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Since I have been natural, my sensitivity to aromas has never been so high. I remember the good old days when hair products just smelled like hair products. There was none of this cupcake, blueberry pie, and chocolate brownie foolishness. How products can claim to be 100% natural with a synthetic fragrance is beyond me, but even some of the natural, pure, organic ingredients have their own repulsive odors. My limit for trying products in my hair stops at the grocery store and here are three ingredients that I can only bear when they are extremely masked with essential oils.

Jamaican black castor oil

I am a pro-humectant natural. Whether it’s honey, glycerin, or lanolin, if the end result is plush hair, I’m using it. Castor oil is one of the thickest oils that is a phenomenal humectant. With all of that being said, I can rarely bare the smell, especially from Jamaican black castor oil. No offense to the smokers, but this oil smells wreaks of an ashtray and to say it lingers is an understatement. I enjoy perfumes and fragranced body butter, but they are not strong enough to mask the overwhelming scent of this oil. I am all for the all-natural, earthly aromas, but I draw the line here. If you struggle to stave off brittle ends, then castor oil is a great go-to for cocktailing with your deep conditioner and sealing. It is extremely thick, so I advise not adding it along the length of your hair without the intention of washing it out, but it is definitely something to add to your regimen if dryness is a chronic issue. Again, it is a phenomenal ingredient, but opt to use it in ways that do not require it to be left on the hair.

Read more: Castor Oil and Its Derivatives

Apple cider vinegar

Some claim immediately experience dryness after washing their hair. This is a clear indication that either your conditioner, moisturizer, or leave-in conditioner are not properly pH balanced, the product is not formulated with enough moisturizing properties, or you need a trim (don’t fight it, girl). For extra measure, many naturals incorporate an ACV rinse in their wash day regimen. This involves diluting it the vinegar with 2/3 water and 1/3 apple cider vinegar. After rinsing the deep conditioner from your strands, pour this rinse over your hair to help close the hair’s cuticle and add shine. That sounds great but it stinks. I have been told that the odor does not linger, but two times was enough for me. Going about my day smelling like Zapp’s salt and vinegar chips was simply not an option, especially as a wash and go natural who loves to air-dry.

Shea butter

Few products that I own are not formulated with shea butter. It’s just that good. One of my favorite brands (i.e. SheaMoisture) uses this beloved ingredient as the base of all of their products and I love all the brand’s product fragrances and that is my limit. When my co-worker gave me free, pure, shea butter, I could not bare the smell. Those blocks of shea butter have been sitting under my bathroom sink since she gave them to me (forgive me Evelyn). I could not get over the crayon smell. It didn’t linger, but I couldn’t even handle simply opening the storage container to even use the product. When the scent is masked with essential oils like lemongrass or lavender it is tolerable, but since that requires opening the container I guess it won’t get done. I will continue to keep SheaMoisture products on auto-pay to my checking account until I can muster up the courage to DIY again.

Which ingredients do you think have an off-putting smell?