Nov 20, 2020

How To Get Campfire Smell Out of Hair

Campfires are great... until the next day

Mmm, do you smell the crispness in the air? It's campfire season! And while everyone loves a bonfire in the moment, no one wants to reek of smoke the following day.

So how do you remove the smokey stench of campfire from your tresses? Let's start with the obvious(ish), water-based solutions:

1. Wash it.

Hey, just because it's the obvious solution doesn't mean it's not worth considering. If you really don't feel like messing around with experimental solutions, washing your hair is an almost guaranteed way to get the job done. It'll work even better if you use a shampoo with a strong, clean fragrance (fragrance-free shampoos might also work, but they won't be a complete guarantee)

2. Rinse it (without shampoo)

Not willing to get suds'ed up? No worries. Sometimes, all you've got to do is thoroughly rinse with water -- we recommend adding some conditioner to boot, since it can add a clean smelling fragrance and balance out any negative effects from the rinse (water is bad for your hair, y'all).

3. Wipe it with a clean, damp towel

This isn't quite as effective as washing or rinsing, but sometimes a damp towel alone will get the job done. If you're determined to avoid saturating your hair with water, a towel might be your best solution. This trick works best with one that was recently washed with a strong-smelling laundry detergent. You might end up smelling a bit like laundry detergent, but that's better than smoke, no?

4. Wash your hands and run them through your hair (and repeat)

This is only a quick fix, and it doesn't work every time. Still, there's a decent chance that it'll get you by if you really, really reek of campfire. This is a last-minute, gas station sink kind of fix -- if you've got a better option, you'll probably want to try that one first.

If none of those solutions work for you (aka -- you're super determined to stick to your hair-washing schedule or just got an expensive blow out), here are some less obvious ideas:

1. Hop in the shower (but keep your hair dry)

Okay ... this is still kind of obvious, but it very well may be that the stinkiness is coming from your skin, not just your hair. And while it won't rid you of campfire hair, it'll at least lead to an all-around smoke-smell reduction. You'll be best served if you use a shower gel with a strong, clean fragrance.

2. Change your clothes

This works for the exact same reasons as above -- the only difference is that you don't have to get wet. It's generally not quite as effective since your skin will still smell smokey but hey, still worth a shot.

3. Grab the corn starch

Sprinkle some corn starch (or baby powder) onto a small plate, and pick it up with a fluffy makeup brush. Apply the corn starch liberally throughout your locks, and let it sit for at least an hour until brushing it out.

4. Blast with cold air

Air circulation is one of the most effective ways to get rid of a stinky scent. Grab your hairdryer, and blast your hair with cold hair, from your scalp to your ends.

5. Spend some time outside

If you don't have a hairdryer, this is your second best option. Get outside, and air out your tresses. It'll work even better if it's a particularly windy day out.

6. Apply dryer sheets

If you've only got a few minutes to clean yourself up but you're near a grocery store/your laundry room, this trick is for you. Quickly run some dryer sheets over your tresses for some deodorizing magic.

Has all else failed? Are you at your wit's end in trying to remove the smoke-smell? Here are our last-resort tips.

1. Cover it up (literally)

Cold weather doesn't just mean that it's time for campfires -- it's also the season of snuggly beanies. Pull your hair back into a braid or ponytail and tuck it under a freshly laundered hat (bonus points if you washed it beforehand using a strongly scented detergent). Fair warning: you'll probably want to wash the hat again afterward since it might have soaked up the campfire smell.

2. Wear a fragrance that compliments the smell of smoke

This might sound weird, but hear us out. If the smell of campfire isn't crazy intense, why not just make it work to your advantage? Compliment it with a woodsy or even beachy fragrance to wow everyone who you come into contact with. Alternatively, you can go for the smokey-sweet: pair it with something vanilla or even cinnamon-y. Mess around, and see what happens.

Finally, here are some bonus tips for preventing smelly hair from your next bonfire:

1. Pull your hair into a bun

Hot tip: if you lessen the amount of hair that's directly exposed to smoke, your hair will smell less smokey afterwards. Pull your hair back into a tight bun to lessen the amount of exposure.

2. Bring a hoodie

... and have it be a little oversized, if possible. You'll want your hair to be fully covered whenever you're around the campfire -- zip it up!

Thirsty for more hair knowledge? Here's what to check out next:

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Living With An Oily Scalp + Dry Ends

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Caroline Schmidt