Perfume Your Hair

Beautiful shiny, smooth hair is sure to turn heads, but if you really want to make an impression, you'll want tresses that smell good too. Perfuming your hair is easy to do once you have the right products. It all starts with clean hair, so your locks aren't harboring any odors that might interfere with the fragrance. Once your hair is washed, you only have to decide whether you want to use a hair product or another scented item to perfume your hair. Be careful of any scented items that contain alcohol, though, because they may dry out your hair.


Cleaning and Conditioning Your Hair

  1. Wash your hair. To give your hair a pleasant scent, it’s important to ensure that it’s clean. Use your favorite shampoo to wash your hair thoroughly before you apply any scented or perfumed products.[1]
    • Your hair can often start to smell if it’s extremely greasy. It’s a good idea to wash it whenever you notice your roots getting particularly oily.
    • Most shampoos have a pleasant scent themselves that can help perfume your hair. However, the fragrance from a shampoo typically doesn’t last as long as other products so you should layer it with other perfumed items to keep your hair smelling good all day.
    • If you’re using scented shampoo, choose a fragrance that's similar to the perfumed product that you plan to add later. It helps create a base that allows your hair to stay perfumed longer.
  2. Moisturize your locks. Depending on the perfumed item that you use to scent your hair, it may contain alcohol that can dehydrate your locks. That’s why it’s extremely important to moisturize your hair beforehand in case it loses any moisture after you scent it. Use your favorite conditioner to hydrate your hair after you wash it.[1]
    • If you have coarse, damaged, color-treated, or any type of hair that’s naturally dry, you may want to follow up your regular conditioner with a leave-in conditioning treatment.
    • When your hair is especially dry, you may want to swap your regular conditioner for a deep conditioning treatment or mask. Leave it on for at least 10 to 15 minutes before washing it out.
  3. Dry your hair thoroughly. For the longest lasting fragrance in your hair, you should make sure that your locks are completely dry before applying any perfumed products. If your hair is wet, the water can form a barrier that keeps the fragrance from penetrating your tresses so the scent doesn’t last as long. After washing and conditioning your hair, make sure it is dry before you apply the fragrance.[1]
    • To avoid damage, it’s best to allow your hair to air dry.
    • If you’re short on time, you can use a blow dryer to dry your hair. Just be sure to use it on the lowest heat setting possible and apply a heat protectant product before you dry it.

Using Scented Products to Perfume Your Hair

  1. Spray your hair with perfume. Perfume works well to give your skin a delicious scent, but it is just as effective on your hair. When your hair is dry, hold a bottle of your favorite perfume at least 8-inches (20-cm) from your head and lightly mist your locks to scent your hair.[2]
    • Not only does applying perfume to your hair give it a pleasant scent, it creates a lovely sillage, which means you leave a scented trail wherever you go.
    • Many perfumes contain alcohol, which can be drying on your hair. While the amount you apply isn’t likely to do significant damage, it’s best to choose an alcohol-free formula.
    • One way to ensure that a perfume is safe for your hair is to use a fragrance designed specifically for your locks. There are a variety of hair perfumes on the market that are alcohol-free so you can apply as much as you like without worrying about drying out your hair.
  2. Apply scented styling products. Hairspray, gel, mousse, pomade, and other styling products are often necessary to ensure a good hair day. But styling products aren’t just good for taming your hair. Many are scented so they can leave your hair perfumed all day. Choose your favorite type of styling product with a pleasant scent and apply it as you normally would.[3]
    • Even styling products can contain alcohol that will dehydrate your hair. Look for a scented formula that is alcohol-free for the healthiest, shiniest locks.
    • Keep in mind that some styling products are best applied to wet hair. If you usually use your favorite styling product on wet or damp locks, there’s no need to dry your hair first to perfume.
  3. Work a dry shampoo into your roots. Washing your hair everyday can dry it out -- and some days, you might not have time to jump in the shower. Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver on those occasions. Not only does it absorb excess oil from your roots, it usually imparts a pleasant fragrance that leaves your hair smelling fresh all day.[3]
    • Be sure to hold the dry shampoo at least 10-inches (25-cm) from your head when you apply it.
    • Target the dry shampoo at your roots and hairline where hair tends to be the oiliest. You don’t want to apply it all over because too much can make your hair look stiff and dull.
    • Allow the dry shampoo to sit for 1 to 2 minutes before massaging it into your roots with your fingertips. You can then comb it through the rest of your hair.
    • Dry shampoo can sometimes leave behind a whitish cast. If you have extremely dark or bright hair, you may want to try a formula that’s colored for your hair shade.

Scenting Your Hair with Natural Products

  1. Work a hair oil into your locks. Hair oils are good for your hair for a variety of reasons -- they help moisturize, boost shine, add antioxidants, and sometimes offer sun protection. But many natural oils also have a pleasant scent so they perfume the hair with a fragrance that can last all day when you apply them .[4]
    • Some oils, such as monoi oil, have a lovely scent on their own. Other oils are mixed together in a blend to create a lovely fragrance.
    • No matter how good it smells, don’t over-apply any hair oil. It can weigh down your hair and make it appear greasy. Add 1 to 3 drops to your palm, rub your hands together to spread the oil, and apply it to your hair. Only add more oil if your hair is extremely thick or coarse.
    • Unless you have extremely dry or damaged hair, you shouldn’t apply the oil at your roots. Stop 3- to 4-inches (7.5- to 10-cm) away from your scalp to keep your hair from looking greasy.
    • If you have very fine, greasy hair, you may only want to apply the oil to the ends of your hair.
  2. Create an essential oil spray. Essential oils are known for their delicious fragrances, which is why they’re often used in aromatherapy. That makes them an ideal option if you want to create a natural, homemade hair perfume. Choose your favorite essential oil and add 5 drops to 2 cups (473 ml) of water and 2 tablespoons (27 g) of melted coconut oil in a spray bottle. Shake well and apply it to your hair.[4]
    • Use a glass spray bottle for the spray. Essential oils can degrade in plastic containers.
    • You can substitute another oil, such as olive, for the coconut oil. The essential oil won’t disperse evenly throughout the water without a carrier oil.
    • Not sure what essential oil to use? Ylang-ylang, lemon, jasmine, lavender, bergamont, and sandalwood are good options.
    • Be sure to hold the bottle at least 8-inches (20-cm) from your hair when you spray it.
  3. Mist your hair with a floral water. Floral waters, or hydrolates, are made by distilling plants to extract their natural oils into water for a light but concentrated fragrance. You can mist a floral water in your favorite scent over your hair whenever you want to perfume it.[4]
    • You can usually find floral waters at natural beauty stores and online retailers.
    • Rose water is probably the most common floral water. It offers a very delicate, feminine fragrance.
    • Orange blossom water, mint water, and rosemary water also have pleasant fragrances that work well for the hair.
    • Hold the bottle about 8- to 10-inches (20- to 25-cm) away from your hair when you mist it.


  • You don’t necessarily have to apply any of the perfumes or scented sprays directly onto your hair. Mist your brush with some of the fragrance and then comb it through your hair.
  • If you want your hair to smell good, washing regularly is the best bet, especially if you have oily hair. Try to wash it at least twice a week, though you may want to do it more frequently if your hair gets greasy.

Things You’ll Need

  • Scented shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Blow dryer (optional)
  • Perfume
  • Scented styling products
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hair oil
  • 5 drops essential oil of your choice
  • 2 cups (473 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (27 g) melted coconut oil
  • Glass spray bottle
  • Floral water in your chosen scent

Sources and Citations

You may like