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How to Get Rid of Burnt Hair Smell | 7 Ways

We’ve all been there: whether you’re aiming for the perfect curl or you held the hot hair dryer in one spot for too long, you’ve burnt your hair. At this point, the damage is done. 

But once you mourn the burnt section of your hair, you’re going to have another problem to deal with. You have to deal with that terrible burnt hair smell. If you’re wondering how to get rid of burnt hair smell, you’ve come to the right place.

Fortunately for you, we have experience in all kinds of hair disasters and have some helpful tips to get your hair (and home) smelling normal again. 

Getting Rid of Burnt Hair Smell: A Summary

Woman screaming in panic because she can't get rid of burnt smells in her hair

Ollyy/Shutterstock

Getting rid of the burnt smell in your hair isn’t as hard as it sounds, though more significant damage may require more treatment than others. You can get rid of the scent by using the following steps: 

  1. Add baking soda to your shampoo.
  2. Put a few drops of tea tree oil in your shampoo or conditioner. 
  3. Use a water and lemon juice spray. 
  4. Apply a coconut oil mask. 
  5. Let your hair down in the fresh air. 
  6. Use dry shampoo to add a pleasant fragrance. 
  7. Treat your home to get rid of the smell. 

Below we’ll look in-depth at each step and learn exactly how to get rid of that burnt hair smell.

How to Get Rid of Burnt Hair Smell in 7 Steps

Burnt hair smells are different from other foul odors. This kind of smell lingers not only in the room, but in your hair. This unpleasant scent is a tough one to live with, especially since you have to take your hair with you wherever you go. 

Follow these steps to find out how to get rid of that burnt hair smell and refresh your damaged locks. 

1. Add Baking Soda to Shampoo 

Many people might think that good hair washing will get that burnt smell out, but unfortunately, regular shampoo may not be strong enough to do the job. Boost your shampoo by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to your normal amount and massaging it into your hair.

Wait five minutes before rinsing it out, then condition as usual. Baking soda is an excellent deodorizer. Baking soda, scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate, is a basic.

Therefore, it naturally neutralizes mostly acidic odors. Depending on the severity of the burnt hair, you may need to try this wash for a few days in a row. 

2. Use Tea Tree Oil

If you’re not a huge fan of the baking soda idea, try using tea tree oil instead. Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil that’s prevalent in the beauty industry. It’s known to have several benefits to hair, nails, and skin. 

Tea tree oil may not be appealing to everyone due to its strong smell, but that same smell can be helpful when combating another potent smell like burnt hair. Adding just a couple of drops to your shampoo or conditioner can help cancel out the latter smell. 

Most of the oil will wash out with your hair products, but whatever remains will naturally evaporate and take some of the burnt hair smell with it.

Read Next: How Much Tea Tree Oil to Add to Shampoo

3. Lemon Juice Spray 

Like baking soda, lemon juice is another fantastic option for neutralizing and removing smelly odors like burnt products. Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to a spray bottle filled with water. 

You can also try cutting up a lemon peel and placing it at the bottom of a spray bottle. Fill the bottle enough to cover the peels and let it sit for about 20 minutes. 

Spray the mixture over the burnt portion of your hair after washing. You can apply it to damp or dry hair. Let it air dry or blow dry your hair using cool air. 

Not only will the lemon help absorb the odor, but it will leave you with a fresh, citrus smell instead. This process also works with other citrus fruits like oranges and limes. 

4. Apply Coconut Oil 

A simple coconut oil hair treatment can help rid your hair of that nasty burnt smell. At the same time, coconut oil comes with many benefits and may even help your hair regain some life and shine after the damage it suffered. 

Coconut oil is packed with nutrients and minerals that are great for your hair and scalp, including vitamins A, D, and E and iron. These nutrients may even help with hair growth.

This oil can also help moisturize your scalp and hair, calm irritation, and treat breakage and dryness. And, for future reference, coconut oil makes a fantastic heat protectant for styling. 

To use coconut oil, massage an ample amount into your scalp and all over your hair. Let it sit for up to 15 minutes, then hop in the shower to rinse it out. After rinsing, follow up with your normal hair cleansing routine. 

5. Add Dry Shampoo

If you’re headed out the door in a rush just as you fried some of your ends, you’re going to need a temporary solution to that burnt hair smell. Dry shampoo is a handy product that’s sure to work as a quick fix. 

