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Milkchocolate
December 10th, 2018, 12:36 PM
Upon switching out to sulfate-free shampoos, I noticed an increase in the smell of my scalp! Itís not a bad smell..it just smells like heavy sebum. I only wash about twice a week and have never had an issue up until I switched to sulfate-free recently. (It starts to get that odor by day 2)
To me the sebum smells sort of pungent and Iím just not a fan lol.
I do use dry shampoo that has fragrance which last for a couple of hours..but was curious to know if there are any other safe and better alternatives :)

cestlavie
December 10th, 2018, 12:45 PM
Does the shampoo clean your hair well enough? Maybe there is some residue left behind from the shampoo or other previous products which can cause the smell?

Dark40
December 10th, 2018, 12:51 PM
I agree with cestlavie. Maybe the shampoo is cleaning your scalp well enough. That's why I have to at least use shampoos with sulfates in them once or twice a week so that my scalp and hair won't have any odors.

Milkchocolate
December 10th, 2018, 12:59 PM
Yes! I pair the shampoo with a bit of clarifying shampoo (that has sulfate) beforehand. Perhaps Iím not using enough of it

Dark40
December 10th, 2018, 01:06 PM
Ok, I thought so. Yes, you have to use a lot of it. Especially for your length of hair. You said you were tailbone length, right?

Milkchocolate
December 10th, 2018, 01:13 PM
Ok, I thought so. Yes, you have to use a lot of it. Especially for your length of hair. You said you were tailbone length, right?

I have reached thigh at the moment :) Iíll try adding more clarifying shampoo and see if that works :) although I hated how it makes the texture of my hair feel..but most likely my hair needs it now that I think about it. Possibly build-up can be the culprit!

GrowlingCupcake
December 10th, 2018, 02:41 PM
Are you using the sulfate shampoo every wash? You say you dislike the texture your hair gets but maybe you just can't go sulfate free?

Have you tried alternating between sulfate and non? Using a cleansing conditioner or some sort of cowash? (I don't cowash so my terminology might be off xD) Do sulfate free clarifying/cleansing shampoos work?

Maybe instead of using a lot of sulfate shampoo, you could try diluting it. It's much easier to apply, and you don't need much. I usually add a small amount of shampoo into an old bottle, and fill it up with water. Then shake, and use.

Dark40
December 10th, 2018, 03:35 PM
I have reached thigh at the moment :) I’ll try adding more clarifying shampoo and see if that works :) although I hated how it makes the texture of my hair feel..but most likely my hair needs it now that I think about it. Possibly build-up can be the culprit!

Ohhh, ok cool! :) That's right. Now, I remember you saying you've reached thigh length. That was my goal length too but I've set it to a much longer length now. :) Yes, I think adding more clarifying shampoo will work much better for you. Yeah, I hate the way it makes my hair texture feel too. But I only clarify once a month, and I don't ever have any issues. Yes, I also think that the culprit is build-up!

lapushka
December 10th, 2018, 03:35 PM
I agree with alternating instead of adding like GrowlingCupcake is mentioning. I would sulfate-free wash, then sulfate wash and so on, and see what that does.

And maybe indeed you can't go sulfate-free, and that's perfectly fine too.

I also don't like how sulfates make my texture "feel", but that is why I double condition (or double mask) after washing. It's called WCC and the link to the method is in my signature, if you're interested.

Wendyclaire
December 10th, 2018, 05:50 PM
Upon switching out to sulfate-free shampoos, I noticed an increase in the smell of my scalp! It’s not a bad smell..it just smells like heavy sebum. I only wash about twice a week and have never had an issue up until I switched to sulfate-free recently. (It starts to get that odor by day 2)
To me the sebum smells sort of pungent and I’m just not a fan lol.
I do use dry shampoo that has fragrance which last for a couple of hours..but was curious to know if there are any other safe and better alternatives :)
What’s a sebum smell? I don’t know what that is. I don’t think my scalp has ever smelled like anything.

