My hair wash cycle is like a math equation. I’m constantly faced with the problem of trying to line up my shampoos with events, workouts, and daily activities. But apparently, the struggle isn’t so real with everyone, with a survey showing a whopping 49 percent of the female population not only wash their hair each day but also blow dry it seven days a week too. If this is you, firstly, A for effort—but secondly, what if I told you there was a way to minimize your wash frequency? The answer is hair perfumes.
What exactly are hair perfumes?
Unlike traditional perfumes, hair perfumes are formulated specifically for the hair. While some may opt to spritz a traditional perfume on their scalps to mask any odor, these formulas aren’t meant for the hair, and in turn, can cause damage like drying out your strands. “I used to use regular perfume on my hair to help the scent last longer,” said Neigin Mirsalehi, founder of the haircare brand, Gisou. “However, I quickly realized how drying it was, and over time, I felt like it was damaging my ends.”
The dryness in traditional perfumes comes from the higher alcohol levels and fragrance oils. “Standard perfumes have high alcohol concentration and that’s very drying,” explains the hair expert. And while most hair perfumes still contain alcohol, the amounts are much lower.
While dry shampoos can help you fake freshly washed hair by soaking up the oils from your scalp, hair perfumes are better suited for refreshing that greasy-hair smell that tends to show up after stretching your blowout for a few extra days. These products won’t make your hair cleaner, per se, but they will certainly make it smell better. However, they don’t tend to build up on your scalp the way dry shampoo does, so you can use them with a bit more abandon.
How to get the most out of your hair perfume
Hair perfume application is relatively simple, but the best part is there are many different ways you can use them. “Hair perfume can be applied in a variety of ways, such as by spritzing it onto the hair, brushing it through with a hairbrush, or applying it to the ends of the hair,” says Ryan Sanger, master extension specialist and owner of Hair Lingerie The Studio in Sola Salons.
The stylist also notes that things are a little different for hair extension wearers. “When wearing extensions, you’re washing your hair less often, so I say to spray it in the morning when starting your day, then after work heading into a date or social event.”
Are hair perfumes for all hair types?
While everyone can use them, Sanger has some guidelines to make the spritz work best for your hair. “If you have straight, thin hair that is a dark or natural color, you want to avoid hair perfumes with oils, as it can end up weighing your hair down,” says the stylist. “Blonde hair, dry hair, curly hair, chemically damaged hair, you will want to find one that has healing or nourishing benefits, like oil and protein in it.”
While all hair types can benefit from a spray, the stylist warns that those who are sensitive to smell or have extremely compromised/damaged hair may want to skip this beauty step. He also makes clear that while the scent from perfumes may be lovely, they aren’t a substitute for washing your hair. “Hair perfumes are a finishing touch or a way to refresh between washes, but they do not clean or wash your hair in any way.”
7 stylist-beloved hair perfumes
3. Gisou, Honey Infused Hair Perfume — $58.00
Gisou by Neigin Mirsalehi was born out of a passion for honey bees and haircare. “Our sulfate and paraben-free Honey Infused Hair Perfume is enriched with Mirsalehi Honey from my family bee garden and fortified with UV protection,” says the brand’s founder. “This means it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that deliver great hydration and shine while also keeping hair from experiencing negative effects of sun exposure – while also smelling good.”
4. Balmain Paris, Hair Perfume — $163.00
If you’re looking for something a bit more bougie, this Balmain perfume is pure luxury and the brand has developed a signature scent specifically for your strands. “This perfume is enriched with argan elixir and silk protein, which moisturizes and boosts dehydrated hair,” says Sanger. “It’s also fantastic for extensions and blondes too, which makes it my top fave.”
Sachajuan, Protective Hair Perfume — $76.00
Not only does this stylist-developed hair perfume smell like a dream (notes of green apple, peach, rose, cedar, and white musk get the credit for that), but it’s also infused with ingredients that will protect your hair from heat—making it the perfect option to spritz on your strands before refreshing your days-old look with hot tools.
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