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Can You Spray Perfume in Your Hair? (Many Reasons Not To)

Perfume spraying on hair
Home » Perfume Guides » Can You Spray Perfume in Your Hair? (Many Reasons Not To)

If you have greasy, porous hair, you’re familiar with the struggle: merely catching a whiff of something unpleasant can leave your hair with an unwelcome odor.

When it comes to keeping your hair smelling fresh and clean, you may be tempted to reach for your favorite perfume.

However, I highly recommend not to spray perfume directly on your hair. 

This blog will explore why it damages your hair and scalp and what alternatives you can use to achieve that beautiful, fragrant hair.

What Happens If You Spray Perfume in Your Hair?

Spraying perfume in your hair can cause a range of issues, including:

  1. Drying out your hair: Perfumes often contain harsh alcohols, like ethyl alcohol, which can strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it dry and brittle.
  2. Irritating your scalp: Your scalp skin is much more sensitive than expected; perfumes can cause irritation and even allergic reactions, especially on sensitive scalps.
  3. Increased flammability: The alcohol content in perfume can make your hair more flammable, posing a risk if you’re near open flames or high heat.
If you have already applied perfume to your hair, avoid brushing it until the next wash. Perfumed hair is more susceptible to damage and tangling, and brushing may lead to breakage and even pulling of hair strands.

How Long Does Perfume Last in Hair?

Perfume tends to last longer on your hair than on your skin.

This is because hair strands are porous, which allows them to absorb and retain the fragrance molecules for a more extended period. Additionally, the oils in your hair can help to anchor the scent, making it linger even longer.

Perfume usually lingers on your hair for 10-15 hours; however, it heavily depends on the longevity and quality of the fragrance.

If you already opted for putting perfume in your hair and you want to maintain the smell for as long as possible – put your hair in a tight bun – this will prevent it from evaporating and extend its longevity.

How to Neutralize Perfume in Hair?

If you've accidentally sprayed too much perfume in your hair, you can try the following methods to tone down the smell of perfume in your hair:
  • Use a clarifying shampoo to wash your hair.
  • Apply a scent-free hair mask or deep conditioner to help dilute the smell.
  • Mix a few drops of essential oil (like lavender or tea tree) with a carrier oil (like coconut or jojoba) and massage it into your hair, which can help mask the perfume smell.
  • Put baby powder or dry shampoo in your hair, it will absorb some of the smell. 
  • Cocoa powder and cornstarch are also excellent DIY options. Apply them to your hair and massage thoroughly to absorb unwanted smells effectively.

Perfume Alternatives for Hair

Putting perfume directly on your hair is not the best idea, as it can dry out your hair or even damage it due to the alcohol content in many perfumes. 

However, no need to compromise; there are plenty of ways to have your hair smelling lovely without damaging it. Instead of using perfume on your hair, consider the following options:

  • Hair mists: These are specifically formulated for hair and contain less alcohol, reducing the risk of drying and irritation.
  • Dry shampoo: Not only does it help to absorb excess oil, but many dry shampoos also have a pleasant scent.
  • Scented serums and oils: They can nourish your hair while leaving it smelling great.
  • Hair moisturizers: These products can hydrate your hair and often contain fragrances that last throughout the day.
  • Hair perfumes: These are designed to be gentle on your hair and scalp while providing long-lasting fragrance.

Techniques to Make Your Hair Smell Nice for a Long Time

I’ve had greasy hair my whole life, and the constant anxiety that your hair stinks even though you washed it a day ago is excruciating, especially in the dating world. I think I’ve read and tried everything I’ve come across in the hopes of tackling this issue. 

In my quest to find a solution, I’ve explored countless tips and tricks, only to realize that much of the online advice comes from individuals who don’t seem to share the same challenges.

After years of trial and error, I’ve compiled a list of proven methods that genuinely help maintain a pleasant hair fragrance. 

To keep your hair smelling fresh and inviting, make sure to:

  • Use dry shampoo before your hair gets greasy to prevent oil buildup and odor.
  • If you don’t have dry shampoo, use baby powder as an alternative to absorb oil and add a subtle scent.
  • Wear a bonnet or wrap your hair in stockings when you sleep to protect your hair from the transfer of oils and odors coming from your face, body, and pillowcase…
  • Avoid touching your hair, as the oils from your hands can transfer to your hair and cause odors.
  • Stay away from environments where people smoke or wear a hat to minimize hair exposure to smoke.
  • Wear a shower cap when cooking to prevent food smells from getting into your hair.

