are hydrating and stay away from products that include sulfates and alcohols, as these dry your hair out further.
Additionally, you can try only shampooing once or twice a week to give your hair time to produce its own natural oils and start repairing itself.
Consider a Trim
Sometimes, the best way to care for your hair is to simply get a trim. Cutting off the parts of your hair that are the most burnt and beyond rescue can help your hair look healthier immediately and allow you to more effectively repair your hair as a whole.
Pro Tips for Avoiding a Burnt Hair Smell
If you’ve experienced burnt hair once and never want to again, you can follow these pro tips to help prevent burnt hair smells forever more.
Heat Style Less
An easy way to avoid any kind of hair burning is to simply use your heat styling tools less. Heat styling sparingly is much better for your hair and can help to prevent long-term hair dryness and damage.
Use Heat Protection
A quality hair heat protectant should be used every time you heat style in order to minimize heat damage as much as possible. The more your hair is protected from hot tools, the less likely it is to burn or take on a burnt hair smell.
Turn the Heat Down
Using your styling tools on a heat that isn’t suited for them can contribute to burnt hair. You should try to use the lowest possible heat on your styling tools that still affects your hair in order to avoid scorching or burning your locks.
Clean Your Tools
Built up product and hair oils on your heat styling tools can smoke and smell like burning every time you style; this smell will be transferred to your hair when using the tool. Make sure to clean all of your heat styling tools regularly to prevent any kind of bad odor.
Don’t Style Wet
Applying heat directly to wet hair is an almost guaranteed way to create smoking and a burnt hair smell. This is due to the hot tool drying your hair extremely fast, causing the water in your hair to expand and explode, damaging your hair from the inside out.
This can also create the burning hair smell as your hair becomes damaged and scorched on the outside. Styling wet hair should be avoided as much as possible in order to prevent such damage.
Achieving Happy Heat Styled Hair
A burnt smell in your hair can ruin your whole day, especially when it seems like the smell just won’t fade. With our remedies for getting rid of this burnt smell, coupled with proper care and tips to avoid this unfortunate occurrence, you should be able to get rid of that unpleasant smell and have your hair looking, feeling, and smelling fantastic in no time!