4 Best Shampoos for Smelly Scalp

Written by Tina Moretti

Updated on

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At a point or another, we’ve all experienced smelly hair days.

While some girls are lucky enough to possibly make hair smells go away by washing their hair often enough, that’s not the case for all of us.

In many cases, a smelly scalp goes beyond just using shampoo regularly.

If you relate to what I’m saying, you’re experiencing smelly scalp or smelly hair syndrome.

You can be doing everything right and still face it, so don’t be embarrassed. It’s just time to revisit your hair care routine. Let’s introduce you to the best shampoos for the smelly scalp.

1. Therapro Mediceuticals TheraRx Wash

I know you’ve probably already tried tons of different shampoos hoping to eliminate those unwanted hair smells.

However, I need you to trust me when I say that the four shampoos I’ll review below can eliminate the most unpleasant odors. Keep reading!

If you’ve felt that your scalp is smelly, and not to mention painful, itchy, and red, it’s probably inflamed.

In this case, Therapro Mediceuticals’ TheraRx will be your best friend, ridding you of the inflammation’s root sources and any odors.

Therapro Mediceuticals TheraRx Wash

Whether it’s extra oil, bacteria, yeast, or other, you can count on this shampoo to restore your scalp to its original state.

However, note that this is quite a strong shampoo, so before using it on your own, check that it suits your condition.

Once you use it, you’ll be waving goodbye to the continuous scratching and the uncomfortable feeling that comes with it!

What We Like:
  • Perfect for irritated scalps
  • Eliminates root sources of inflammation
  • Soothes sensitive skin
What We Don’t Like:
  • Strong on the hair
  • Doesn’t lather adequately

2. Tru Moroccan Clarifying Shampoo

Let’s start simply by saying that this is a vegan shampoo if you happen to be vegan.

Not to mention, Tru Moroccan’s Clarifying Shampoo not only rids you of stinky hair but also works wonders if, along with the smells, you have an itchy scalp.

The shampoo is composed of natural oils and herbs, all entirely plant-based, making it the perfect fit for oily and greasy hair.

It manages to continuously remove any build-up in your scalp, eliminating any dandruff in the process.

Additionally, since most of us live on coloring our hair nowadays, this one works exceptionally well with color-treated hair.

So, you won’t have to worry about your shampoo washing out your new colored locks, which tends to be pretty typical among shampoos that reduce odor.

The same applies to chemically processed hair, so if you’ve undergone some keratin treatment, you’re also good to go!

Oh, and let’s not forget, the shampoo is very gentle on the hair, so you can use it as often as you like.

Tru Moroccan Anti Dandruff Shampoo

What We Like:
  • Ideal for color-treated and chemically processed hair
  • Relatively reasonably priced
  • Controls oily hair
  • Reduces dandruff
  • Smells pleasant
What We Don’t Like:
  • Inadequate lathering
  • Requires accompanying conditioner for best results

3. Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo

I had known greasy hair for basically my entire life until I came across Maple Holistic’s Degrease shampoo.

If your hair is like mine, producing excessive oil that goes way above the usual, you’ll want to try this one out!

While oil is very much needed to add that touch of shine to our hair, too much of it not only looks greasy.

That also creates an environment that welcomes bacteria to thrive. As a natural result, you end up with smelly hair.

What this shampoo does is that it works to restore your scalp’s ideal pH balance.

In parallel, it removes excess oil and moisture from your hair and prevents your scalp from producing it overmuch in the first place.

It’s a 100% natural, therapeutic shampoo with lemon, rosemary, verbenone, cypress, and basil essence, so you’ll feel refreshed whenever you wash your hair with it!

What’s more, by featuring peach kernel, jojoba, and botanical keratin, it stimulates hair growth by working on your hair follicles’ cell renewal. Win-win situation, no more oil!

Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo

What We Like:
  • Top-notch results with oily and greasy hair
  • Beautiful fragrance
  • Lathers effectively
  • Relatively inexpensive
What We Don’t Like:
  • Can cause hair and scalp dryness
  • Best combined with a conditioner or detangler

4. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

Neutrogena has been raising the bar high with its skincare and hair care products, and this Anti-Residue shampoo lives by the standards.

