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Curly Nikki

Smoked Out- Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202150 Comments

Smoked Out- Natural Hair
Franki writes:

So, I hit up the local bars a couple of times a week for a pool game with friends or trivia night or whatever. I love the atmosphere and hanging with my friends, but I hate the fact that all the smoke at the bar leaves my hair smelling like a conditioner-scented ashtray afterward. These excursions happen too frequently for me to wash or co-wash after each time, especially not now that it’s winter. Any naturals out there with suggestions for how to get the not-so-sexy smoke scent out of hair without washing?

(In other news, I would also like directions to the Holy Grail and the Fountain of Youth, seeing as I’m clearly looking for a miracle).


  • EmpressRi says:

    Any of oyin handmade's sprays, juices and berries, frank or greg juice. I've been using these for YEARS to get the cigarette smoke out of my hair after a night of partying…which had almost always fell on the day that I just washed my hair!

  • Anonymous says:

    I've had the same problem due to my best friend's chain smoking habits. Yuck. Try Oyin Handmade's Juices. They smell divine and take out any smell with the light sent of whatever juice you choose. The Juices and Berries smells so fruity and delicious!! Its my staple and is so good for your hair. If you like citrus-y scents better you should try the Greg Juice. Love them both

  • Lovesme365 says:

    Just place a dryer sheet or two(bounce etc) under ur satin bonnet when you go to sleep at night. Old secret from a former college partying curly 🙂

  • Franki says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions people (well, except for the stop hanging out it bars one; I love my local bars and their atmospheres [and their hard-to-find craft beers]; being mildly annoyed by something =/= being so completely unable to deal with it that I need to change the structure of my social life and make a completely irrational purchase that neither I nor any of my friends have room for)! I'm definitely going to have to try some of these. For all those asking, I live on the Gulf Coast; my town recently passed a ban on smoking in restaurants, but bars are another story altogether.

  • Anonymous says:

    Here's an idea…stop hanging out at bars! If the cigarette smoke bothers you that much, why do you keep subjecting yourself to it? I'm not trying to be rude or harsh, I'm just offering a suggestion. Why don't you and your friends get together for a trivia night at someone's house? Someone could offer to host it at their home. As for playing pool, perhaps you could all chip in and buy a used pool table from E-Bay or Amazon. Just a thought…

  • Nisus says:

    A dude with long hair that worked as a club promoter once told me that he wraps a hot, damp towel around his head once he got home, perhaps sprayed with febreeze or lavender and leaves it till it gets cold and never suffered from stinky hair. I personally avoided those places and only found it to be an occasional issue so I could wash it out.

  • Renise B says:

    MrsKFerg is correct! Hairspray and blow dryer on low. Works on natural,permed, weaved or braided hair. I've done it on all

  • Anonymous says:

    I hate cigarette smoke, that smell just lingers on you forever. To get rid of the smell in your hair I would maybe blow dry it on cool, or maybe rub some smell good natural oils in it..or maybe febreez, as the other ladies have suggested.

  • Unknown says:

    oyin handmade scented leave ins

  • Leo the Yardie Chick says:

    Well, cigarette smoke makes me sick – literally. Since they smoke like chimneys in the clubs out here, I just avoid clubs and bars completely. Trust me, stinky hair would be the least of my problems when I got home.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ha ha Julia, you beat me to it. I live in NYC and smoking in bars is prohibited as well. So Franki now you have another option, move to NYC!

  • lisa says:

    Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream. I did a review in February about how it got the scent of smoke out of my hair. It's also moisturizing and I love it. If you can't get the qhemet but can twist your hair with whatever moisturizer or conditioner you have before bed I think that will knock out the smell also.

    Good luck 🙂

  • frouLaLa says:

    I would avoid using perfume because it has alcohol, which would dry out your hair. I have heard us can make a lemon juice spritz

  • MrsKFerg says:

    Hairspray and blow dryer on low – I did this all the time in college. Or move to Michigan where there's a smoking ban (Yeah!!!)

  • Shakirah says:

    Jamaican mango and lime makes a hair perfume also.

  • WineGrrl says:

    These are some great tips. I love Korean bbq but hate the scent it leaves on my hair.

  • LBell says:

    Ideally washing your hair is best, but I have to co-sign the Febreze suggestion. Just don't spray it directly on: spray it into the air, and then quickly walk under the falling mist.

