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View Full Version : What about hair odor?



khrystyne572
September 8th, 2011, 02:26 PM
Yes I'm new, so i hope this isn't rude for asking.
I've been reading a lot about CO wash, and also those that only wash once a week or so, and while I think this is a great idea in theory ( to prevent drying and preserve natural oils) I have to ask- doesn't that smell .. well kinda bad?

Maybe I'ts just me, or this awful hot climate I live in, but if I go more than two days without washing my hair then my head smells like.. sweat and just ickky stuff. When I finally wash after going too long it smells like wet dog and I have to double wash. Plus if I go too long my pillow smells stinky and my head itches.

Maybe I should consider using a dry shampoo for the odor? Or something else to freshen it? I'd like to be able to skip a day or more between washes, but the smell thing is holding me back.

StormVixen
September 8th, 2011, 02:30 PM
conditioner generally smells nice, and does actually *wash* the hair... therefore my hair smells lovely and is clean :D

ETA the mechanics of scrubbing the conditioner to the scalp is important.

Ann Marie
September 8th, 2011, 02:32 PM
Yes I'm new, so i hope this isn't rude for asking.
I've been reading a lot about CO wash, and also those that only wash once a week or so, and while I think this is a great idea in theory ( to prevent drying and preserve natural oils) I have to ask- doesn't that smell .. well kinda bad?

Maybe I'ts just me, or this awful hot climate I live in, but if I go more than two days without washing my hair then my head smells like.. sweat and just ickky stuff. When I finally wash after going too long it smells like wet dog and I have to double wash. Plus if I go too long my pillow smells stinky and my head itches.

Maybe I should consider using a dry shampoo for the odor? Or something else to freshen it? I'd like to be able to skip a day or more between washes, but the smell thing is holding me back.


I'm with you on that one....I live in a hot climate...and I can tell you that I have to wash my hair daily...I used to co-wash....and my scalp was clean...but I think the conditioner builds up after a wile and clogs the pores....leading to hair shed(for me)..

I use a natural shampoo...sulphate free...

I have not tried water only....but I know that with an oily scalp...how does the water clean?

But I guess it depends on the climate....or skin type..

Pierre
September 8th, 2011, 02:36 PM
If it's only sweaty, you can rinse it with water without taking down your updo. I don't CO, but I keep it oiled with some EOs mixed in.

Animae
September 8th, 2011, 02:48 PM
I think a lot of it depends on the person and their body chemistry.

I can go four or five days without washing in the winter. in the summer when it is hotter, I will usually wash when I feel oily or sweaty.

khrystyne572
September 8th, 2011, 02:50 PM
So what is the MOST gentle shampoo there is? Baby shampoo? Or something else? If I have to wash, I don't want to strip the hair. I mostly want to just scrub my scalp.

Anje
September 8th, 2011, 02:53 PM
When you've got washes stretched out to a week or so, you generally aren't producing as much stinky sebum in the first place. So it doesn't smell as bad. And when done right, CO washing gets hair clean of things like sebum, so all that stuff isn't left in place to remain stinky after washing any more than when washing with shampoo. Even when WO washing, if you do it properly, your cleaned scalp doesn't smell like much (though it doesn't pick up any fragrances due to lack of products, so it smells more human and less fruity).

Kiwiwi
September 8th, 2011, 02:56 PM
I think that many of us here dislike sulfates in shampoos, which is one of the reasons for going CO (or even WO). I think that if you let your scalp get used to not being treated with harsh stuff (like sulfates) all the time everything will become less soon. Less itchy, less dry, needing less washing, and.. less odor.
It might take some time for your scalp to get used to it, it might not. My scalp/hair LOVED going CO (mostly, every once in a while I shampoo with a sulfate/cone free shampoo) right away.
I wash with CO, then if I want to get it wet the next day I do just that, just water. And maybe even the next day too. And then CO again. Or shampoo. Or nothing. Whatever I feel my scalp/hair needs. But no odors for me at all.

Also very important, if you do not know this yet. If you go for CO washing you need to have a cone free conditioner. Because silicones will build up on your scalp and cones can only be removed by sulfates. Therefor use a conefree conditioner.
Well, for most of us this is the case ^_^ Some can go with cones ^_^

hototogisu
September 8th, 2011, 02:56 PM
My hair smells *better* after I started co-washing regularly (I shampoo once a week, CO every second or third day). I think it's because I so thoroughly saturate my hair in co. I actually found myself smelling my hair today and thinking how much nicer it is now.

