Girl covers nose with hand showing that something stinks isolated on gray background

While many of us are familiar with bodily odor, very few know that your scalp can produce a stinky smell too, and to overcome this concern with the latest formulae, here are the ten best shampoo for smelly hair and scalp 2022.

In this article, you will discover why and how your scalp emits a distinctive smell that also causes your hair to stink, focusing more importantly on the probable reasons and what you may do to address this not-so-pleasant situation. And as far as hair care is concerned, you have to be knowledgeable about the best products for smelly scalp and hair, provided with newer and much more effective formulas.

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What Shampoo is Good for a Smelly Scalp?

Below is a list of the ten best shampoos for smelly hair and scalp 2022.

1. OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp

This best shampoo for smelly hair contains tee-tree essence that leaves your hair feeling revitalized, great for all hair types. There are no sulfates or parabens added. It efficiently removes the accumulation on the scalp due to the tee-tree component that aids in killing germs and bacteria. In addition, it helps reduce frizz and is soft on the scalp, being more manageable than before. The components in the shampoo stimulate the hair follicles and leave your hair smelling good. There is no chance of disappointment with this product, as it will keep your hair smooth and your scalp nourished.


  • Gentle on the scalp, as it is free of sulfates or other compounds used as preservatives
  • Treatment for damaged hair
  • Provides additional benefits
  • Reduces the buildup of dead kill cells, sweat, and oil accumulation on the scalp, unclogging and letting your follicles breathe


  • Some hair textures may find the product drying


2. Tru Moroccan Clarifying Shampoo

This Moroccan oil-containing best shampoo for smelly hair has anti-inflammatory and therapeutic qualities that can effectively treat dry scalps and severe conditions like dandruff and psoriasis. Its deep-cleansing technique tackles the buildup that is the cause of weak, dull, or oily hair. It is also high in critical vitamins from an array of resources, which helps to maintain your hair healthily. Nevertheless, for shampoos containing Moroccan oil, you must use them in small amounts that too twice a week. Formulated especially to trap and remove impurities by readily washing them away, you may leave your hair unwashed for up to more than 48 hours. Combined with essential oils and herbs, Tru Moroccan regulates sebaceous glands, leaving your scalp healthier and scented with a pleasant citrus smell.


  • It is gentle on the scalp since it is paraben-free
  • The composition of Argent oil leaves your hair moisturized after washing


  • Excessive usage may be damaging to the hair.
  • It is a bit pricey compared to the other products on this listing


3. Maple Holistics Degrease Deep Cleansing Shampoo

Its formula is most likely just what your hair needs to get its original magnificence back. This best shampoo for smelly hair is sulfate-free and includes Jojoba Oil, Citrus, Peach Kernel, and Rosemary Oil as main constituents, as promised by the brand. People with oily scalp have found it to be quite effective. It is a deep-nourishing hair product that washes the scalp clean of buildups while simultaneously nourishing and refreshing the hair. In addition, its subtle scent of fresh basil and lemon eliminates the stinky smell for quite a while.


  • The clearing solution removes scalp buildups.
  • The soothing sensation comes from its sulfate-free characteristic


  • Excess amounts of usage may cause dryness of the scalp


4. RYO Smelly Scalp Shampoo

This ryo smelly scalp shampoo comes with a floral fragrance attracting many youngsters as a desirable option. RYO focuses on every hair concern, from hair loss, weakening of the roots, and damaging or drying hair and scalp, along with specially formulated to get rid of the stinky smell of the scalp. If you have dandruff, another cause of unpleasant stench on your head, this best shampoo for smelly hair can assist you in treatment for itchiness and flakes to an extent. Furthermore, this product provides a refreshing cooling sensation.


  • Promotes the reduction of dandruff
  • Because of its fragrance and cooling effect, it leaves hair smelling refreshed.
  • RYO strengthens the hair roots and thickens the texture of damaged or thin hair.
  • Help you get rid of excess grease on the scalp.


