Someone smelling their hair

How Can I Make My Hair Smell Good?

How To Make Your Hair Smell Good?

When you stop to think about it, you’ll likely find you’ve spent a lot of time and money on smelling your best. Wondering how to make your hair smell good. Think of all the body washes, lotions, perfumes, deodorants, colognes, and laundry detergents you’ve used over the years.

Have you ever thought why does my hair smell? If you’ve ever had an inkling that you’re smelling less than ideal your hair might’ve actually been the culprit. While smelly hair syndrome isn’t exactly a proven medical condition, the scalp can produce unpleasant odours for a number of reasons. Let’s talk about how to always remain freshly-scented at best. 

Why Does My Hair Smell Bad?

First, let’s take a look at what makes up that scalp of yours.

There are two key glands that play a part in how your locks smell. The apocrine glands open up into hair follicles, so they appear in areas where hair follicles are abundant. These glands secrete a fatty sweat substance. The sebaceous glands are also attached to hair follicles, but instead of producing sweat, they secrete a waxy, oily substance called sebum.

The scalp’s natural bacteria feed on the sweat produced by the apocrine glands and the oil produced by the sebaceous glands. When there is too much oil and sweat on the scalp, the scalp bacteria have a great ol’ time and begin multiplying. This causes the scalp microbiome to become imbalanced, which can cause an unpleasant smell.

This essentially means that to treat a nasty smelling scalp, you need to prevent oil and sweat from building up there.

What causes an excess of oil and sweat to collect upon the scalp in the first place? 


There are a number of medical conditions and general behaviours that can tip the scales for your scalp microbiome

Seborrheic Dermatitis 

Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that affects areas dense in sebaceous glands, so it commonly appears on the scalp. It causes dryness, redness, yellow scaly patches on the scalp, and dandruff. 

There are two key factors that contribute to the condition. The first is oil overproduction; too much oil can irritate the skin. Secondly, when Malassezia — a type of yeast found in the skin’s oils — multiply excessively, the skin produces more oils and becomes inflamed.

If you have seborrheic dermatitis, you may notice symptoms on your face, trunk, and back as well. 

Sweating Conditions

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating that isn’t tied to exercise or heat.

Primary focal hyperhidrosis is the most common form of the condition. The nerves that interact with the sweat glands become hyperactive which results in excessive sweating. This form usually causes sweating on the hands, feet, and face.

The other type is secondary hyperhidrosis, which occurs due to medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and thyroid problems. This type causes sweating over the whole body.

If you have a form of hyperhidrosis, you may experience an excess of sweat on the scalp which can cause a smell. 

Hormonal Issues

Hormonal imbalances can lead to the production of more sweat and sebum on the scalp.

The apocrine glands we mentioned earlier are actually inactive until puberty. When puberty begins, the sex hormones in the body stimulate the apocrine glands into action.

They also become activated by norepinephrine, which is one of the body’s stress chemicals. So, if you’re overly stressed, your sweat levels increase.

Additionally, when the levels of androgen hormones (such as testosterone) are too high, the natural oil levels in the body increase too.

When these excessive oils mix with sweat and dead skin cells, it results in an odour. 


Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, itchy, scaly patches to appear. The condition typically affects areas such as the knees, elbows, and, importantly, the scalp.

If you have psoriasis and do not wash the affected area often enough, oil and skin cells can build up and cause a smell.

Washing Your Hair Too Much or Too Little

There’s a fine line between under washing and overwashing your hair, and tipping the scales too far, either way, can result in an unwanted odour. It’s all about balance

When you leave a little too much time between washes, sebum, sweat, and hair product residue feed the bacteria on the scalp. This causes those bacteria to multiply, and you’re left with a smelly scalp.

On the other hand, washing your hair too often can also have undesired effects. When you wash your hair too often, you strip your hair of its natural oils. This causes dryness, so your scalp ends up secreting more sebum than usual to compensate. And we know what excess sebum means — the bacteria go ahead and do their thing, and your hair begins to smell.  

