Most people have experienced the unpleasant smell of burnt hair at some point in their lives. And most of the time, the cause is apparent – you had the curling iron turned up too high or got a little too close to the campfire. But sometimes, your hair can smell burnt even if you’ve been nowhere near a heat source. So, what gives? In this article, we'll tell you why your hair smells burnt.
This is Why Your Hair Smells Burnt
There are several potential causes for a charred hair smell. In this section, we will explore these reasons and provide some tips on how to remedy it and prevent it from happening again.
Your Hair is Overprocessed
A burnt hair smell is often associated with overprocessed hair. Overprocessing refers to too much heat styling, coloring, or chemical treatments. When your hair is overprocessed, the outer layer of the hair shaft (the cuticle) is literally burnt away. Hence the smell.
To prevent overprocessing, you should:
Use heat styling tools sparingly.
Limit the number of chemical treatments you have.
Use a heat protectant spray before using heat styling tools.
Smelly Hair Products
Sometimes, that burnt hair smell is coming from your hair products, not your hair itself. If you recently switched shampoo, conditioner, or styling products, that could be the culprit. To determine whether a new hair product is the problem, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and then apply that new product. If your hair still smells bad, ditch the new product and replace it with another.
Residual Smell from Styling Tools
Who knew that your styling tools could be to blame? Even if you are using a heat protectant spray, your hair can still pick up residual smells from your styling tools. This is especially true if you use the same tool day after day without cleaning it. To stave off a residual burnt hair smell, you should wipe down your heat styling tools with a clean cloth after each use. And if you ever notice buildup on your styling tools, use alcohol and a cotton ball to buff away stuck-on residue.
You Have a Scalp Infection
If your hair smells burnt and you have no apparent explanation, maybe you have a scalp infection. Scalp infections are most often caused by bacteria or fungi and can lead to symptoms like redness, itching, and flaking. If you think you might have a scalp infection, see your doctor or dermatologist for treatment. They will craft an infection treatment plan for your specific issue, so your chances of success are relatively high if you go this route.
So, there you have it – several potential causes of that unpleasant burnt hair smell. If you try the remedies mentioned earlier and don’t notice an improvement, we recommend seeing a doctor or dermatologist. They will help you get to the bottom of things and find a solution. We hope that you found all the information you were looking for in this article. Good luck!
Author: Andrea Reyes
Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.