  • However, the ginseng present in the formula mildly overshadows the floral fragrance


5. BIOLAGE Cooling Mint Scalpsync Shampoo

This shampoo for smelly scalp and dandruff is for you if you find your comfort in minty products seeking a cool and refreshing sensation. It not only refreshes the mane after every wash but also promotes residual oil removal and chemical accumulation from the follicles. You can even spend up to 72 hours without having to wash your hair without it getting smelly. Encouraged by its antibacterial and soothing effects, the shampoo is also a salon’s professional solution for treating flaky and itchy scalp. Free of sulfate, this shampoo enhances all types of hair, including those that have gotten chemically treated.


  • Reduces dandruff
  • The tea tree oil mixture in the shampoo removes greasiness from the hair.
  • The pleasant mint scent that is not too overwhelming


  • Relatively costly


6. Therapro Mediceuticals Theroux

There may be a sense of inflammation on your scalp if it has a foul smell, is itchy, and red. Under this circumstance, TheraRx from Therapro Mediceuticals will become your best buddy. You may rely on this purifying hair product to recover your scalp to its healthy form, whether it is due to excess oil, germs, yeast, or any similar condition. Once you use it, you will be ready to bid farewell to constant itching, stinky hair, and the uncomfortable sensation accompanying along! This best shampoo for smelly hair also helps regulate acne, lowers excess sebum, and eliminates topical DHT to enhance the hair condition.


  • Ideal for inflamed scalps
  • Removes the core of the irritation
  • provides comfort to sensitive scalp


  • Strong on the hair


7. Neutrogena Anti-residue Shampoo – For Every Hair Type

Neutrogena’s skin and hair care formulations have always set a high bar for the best shampoo for stinky hair, and this Anti-Residue shampoo is no exception. This shampoo promises to remove nearly 90% of hair residue, giving you the freedom to administer as many hair products to your hair as you want without fretting about the buildup. It may include dyeing your hair, getting various treatments, or using volumizing creams and other products. The shampoo is suitable for all hair types due to its non-itchy, moderate formula. It enables healthier hair from root to tip by cleansing the scalp of any residues or accumulations. This top-rated clarifying shampoo contains citric acid and hydrogenated castor oil, giving off a delightful scent. However, since Neutrogena switched to ammonium lauryl sulfate, a milder agent, it is still not entirely sulfate-free. It is a moderate surfactant that is gentle on the skin/scalp.


  • It prevents the growth of germs on your head.
  • Gets rid of any scalp buildups thoroughly
  • Combats smelly hair and scalp


  • Not 100% free of sulfates


8. Mizani Zinc Infused Shampoo

Mizani Zinc Infused Shampoo is also one of the top picks, uniquely peppermint scented. The scalp odor shampoo smells exquisite and removes unpleasant odors with ease. The zinc infusion soothes the scalp and protects it from becoming dry and irritated, both of which can lead to a stinky scalp. Being ideal for textured hair, it further contains moisturizing properties. The ingredients in the formulation render stronger hair. It is nourishing for hair and scalp both, despite the presence of a few varying types of sulfates.


  • It prevents hair follicle breakage.
  • It has a dazzling aroma.
  • Leaves scalp cool
  • Minimized flaking and scaling


  • Individually suitable for curly hair texture
  • Not free of sulfates


9. Davines Purifying Shampoo

Davines is an Italian shampoo brand based in Parma. They take pleasure in utilizing the finest locally obtained ingredients in their shampoos, cramming them full of the best the Italian hills have to serve. Red celery extract and Pomodoro Tomatoes are two primary components in this clarifying shampoo that, in combination, relaxes the scalp and prevents it from stinking. You may administer the shampoo twice per week for intensive care. As for maintaining healthy hair and its effects, use it once a week for at least six weeks. This purifying hair product contains a dandelion extract possessing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most suitable for oily hair, like any other clarifying hair product, it prevents excessive accumulation.


