The best remedies for your smelly scalp

Your smelly scalp can be due to many causes; however, the most effective ways to treat and to remedy it are the same.

Having a smelly scalp doesn’t mean that you are not taking good care of your hygiene, in the contrary, most hygiene conscious and clean people are going to develop a smelly scalp, it’s because of yeasts!

Click here to use the best shampoo for your smelly scalp!

  • The first way to get rid of your smelly scalp is applying a sulfur rich shampoo.

Sulfur is a key solution to getting rid of your smelly scalp, it’s a very powerful antifungal and antibacterial chemical, this means that it’s going to get rid of the yeast colonies in your scalp, which are causing all the bad smell.

The best brand of sulfur shampoo is Neutrogena T-Sal shampoo, it’s the one most dermatologists recommend, it will not only get rid of odors in the scalp, but will also help with psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases in the scalp.

Neutrogena T-Sal shampoo does not only contain sulfur, but it also contains salicylic acid which is amazing at getting rid of fungal colonies and other germs in the scalp.

The best advice on applying this amazing shampoo is , when washing your hair, to leave it on for about five to ten minutes, this is how you get it to destroy the bacteria and funguses on your scalp, most people are going to use the shampoo for a very short period of time and then wash it, sometimes even less than one minute, this is simply a waste of valuable ingredients, leave it on your hair and scalp for at least five minutes.

  • The next advice is to avoid applying conditioners on the roots of your hairs.

Most conditioners contain lots of oils and nutrients; these are not going to serve you well when they are applied near the roots of your hair because you are simply going to be feeding the yeast and bacteria there, which is going to increase the smell!

When applying your conditioner, always use it on the end of your hair and never on the roots, it will be useless there.

  • The third way to get rid of your smelly scalp is to use garlic oil.

I know that many will consider the use of garlic to get rid of bad smells a bit ironic, but the truth is that bacteria and funguses hate garlic; in fact garlic is going to kill most damaging and harmful funguses.

The best way to use garlic to get rid of your smelly scalp is by using its oil.

Garlic oil is available at health food shops and can even be made in the comfort of your home, but I simply prefer to buy it.

Garlic oil contains powerful antifungal and antiseptic compounds that are going to kill the smell producing yeasts on your scalp very quickly and efficiently.

  • Another effective remedy for your smelly scalp is lavender oil.

Lavender oil is simply the most effective solution to getting rid of not only your smelly scalp, but also scalp itchiness and inflammations.

It’s a very powerful antifungal and antiseptic natural oil, and the best thing about it is that it’s very cheap and can last you for months.

Here is how to apply lavender oil to stop bad smells in your scalp:

After washing your hair with a sulfates free shampoo, dry your hair with a clean towel and apply 5 to 10 drops of lavender oil.

Click here to use the best shampoo for your smelly scalp!

Some people prefer to mix it with jojoba oil, but the best results can be obtained when used alone. It’s not very expensive, you just need to apply 5 to 10 drops on your scalp and massage it well.


  1. yeasts are the reason, I always thought it was something else! thanks! now, let’s hope your techniques will work because i have a marriage celebration next month and i want to look good for the family. chris, my question is about olive oil, we use it here a lot, Lebanon, and I don’t see you mentioning it! is it going to work to reduce the smell in my scalp?

  2. I’ve started to smell weired in my hair recently, dont know what’s going on, but I’m sure of one thing: my scalp hurts and I’ve started seeing much more hair in my pillow when I wake up.
    Please help!

    • Hello, I really think that you have to start using an amazing shampoo called Nioxin, it will help you tremendously with your hair loss issues, otherwise, you can try using minoxidil, but for the moment, just use Nioxin, it will help you tremendously.

    • I just read that excessive hair loss, redness, inflammation and yellow crusting at the hair follicles can be caused by favus, a fungus. Sorry Chris, but I disagree with you on this. If it was a matter of simple hair loss, it should not hurt like Cathrin says it does. I’d look into treatments targeting microbes in your scalp. I have dealt with smelly scalp issues for 2 yrs now. It comes and goes and seems to persist longest when I’m stressed, which is often. Dermatologists have been of no help. I’ve been told it’s only in my head and that my nose is the problem, like I’m imagining it! It’s affected my getting close to my partner because I feel my scalp emits an almost musty earwaxy smell. Pyrithione zinc, sulfur and tea tree oil shampoos have not helped. I have tried even using dish soap to strip the scalp of oils so that I take away food source for microbes but it only reduced the odor slightly and made my hair dry as tumble weed. Going to try raw apple cider vinegar next. I will post my results.

