Smelly hair products rant

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  • 1 Post By jaclyn15
  • 2 Post By jaclyn15
  • 1 Post By jsuzkelley

I just have to put this out there - apologies for those who love fragrances and disagree with me, I know this is one of those "to each his/her own" topics.

I hate strong fragrances in hair products, and I don't understand them. When I purchase a hair product, I buy it because I want something that works - something that makes my hair look great and keeps it healthy. I have never in the history of my hair purchased something because I wanted it to smell good. If I want to smell good, I will specifically seek out perfumes, body sprays or washes that have a fragrance OF MY CHOOSING. I feel like I'm being held hostage by the fragrance in my hair products... like, if I want my hair to look good, I just have to deal with it.

I recently bought Curl Junkie Beauticurls leave-in and it's a great product. But it REEKS. It is so strong, it gives me a headache - but it performs beautifully. I hate having to make the tough call - do I keep using this product to look nice, or do I give it up and save my sinuses? SheaMoisture was another line that I had to give up due to strong smells... and the Loreal evercreme stuff.

Plus, there are a lot of us out there with allergies who don't appreciate all of the chemicals that go into creating a fragrance. It just seems so unnecessary. Is it that the raw ingredients in the product smell icky so they have to cover it with perfume? Or do they think we like it?

I will say I don't mind light/non-lingering fragrances in my products. A little something doesn't hurt. But because fragrance is SO subjective (just because I like one smell, doesn't mean anyone else will...) why don't these companies give us some fragrance free options? Isn't that the safer route?

Signed,

Sensitive Sinus
WurlyLox likes this.
My hair: 3b, corkicelli, medium porosity, medium texture, medium/thick density

Co-wash: DevaCurl NoPoo
Rinse-out: GVP Conditioning Balm
Leave-in: KCKT, Suave Naturals Coconut, or my rinse-out!
Gel: SS FHG (my new HG!!)... I also like HESMU, AIF, CJ CQ, BRHG, CJ PP and the occasional LALSG

Likes: Plopping!
Dislikes: Glycerin

CG and loving it!
I actually like nice smelling products, I don't mind if something is a bit strong smelling as long as it smells good to me.
Scents are subjective and although I do like a good smelling product I have had negative experiences with strong smelling products that I didnt like. There was this Suave strawberry conditioner that smelled so artificial I wanted to throw up! It literally made me feel sick. But there are other scents that are strong and I love how they smell!
I guess they could make more products that are non scented but sometimes even with the non scented products there is still a smell, they still smell like something even though it isnt perfume and I usually don't care for the non scented scent...if that makes sense.
Maybe some of the ingredients themselves are not actually favourable scents or the combination of ingredients isnt great unless they add a more appealing scent to mask it.
You're not alone. Shea Moisture products make me want to vomit and vomit some more.
I agree. I love certain scents, like all of my Darcy's products. Those smell sweet but subtle, and sometimes you can choose your scent and even the option of unscented. I also like the smell of KCKT, but what I used to use gave me headaches. I could try to get past the smell of Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner when they were working for me, but since they stopped, that smell was too much! On days I already had headaches, I didn't even want to shower just because I didn't think I could smell that awful smell. How can something "all-natural" have a smell that strong??

I had some of my friends smell my bottle of shampoo just to make sure I wasn't crazy. They all wrinkled their noses and said it was toooo much, haha. I also remember Renpure's red bottle conditioner smelling awful...
2c/2b with some 2a, coarse, dense, thick, low porosity
Growing out a CL bob. Currently at APL.
CG again as of 7/20/12


Cleanser: BRÖÖ Smoothing I.P.A. Shampoo
RO: Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner
LI: Kinky-Curly Knot Today
Styler: Beautiful Curls Gel for Wavy to Curly Hair

all-natural products, light moisture, humectants, argan oil
silk protein, synthetic ingredients, heavy oils/products, cowashing
I have to say, I wish products were unscented. I have a perfume I really like and rarely use because I'm afraid carrying too much scent on me due to hair/body products! It's especially tricky if you are mixing products from different lines. For example, Shea Moisture products smell so strongly and each line has a different scent. Dare I use the gardenia-floral Thickening conditioner with the Coconut-Hibiscus smoothie? Eek!

Right now I'm using Oyin Handmade products. The Hair Dew smells like maple syrup to me. Tasty, but do I want to smell like a pancake? It works great on my hair, so I guess I'll make it work. Currently using the Black Cedar Fig scent in my other Oyin products and I think this spicey-piney scent blends nicely. At least I hope so!