  • It is a detoxifying cleanser.
  • A solution that is gentle but effective


  • Not recommendable for color-treated hair   


10. Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo

The Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo is a must-have for anybody with sensitive or damaged scalps. The hair cleanser has the ideal pH balance to prevent cuticle damage while leaving you with a healthier, cleaner scalp and strong, manageable hair. The formulation serves to treat your scalp and hair simultaneously time. The shampoo for hair that smells bad provides the care and treatment, thanks to a great combination of botanical extracts, vitamins, and essentials. With the addition of herbal infusion, you may get rid of dandruff and itchy scalp. It is also efficient in treating psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.


  • Since the shampoo contains natural and organic ingredients, it renders safe usage for all hair types.
  • You may also use it on color-treated hair.
  • Free from sulfates, silicones, and parabens
  • Effective at eradicating unwanted odors


  • It does not produce much lather


The given products are reviewed based on the three criteria:

  • Clarifying the ability of the shampoo

Dandruff and sweating are two primary reasons the scalp and hair can become smelly. As a result, it is vital to select the best shampoo for smelly, oily hair having intensive cleaning power.

  • Gentle on the scalp and hair

Various hair textures are somewhat dry and thus require a shampoo soft on the hair roots. The natural substances must keep the hair nourished and renders them to be best shampoo for smelly scalp.

  • Pleasant fragrance to prevent smelly scalp

Of course, and who would not want a decent scented shampoo for stinky scalp and hair. When looking for a shampoo solution to eliminate the stink, selecting one with a pleasant and long-lasting fragrance can significantly improve the smell, making this one of the essential parameters.

How to Select the Best Shampoo Product for a Smelly Scalp?

Although anti-dandruff shampoos claim to offer antifungal and antibacterial chemicals to treat flaky scalp or seborrheic dermatitis, you should always check a dermatologist or other professional practitioner before utilizing any of these products (under severe circumstances). However, sulfur shampoo for smelly scalp works an ideal. Furthermore, people without skin concerns can benefit from a cleansing, sulfate-free shampoo that assists in controlling residue buildup without drying up the scalp.

Shampoos are like readymade hair solutions accessible that save time and are also easy to use. It leaves us with one chief question;

What is the Deal with My Smelly Hair? 7 Possible Reasons

The many potential answers to this question make it hard to pinpoint the specific cause(s). However, putting together a few aspects can assist you in limiting the probable explanation as to why your hair smells bad.

1. Poor Hygiene

Sweat, pollution, and hairstyle products may often build up on your hair follicles and trigger an unpleasant odor if you do not wash your head adequately. You may not have realized it, but pollutants in the air could be the culprit of your stinky hair. Even though air pollutants are too microscopic to see with human vision, the particles adhere to every part of your skin, including your scalp and hair. If this is the case, you can address it by understanding more regarding whatever hair care regimen works effectively for you with the best suitable shampoo.

2. Seborrheic Dermatitis

In addition to the bodily unpleasantness, seborrheic dermatitis (SD) can promote scalp and hair odor. According to scientific research, excessive sebum and increased yeast fungus production are markers of SD.

3. Dandruff/ Dead Skin Cells on the Scalp

Dandruff is a minor version of seborrheic dermatitis characterized by a flaky, itchy scalp. Dandruff is a recurring, inflammatory skin condition that implies an impaired scalp microbiota, allowing odor-emitting bacteria to proliferate.

4. Imbalance in Hormones

Hormonal changes can provoke odorous sweat and sebum production. Apocrine glands, for example, seem to be relatively inactive until pubescence. Too much oily skin combines with sweat and other forms of scalp buildup, increasing the likelihood of stinky hair.

5. Rinsing too Much or too Less

One reason your hair stinks may be because you have been skipping your hair wash days and depending upon dry shampoo to get by. Sebum, dead skin cells, sweat, and product residues soak the roots, providing the ideal breeding ground for bacteria to prosper. Over-washing, on the other hand, is not the answer to odor-free hair. Too much washing hair can remove your strands of their essential oils, letting them get dried out.

As a result, your scalp produces more sebum than usual to compensate for the dryness. The extra oil serves as excess nutrition for the microbes on your head.

6. Nutrition

According to the latest research, specific foods provide nourishment for bacteria that produce body musk, which can be unpleasant to smell.

