Why Does My Hair Smell Burnt – What is the Cause?

Hair normally smells like the food products that we ingest and also the shampoo or hair oil that we use. However, some people have hair that smells burnt. This is an indicator of poor nutrition, poor health, and also excess toxins in the body, etc.

If you are wondering why does your hair smell burnt even after washing, then this is the right article for you. Here we will discuss the causes of burnt hair smell and how to get rid of it.

Why Does My Hair Smell Burnt?

Before we start, let’s figure out what does burnt hair smell like. It’s usually described as a distinct odor like burnt plastic or carbon. Some people may also describe it as smelling like smoke. In cases like that, you’re probably looking at a matter of your strands simply being overheated. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s burnt.

The smell of burning hair is usually caused by a reaction between the sebum (oil) produced by the scalp and the keratin (protein) in the hair. The reaction between the sebum and the keratin causes locks to smell like it has been burnt. The smell can also be caused by a reaction between the sebum and hair product.

If the smell of burnt hair is caused by a reaction between the sebum and the keratin in the strands, it will usually go away after a few washes. But if it is caused by a reaction between the sebum and a hair product, the smell of burnt locks may last longer.

The smell can come from the chemicals in your hair dye being too close to the heat source. It can also be from hair that has been damaged by heat, such as locks that have been in a curling iron too long.

What Causes Burnt Hair Smell

The most common cause of burnt hair is overzealous blow-drying. The problem is that the strands are too close to the hot air heaters that are blowing the hot air on them. Most people do not realize that they are using the wrong blow dryer. So you need to spend a bit more money and get the right model.

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Other causes of burnt hair smell include using cheap hair products, chemical damage, and straightening products.

How to Get Burnt Smell out of Hair

If you smell burnt hair, you need to take action. You can try out a few different quick fixes that will help you get rid of that burnt smell.

Shampoo your hair

If you smell burnt hair, you need to shampoo your head. This can help you to get rid of that burnt smell. Shampooing will wash away all of the chemicals that are causing the smell. In addition, it will get rid of all of the irritants.

However, if your hair smells burnt when wet, shampooing is not enough. Read other options below.

Use a hair mask

a-hair-mask

A hair mask is a great way to get rid of that burnt smell. You need to use a deep conditioning hair mask that will provide your locks with the moisture they need.

Shampooing is only the first step to getting rid of that burnt hair smell. You need to use a good mask to ensure that your locks are looking and feeling great.

Use a vinegar rinse

A vinegar rinse is also an effective way to get rid of that smell. You can mix together warm water and vinegar and rinse your strands with it. Make sure you leave the vinegar concoction in your hairs for several minutes before rinsing it out.

The vinegar rinse will get rid of that burnt hair smell. It will also make your locks look and feel healthy. If you have damaged locks and want to restore them back to their normal state, you can use a mixture of water and vinegar.

A vinegar rinse will restore the natural pH of your hair. It will also get rid of any build-up that you may have on your strands, including residue from your hair products.

Use perfumed oils

a-perfumed-oil

Another quick fix that will help you get rid of that burnt smell is to apply a good quality oil to your strands. You can use oils that smell like flowers, fruits, or other scents that you enjoy.

Use products with natural ingredients

The first thing you can do is check the ingredients in the products you use to style your hair. If you’re using a hair product that contains chemicals, it could be causing a burnt smell. If you use a lot of hairspray or use a lot of heat, you may notice a burnt smell on your hair.

This is why natural products are a better option. If you use a shampoo and conditioner that has natural ingredients in it, such as aloe vera, you will be able to get rid of the burnt smell. You should also look for products that don’t have a strong odor.

Use baking soda

Baking soda is a great cleaning agent that helps get rid of the burned smell. Mix 2 tablespoons of soda with a few drops of water to form a fine paste. Apply the baking soda paste to your burnt locks and scrub it in. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Wash it off with shampoo and lukewarm water.

Baking soda is great for getting rid of the burned smell from your hair because it absorbs odors.

How to Prevent Your Hair from Smelling Burnt

Now you know how to get rid of the smell, but you don’t want it to happen again! How do you prevent your hair from getting burnt? Well, there are a few things you can do to prevent it.

  1. Use a heat protector before you start blow-drying your hair. It is a good idea to use a heat protector while you are styling your hair, as it will help keep your strands safe from damage from heat styling tools.
  2. Start low and slow. If you are curling, straightening, or blowdrying your hair, start your heat source on a lower setting. Also, start out slow. Don’t blast your locks with the heat right away. Let your hair get accustomed to the heat before you turn it up.
  3. Minimize the number of times you use heat on your locks. Aim for every once in a while, instead of twice a week. If you have to use heat every day, try to do so at the lowest temperature possible.
  4. Keep your strands well moisturized. This will help prevent breakage caused by heat damage.
  5. Dry your hair completely before putting heat on it. Make sure you aren’t putting heat on when your locks are damp, it will cause them to burn. And don’t forget to use a heat protectant.
  6. Use sulfate-free shampoo. Shampoos with sulfates are designed to clean the hair and scalp of any dirt and grime, but they are quite harsh on your hair and scalp. Sulphates can be found in ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, and Ammonium Xylenesulfonate. Using sulfate-free shampoo will help soften the hair and make it less damaged.

Wrapping Up

All in all, hair smells burnt when it is exposed to high temperatures. The high temperatures can be due to the chemical treatments, blow drying, using hot curlers. So, there you go – that’s why your hair smells like burnt plastic.
If you found this article helpful, leave a comment below. Thanks!

Monica Davis

Monica is a professional men and women's hairstylist and a success coach. She started MyStraightener as a personal blog and it has grown into something bigger. You can also find her writing/speaking about new styling tools, hair products, and the latest things in hairdressing on HuffPost, NBC News, Healthline, etc. Learn more about Monica.

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