(The Oyin Honey Hemp conditioner's orangecicle scent reminds me of a medicine I had to take as a child. Cannot stand it. Mixed it with Vo5 Shea Cashmere and am using it to cowash... Can't wait for it to run out! What a shame.)

Tip re: unscented bases
Several wholesale companies sell unscented hair/body product bases for smaller companies to minimally alter (e.g. scent) and sell. They sell trial sizes or in bulk (typically 16oz or larger), and the prices are very fair when compared to boutique products.

I've read good things about Organicals Deep Conditioning Creme from this website: HAIR CARE

Another wholesale site is: Essential Wholesale - Organic and Natural Cosmetics Bases - Soapmaking Supplies - Essential Oils - Craft Supplies - Aromatherapy - Lotions - Shampoo - Serum - Bulk Skin Care
|| 3b; normal porosity; fine/normal texture || CG since Feb 2010 || SD/dandruff prone

Current Routine BAQ henna 1/month Leave-in OH Hair Dew Cheapie Conditioner Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing
Old Stand-bys extra-virgin coconut oil Protein AO GPB; Moisture AO HR Style AOMMJ – Kept for troubleshooting.
Waiting to try extra-wide curlformers SD treatment H&S Clinical Strength


Last edited by poemaXX; 11-28-2012 at 10:31 PM.
Poema, thanks for those links! I will check them out for sure

But YES - I totally agree about mixing smells in multiple products or wearing perfume with them. I always worry about smelling super strong, especially when I'm at work.

I am guessing that in some of these cases, the base ingredients have an odor that they are trying to mask. And for some reason, I think that curly hair products tend to smell more strongly than others. Obviously not a hard and fast rule, just my observation.

It stinks (pun intended!) that we have to make those choices based on our hair products!
WurlyLox and poemaXX like this.
My hair: 3b, corkicelli, medium porosity, medium texture, medium/thick density

Co-wash: DevaCurl NoPoo
Rinse-out: GVP Conditioning Balm
Leave-in: KCKT, Suave Naturals Coconut, or my rinse-out!
Gel: SS FHG (my new HG!!)... I also like HESMU, AIF, CJ CQ, BRHG, CJ PP and the occasional LALSG

Likes: Plopping!
Dislikes: Glycerin

CG and loving it!
i agree.

i've also had to let a few products go over the years due to the scent.
i've been told that without a fragrance they smell bad, but why not just a tiny bit of fragrance? one that dissipates. and, let a person chose if they want unscented, some with allergies/eczema may need to. there are also some smells that i like as a scent, but not what i want my hair to smell like. and others are difficult to sleep with, smelling them....
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3a, some 2c & 3b, medium texture, porosity normal, low elasticity
washing/cowashing, conditioning, protein tx: curl junkie products
leave in:cj conditioners and treatments as leave in
styling: cj pattern pusha, cj honey butta leave in, cj cccc, cj ciab, lalsg. cj aloe fix gel is my high dews/summer HG!!
sealants - spiral solutions emollience butter, jane carter nourish & shine
DevaCurl no poo...I'm using it only because I can't afford to buy something else right now but I HATE the smell. And it permeates my hair and will not leave. Ugh! And I use such a tiny amount of it!! Thankfully, i only use it once a week or so.

That said, I've never had hair stuff trigger an asthma attack like perfume. Because of that, I will take smelly hair stuff over perfume any day.

JessiCurl sells unscented stuff - it still has a slight smell to it but it is not overpowering and doesn't stick around. Of course the product doesn't work for everyone and it would be nice if more companies followed suit offering unscented products. Added fragrances are often overpowering whereas the natural scent of the 'base' - while not necessarily 'pretty' - is subtle and more tolerable and unlikely to cause problems with allergies/sensitivities.
remember, with all advice or suggestions for your hair, YMMV!!
My hair:
2b wavy, medium texture, low porosity, med-high density. Protein finicky.
My routine:
Cleansing: DCNP, every 4-5 days (occasionally use CJ cleansers).
RO: CJSC, occasionally use JCDC
LI: KCKT or CJSL
Gel: KCCC, CJCIAB for 2nd day hair (sometimes third)

Heat is my friend: warm water rinses, steam caps, and diffuse dry. I love CLU cloths and my Denman.
I agree with all of the above; I like to smell good, but I want it to be a smell that I choose. I definitely will not use a product if I don't like the smell. I tend to like certain scents, and so most of my products tend to smell similar (same family of fragrance, if you will), so I don't typically have too much issue layering product. But I do find that if I'm using a product with a stronger scent, I'm more prone to go without any perfume, as I dont want to overload. I don't mind this for the regular day to day, but on the days I want to look/feel extra special and wear a nice perfume, it would be nice to have more scent free options.
WurlyLox likes this.
2c/3a, botticelli/wavy/'swavy (huh?)
fine, dense, normal porosity/elasticity, dry climate

My favorite brands are Kinky Curly, As I am, Curly Kinks, Curl Junkie, and Darcy's Botanicals. Also love sealing with oils (loving argan oil right now) and styling with jelly products (KCCC is my current favorite). Mostly trying to keep it simple!