Milkchocolate
December 10th, 2018, 05:55 PM
Are you using the sulfate shampoo every wash? You say you dislike the texture your hair gets but maybe you just can't go sulfate free?

Have you tried alternating between sulfate and non? Using a cleansing conditioner or some sort of cowash? (I don't cowash so my terminology might be off xD) Do sulfate free clarifying/cleansing shampoos work?

Maybe instead of using a lot of sulfate shampoo, you could try diluting it. It's much easier to apply, and you don't need much. I usually add a small amount of shampoo into an old bottle, and fill it up with water. Then shake, and use.

Yes Iím using sulfate free every wash (2x a week) I prefer my hair texture when I go sulfate-free! I do love everything about it, but the scalp smell is the only issue I have with SF. I do like your idea of diluting my clarifying shampoo :) I definitely have to try that!

Milkchocolate
December 10th, 2018, 05:58 PM
I agree with alternating instead of adding like GrowlingCupcake is mentioning. I would sulfate-free wash, then sulfate wash and so on, and see what that does.

And maybe indeed you can't go sulfate-free, and that's perfectly fine too.

I also don't like how sulfates make my texture "feel", but that is why I double condition (or double mask) after washing. It's called WCC and the link to the method is in my signature, if you're interested.

Alternating might be what Iím lacking :) Iím gonna definitely implement that into my new routine and see how that goes. Thank u! :)

Julescarm
December 10th, 2018, 10:50 PM
If your not allergic, have you tried a small amount of essential oil? I like lavender and peppermint. If you use a boar bristle brush you can apply a small amount to your hand and run your brush over that hand then brush your hair. I like doing that. Or apply a couple drops to your hand and run them together, then apply it to your hair.

lithostoic
December 11th, 2018, 08:02 AM
I've not had this problem. By chance, are you using cool water? I find that only warm/hot water properly cleanses my scalp.

lapushka
December 11th, 2018, 08:52 AM
I've not had this problem. By chance, are you using cool water? I find that only warm/hot water properly cleanses my scalp.

Yes to wash you need warm water. Not hot, but comfortably warm. Cool hair won't clean or rinse properly and might leave a lot of build-up if you're not careful!

nycelle
December 11th, 2018, 08:58 AM
I've been sulfate free for a year and my scalp never smells, ever. But I always wash twice too.

I'm gonna say it's your shampoo - it's just not cleaning well enough.

Milkchocolate
December 11th, 2018, 12:06 PM
I've not had this problem. By chance, are you using cool water? I find that only warm/hot water properly cleanses my scalp.



Yes to wash you need warm water. Not hot, but comfortably warm. Cool hair won't clean or rinse properly and might leave a lot of build-up if you're not careful!

Oh how interesting. I learn something new everyday :) I hardly ever wash with warm water. I wash it with pretty cool water (not too freezing) I read years ago that cold water is more beneficial for hair as it increases shine and moisture and promotes more silkiness :) I have been subconsciously doing it this way for 10 years! But i do enjoy it and stand by this method! Haha itís funny how you donít realize your patterns until see things from another perspective :)

Milkchocolate
December 11th, 2018, 12:10 PM
If your not allergic, have you tried a small amount of essential oil? I like lavender and peppermint. If you use a boar bristle brush you can apply a small amount to your hand and run your brush over that hand then brush your hair. I like doing that. Or apply a couple drops to your hand and run them together, then apply it to your hair.



You just gave me a brilliant idea! Perhaps I could I also try a minty shampoo (tea tree, eucalyptus). I havenít tried essential oils in years.. i tried a rosemary essential oil when I was in high school and knowing my younger self, did it all wrong. (Added an insane amount) Iíd like to give them another go :)

Milkchocolate
December 11th, 2018, 12:15 PM
I've been sulfate free for a year and my scalp never smells, ever. But I always wash twice too.

I'm gonna say it's your shampoo - it's just not cleaning well enough.