It’s a well-rounded shampoo that suits almost every girl there is!

Promising to remove approximately 90% of hair residue, this one gives you the luxury of applying as many products to your hair as you would like without having to worry about build-up.

If you’re thinking hair dyes, treatments, volumizing creams, or more, yes, that’s all included! Because of its non-irritating, mild formula, this shampoo is a one-size-fits-all type of product.

It’ll give your hair the kind of detox it needs and leave it smelling as fresh as possible! And as an extra, you get volumized, bouncy hair!

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

What We Like:
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Mild formula
  • Cleans super well
  • Lathers easily
What We Don’t Like:
  • Might dry out some hair as it stips away oil
  • Contains DMDM Hydantoin

What Causes Scalp to Smell Bad?

You’ve possibly asked yourself this question many times. I know because I also have, to the extent that I even questioned my hygiene!

Now that I know the answers, though, I’d like to share them with you, too.

Excessive Hair Washing

Believe it or not, washing your hair very often isn’t a good thing!You strip it away from its natural oils, and as a defensive mode, your body compensates for that by producing more and more.

The result?

Greasy hair full of dandruff, paving the way for smelly hair.

Not Enough Hair Washing

But then again, not washing your hair enough is also a reason behind a smelly scalp! It leads to oil/sebum build-ups, and accordingly, a smell.

That is particularly applicable if your hair is oily by nature. Make sure to wash your hair every two days to maintain a pH balance.

Smelly Hair Syndrome

Also known as SHS, Smelly Hair Syndrome occurs when your sweat and oil glands are hyperactive, meaning they secrete too much oil and sweat than needed.

That is the root problem of most cases with smelly hair, and you should better visit a dermatologist in this case.

You will be able to spot this when you find that your hair still smells bad even after washing it; you won’t be able to help but notice.

Sometimes it’s instant to the extent that you smell it just a few hours after the wash.

Skin Conditions

You may not expect this one, but our body is interconnected in so many ways. Some skin conditions, like psoriasis, eczemas, and seborrheic dermatitis, can influence your scalp smells.

Dietary Habits

What you eat influences strongly how your scalp smells! Foods with strong odors lead your scalp to react. You know how egg masks leave a foul odor even after you wash your hair? It’s the exact same.

Product Residues

Hair products interfere with the oil levels in your scalp, again resulting in an awful odor. For that reason, choose your shampoos, conditioners, masks, creams, serums, or others very wisely.

Pick the ones with gentle ingredients, and make sure they don’t leave residue build-up in your scalp.

How Do You Relieve a Smelly Scalp?

Fortunately, a smelly scalp is not impossible to get rid of! I have a handful of tips and tricks up my sleeve that really impresses!

Medicated Shampoos

Never hesitate to visit a dermatologist if you feel that your smelly hair issue is persistent!

They’ll incorporate medicated shampoo into your hair care routine, and they’re usually very efficient. The first step is always to determine the root cause of the smell.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has uncountable benefits for your scalp. Whether it’s kicking bacteria out, nourishing your hair, soothing an itchy scalp, or more, it does it all! And it’s relatively easy to apply.

Just put it on once before you sleep and mix it with any carrier oil (jojoba, for example.)

Baking Soda

Baking soda has cemented its position as one of the best ways to strip off excess oils and build-up from your hair while demolishing any stinky smells.

Just make sure to use it with apple cider vinegar to avoid hair dryness.

Final Words

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably very conscious of your hair smell, and I can totally relate.

However, just a reminder for both you and me that today, there are so many solutions available on the market to end our issue!

It’s not a lost cause anymore, and you should really get started with the shampoos I recommended.

You won’t be disappointed.

Therapro Mediceuticals TheraRx Wash

About the Author

Tina MorettiTina Moretti

Tina Moretti, a passionate hair care enthusiast with over a decade of expertise, dedicates herself to empowering women with proven hair care advice. Recognized for her hands-on experience and trusted guidance, Tina turns every strand into a statement of beauty and confidence.