Debra Lynn Dadd

How Can I Remove Scent From My Hair?


Help -- a new hair stylist "forgot" my just-stated request for 'no styling products' and slathered my hair with a perfume-containing lotion. Thirteen hours and seven washes later I am still ill from the odor and moreso from the taste left in my mouth. Anyone have ideas on how to get this tenacious fragrance out of my hair -- without hurting my hair or scalp any more than seven shampoos (with fragrance-free products of course).

POSTED BY LINDA :: MINNESOTA USA :: 11/23/2009 6:17 PM


I wonder whether it is a pH issue, that is, acid or alkaline issue. And I do know what you mean about the taste. Sounds like you are unable to detoxify normally. I know I don't.

What about trying a baking soda paste. If that doesn't do it, a vinegar and water rinse. I am thinking that the chemicals should be soluble in one or the other. Or maybe clay would absorb it.

Here's a long shot, but maybe try dish detergent. Maybe your shampoo is too mild.

Drinking some baking soda in water and taking vitamin C (buffered C?) might help you to eliminate it.

Of course, it's on your towels and clothes, too. You have my sympathy.

POSTED BY MARY :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 11/23/2009 7:15 PM

Definitely try the baking soda paste and let it sit a few minutes. (You can mix it with a bit of shampoo to help distribute it easier.) I would do this at least twice, and then rinse thoroughly. Fresh air and sunlight will help too!

I always keep a bar of Grandpa's Baking Soda Soap around. It's great for removing perfume odors, gasoline, and any other foul odors that might land on a person.

I work at a department store, and by the end of the evening, I have absorbed an assortment of odors. The Christmas season is the worst - there are candles and scented body products everywhere. I try to roll the windows down and "air out" on my drive home and then I use Grandpa's soap head to toe. I can usually smell a trace of fragrance remaining in my hair if I only wash it once, but it's usually not noticeable by the time it dries.


I get sick from that stuff too. Of course I don't use it but others in the family do

I concur with the above ideas. "Allergy C" and magnesium malate were very helpful to me after a reaction.

Later you might want to find out the name of the product and report it. I don't know which agency handles consumer complaints.

Also, in Dr. Daniel Amen's new book "Magnificent Mind" he states that many salon hair products are toxic to the brain, as repeatedly shown on brain scans.His website is, although I didn't find that statement there.

POSTED BY LAURA :: MAINE USA :: 11/27/2009 4:56 PM

I have the same problem - getting the smells of all the scented fabric softeners out of my hair - you could try lemon juice, that can work well. Peroxide kills odors, but may not be great for the color of your hair. Sometimes I use 7th generation dish detergent and a lemon rinse. Hope this helps, I do feel your pain. Next time, take your own shampoo and tell them absolutely nothing else goes on your hair.

POSTED BY TERRI :: MARYLAND USA :: 11/27/2009 4:56 PM

I have not used this idea on hair, but vitamin C powder in water to soak has worked for me when nothing else will on fragrances in fabric. The other thing that has worked wonderfully for me is bright sunshine. I'm so sorry you had this happen and hope you can get rid of this smell soon!

POSTED BY DONNA :: FLORIDA USA :: 11/27/2009 4:56 PM

I keep a bottle of diluted cider vinegar in the shower at all times for treating these sort of contact exposures. Sometimes,when I accidentally allow a hug from a perfumed person it gets in my hair and this is how I get it out.

As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I use a hair wash which is mostly bentonite clay and aloe. So, maybe, trying a paste of bentonite clay and aloe vera juice might help. I would try this first, leaving it to dry for a good while, and then use the vinegar rinse.

POSTED BY ROSE :: OREGON USA :: 11/27/2009 5:00 PM

Hi..Was interested in the comment in regard to the ph balance. I have had this problem too but dont understand what was meant concerning the acidic issues. Please explain...thanks ..s

POSTED BY S :: WASHINGTON USA :: 11/27/2009 5:00 PM

I forgot to say that you may be getting the odor out of your hair when you wash it, but you've spread the smell all over your house from your hair. So you wash it out then pick it up again in your house. This happened to me again yesterday with a particularly noxious perfume I picked up at PT. The first hair wash did nothing, by the time I did the second, my house already reeked, so it came back. Some smells are ust really difficult to get rid of.


Hi - not sure this will help, but years ago now when I swam in a chlorine pool (horrors!!) alot, my hairdresser had recommended that I get a "cleansing shampoo" to use after getting the chlorine in my hair - I could "smell" it days later, even if I had not been back in the pool! My hairdresser sells Redken at her salon, and so I purchased a tube of Redken Hair Clleansing Creme", which has under that, "Alternate Clarifying Shampoo" from her - I still have it in my cupboard but it does have a slight odor to it, pleasant, but since you are sensitive to smells, would NOT suggest this one.

