7 Best Shampoos For Smelly Hair and Scalp 2024 | Get Rid Of Stinky Scalp

7 Best Shampoos For Smelly Hair and Scalp 2024 | Get Rid Of Stinky Scalp

Keep your scalp smelling fragrant with these amazing shampoos for smelly hair. They cleanse your scalp of all odors and grease!


Many people face smelly scalp and hair issues and it is definitely something common, so you don’t have to be embarrassed about it.

This occurs when there is bacterial formation on the scalp, causing a certain amount of malodour and a relatively awful smell.

While certain people are lucky enough to get rid of this smell easily within just a couple of washes, some do not have it easy and have to put in more effort and hair care to get rid of the smell.

Using the right shampoo will help you solve this issue considerably.





Best Smelly Hair Shampoos  Best For Hair Type
Videri Lemon Sage & Tea Tree Shampoo Oily With Inflamed Scalp
OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp Oily, Colour-treated
Tru Moroccan Clarifying Shampoo Oily, Colour-treated
Maple Holistics Degrease Deep Cleansing Shampoo Dry, Normal, Oily, Colour-treated, Itchy
RYO Smelly Scalp Shampoo Dandruff, Oily, Thin
BIOLAGE Cooling Mint Scalpsync Shampoo Normal, Dry, Oily, Fine, Thin
Aveeno, Fresh Greens Blend Sulfate-Free Shampoo Scalp with Buildup

Top Shampoos for Smelly Hair 2024



Videri Lemon Sage & Tea Tree Shampoo

Best NaturalShampoo For Smelly Scalp

Fragrance: Lemon and Tea Tree

Hair type: Oily with inflamed scalp/dandruff

shampoo  for smelly scalp

One of the main reason for a smelly scalp is having some sort of inflammation on the scalp due to bacterial or fungal growth.

And so I chose to test this Videri shampoo on my tresses first as one of the chief ingredients here is lemon and tea tree oil, both of which have antifungal and antibacterial properties.

I used this shampoo for a few days and I could see some level of odor control on the first wash itself.

My favorite part about this shampoo is that it doesn't contain added synthetic perfumes that just mask your smelly scalp. It gets to the root of the problem (literally in this case!) and fixes your scalp's pH levels to control odor.

I also liked how the shampoo reduced the itching and inflammation on my scalp and reduced the mild dandruff and flaking that I had. It also does a pretty good job of controlling oiliness on your hair.

I think this shampoo can be suited for both oily and dry scalp as it contains jojoba oil and aloe vera which nourish your hair but are not very heavy or rich ingredients.

But if you have severely dehydrated hair or have curly hair textures that need more moisturization, I think this shampoo would be too lightweight for you.


  •  Sulfate-free shampoo is suitable for color-treated hair
  • The lemon and sage extracts cleanse scalp and reduce smelliness
  • The tea tree oil reduces dandruff and soothes inflammation
  • Contains aloe vera and jojoba oil that nourishes scalp without making it greasy


  • The shampoo is not very moisturizing so it's not for African American hair texture.

My Ratings:

  • Cleansing power: 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on the scalp and hair: 4.5/5
  • Scent and fragrance: 4.8 /5

OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp

Best Tea Tree Shampoo For Smelly Scalp

Fragrance: Tea-tree mint

Hair type: Oily, colour-treated hair.

best shampoos for smelly hair syndrome

I am going to start with the one I liked the most, the OGX Shampoo. It was simply superb! 

The tricky part of my hair type is that my hair gets relatively dry after a wash, but within a day it becomes greasy. 

Because of this problem, I found it really hard to find the perfect shampoo, but this shampoo suited my hair type very well. It also helped reduce the problem of dry hair and frizziness.

I simply loved the way my hair felt after using this shampoo because it felt soft and way more manageable than before. 

best shampoo for dandruff and smelly scalp

My hair is also colour-treated and I’m always apprehensive before using any shampoo. This shampoo suited my hair perfectly and didn’t make my colour fade at all.