Then again, my hair is too fine/not dense enough for me to quit washing altogether or do the wash-only-once-a-week thing. I just find my roots look oily and flat, and no amount of brushing will fix that. I do like using dry shampoo to make my roots look a little cleaner, but I find dry shampoo makes my ends look staticky and dry, so I'll use dry shampoo if I'm doing a low bun and leaving my bangs/shorter layers free, or if I'm doing some kind of spur of the moment braided style.

But it's amazing how much CO cleans your hair. Just be sure to use *tons* of conditioner, and to scrub really really thoroughly, and for quite a bit of time.

Anje
September 8th, 2011, 02:56 PM
So what is the MOST gentle shampoo there is? Baby shampoo? Or something else? If I have to wash, I don't want to strip the hair. I mostly want to just scrub my scalp.
Baby shampoo is actually pretty harsh on hair, for most people. It's made at a pH that's easy on the eyes, but it's a bit more alkaline than most hair prefers.

Gentler shampoos, if you require shampoos, are usually the sulfate-free varieties. Give those a try, but be aware that because they're less stripping, they don't remove some products like silicones and hairspray as effectively. Some people seem to need sulfates, and if you're one of those, you'll probably find products using sodium laureth sulfate are gentlest.

You can also dilute your shampoo in water (I see 1 unit shampoo in 7 units of water a lot), then wash your hair with that.

Kiwiwi
September 8th, 2011, 02:58 PM
So what is the MOST gentle shampoo there is? Baby shampoo? Or something else? If I have to wash, I don't want to strip the hair. I mostly want to just scrub my scalp.

No, not baby shampoo. Sulfate free shampoo. Sulfates = harsh, without = gentle ^_^ (well, not that simple but you get my point)
Oddly enough most baby shampoo's are not sulfate free :confused:

Siiri
September 8th, 2011, 02:58 PM
So what is the MOST gentle shampoo there is? Baby shampoo? Or something else? If I have to wash, I don't want to strip the hair. I mostly want to just scrub my scalp.

A shampoo that doesn't contain sulfates, like sodium laureth sulphate. They are harsh cleansing agents.

I CO-wash every other day and don't get stinky hair, the sweat in my scalp doesn't have an odor, my scalp just smells like, well, me, if I haven't washed it for a few days, and it's not a bad odor.

long
September 8th, 2011, 03:04 PM
I have wondered about this too. I work with someone who is very sensitive to odors and she has said that she can smell it when people don't wash there hair. Mine gets oily roots so I wash everyday. I have tried stretching washes but it has not worked for me yet.

khrystyne572
September 8th, 2011, 03:10 PM
interesting.. ok no sulfates. I'm off to the store!

Panth
September 8th, 2011, 03:23 PM
interesting.. ok no sulfates. I'm off to the store!

Bear in mind that no-sulphates doesn't work for everyone. Also, not all sulphates are as harsh as each other (sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is equally harsh as ammonium laureth sulphate (ALS) but both are harsher than sodium laureth sulphate (SLES), which is harsher than myreth sulphate). Finally, not all no-sulphate shampoos work as well as others (and this may vary between individuals / hairtype).

For me, Welleda no-sulphate shampoos and 'cone-free conditioners work wonderfully (but, unfortunately, are too expensive). The Body Shop's Rainforest Moisture no-sulphate shampoo and 'cone-free conditioner was atrocious on me. So, now I just use very cheap Boot's Essentials shampoo (packed with sulphates!) and make up an oil shampoo with that, which reduces the damage as the coconut oil protects. If/when I overdose on the coconut oil and/or go SO for a while (due to laziness and being at home where no one can see me!) I use a very small amount of the shampoo on its own, or dilute the shampoo.

Cassie 123
September 8th, 2011, 03:55 PM
I CO, and only once a week at that, and no, my scalp doesn't stink. Some people can go without underarm deodorant without stinking; not me. Some people can wear closed-toe shoes without socks and not get stinky feet; not me. So I think it's only fair that I have one part of my body that never stinks! :p

Anyway, as others have mentioned, lightweight conditioners work brilliantly for removing sebum (but not necessarily styling products).

lapispimpernel
September 8th, 2011, 04:05 PM
I CO-wash every day- because I like washing my hair, not because I need it. :) It doesn't smell bad. I think my hair smells better than it used to, even when it hasn't been washed for a few days.

About the pillow thing, though- do you massage your head when you shampoo? When I used shampoo regularly, I mostly just suds'd really fast and never bothered about my scalp at all. The CO massage helps with stink and scratchies for me.


I CO-wash every other day and don't get stinky hair, the sweat in my scalp doesn't have an odor, my scalp just smells like, well, me, if I haven't washed it for a few days, and it's not a bad odor.