I also have another that I bought (I believe I got it at the local Health Food Store) that has NO smell - Artison's (that is brand) "Detoxifying Hair Masque" - on tube, it also says, "One Step, Foaming Deep Cleanser - Years Beyond Chelator/Clarifiers". The ONLY identifying info on back of tube says, Salon Unity Network, Freedom, California. You would have to try googling this specifically, and goodness knows, it probably may not even be ON the market anymore, given these economic times.

You could just try googling various phrases taken from what I have typed above, and see what you can find - but be sure description does say "odorless" or "no perfume"!

Hope this helps, Les from Hawaii


This post was extracted from an MCS forum. hope it helps!

"First, dust hair well with baking soda. Leave in for about 15 minutes or more. Then take the whites of one or two eggs, beat up a bit to loosen, then apply generously to hair (not bad to extend to face for a softening facial) and leave in for at least 20 minutes." You may need longer time.

POSTED BY SOPHIA :: NEW YORK USA :: 11/30/2009 5:28 AM

As far as taking your own shampoo, that doesn't always work. My stylist forgot twice! If I were still going to a salon, I'd take my own shampoo, and also a plastic bag which I would rubberband around the shop shampoo. Using the shop shampoo is such a habit, it's hard to break.

POSTED BY KIPPERCAT :: TEXAS USA :: 12/03/2009 11:06 AM

I feel your pain!

When I get perfume, chemicals (including evil "air freshener" chemicals,. or other odors in my hair or on my skin, I use a grainy bar of sappo hill oatmeal soap. It's really inexpensive and is available at Whole Foods and other health food stores. It's made from vegetable oil glycerine and oatmeal, Sappo Hill also makes an oatmeal soap without the actual pieces of oatmeal embedded in it, but I recommend getting the one with visible oatmeal because it helps scrub off the chemicals.

I am extremely sensitive to chemicals, fragrances and odors and this soap doesn't bother me at all. I lather it up and leave it in my hair and on my skin for a few minutes and then rinse. Comb the oatmeal soap through your hair to coat it first. It is a bit drying though-but a little plain organic jojoba oil on damp skin and hair can fix that!

Good luck!

POSTED BY SUSAN IN NYC :: NEW YORK USA :: 12/11/2009 4:13 PM

I use NutriBiotics SENSITIVE SKIN fragrance-free skin cleanser on my hair when it's picked up perfumes and chemicals from things like air-fresheners. I put "sensitive skin" in caps because they have a "regular" fragrance-free skin cleanser that is very smelly.

I don't know if it will work for your extreme problem, but it's something to try.

I never, ever have my hair washed at a salon. It's not just because of accidents -- those sinks and the sprayers have product residues in them, and they WILL get on your hair. I come to the salon with clean hair, and my stylist either cuts it dry or uses a spray bottle of water to wet it. I bring my own comb, brush and towel for my neck (if he wets my hair.) His smocks are "safe" for me now, but when he worked at a different place with unsafe smocks I brought my own bath towel.

The towels I bring are actually my cleaning towels. I would never bring one of my own personal hand or bath towels to a salon and then wash them with my personal home towels.

I never have him style my hair, so there is no chance of him accidentally using a product on my hair.

Since you have a new stylist (or, if you're firing her, you'll be getting a new one) at your next appointment ask that she literally remove all conditioning and styling products from her reach -- close them up in a cabinet or drawer. That way she cannot reflexively "grab and slather", which can happen even if you are watching her with eagle eyes.


I have severe MCS, and when I got a product in my hair that was making me ill it was a nightmare! I almost shaved my head it was making me so ill. baking soda soaks and washes weren't even enough, vinegar rinses did nothing, and I couldn't try soap or shampoo because I cannot tolerate them (yes, even organic soap with one ingredient). I even washed my hair with clay multiple times, to no avail, even plastering my hair with it and allowing the mixture to dry, hoping it would at least block some of the outgassing. I was washing my hair 3 times a day just to keep it barely tolerable enough that I could keep food down (I coudn't the first few days because it made me so ill).

So what finally worked? Activated carbon (charcoal) powder. One wash with it made a profound difference, and one more wash cleared things up so that it ws barely noticeable.

Of course, then I had a very challanging time getting the charcoal out with only baking soda and vinegar, and in the end basically let it wear out, resulting in charcoal smudges on all my clothing and bedding. So I warn you, it's a messy product, but if you are desperate for a solution this is the only one I can wholeheartedly recommend, as it's the only one that worked for me and very well at that.


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