I love double washing with SF too! Iím coming to the conclusion that I need to pair it with another shampoo. I tried to avoid sulfate all together but perhaps itís something I should have introduced gradually

Julescarm
December 11th, 2018, 12:18 PM
You just gave me a brilliant idea! Perhaps I could I also try a minty shampoo (tea tree, eucalyptus). I havenít tried essential oils in years.. i tried a rosemary essential oil when I was in high school and knowing my younger self, did it all wrong. (Added an insane amount) Iíd like to give them another go :)

Shampoos and conditioners with essential oils are perfect. Just as effective. The key for "loose" essential oils is using a small amount. Tea tree especially is a good cleansing and anti bacterial oil. Plus its a natural bug repellent.

MusicalSpoons
December 11th, 2018, 12:34 PM
It sounds like it's a combination of your particular shampoo and the cool water - you maybe just need a different sulphate-free shampoo that cleans better in cool water :shrug: adding an essential oil is an easy step to try though, and if it works, problem solved :D

Edit: just remembered the whole reason I even started to reply on the thread :doh: If sulphates are your best option but you don't like what they do to your hair, you could try only scalp washing (keeping the lengths dry) or CWC to protect the lengths a bit. [I don't recall if you posted your current routine earlier in the thread, sorry.]

lapushka
December 11th, 2018, 01:41 PM
Oh how interesting. I learn something new everyday :) I hardly ever wash with warm water. I wash it with pretty cool water (not too freezing) I read years ago that cold water is more beneficial for hair as it increases shine and moisture and promotes more silkiness :) I have been subconsciously doing it this way for 10 years! But i do enjoy it and stand by this method! Haha it’s funny how you don’t realize your patterns until see things from another perspective :)

If they talk about that they usually mean a cool "rinse" *after* washing, and they don't mean wash your hair with cold water.

Ylva
December 11th, 2018, 02:32 PM
Oh how interesting. I learn something new everyday :) I hardly ever wash with warm water. I wash it with pretty cool water (not too freezing) I read years ago that cold water is more beneficial for hair as it increases shine and moisture and promotes more silkiness :) I have been subconsciously doing it this way for 10 years! But i do enjoy it and stand by this method! Haha it’s funny how you don’t realize your patterns until see things from another perspective :)

You can just do the final rinse with cold water. That'll close up the cuticles of the hair.

I think I'm a little bit guilty of not washing with warm enough water. I mean, it's lukewarm, but not hot by any means. My skin is just more sensitive to heat than the average person's I guess. Everyone I've ever shared shower with has used painfully hot water.

lapushka
December 11th, 2018, 02:37 PM
My "warmth" of water is just a little warmer than the heat of my skin. If... I'm explaining that right. It's a comfortable warmth in my neck and on my head. But not that it is "burning" or that you can't hold your hand under the water.

Ylva
December 11th, 2018, 02:44 PM
My "warmth" of water is just a little warmer than the heat of my skin. If... I'm explaining that right. It's a comfortable warmth in my neck and on my head. But not that it is "burning" or that you can't hold your hand under the water.

I'd describe my water the same, or rather, it feels a bit cool on my skin but also warm at the same time... That doesn't make much sense I think. Anyway, my boyfriend uses absolutely burning water in comparison, but he doesn't seem bothered by it, while to me it's very painful.

JessJess
December 11th, 2018, 03:32 PM
It sounds like you produce alot of sebum so washing only twice a week is letting the sebum dry on your scalp trapping new sebum trying to get through
On your off wash days give your scalp a massage breaking up that sebum and brushing it down your hair, it's important to keep those oils moving
You could maybe also add into your routine coconut oil with tea tree and massage your scalp with that then wash out
X

akurah
December 11th, 2018, 03:46 PM
It sounds like you produce alot of sebum so washing only twice a week is letting the sebum dry on your scalp trapping new sebum trying to get through
On your off wash days give your scalp a massage breaking up that sebum and brushing it down your hair, it's important to keep those oils moving
You could maybe also add into your routine coconut oil with tea tree and massage your scalp with that then wash out
X

