My hair smells bad when it’s wet: Is it moisture? Is there a solution?

hair gives off bad smell

Does your hair smell bad when you wet it? What’s more, does your hair continue smelling wet after you have dried it?


The same thing happened to me, and the truth is, I felt horrible.

I felt horribly embarrassed as if the smell of my hair were my fault.


It didn’t matter how many times I washed my hair. I tried to change shampoos, even every fifteen days.

I tried all types of shampoos:

  • Citric shampoos
  • Floral
  • Sulfate-free
  • vegan


This small problem turned into a big secret. I had even ended up crying alone in my bathroom to escape from meetings with my friends and even not let my best friend use my flat iron for fear that she would discover my secret.

Regardless of which shampoo and conditioner I used, immediately after getting out of the shower, my hair smelled bad.


Have you ever entered a room that was closed without any type of ventilation for a long time? What did you smell?


Exactly, a scary smell of mold and stuffiness!

And that was the smell my hair had.

 A smell that I could perceive even if I put on a half a liter of the best French perfume. 


I’m not one of those that sits and cries for bad luck, so I decided to investigate myself.

Do you know what I discovered?


That there are various reasons that your hair can have that wet smell and that obviously, none of them have to do with you or I being dirty and unkempt.

That’s why, if you want to find the solution to finish off the stuffy, wet odor in your hair, keep reading.


Because I will tell you:

  • Possible reasons that your hair smells wet
  • How to finish off that bad odor in your hair
  • Other advice to prevent the bad odor on your scalp


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Why is your hair emitting that wet odor

I have super, super thick hair. On one hand, it’s a blessing, because I have strong hair.

But it is also a curse. Do you know why?


Because thick hair takes forever to dry, and I don’t like using the hair dryer because my hair gets really frizzy.

I thought that would be my problem. That since my hair didn’t dry completely, it smelled musty, like with what happens with clothes.


So, I decided to attack it from that side. I bought a heat protector, and I started to dry my hair using a hair dryer.

But, unfortunately, my hair still smelled bad.

So, I had to keep investigating. And I can assure you that the investigation was fruitful.

Does your hair smell wet?


Then, take five minutes to honestly respond to these questions:

  • Is your hair greasy?
  • Does your scalp tend to feel itchy?
  • Do you have dandruff?
  • Are some areas of your scalp red?


If you answered yes to all of these questions, you have the same problem I did.

 And this problem has a name: seborrheic dermatitis

And I just recently found out about it!


Now that I knew that the smell in my hair came from this disease that attacked my scalp, but was there a solution?


How to get rid of the wet smell from my hair

Just as there are antibiotics specifically to treat pneumonia or remedies for allergies, seborrheic dermatitis is possible to treat using specific products.

Products that help to eliminate the bad smell in your hair, be it dry or wet.


 And that solution also has a name: Neutrogena T/Gel shampoo, whose active ingredient is coal tar, which is designed to treat dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.  

The smell of the shampoo is pretty medicinal and a bit earthy, but it’s a lot better than what my hair smelled like before using it. I applied it to my scalp in the shower and following the instructions, I let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.


After, I followed it up with the T/Gel Conditioner, whose active ingredient is salicylic acid, which also helps combat dandruff. This product in particular, I applied to the middles and ends of my hair.

 When I got out of the shower, after having used the two products for the first time, I felt like my hands could touch the sky.  


I couldn’t smell a single aroma that wasn’t the conditioner. There was no mold smell nor wet smell. I even asked my sister, who had noticed the bad smell in my hair in the past, to smell and she couldn’t smell anything either!

I used both the shampoo and the conditioner exclusively for about two months.

And I continued to get the same results.


By the third month, I replaced the conditioner for a few of my deep hydration masks, but I continued using the shampoo. And thank God, my hair smelled incredible.

Also, my dandruff had started to disappear; it was almost non-existant and I didn’t feel like my scalp was itchy.

 I’m surprised at being able to enjoy such an accessible solution, which gave me immediate results! 


Now that you know how to solve the problem of that wet hair smell in your hair, I will tell you some secrets to prevent the bad odor.


Other techniques to prevent the bad odor in your hair

In addition to using the products that I mentioned earlier, when I showered, I also discovered that there were a few things that you could use to prevent the wet smell.


  • For example, applying a few drops of mint essential oil before drying your hair, which prevents mold spores from forming in your hair.

Essential oils have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. After spraying the scalp and the hair with the oil, dry your hair completely, alternating the temperature of the hair dryer between cold and hot to measure the dryness level of your hair better.


  • Does your head sweat a lot?

This can also cause the bad smell in your hair. I recommend that you wash your hair more frequently, and that you do one last rinse with apple cider vinegar letting it sit for at least fifteen minutes in the hair.

Apply the apple cider vinegar at least once a week to your hair.


Thanks to these steps, I could control the scary, wet smell in my hair.

And that meant I could reconcile with my hair and my life. The smile came back to my face and I wasn’t afraid if someone came near my head or my hair.


If after following this advice to combat the wet smell in your hair, you feel the problem continues, it may be time to consult a dermatologist.

Have you ever smelled a wet smell or something similar in your hair?

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