That's a great way to put it! A few of my guy friends have moved on to sebum/water-only combos, and they don't stink. They just smell like themselves.

celebriangel
September 8th, 2011, 05:43 PM
I find I don't produce nearly as much sebum as I used to these days. DBF smells my hair regularly, and when I went WO for a bit he said my hair smelt amazing (a random comment without prompting). So, no. I don't thin my hair smells icky.

It might if I sweat it then don't rinse, but I don't often work up much of a sweat these days :D

littlestarface
September 8th, 2011, 06:00 PM
I CO, and only once a week at that, and no, my scalp doesn't stink. Some people can go without underarm deodorant without stinking; not me. Some people can wear closed-toe shoes without socks and not get stinky feet; not me. So I think it's only fair that I have one part of my body that never stinks! :p

Anyway, as others have mentioned, lightweight conditioners work brilliantly for removing sebum (but not necessarily styling products).
hahahaha me too on everything you said!

RitaPG
September 8th, 2011, 06:11 PM
It could be a body chemistry thing, or an age thing. Some people, no matter how much they try, just can't stretch washes to once a week or less. You can try CO washing or use an SLS free shampoo every other day, it's more gentle.
Hope that helps :)

Lianna
September 8th, 2011, 06:58 PM
I live in a hot climate too and wash my hair everyday. We sweat, isn't nice to keep stretching washes so much. Sometimes I can smell people's head when sitting behind them (clean girl, probably just trying to stretch washes too). I don't want this to myself.

I've used gentler shampoos that contained sulfates and harsher ones that didn't. Formulation counts. At the moment I use a sulfate shampoo everyday.

ETA: I've tried CO for months and it cleans...but decreased my hair growth.

spidermom
September 8th, 2011, 07:00 PM
I've smelled a few unwashed heads in my time, too; very unpleasant.

CO is o.k., though; it's a method of washing.

Dragon
September 9th, 2011, 04:46 AM
Iíve heard conditioner contains cleaning things like shampoo but in smaller quantises which is how it cleans hair but not to the same extent of shampoo since shampoo contains more of those things. Conditioner does build up on hair over time which is why shampoo is still important and even some shampoos can cause build up.

linnepinne
September 9th, 2011, 05:02 AM
I experienced some hair odor when I stopped using shampoo a few years ago. It didn't smell bad or anything, but kind of a strong "body" scent (not unlike the scent of wet dog acctually! :D). I only experienced this when my hair was wet, like in the shower before it was washed.
Now the odor is completely gone, and I think it is because my scalp has become a bit more balanced with it's sebum production (shampoo totally screws that up for me). Also, I think that the reasons I didn't notice the smell when I used shampoo was that I had to shampoo almost daily (or my hair would be a greasy mess) and that shampoo often has alot of perfume in it that covered the odor.

RitaPG
September 9th, 2011, 05:07 AM
Iíve heard conditioner contains cleaning things like shampoo but in smaller quantises which is how it cleans hair but not to the same extent of shampoo since shampoo contains more of those things. Conditioner does build up on hair over time which is why shampoo is still important and even some shampoos can cause build up.
No, conditioner doesn't contain "cleaning things like shampo in smaller quantities", conditioners have surfactants that work as cleansing ingredients, which are milder than the ones used in shampoo.

Deliciosa
September 9th, 2011, 06:32 AM
I live in the UK atm but wear a headscarf so my tailbone long locks cooooold smell, but they dont according to my better half. I wash every 2 weeks religiously with herbs and lately my indian originating better half stated "HMMMM you smell like my mom!" which is a big compliment because his mom died long time ago and was very dear to him AAAAND she had great hair in her days.

Like some said before, I think it has a lot to do with body chemistry. I found that if I eat certains foods than I smell more than when I ate others. Personally I smelled a lot stronger and more unpleasant when I was eating meat and dairy. I guess the "cleaner" your body is toxin wise the better the smell?

celebriangel
September 9th, 2011, 10:56 AM
I live in the UK atm but wear a headscarf so my tailbone long locks cooooold smell, but they dont according to my better half. I wash every 2 weeks religiously with herbs and lately my indian originating better half stated "HMMMM you smell like my mom!" which is a big compliment because his mom died long time ago and was very dear to him AAAAND she had great hair in her days.

Like some said before, I think it has a lot to do with body chemistry. I found that if I eat certains foods than I smell more than when I ate others. Personally I smelled a lot stronger and more unpleasant when I was eating meat and dairy. I guess the "cleaner" your body is toxin wise the better the smell?

Meat and dairy are not intrinsically toxins. It is true however that your diet will alter your smell; japanese people report that they find western people to smell kindof like off milk from their dairy-heavy diet, and vice-versa some western folk find that japanese people smell "fishy" again because of their diet.