      • Hi Harry, thanks so much for your comment, it’s very helpful and full of great golden nuggets. Well, I advised Cathrin out of my experience, some three years ago, I started having hair loss and a terrible smell in my scalp, using Minoxidil and tea tree oil helped a lot. Yes, you are totally correct, it can definitely be a microbe, but when it comes to hair loss, it’s very wise to use minoxidil as it is going to slow down and in most cases stop it.
        I’m really sorry to read about your issue, and as with you, dermatologists didn’t help much, one even told me that it’s the “stress” causing this!!! Really!!! Give me a break!! Anyway, I was going to recommend pyrithione zinc, but you seem to have already tried it. As far as vinegar is concerned, I like using white instead of apple cider, but this is a personal choice, and if your condition is caused by a microbe, the acidity may stop it or at least slow it down a bit. If I were you, I’d take a teaspoon of green tea, grind, mix it with water , avoid using oils, and make a paste out of it, cut my hair short , as it may cause some color issues, and apply it every night. I’ve heard that it was great for stopping skin issues and also getting rid of bad germs.
        Good luck and please keep us informed, I’m so glad you’ve contributed with your experience.

  3. I must try these tips, I’m starting to smell really strange, and I’ve even noticed some hair loss, I will report back with updates.

  4. I’ve never thouhgt that garlic woiuld help with bad smel, go figure.
    anyway, thanks a lot for your article and your website, i like it a lot and will read more posts. i have a problem, my hair is atarting to fall down and i’m scared i may not have any by the end of the year :( I’m a male, 39 years old and I have no disease or helth problems!
    Please chris, help me.

    • Hi XXX, what a name!
      From what you said, it seems that you have a DHT problem, which is too bad because it needs life long treatments in order to maintain your hair growing, sorry!
      Look for a product called rogain, it will stop your hair shedding and increase hair growth almost overnight.
      Thanks for your comment and good luck.

  5. Hey! My scalp is very smelly and I was wondering if using a baby shampoo would be helpful. Thanks so much!!

    • Sorry, it will not help a lot. Try to get tea tree oil and use it everyday, it will help tremendously with the smell.

      • when you said tea tree oil… apply it to the scalp?
        i have smelly scalp too which i have to wash my hair everyday. somethings just few hours after washing i could smell it which is really annoying.

        • Hi layla, so sorry to read about this You need to start using tea tree oil everyday on your scalp, as indicated in the post, you should mix it with a carrier oil like jojoba or olive oil. It should help you tremendously.
          Good luck

  6. Hi chris! Plz help me i’ve been suffering from smelly scalp for more than a year now doctors n everyone around say my hair should see the sun but it does n the smell keeps getting worse i used to have long thick hair but after i realised the smell my hair started falling with a lot of dandruff n it itches me a lot im about to go crazy everyone thinks im imagining the smell but no one feels my pain plz help me plz!!

    • Hi, no you are not imagining things!! It’s real, trust me, I’ve been there and I know how awful it is. Look, my straight answer is to use the tips in this post, they’ll help you tremendously, and pay close attention to using tea tree oil, it’s wonderful stuff.

  7. Hi chris plz help me ive had smelly scalp for 1 year now n more my hair has thinned a lot n it itches so much i im becoming depresses due to this problem everyone around thinks that its nothing n not important but no one understands my pain plz plz plz help!!

    • Hi, yes, smelly hair can be very depressing and it can lower self esteem tremendously. Again, the most efficient solution is to use tea tree oil, I’ve tried it and it’s amazing. One more thing, if you’d like to add more volume and health to your hair, you need to start taking Biotin, it’s great for hair growth.

      • Ok thanks but can you plz tell me how often n wen n how do i use ?

        • Hi, as far as tea tree oil, you need to use it with a carrier oil, like jojoba for example, for each tea spoon of jojoba oil, three drops of tea tree oil. everyday, apply one tea spoon to your hair, massage it very well, and make sure your scalp receives as much as possible, do this for at least one month.

      • Okay thnx sooo much! Can u plz let me know how often n wen should i put tea tree oil in my scalp n can i mix it with castor or lavendar oil plus i’ve heard that the smell wont go until particular diet or pill are taken is this true plz let me know thank you sooo much for giving me hope into having a healthy hair again!!

        • I think that the idea of diet is well founded. I had the most horrible smelly scalp when I was eating high amounts of cheese and diary, so stay away from these products, I really think that your body will benefit a lot. I don’t think that you need to worry too much about the carrier oil to use with tea tree oil, but I’d really advice you to try jojoba.

      • Hi chris, i couldnt find the shampoo you recommended in australia but i found a shampoo called davroe do u agree that it will get rid of the smell n dandruff?

        • I’m really sorry, but I can’t advice you on this shampoo as I’ve never used it before. The best thing to do is to go online and buy the shampoo I recommend, next you can add some ten drops of tea tree oil, this will both get rid of dandruff and smell quickly.

  8. Chris plz reply to me ASAP!!!

  9. Thanks a lot for your advice Chris ive started the using the oils you recommended and i stopped eating any dairy or cheese i think you are right because i eat a lot of these food but do i stop eating from them forever or just until my scalp n hair are clear from the smell?

    • Hello, so sorry again, my computer is driving me nuts!!! :-) Well, to answer your question, if you want temporary results, then take temporary measures and vis-versa. I think you better leave these foods alone and only eat them from time to time. Good luck.

  10. zarai hernandez says:

    Hi chris. I have a question. ive never had a smelly scalp. but 3 months ago i started the depo shot. Ever since i my scalp smells bad. Could the shot be.the.cause of this?

