The ultimate guide to getting smells out of your hair

Have you ever walked by a group of smokers or a food cart on the street, only to have the terrifying realization that the stench has fused with your hair? Yeah, it's pretty awful, especially if you just washed your locks. Whether you live in a city and pass hot dog stands every four blocks or live in the country and are hit with that distinct outdoor smell, your hair absorbs all kinds of scents.

Hair is made of protein and is porous and permeable, which means smells are easily absorbed. Some hair types are more susceptible than others. Your friend's hair might still smell like her strawberry shampoo at the end of the day while yours picked up a cigarette, a campfire, and your hibachi dinner. It's the luck of the draw, but you can protect your hair and get rid of unwanted scents with the following tips.

Grab some dry shampoo

Dry shampoo should be in every woman's haircare routine, especially if you're following the golden rule of not washing it every single day. If you notice that your hair takes in a lot of odors, dry shampoo is a quick way to get them out. Spritz a little dry shampoo into your roots, leave it in for one minute, and then rub it into your scalp. This will get rid of smells and add volume.

Use a little perfume

Using perfume to cover up gross smells is typically not the best idea, particularly if you're trying to mask body odor. Don't do that. But perfume is fine to spray on your locks if you're just dealing with a slight smell or need a refresher on your day-old hair. Pick something light and clean instead of a scent that's overly floral or sweet.

Try a few drops of your favorite essential oil

If you're not integrating essential oils into your beauty routine, you're doing it wrong. Essential oils have been used for ages in beauty and wellness because they're awesome. Since they're concentrated, they pack a punch in the scent department and won't leave your hair feeling greasy. Choose your favorite scent — lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, orange, whatever — and pour a few drops into your palm. Rub together and gently work it through your hair.

Raid your laundry room

Dryer sheets are not just for making your laundry smell like a spring mountaintop! You can use them on your hair too. Section your hair and carefully rub a dryer sheet on each section. Not only will this remove whatever smells your hair has absorbed, but it will also reduce frizz and static. Win, win!

Channel Elsa and use cold air

Blasting your hair with the cold air setting on your hair dryer is also a good trick for getting smells out. Cold air opens up the hair cuticle, which can release bad smells and allow for better absorption of an essential oil, perfume, or dry shampoo.

If you're experiencing a particularly nasty stench, it's your best bet to thoroughly wash your hair. Your hair can also start smelling because of a fungus or buildup in your scalp. If you notice a bad smell that hasn't come from something in your environment, you might want to contact your doctor or dermatologist to see what's going on.