This shampoo is very gentle on the hair and it is completely free from sulfates and parabens! It also got rid of my scalp buildup very effectively.

The tea-tree oil in it is supposed to help control inflammation and it's also got a lovely fragrance that made my hair feel really refreshed.

I’d definitely say I had no complaints about this product and I’d suggest that you use this product with its respective conditioner.


  •  Gentle on the scalp as it is sulfate and paraben free.
  •  Treats hair damage.
  •  Reduces scalp buildup and unclogs follicles


  • The formula might be drying on some hair types

My Ratings:

  • Cleansing power: 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on the scalp and hair: 4.3/5
  • Scent and fragrance: 4.3 /5

Tru Moroccan Clarifying Shampoo

Best For Smelly Scalp and Oily Hair

Fragrance: Lightly citrus scented

Hair type: Oily, Colour-treated

best drugstore shampoo for smelly scalp

If you are looking for a paraben-free, all-natural shampoo, look no further, this is the right one!

I was literally fed up with my hair becoming greasy and oily and was at my wits end trying out and experimenting on different shampoos, but my search ended once I tried the Tru Moroccan one!

I can safely say that I was happy with my purchase. The shampoo helped reduce the greasiness of my scalp and hair; this was perfect because I could go even 3 days without having to wash my hair and my hair still smelt so good, all thanks to the citrus scent!

shampoo for smelly scalp

Using this shampoo made my hair feel soft, smell fresh and made it remain very moisturized even after a wash, in turn reducing hair dryness and breakage.

The only thing I disliked is the texture of the shampoo. I found it relatively watery as compared to other shampoos available.

I would also like to make a mention about the price of the product. It is relatively more expensive compared to other shampoos in the market.


  •  Gentle on the scalp as it is paraben-free
  •  Light fragrance won't overwhelm you
  •  Contains argan oil that moisturizes the hair


  •  Texture of the shampoo is watery so won't lather well
  •  Relatively expensive compared to others on this list

My Ratings:

  • Cleansing power: 4.2/5
  • Gentleness on the scalp and hair: 4.3/5
  • Scent and fragrance: 4.5/5 

Maple Holistics Degrease Deep Cleansing Shampoo

Best Shampoo for Smelly Scalp and Dandruff

Fragrance: Cypress basil and lemon

Hair type: Dry, Normal, Oily, Colour-treated, Itchy

best shampoo for dandruff and smelly scalp

This shampoo totally lives up to its name! It does its job perfectly well. It cleanses the scalp thoroughly while it also reduces hair oiliness. 

So yes, it is really good for those looking to target these hair issues.

The fact that it helps get rid of greasy hair that is also colour-treated, while it was also completely free from sulfates and parabens immediately attracted me to buy this product.

best drugstore shampoo for smelly scalp

What I disliked about this shampoo is that even though it cleanses the scalp well and makes the hair feel fresh and reduces bad odour, it can be quite drying after a wash. 

But then I used a little additional conditioner on my hair and took care of this problem.

I loved the subtle fragrance of basil and lemon that this shampoo had; it made my hair feel so fresh after a wash.


  •  The clarifying formula reduces scalp buildup.
  •  Gentle on the scalp as it is sulfate and paraben free.


  •  Can cause a certain amount of hair dryness.

My Ratings:

  • Cleansing power: 4/5
  • Gentleness on the scalp and hair: 4.2/5
  • Scent and fragrance: 4.5/5

RYO Smelly Scalp Shampoo

Best Shampoo for Stinky Hair

Fragrance: Floral

Hair type: Dandruff, Oily, Thin

antibacterial shampoo for smelly scalp

This RYO shampoo is specifically formulated to help reduce the smelly scalp and hair issue and this really did me good! 

After using this shampoo, my hair smelt fresh and it reduced the problem of hair odour considerably after every wash.

It helped get rid of the excess sebum on my scalp and promoted a very cooling effect.