    • Probably, because it alters the hormones in your body. Anyway, take one tbs a day of ground flaxseeds, they’re great and my wife use it for her hair. Good luck

  11. Hi, so for the past year or so, my hair has been really smelly. Particularly my scalp as when I rub it with my fingertips, I can smell an odor. I wash my hair everyday, but it never smells like the shampoo, it almost immediately starts to smell. What’s the best plan of action from here?

    • Hello, if I were you, I’d use the tips in this post, especially when it comps to the shampoo I recommend, it’s amazing.

  12. Hi Chris, I was reading your website and I found it so useful. I have smelly scalp then after I read your post I went to buy Neotrogena T/Sal, my question is how long I have to use this shampoo?,

    • Hi, thanks a lot for your comment. For me, I had to use it for months, but I had atotaly different issue. Most people will start having positive effects after one month of use, preferably once every three day, if you have a strong smell, use it daily.

  13. Hi

    Recently my boyfriend told me that my scalp smells really funny! Since then I have noticed it myself! Especially when I am hot! It is really emabarrasing and I am worried others can smell it!!

    I have recently put on quiet a lot of weight could this have anything to do with it? I am desperate for this smell to go! I am going to give the lavender a go! Will it make my hair really greasy if I am putting it on after I have washed my hair?? Please can you advise what I have to do! Thank you

    • Hi,
      Ouch!!! that’s bad heheh, anyway, don’t worry, the lavender solution will work just fine. And yes, weight can be a factor as well, especial if you are eating a lot of meat and especially chicken and fish, I remember my body smelling horrible each time I’d eat fish, when I stopped, it disappeared! Go figure!!
      Just mix two drops of lavender oil with one tea spoon of olive or coconut oil and then massage your scalp, leave it for thirty minutes and then wash everything.
      Good luck

  14. hi
    i have a problem with smelly scalp, i noticed its oily and its been 2 mos now. i tried the thera rx antibacterial scalp therapy but it ddnt work. and i tried the iodine antiseptic cleanser, aso ddnt work.. its so depressing and really smell. i tried sulfur soap but the smell makes it worst. i want to try the shampoo you recomended in the article, bt i also want to know about how to use the lavender oil jojoba oil and tea tree oil.. do you recommend usig virgin coconut oil? please help me..:( thank you so much…

    • I’m really sorry to read about your problem, you can use coconut oil, but I prefer olive oil, lavender is fantastic, but you should mix it with tea tree oil as well. I highly recommend that you use T-Sal shampoo it will help you a lot.

  15. Hi Chris..I’m a going to be 40 female. I’ve noticed that “stinky hair” smell recently. This pass winter I had a terrible bout with psoriasis. My doctor gave me cream for my body but not for my scalp which isn’t so bad,I do have patches here and there especially like on my sides. Anyways, I usually wash my hair every other day or two. I DO use a sulfur based shampoo for the psoriasis once in awhile, after I wash my hair I condition and rinse then throw it up in a towel for 15 minutes or so sometimes longer. I ONLY use a hair pick because I don’t want to scrape my scalp with a brush or comb, I then use my mousse and spray and put my hair in a bun to usually style it for the next day. My hair is usually curly looking and scrunched the next day. I’m USE TO THIS LOOK! However, i do want a new style because I’m sick of throwing my hair up in a bun. My 3 daughters do it now too! ALWAYS in a bun! Anyways, I’m sure this is the reason for my “stinky scalp”. My question is is there anything I can do or wash my hair with FOR NOW until I get a new do? My hair is if say a little pass shoulder length and VERY thick! I also use a different shampoo every time I shampoo and I only use the best smelling more expensive products. I’m sure the answer is no more WET HAIR bun!
    I look forward to your response..thanks for well!!
    P.s..I Did try the baking soda route and it didn’t really seem to help! I live in Pennsylvania U.S.A. I’m not sure how or where to even but tea tree oil. How do you apply the oil to the scalp without the hair sucking it up? I’m sure I’ll have a few more it’s awesome to have someone who’s done the research to help with these problems and who’s going to be a cosmotologist. The ladies at the hair salon when asked questions like this look at you like you’re crazy and lead you to the most EXPENSIVE product they’re representing and they end up not working! I don’t mind spending the money ONLY if it works! Thanks again.

    • hello Maureen, I’m not going to lie to you, but from what you’ve told me, you are definitely suffering from a fungal issue, and the first thing you need to start using is a quality tea tree oil shampoo, the only brand I trust, use and recommend is Paul Mitchell , and to add more to your hair’s health and vitality, you have to start applying vinegar rinse, just look in my website, I’ve posted many articles on the subject.

  16. Hi I’m 32 and for past 3 years my hairs just seems to fall out excessively. I run my fingers through my hair and I will have a handfull. There are no bald patches etc yet. But I’m very worried of losing my hair. Help Please.

    • I know what you are dealing with, I’ve had the same issue about four years ago and I can assure you that you can completely get rid of it, first of all, you need to take good care of your diet, avoid dairy products as much as possible while also focusing on whole and organic foods, especially dark green leafy vegetables, the second thing is to start applying minoxidil, it is very powerful and will stop hair loss.

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