Why does my hair smell burnt after I wash it? A stylist reveals the truth

hair smells burnt after washing

  • If your hair smells burnt after you wash it, you’ve unfortunately burnt your hair with a straightener, curler, or blow dryer.
  • And what should you do so your hair doesn’t smell burnt after you wash it? Trim the damaged parts.
  • If you don’t want to trim your burned hair, you can use some masks to hide the smell. Later I’ll tell you how to prepare them. Although you should know that won’t be a permanent solution.


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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but please, don’t kill the messenger!

I really can’t think of any other reason why your hair might smell burnt after washing.  The only explanation is that your hair is burnt. 

What could have burned your hair?

Of course, that’s if you haven’t bleached your hair, because bleaching can burn it. Apart from that, I can only think of one reason.


Obviously, misuse or abuse of heat tools, whether it’s a blow dryer, straightener, or a curler.

So the time has come for you to be honest with yourself. Tell me the truth:

  • Do you get out of the shower and blow-dry your hair so you can straighten it with a straightener, without giving your hair a rest for a day?
  • Do you wake up and the first thing you do is use the straightener without a heat protectant?
  • Do you straighten your hair several times a day to avoid frizz?
  • Do you use a curler several times a week?
  • Do you use a straightener on wet hair?

flat iron heat burns hair

Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve found out why your hair smells burnt after you wash it.

And the burnt smell is indicating the degree of heat damage to your hair.

Do you know why?


Because if you smell a burnt smell in your hair after you wash it, it means that part of your cuticles has been burnt and there is no solution.

Unfortunately,  you will have to cut your hair and avoid using styling tools altogether. 


Because if you don’t, every time you wash your hair the same smell will still turn up. So, before we tackle the solution, let’s see what you should do to avoid aggravating the situation.

If your hair smells burnt after you wash it, you should stop using heat tools

damages the hair and leaves the tips open

Why? Because excessive heat burns your hair.

Think for a moment. What happens when you touch a hot saucepan?


Your fingertips get burnt and those burns hurt for days. The heat penetrates to the innermost layers of the epidermis, absorbing moisture from the burned area.

For this reason, when you suffer a burn, first the area goes red and the next day you have a blister. Because your skin was burned and the blister is the result of dehydration.

The same thing happens to your hair, only you don’t get blisters.


When you run the straightener through your hair at 400 degrees or more, one of the most frequent mistakes when using a straightener, the different layers of your hair fiber absorb the heat, which is retained. As a result, your hair loses moisture.

Can you imagine what happens to your hair if you straighten it several times a week without using a heat protectant?


Your hair will burn.  And it will smell burnt even if you wash it up to three times a day. 

Why? It’s because your hair cuticles can’t tolerate any more heat. Once your cuticles are burned, your hair will lose color, moisture, and nutrients and continue to burn.

So if your hair smells burnt after you wash it, you can’t keep using heat tools.

You should stop using a straightener, curler, and blow dryer.


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Two solutions for hair that smells burnt after you wash it

I’ll be clear. I’ll give you two possible solutions.

The first solution is effective, but not very pleasant.


You will have to cut your hair. Because when you remove the burnt parts, your hair won’t smell burnt after you wash it.

remove damaged and burned parts of the hair
You can go to the salon and ask your trusted hairdresser for a layered cut to avoid frizz. You can also opt for an uneven parting to disguise the frizz.


And once you remove the burnt parts of your hair, use heat tools sparingly and always apply a heat protectant to your hair.

You can even use a leave-in conditioner as a heat protectant. It’s also important you don’t use the straightener at more than 200 degrees.

If you want to disguise frizz, instead of straightening your hair, you can use styling creams.

If you don’t want to cut your hair, there is another solution. A solution that will help you disguise the smell of burnt hair, but won’t completely get rid of it.

Apply masks to hide the smell of burnt hair after you wash it.

Peppermint oil and coconut oil mask:

burnt smell hair and peppermint oil

  • Mix 30 drops of coconut oil and 30 drops of peppermint oil in a bowl.
  • Stir the mixture well and apply it from the roots to the ends, all through your hair. Leave the mask on for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Rinse your hair with lukewarm, almost cold water.

This mask will help restore moisture and the mint will help hide the burnt smell of your hair. Use it up to four times a week until you decide to cut your hair.

Aloe vera and peppermint oil mask:

  • In a bowl mix 100 ml of pure aloe vera and 10 drops of peppermint oil.
  • Apply the mixture to your hair and leave it on for an hour.
  • Rinse with lukewarm, almost cold water.

Use this mask three or four times a week for two consecutive weeks.



If your hair smells burnt after you wash it, the excessive use of heat tools has unfortunately burnt your hair cuticles.

The ultimate solution is to remove the burnt parts with a haircut. If you don't want to trim your hair, you can use homemade masks with a peppermint oil base to mask the smell of burnt hair.

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