What I really liked about this shampoo is that it has ginseng root extract, which is well-known for making the hair feel very soft and it did just that to my hair.

Being someone who suffers from dandruff, which is another reason for scalp odour, this shampoo helped reduce the itching and flaking to a large extent.

What I didn’t like much about this shampoo is that it claimed to have a floral scent, but I felt that the ginseng smell overpowered the floral fragrance this shampoo was supposed to have. 

That being said, over time I did get used to the fragrance and considered this aspect negligible.



  •  The ginseng overpowered the shampoo’s floral fragrance.
  •  Relatively expensive.

My Ratings:

  • Cleansing power: 4/5
  • Gentleness on the scalp and hair: 4.2/5
  • Scent and fragrance: 3.8/5

BIOLAGE Cooling Mint Scalpsync Shampoo

Best Drugstore Shampoo For Smelly Scalp

Fragrance: Mint

Hair type: Normal, Dry, Oily, Fine, Thin

sulfur shampoo for smelly scalp

If you’re a lover of the smell of mint, choose this shampoo. I simply loved how my hair smelt after using the BIOLAGE shampoo. 

It not only made my hair feel refreshed after each wash, but it also helped get rid of the excess oil and product buildup on my scalp.

Since I’ve always suffered from dandruff, this shampoo was really good and treated my dandruff issue effectively. It also helped soothe my irritated scalp considerably.

best shampoo for smelly hair syndrome

Another thing I noticed is that because this shampoo also reduces excessive greasiness on the hair.

I can even go three days without having to wash it, without having it to smell bad. Definitely a win-win!

Comparatively, this shampoo is more expensive as compared to the other mint (and tea-tree) OGX shampoo I reviewed above. But I thought it was worth it!


  •  Reduces dandruff on all scalp types
  •  Tea tree oil formula gets rid of hair greasiness.
  •  Refreshing mint smell that isn't too overpowering


  •  Comparatively expensive.

My Ratings:

  • Cleansing power: 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on the scalp and hair: 4.2/5
  • Scent and fragrance: 4.5/5

Aveeno Fresh Greens Blend Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Best Deodorizing Shampoo For Humans

Fragrance: Mint

Hair type: Oily, Thick, Dandruff-Prone, Colored Hair


best shampoo for thick smelly hair

I had used the Aveeno Oatmeal shampoo before so I was intrigued about this new Refresh and Thicken line from them.

I used this shampoo and immediately loved the peppermint scent. It was very minty with a sort of herbal touch to it that I love.

It does use peppermint essential oil, however, there are also artificial perfumes in it. So I don't think it would be best idea if you have a very sensitive scalp or some sort of infection there.

But it is great for colored and damaged hair as there aren't any sulfates or harsh surfactants in the shampoo.

Overall, I would recommend this shampoo if you have slightly oily, damaged or colored treated hair along with a smelly scalp problem.

If you have either too dry or too oily of a scalp, I would suggest something else.

  • The peppermint smell is very refreshing
  • The sulfate-free formula is safe for colored hair
  • The cucumber in the shampoo helps soothe scalp


  •  Contains added perfume that can be drying

My Ratings:

  • Cleansing power: 4/5
  • Gentleness on the scalp and hair: 4.4/5
  • Scent and fragrance: 4.5/5

Quick Comparison Table

Here is a quick comparison of the top shampoo for smelly air.