Always dry your hair with a hair dryer. I’ve noticed if I let my hair dry naturally, it gets dirty faster.

Also Read: Can You Bring Perfume on a Plane?

Why Does Your Scalp Smell Bad & How to Fix It?

Unfortunately, sometimes, the unpleasant odor in your hair may not stem from the hair itself but rather from the scalp. It is crucial to avoid using perfumes on your scalp at all costs, as doing so can exacerbate the issue.

Let’s explore some potential causes of a bad-smelling scalp and discuss how to address them effectively.

  1. Poor hygiene: If you don’t wash your hair and scalp regularly, sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells can accumulate, creating an unpleasant odor.
  2. Seborrheic dermatitis: This is a common skin condition that affects the scalp, causing the overproduction of sebum (oil) on the scalp, leading to an overgrowth of yeast, which may cause a foul smell.
  3. Bacterial or fungal infections: An overgrowth of bacteria or fungi on the scalp can cause an unpleasant odor. 
  4. Sweat: Excessive sweating can lead to a smelly scalp, as the sweat mixes with bacteria on the skin, creating a not-so-nice-smelling scalp.
  5. Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal changes can affect the production of sebum and sweat, leading to an unpleasant smell. 
  6. Diet: Consuming certain foods, like onions, garlic, or spices, can cause your sweat to have a strong odor. This can affect not only your body odor but also the smell of your scalp.
  7. Product buildup: Using too many hair products, like shampoos, conditioners, or styling products, can cause a buildup on your scalp, leading to a bad smell.

How to Get Rid of the Smell on Your Scalp?

  1. Maintain good hygiene: Wash your hair and scalp as often as your hair type requires you to.
  2. Use a clarifying shampoo: It can help remove product buildup and excess oil from your scalp. Use it once or twice a month or as needed.
  3. Treat scalp conditions: If you suspect a skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis or fungal infection, consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Use an antibacterial or antifungal shampoo: Specialized shampoos can help control bacterial or fungal overgrowth on your scalp.
  5. Change your diet: Limit the consumption of strong-smelling foods, and opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
  6. Manage sweat: If excessive sweating is an issue, consider using a gentle, pH-balanced scalp toner or astringent to help control it.
  7. Avoid using too many hair products: Limit the number of products you apply to your hair and scalp, and choose products that are gentle and free of harsh chemicals.


Will Your Hair Fall Out if You Put Perfume in It?

While applying perfume to your hair is unlikely to cause immediate hair loss, prolonged exposure could potentially lead to dryness of the scalp. Over time, this dryness may contribute to hair loss.

Is Perfume in Shampoo Bad for Hair?

Fragrances can often act as irritants, potentially leading to adverse reactions on the scalp. In individuals with heightened sensitivity, fragrances may trigger irritation, which can manifest as itching, discomfort, or visible symptoms such as redness and scaling.

Can You Use Perfume as Dry Shampoo?

Using perfume as dry shampoo is not recommended. Dry shampoos are specifically formulated to absorb excess oil and dirt from the hair. The alcohol content in perfume can dry out your hair and scalp, leading to irritation and damage.

Should You Use Fragrance-Free Shampoo?

If you do not have any known sensitivities or allergies to fragrances, using a shampoo with a mild scent is generally safe. Using a fragrance-free shampoo can be beneficial for those with sensitive skin, allergies, or sensitivities to fragrances.


Managing oily and porous hair can be difficult when attempting to maintain a pleasing and durable smell. It might seem like an inviting concept to spray perfume in your hair, but it’s not a good idea because it could damage it

Today, we looked at the potential harm that applying perfume could do to your hair and scalp and offered a few substitutes that could still give you a pleasant smell without endangering the health of your hair.

Instead, use hair-friendly alternatives like oils, scented serums, and hair mists. You can have fresh-smelling hair without causing harm to it by using the advice we shared today. 

We’ve also included insightful information on the causes of poor scalp odor and helpful remedies. By adopting the tips and techniques you learned today, you can enjoy fresh, fragrant hair without worrying about damaging it or causing discomfort.

Remember, the key to maintaining a pleasant hair scent lies in understanding the specific needs of your hair and scalp and using appropriate products and methods to keep them clean and healthy.
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