CG since 12/29/2011
I was just looking at those links Poema posted; if anyone tries these, please let us know if you like them. I'm really liking the idea of buying base products and adding my own fragrance/other additives, but I'd like to know how other people like them.
2c/3a, botticelli/wavy/'swavy (huh?)
fine, dense, normal porosity/elasticity, dry climate

My favorite brands are Kinky Curly, As I am, Curly Kinks, Curl Junkie, and Darcy's Botanicals. Also love sealing with oils (loving argan oil right now) and styling with jelly products (KCCC is my current favorite). Mostly trying to keep it simple!

CG since 12/29/2011
I was just looking at those links Poema posted; if anyone tries these, please let us know if you like them. I'm really liking the idea of buying base products and adding my own fragrance/other additives, but I'd like to know how other people like them.
Originally Posted by jsuzkelley
This thread includes some reviews of these products: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlta...eir-bases.html

The thread exposes how several smaller curl product companies where just scenting and rebottling the same conditioners from these wholesellers. Because of that, reviews of those products (Brendita's, Afroveda, Jasmine's, etc.) apply to their respective bases.

YouTube blogger denimpixie (of Quest for the Perfect Curl) considers the Organicals Deep Conditioning Creme one of her HGs, which is why I'm interested in trying it.
|| 3b; normal porosity; fine/normal texture || CG since Feb 2010 || SD/dandruff prone

Current Routine BAQ henna 1/month Leave-in OH Hair Dew Cheapie Conditioner Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing
Old Stand-bys extra-virgin coconut oil Protein AO GPB; Moisture AO HR Style AOMMJ – Kept for troubleshooting.
Waiting to try extra-wide curlformers SD treatment H&S Clinical Strength

I'm also surprised there aren't more unscented hair products, especially by those companies that value natural ingredients and formulas. I love Curl Junkie, but the fragrance of my CCCC lite is so strong, I smell it all day long and wonder if everybody around me can, too. Kinky Curly Knot Today seems to dissipate more. But when my stylist uses Deva stuff, it's truly overwhelming for the rest of the day.

I like most scents when the product first comes out of the bottle, but then it's just too much a few hours later!

Wurly and proud!
Modified CG since 2008.
Agreed. I absolutely cannot stand the scent of KCCC. I don't mind KCKT because it's not as strong. But KCCC makes me sick. Too bad, cause I like the product.
fine, thin, normal/(low?) porosity. Mod-CG. Usually I can't co-wash more than 1x a week, & sometimes I have to use T-Gel in rotation due to scalp issues.

Co-wash: VO5 Volumizing
Poo: Giovanni 50:50
RO:TN, Nexxus Youth Renewal, Alba Coconut
LI: KCKT
PT: gelatin PT, ION EC
Stylers: Giovanni mousse, TIGI Curls Rock amplifier (a-cone), Curls Rock Strong Hold Mousse
Gels: SCC spray gel

You're not alone. Shea Moisture products make me want to vomit and vomit some more.
Originally Posted by coilynapp
I can not stand the smell of shea butter.

I use As I Am curling jelly and I could do without the scent. Not one of my favorites, but it works so well with my hair and the scent fades quickly.

With this product, shea, and a few others I feel like I am using badly scented plastic, based on the smell alone. I have stumbled on some perfumed products that I adore. I use a jasmine shampoo with sulfates, to purify when needed, because I am insane about the smell.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

I'm on the fence. I'd take strong flowers or sweet over that fake producty chemical smell any day. I can't even describe it in words but Let's Jam comes to mind.
I know what you all mean. I have products that have smells I love, some I hate, and some that I just tolerate. But I'd just really prefer fragrance free products in general, because scent is way too subjective and that way nobody is offended. I can always add perfume or oils or whatever if I want to smell fancy
My hair: 3b, corkicelli, medium porosity, medium texture, medium/thick density

Co-wash: DevaCurl NoPoo
Rinse-out: GVP Conditioning Balm
Leave-in: KCKT, Suave Naturals Coconut, or my rinse-out!
Gel: SS FHG (my new HG!!)... I also like HESMU, AIF, CJ CQ, BRHG, CJ PP and the occasional LALSG

Likes: Plopping!
Dislikes: Glycerin

CG and loving it!

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