Other Reasons For Bad Smelly Hair

The apocrine glands located in regions of hair follicles and the sebaceous oil glands that produce the oily, sticky substance known as sebum consider the scalp to be a desirable dwelling. The latter is relatively less known, although apocrine glands produce odorless sweat.

But, since both glands do not give off any foul smell, what allows the hair and scalp to stink? The answer is; due to the germs that live on your skin. Unfortunately, several kinds of bacteria thrive on the sweat and sebum produced by the pores in your body. The head is the ideal breeding source for germs and bacteria to live there rent-free, considering all of the natural scalp accumulation of apocrine sweat combined with oil and dead skin cells. It results in an unhealthy scalp microbiota that therefore causes the roots to emit a bad and stinky smell.

FAQs For Shampoo For Hair That Smells Bad

What shampoo helps with smelly hair?

Shampoos with a balanced pH value, clarifying properties, and a decent lasting fragrance seem to be the most suitable fit for smelly hair. The formula must also be low or free of sulfates, being gentle on the scalp. Furthermore, incorporating a medicated shampoo into your hair care routine can also be effective.

How do you get rid of stinky hair?

Using the right hair product while following the appropriate hair care routine may help you with hair stink. Apart from this approach, you may utilize home remedy techniques to address this situation.

Why does my hair stink after washing it?

A bacterial activity might cause a bad odor on your scalp. Delaying a hair wash day allows oil or sebum to accumulate on your scalp, making it greasy and causing your scalp and hair to smell unpleasant. Moreover, over-washing your hair and using excessive products high in sulfate will eventually lead to a flaky scalp. Consequently, the pores produce excessive sebum to compensate for the dry-out.

Why does my hair smell after one day?

One of the reasons your hair can smell bad even after only a day of washing is sweat or hormonal imbalance as the primary culprit. Moisture and oil would accumulate, and the germs on your scalp would begin to decompose, causing a stinky smell followed by itchiness.

How can I make my hair smell good naturally?

These tips can make your hair smell great naturally at all times.

  • Avoid treating your hair with heat. Even though you might be using a good-smelling shampoo, you may not observe any good or bad smell. It is because of heating treatments, including hair straightening or using heat-curlers for styling. Reduce heat usage and apply a heat protectant hairspray to keep your strands smelling fresh rather than scorching.
  • Boiling tea leave bags (green tea leaves to be particular) in water and utilizing them for rinsing your hair is an excellent technique to keep your hair feeling and smelling fresh for a prolonged duration.
  • Massage the scalp with scented oil, such as jasmine oil, since it is among the most fragmented flowers. It will undoubtedly make your hair smell fantastic and will also boost hair growth.

How do you get your hair to smell like a salon?

Using salon-approved products can make your smell like you freshly walked out of a salon. Hair perfumes are fantastic because they successfully erase any chemical odors from your hair, add shine, and make your hair smell amazing.

What home remedies make your hair smell good?

  • Using certain essential oils like lavender oil, hydrate and nourish hair from the roots.
  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a superb odor-fighting natural substance.
  • You can make use of aloe vera for dry and flaky scalp. This soothing plant has a moisturizing component within each leaf.
  • Apply a paste of diluted baking soda that can assist in detoxifying odors from the hair. You may employ this remedy once every seven days.
  • Rinsing your hair with rose water is just another way for your hair to smell good. It is a natural substance that can improve the scent of your hair.

Coming at the primary focus is choosing the best shampoo that suits you right. The fact is, you do not have to allow unwanted hair scents put you in awkward social settings. You may resolve all your hair and scalp issues with this one solution. Rather than relying on do-it-yourself remedies that might or might not help, try the above hair care products that really can lessen undesirable scalp and hair odor.

Final Thoughts

Many individuals suffer from smelly hair root conditions. And it is undeniably common. Such superb shampoos for a stinky head can maintain your scalp’s freshness and scent. They remove all smells and oil from your scalp! While some individuals are fortunate enough to get rid of this scent with only a few washes, others do not have as much fortune and must invest in hair care. There is, however, a fix, and concentrating on addressing the causes by using the best shampoo for smelly hair will benefit you in resolving this condition.





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