... I'm pretty sure sebum doesn't work that way. If it did, mammals on the whole would be in a world of trouble with their skin and fur/hair.

spidermom
December 11th, 2018, 03:50 PM
Another thing you might try is giving your hair a very thorough combing and brushing before washing to be sure the sebum is loosened from your scalp. Then try diluting your shampoo in some water so that you get even spread. I have a squirt bottle with a pointy nozzle, so I push that nozzle right against my scalp and apply my diluted shampoo (sulfate free currently) in parallel stripes all over my scalp. Then I use my fingers to massage the shampoo mixture over my scalp, but another good thing to do is use a shower comb (wide spaced, blunt teeth) and comb over the scalp (but not through the length) until the entire scalp has been combed. Then rinse well and proceed as usual. My scalp is always good to go for at least 3-4 days after this, and I never notice smell unless I've been sweating.

Of course we're different, so I realize that what works for me may not work for you, but I hope I've helped.

JessJess
December 11th, 2018, 03:57 PM
... I'm pretty sure sebum doesn't work that way. If it did, mammals on the whole would be in a world of trouble with their skin and fur/hair.


Mammals either preen or clean each other their body would work differently to ours

Like stated underneath you need to loosen up the sebum
You don't have to but usually thats why your scalp smells
Good luck

MoonRabbit
December 11th, 2018, 06:05 PM
I've been having this issue as well and I recently went sulfate and cone free. My sebum always smelled normal until switching and now it smells stronger by the end of the week. The scent is hard to explain but it smells slightly more sour or acidic

EdG
December 11th, 2018, 07:05 PM
My experience is that sebum has a mild odor like wax candles. It is not unpleasant.

Bad odors come from mold or bacteria. Those can grow in places where the hair has become tangled. Combing out such a tangle produces a brief strong odor. After washing, there is no odor.
Ed

Kat
December 11th, 2018, 08:11 PM
I think the smell of sebum is unpleasant. Frankly, I draw the line at smells/not cleaning... if sulfates were all that got my hair clean, I'd use them.

Milkchocolate
December 11th, 2018, 09:30 PM
I've been having this issue as well and I recently went sulfate and cone free. My sebum always smelled normal until switching and now it smells stronger by the end of the week. The scent is hard to explain but it smells slightly more sour or acidic

Same!! You described perfectly what happened to me

EdG
December 12th, 2018, 12:35 PM
I think the smell of sebum is unpleasant. Frankly, I draw the line at smells/not cleaning... if sulfates were all that got my hair clean, I'd use them.Quite a few hair care routines do not remove sebum (diluted shampoo, water-only, and no-wash). The hair has a mild scent (like hair). :shrug:

Hmmm... maybe this is why we are posting on the Internet. :ponder:
Ed

akurah
December 12th, 2018, 01:41 PM
Also, be aware that fragrance covers the actual scent of hair and sebum quite a bit. When I transitioned to fragrance free products, when my hair was wet, the smell was similar to the smell of wet dog (perhaps less gross smelling). When it was dry, it didn't really smell like much of anything. So if your new products only have very light fragrance, or if they have no fragrance at all, that's going to exacerbate your problem by virtue of having no smell that is covering up the natural smell. And if that's the case, if you are not sensitive to fragrances or essential oils, the easiest solution might just be to add a tiny dilute amount of essential oils to your new products.

Kat
December 12th, 2018, 06:25 PM
Quite a few hair care routines do not remove sebum (diluted shampoo, water-only, and no-wash). The hair has a mild scent (like hair). :shrug:

Hmmm... maybe this is why we are posting on the Internet. :ponder:
Ed

Right, and I choose to remove as much sebum from my hair as possible because I don't want it to smell like that. And that's okay.

spidermom
December 12th, 2018, 06:58 PM
Modern products are formulated to work with warm water, not cool. You can finish with a cool or even cold rinse.