Is It Safe To Put Perfume On Your Hair?

by Shiboli Chakraborti

Finding a fragrance that reflects your personality is like winning the lottery. Once you have hit the jackpot, there is no going back. You would want to spray it all over yourself and your belongings (honestly, who would resist this urge?). And sometimes, when you are in a pinch, you could spray some on your hair as well.

But should you be applying perfume to your hair? How safe is it? Are there any natural alternatives to this? Read on to explore further.

Can You Apply Perfume To The Hair?

No. Applying perfume is not an ideal treatment for your hair. There two main factors that discourage this practice:

  • Alcohol Can Dry Your Hair

Most perfumes contain 60 to 70% alcohol as a volatile solvent and carrier agent. However, short-chained alcohol contains fewer carbon atoms due to which it acts as a potent drying agent. Prolonged usage and exposure to alcohol can make the hair rough, dry, frizzy, and brittle – leading to breakage.

  • The Scents Could Be A Problem

The chemical substances and synthetic fragrances in perfumes can damage your hair. Studies show that makeup and personal care items contain harsh chemicals that have been linked to male genital birth defects and altered pregnancy outcomes in animals. Diethyl phthalate found in perfumes is also a major cause for concern due to its adverse effects on health (1).

Synthetic fragrances can strip the natural oils of your hair and scalp. This leads to tangles and frizz, making your hair appear straw-like. If you are dealing with dandruff, it can worsen itching and flaking.

One may think that the application of a strong fragrance could mask the natural odor. However, it is also highly possible that it can mix with your natural body odor and make your hair smell rather different. Hence, you can switch to hair care products that smell amazing. These alternatives provide nourishment to your hair, along with a good smell. Here are a few options you can try.

Perfume Alternatives For Your Hair

  • Hair Mists

Hair mists are lightweight, water-based hair revitalizers that can make your hair smell pleasant. They are specially formulated for specific hair goals, such as detangling, moisturization, and hairstyling.

You can also whip up a quick DIY hair mist by combining these simple ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of aloe vera juice
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Spray this homemade mist on your hair to nourish and moisturize it. You can either choose a DIY or commercial hair mist based on your preference.

  • Serums

Hair serums help protect your strands from tangles, dullness, and frizz. They can make your hair smell amazing and add shine, which makes your locks look smooth and glossy.

If you are into DIY, you can make your very own hair serum by combining:

  • 4 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons each of jojoba, almond, argan, and grapeseed oils

Store this solution in a spray bottle and use it right after shampooing to get shiny hair. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to impart a subtle fragrance to your hair.

  • Dry Shampoo

Wash your hair with a dry shampoo to address hair odor caused by oil, grease, and dirt buildup. Dry shampoos cleanse and deodorize your hair, giving it natural bounce and volume.

To prepare dry shampoo at home, you will need:

  • ¼ cup of cornstarch powder
  • ¼ cup of arrowroot powder
  • 10 drops of tea tree oil
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oils.

Mix all the powders and sprinkle this blend on your hair. Fluff your hair with a brush to let it settle and dust off the excess shampoo with a towel. This is one of the quickest ways to make your hair smell great.

Note: If you have darker hair, add some unsweetened cocoa powder to the blend.

  • Mousse

This thick foam is applied to the hair, combed in, and blow dried for styling. It helps lift your hair and add volume while protecting it from damage.  Mousses smell good and leave behind a lingering fragrance on your hair.

  • Gel

Hair gels are one of the commonest hair styling products. If you wish to make hair gel at home, you will need

  • ½ teaspoon of unflavored gelatin
  • ½ teaspoon of aloe vera gel
  • 1 cup of warm water

Stir in the gelatin and aloe vera gel in warm water. Add a few drops of your preferred essential oil to the gelatin solution and allow it to thicken and set. You can now directly apply this all-natural, fragrant gel to your hair.

  • Leave-In Conditioners

Leave-in conditioners help moisturize, nourish, and strengthen your hair. They tame frizz, prevent split ends, and detangle your hair. Such conditioners are beneficial for very dry and rough hair that is constantly exposed to the sun and harsh environment. They also protect the hair from the damaging effects of heat styling tools and chemical treatments. Often, leave-in conditioners have soft floral notes that will have you sniffing your hair all day round!

  • Diluted Essential Oils

Essential oils are popular for their aromatic properties and can be applied to your hair in diluted form (along with a carrier oil). They impart a unique scent to your hair and help nourish it. Commonly used essential oils, such as lavender, rosemary, tea tree, and peppermint, can help repair damaged hair and make it healthy.

The best part is you can use a combination of various essential oils to create your desired fragrance. To prepare an essential oil-based hair perfume, mix these ingredients:

  • 5 ounces of rose water
  • 2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel
  • 4 drops of pure vanilla extract
  • 22 drops of grapefruit essential oil
  • 14 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 9 drops of tea tree essential oil

Store this hair cologne in a spray bottle and use it anytime to make your hair smell good.

The Takeaway

Everyone experiences smelly hair at some point or the other. It could be due to sweat and grease, pollution, or irregular shampooing. While it is tempting, spraying perfume on your hair can damage your hair and scalp in the longrun. Instead, try the alternatives listed in this article to make your hair smell amazing without compromising on its health.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

What can make your hair smell bad?

Your hair can get smelly due to these reasons:

  • Not shampooing at regular intervals
  • Grease, sweat, and product buildup
  • Stress and hormonal imbalances
  • Poor dietary practices
  • Pollution, harsh environment, and seasonal changes

How to put on the DIY hair perfume?

Spray the perfume along the lengths of your hair. Brush your hair to spread it evenly throughout the strands. Do not apply the hair perfume to your scalp.

Is fragrance bad for your hair?

No. However, avoid synthetic perfumes or smells and opt for natural alternatives.

Which essential oils can I use to make my hair smell better?

You can try peppermint, lavender, grapefruit, rosemary, cedarwood, thyme, clary, sage, and ylang-ylang essential oils to make your hair smell better.

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Shiboli has a Master’s degree in English Literature and is proficient in French. She believes that words have a healing power and considers poetry her lifeline. Her writing background and editorial dexterity help her guide her team members to create crisp and authentic content. Shiboli is also a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and has a fascination for traveling. She is passionate about cooking and dreams of opening a restaurant of her own.
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