Hair Products 

Most hair products are designed to leave your hair smelling fresh and clean, but they’ll only work if they’re used properly. Yep, even that sickly sweet vanilla-and-strawberry scented product won’t do the trick if you’re shampooing incorrectly.

The key thing to remember here is to wash out the product entirely when you shower. If you skimp on the rinse, the product will build upon the scalp and prompt the scalp to produce more oil. Goodbye, vanilla-and-strawberry smelling hair. 


All humans are at risk of fungal infections. Fungi are microorganisms that appear in several different forms, some of which are edible (like mushrooms) and others that are actually toxic and can cause life-threatening conditions.

Some fungi variations cause infections. If a type of fungi that is foreign to the body finds its way into your system, it can cause infection. Other forms of fungi that are found on or in the body can multiply uncontrollably, which can also cause an infection.

The scalp is susceptible to these fungi infections. Such infections can cause inflammatory diseases such as dandruff and eczema, both of which lead to excess oil on the scalp (and smelly hair). 


If you’ve ever caught a whiff of your hair a few days after sitting by a bonfire, you’ll know that hair is great at absorbing external smells.

Polluting particles can cling to the hair and cause it to smell. If you go too long between washes, these pollutants can build up and the smell may worsen. So, get scrubbing!

How to Keep Your Hair Smelling Fresh

Basically, how to make your hair smell good (always). We’ve got you covered.

Let’s take a look at some things you can do to save your strands.

Check-In with a Professional 

First things first: if your scalp issue is ongoing, or you think it may be a result of a skin or medical condition, chat to your doctor or dermatologist.

They’ll be able to run some extra tests, identify if something more serious is at play, and provide you with treatment options. 

Pick the Right Product

If you do have a particular skin condition, it’s best to ask your dermatologist what shampoo and conditioner you should be using. You may require a medical-grade formula to help keep your condition under control.

For those without skin conditions, opt for a formula free of excess chemicals and sulphates. These ingredients often strip away moisture from the hair. As we know, when your locks are dried out, your scalp produces excess oils to make up for it, which can cause an unpleasant odour.

Our Crown Cleanse formula contains the probiotics your scalp needs to remain balanced and healthy. It’s free of silicones, sulphates, and parabens, to ensure your hair only absorbs the good stuff. The formula is also vegan, cruelty-free, and Aussie-made. Bonus!

Wash Regularly (But Not Too Regularly)

Everyone’s hair is different, so you’ll need to experiment a little here.

Depending on your exercise routine, hair thickness, and skin oil levels, you may need to wash your hair every other day, or you may be able to go several days between washes. Play around with a washing schedule to work out the best frequency for you.

When you shower, avoid using very hot water. We know it feels amazing, but unfortunately, hot water dries out the scalp, weakens the hair roots, and causes the hair to become excessively porous. Scrub away under warm water instead.

As for actually washing your hair, give your scalp a really good shampoo. Envision you’re at the hairdresser. You know that incredible scalp massage your hairdresser gives you? Try to emulate that. Really work the product into the scalp.

Keep your scalp and strands happy, healthy, and freshly scented with a regular and thorough wash routine. Remember to pick the right product and talk to your doctor or dermatologist to ensure any skin conditions are addressed.

The Straand Scent Profile

Cedarwood Atlas used because it has content of Himachalane which is good for promoting healthy hair growth and protection. It also acts as a natural scent fixative

Cedarwood Virginian is used for its slightly smoky scent that compliments both herbal and woody scents.

Rosemary is used for its anti-inflammatory benefit and antioxidant properties.

Patchouli is used for its grounding scent and as a light scent fixative.

Coffee CO2 Extract is used to help promote good hair growth.

Spearmint and Peppermint are used for their cleansing feel and scent.

Ylang Ylang is used to help balance the notes of the total scent and smooth out roughness in the blend.

Wondering which products will help to keep your smelling amazing? Enter: Straand and our range of scalp and hair care products.

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