Shampoos For Smelly Hair Videri Lemon and Tea Tree Shampoo OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp Tru Moroccan Clarifying Shampoo Maple Holistics Degrease Deep Cleansing Shampoo RYO Smelly Scalp Shampoo BIOLAGE Cooling Mint Scalpsync Shampoo
Type of Fragrance Lemon Mint Tea Tree & Rosemary Tea Tree Essential Oil Herbal Floral  Mint
Cleansing 4.5/5 4/5 3.5/5 5/5 4/5 4.5/5
Gentleness 5/5 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 4/5 3.5/5
Fragrance 4.5/5 4.5/5 3.5/5 .54/5 4/5 4.5/5
Price 4.5/5 5/5 3.5/5 4/5 3/5 4/5
Sulfate-Free Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No

How To Choose A Shampoo That Removes Odor From Scalp and Hair

If you're dealing with scalp and hair odor and want to choose a shampoo to address this issue, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Here's how to select a shampoo that effectively removes odor from your scalp and hair:

1. Look for Clarifying Shampoos:

   - Clarifying shampoos are designed to deep-clean the hair and scalp, removing product buildup, excess oils, and odor-causing impurities. These shampoos are often effective at eliminating unwanted smells.

2. Check for Natural Ingredients:

   - Shampoos with natural ingredients like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, or mint can help combat scalp and hair odor while providing a refreshing sensation. These ingredients have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can reduce odor-causing bacteria.

3. Consider Sulfate-Free Options:

   - Some people prefer sulfate-free shampoos because they are gentler on the hair and scalp. Look for sulfate-free clarifying shampoos that still effectively remove odor and impurities.

4. Check for pH-Balanced Shampoos:

   - A shampoo with a balanced pH level can help maintain the scalp's natural balance, reducing the likelihood of excessive oil production and odor.

5. Read Product Reviews:

   - Before purchasing a shampoo, read online reviews and seek recommendations from people who have used the product to address odor issues. Reviews can provide insights into a product's effectiveness.

6. Consider Your Hair Type:

   - Ensure that the shampoo you choose is suitable for your hair type (e.g., oily, dry, curly, straight). Selecting a shampoo tailored to your hair type can help address odor without causing other problems.

7. Avoid Heavy Conditioners:

   - While choosing a shampoo to combat odor, consider using a lightweight conditioner or skipping it altogether. Heavy conditioners can contribute to product buildup and exacerbate odor issues.

8. Follow Usage Instructions:

   - Use the shampoo as directed on the product label. Some clarifying shampoos may recommend using them once a week, while others can be used more frequently. Overusing clarifying shampoos can strip your hair and scalp of essential oils, so follow the instructions carefully.

9. Consult a Dermatologist:

   - If you're dealing with persistent scalp odor or have underlying scalp conditions, consult a dermatologist. They can provide guidance and recommend specialized products or treatments tailored to your specific needs.

10. Consider Lifestyle Factors:

    - Identify and address any lifestyle factors that may contribute to scalp and hair odor, such as excessive sweating, improper hair care, or the use of strong-smelling hair products.

Remember that everyone's scalp and hair are unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. It may take some experimentation to find the right shampoo that effectively removes odor from your scalp and hair while maintaining healthy hair and scalp conditions.

How To Get Rid Of Stinky Scalp and Hair

If you're experiencing a lot of scalp or hair odor, there are a few things that you can do to try and get rid of the smell (this is other than using the shampoos I've reviewed above, of course!)

  1. Wash It Often With Cool Water: Rinse your hair with cool water several times a day to remove the sweat and bacteria that can cause odor. Make sure to use a mild shampoo instead of soap if possible, as soap can act as an irritant and increase the severity of the odor.
  2. Exfoliate With Baking Soda: Apply a baking soda paste to your scalp every night before bed, and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. This will help to absorb excess oil and sweat, and expel any leftover smells.
  3. Use Vinegar To Remove Smell: Apply Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) diluted with water to the scalp three times a day, starting in the morning and continuing until the ACV is no longer effective. ACV is also effective in treating dandruff, so it may be worth trying it out if you're experiencing both scalp odor and dandruff.

If none of these remedies are working for you, it may be time to consult a doctor or seek out other treatments such as prescription medications or herbal remedies.

The final takeaway

Smelly scalp can be a common condition faced by many and nipping the issue in the bud will help get rid of it sooner. 

While you treat the causes, using the right shampoo, which is also gentle on the scalp and has a good fragrance, will definitely help.

Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information


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