Dry shampoo’s purpose is to absorb oil on dirty hair to quickly make it appear clean. It’s great in a bind when you don’t have time to wash your hair or you’re in between wash days. 

But many dry shampoos these days come with fabulous scents, from sweet vanilla to fruity blends. It’s safe for your hair and can even add a little volume or softness to your style.

Spray some dry shampoo all over your head after styling and use your fingers or a comb to evenly spread it through your hair. You don’t need a lot – just enough to add a nice fragrance. 

6. Let Your Hair Breathe

It might be tempting to hide away indoors for the next few days to avoid revealing your burnt hair smell to people passing by, but you won’t be doing yourself any good. Getting outside and exposing yourself to plenty of fresh air might be precisely what your hair needs. 

If you’re truly embarrassed by the smell, try to go somewhere that’s not too crowded. Take a walk at the local park or go for a hike on a nearby trail. Even a brief walk around the block might help. 

Exposing your hair to sunlight and a breeze can help naturally minimize the burnt smell. Leave it down and let nature work its magic. 

7. Eliminate the Smell From Your Home

Once you’ve attacked the smell at the source (i.e., your hair) you can address any lingering smells that might remain in your room or home. Immediately following the burn, you should turn off any heated tools and open a window.

Doing so can minimize the risk of having your smoke detectors turn on. Use an air purifier to cleanse the air in your home and remove odors.

Air purifiers have the added benefit of removing harmful pollutants and allergens too. Use a purifier with a HEPA filter, as this will remove odors. 

Your air purifier may take some time to do the trick, so try lighting some scented candles in the meantime to fill the room with a more pleasant smell. Candles will help mask the burnt smell until your air purifiers can get the job done. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman wondering how to get rid of burnt hair smell and panicking, as you can see in her eyes

Vladimir Gjorgiev/Shutterstock

If you still have some questions about burnt hair and the smell that comes with it, check out our FAQ section below. 

Will burnt hair smell go away on its own?

Often, the burnt smell in your hair will fade in time. It may take a day or two, but in more serious scenarios, it may hang around for several days longer. Eventually, the smell will likely fade for minor burns. 

How can I avoid burning my hair?

There are several steps you can take to avoid burning your hair again in the future. First of all, always use a heat protectant. You can find these wherever you buy your hair care products. They come in sprays, serums, and creams. 

Avoid getting distracted while using heating tools. These tools include curling irons, flat irons, and hairdryers. Focus on the task at hand to prevent accidental burns. Finally, never use heated tools at their highest heat setting.

These tools should be hot enough to give you a flat strand or a nice curl in one pass but cool enough that they won’t burn through a damp tissue. Always aim to use the lowest setting possible rather than the highest. 

Do I have to cut off burnt hair?

Minimal burn damage to your hair may allow you to keep it in place and use treatments on it. However, in many cases, it’s best to trim the damaged portion.

Thankfully, this usually includes just a small section of hair. For minor hair damage, try some conditioning treatments first. If your hair remains brittle and damaged, consider a trim. 

Will burnt hair make my house smell? 

Burnt hair can make your house smell. At the very least, it will likely make the room you were in at the time of the burnt smell for a little while. The smell may linger for a day or two but shouldn’t stick around for too much longer. 

You can reduce the smell of burnt hair in your home by turning off your heat styling tools as soon as the burn occurs and opening a nearby window before the smell sets in. 

How long should I wait to style burnt hair?

You should wait to use any heat styling tools on your hair until you can give it a couple of treatments. You can use heat on your hair after this, but you should try to limit the heat on your hair for the next two or three months to let your hair recover. 

So, How Do You Get Rid of Burnt Hair Smell?

Burnt hair happens to all of us at some point during our hairstyle journey, whether you abused your hair with the flat iron as a teen or got distracted by your toddler during a curl.

The burns can range from a little singe to your hair breaking off in a chunk, but either way, you’re left with a nasty smell in your hair, not to mention your house. There are plenty of solutions you can choose from to alleviate that smell.

Commons products like baking soda, lemon juice, and coconut oil can help. Products containing fragrances can offer temporary relief, and a little natural, fresh air always does the trick.

Try these steps next time you accidentally burn your hair. And remember to always use a heat protectant and pay close attention when you use heat styling tools.