Is hair perfume the new dry shampoo? It might be. But what exactly is it?

Hair perfumes are made to have beautiful scents and leave your hair with some added shine and softer hair, with light hold for texture-manipulated styles. Hair is a natural diffuser, this is why your shampoo and conditioner scents linger long after you have washed your hair. The hair shaft and follicle naturally absorb odors, and as your hair moves it helps generate diffusion.

Hair fragrances work in a very similar way to skin fragrances and body wash scents, which are meant to evoke positive emotions and leave skin feeling refreshed and clean. Hair perfumes do the same, as well as sometimes including additional ingredients targeted to add softness and shine to your locks. Some hair fragrance works like a dry shampoo in that it absorbs oils and build-up, while adding a fresh scent to your curls between washes.

Some hair fragrance works like a dry shampoo in that it absorbs oils and build-up, while adding a fresh scent to your curls between washes.

Are hair perfumes drying?

Many hair perfumes are formulated with drying alcohols, and too much use throughout the day could be damaging and drying to your hair. While most alcohols in perfumes evaporate before they reach your skin, your hair can be far more delicate and easily prone to breakage or other damaging factors. We suggest taking a look at a hair perfume ingredients list and weighing up how important hair health is to you.

If your hair is in a damaged or chemically processed state, then you might want to avoid anything that could potentially exacerbate the situation. If your hair is healthy and has low porosity, then you may find that a small amount of fragrance won’t have any effect on the state of your hair. 

It’s important to know that not all alcohols are drying or damaging to your hair, some can provide moisture or act as emulsifiers, so before you rule out any product that has the word alcohol on its label, check this list of good and bad alcohols.

5 hair perfumes

If you’re curious and want to try a hair fragrance for yourself, these fragrances smell divine:

  1. Frederic Fekkai L’Air de St. Barths, $21.99, contains a lavish mix of citrus and sugary notes. It helps with frizz and adds shine to dull hair.
  2. L’Occitane en Provence Roses et Reines Hair Mist $16, uses extracts of roses from Grasse, Bulgaria, Morocco, and Turkey to saturate hair with richness while providing light curl definition.  
  3. Miss Dior Hair Mist, $48, is like a little black dress in a bottle–it is intense, sensual, and sophisticated with Indonesian amber patchouli essence.
  4. Byredo Hair Perfume, $62, in Blanche (a clean floral”>, Bal d’Afrique (a zesty citrus”>, and Gypsy Water (a woody vanilla scent”>. The formulas use a single silicone with polymer to add shine and leave your texture soft and manageable.
  5. Paul & Joe Beaute’ Hair and Body Mist $20, sends off light bitter orange fragrance combined with rose water extract. A super fine mist that cools and moisturizes hair in the summertime.


Make your own DIY hair perfume

If you prefer to be in control of what you are placing in your hair, you can DIY your own with this recipe from Beautiful Secrets Hair:

  • 1 cup rose water, or 1 cup distilled water
  • a few drops of your favorite leave-in conditioner
  • 5-8 drops of essential oil (try lemon verbena, sweet orange, patchouli, or lavender”>

1. Combine the above items into a spray bottle and mix them well by shaking. Use a few sprays to mist your hair or make it part of your daily regime.

2. Mix 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel and 1 teaspoon of a light non-scented oil like grapeseed and stir until a white cream forms.

3. Add about 5 drops of essential oil. Remember, just a few drops of some oils will go a long way. Mix well and allow it to sit overnight.

4. Rub a quarter-sized amount of the blend onto your hands then into run through your hair with your fingers. Use the mixture to refresh a day-old style or even on your wrists and behind your ears.

Do you use hair perfume?



NaturallyCurly has been on a mission to educate, empower, entertain and inspire women to have healthy discussions about hair and beauty since 1998. We explore everything from self-acceptance to finding the best hair care products for all textures.

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