    Iowa's a mostly non-smoking state as well…but our Targets don't have a Multicultural Hair section, lol.

  • Channing says:

    Febreeze yes, that's been my secret for the longest.

  • Anonymous says:

    This was a massive problem when I was studying abroad in Spain. Thankfully, smoking is now prohibited in bars and clubs there. Yuck :-p. I think my solution at the time was to just wash my hair, too.

    I have also heard other people say that Oyin Handmade's spray leave-ins work: Greg Juice, Frank Juice and Juices and Berries. I've never had the occasion to use them for this purpose, but I do have the Frank Juice, which smells great.

  • Anonymous says:

    This happened to me in my clubbing days and I just always washed my hair. Couldn't take the smell and worse -couldn't take the smell after attempting to cover it up with something better smelling. Yuck!

  • Charisma says:

    Sooo this used to work on my permed hair, I just took a dryer sheet, like Bounce, and rubbed my hair. Not sure how that would fare with my natural hair now, but in the permed days it did the trick.

  • Anonymous says:

    Carmen, thanks for the link! I'm interested in dry shampoos.

  • Carmen says:

    I can tell you from experience that Kayla's suggestion (tresamme's dry curly shampoo) works really well.

    Here's the link:

    I'm pretty sure any dry shampoo would work though, follow up by whatever hydrating/conditioning spritz you usually use.

  • Carla says:

    Being from California, I never really had to experience this. I've been to Vegas for conferences/business and walking through the casinos will instantly turn you into a walking ashtray. Your clothes, hair, everything needs to be washed again.

    I honestly didn't thing there are still states that smoking in public places – even bars.

  • westNDNbeauty says:

    Ride with the windows down after wards. Lol. I don't see a way getting around it. For that reason, I ONLY go to such places when I know wash day is…TOMORROW.

  • Anonymous says:

    This time a year it fairly easy if you cover your hair with a really cute hat or hair wrap. If necessay, let some bangs out but that's it.

  • Tiko says:

    Bedhead has a hair cream that comes in a pink bottle called After Party…works like a charm everytime!

  • Anonymous says:

    There's no smoking in Ohio…Lobby your local legislature.

  • Unknown says:

    Steam or a blowdryer. After a shower, when the bathroom is steamy, shake your hair or blowdry on low. That use to work for me. Or use hairspray.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can smell smoke even when people have tried to mask it with another scent. I think you really have to wash to get it out.
    I don't know the extent of smoking in public places where you live nor your social group but is it possible to lessen if not cut out the number of places you visit with smoke? Smelling like smoke is certainly bad, but the second hand smoke isn't healthy either.

  • SaBrina says:

    They should ban people from coming inside the library after having a freshly lite cigarette, man do both guys and women smell the place up. I will make my displeasure known in a

  • Anonymous says:

    Dang I did not realize there are places that still allow smoking in public places. Yes, can u tell us where you live. I am in Houston – there is no smoking in bars, public places of any kind and last I heard no smoking even on the outside of county buildings!

  • Anonymous says:

    You should turn the shower on hot and let it steam up. Shake your hair around a little in the steam for a few minutes and the smell should come right out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I do as Kimmy does, spray Febreez in the air…or sometimes I will just spray my bonnet with it and put the bonnet on and in the morning the smoke smell is gone. I know that's prob not good but it does the job and I don't do it often at all, once every few months…

  • Kimmy says:

    This may sound silly, but spray some frebrez in the air. Walk under it as it falls down on you.

  • Anonymous says:

    Where do you live where folks can still smoke in bars and other public places? I'm in Cali and this is very unheard of (unless it's a cigar bar or hookah lounge). Anywho, I don't have any advice but was just curious as to where folks live that smoking is still legal in bars. Vegas?

  • Anonymous says:

    Baby powder does the trick every single time. Just put a little in your hands and rub it through your hair.

  • SaBrina says:

    Be careful with putting lemon juice in your hair, since that can actually cause your hair to be highlighted blonde. But if you have a nice smelling leave in conditioner that you keep with you in the car, just spray that onto your hair and go about your business. I personally cant be around to much smoke/perfume because it will sent off my asthma.

  • Anonymous says:

    so glad that the DMV has the smoke ban in bars. when i was relaxed, i made it my mission to find the perfect thing to get rid of the smoke smell from my hair. you know what worked? nothing. fortunately, i'm natural and can just hop in the shower and wash the smell out without waiting for wash day.

  • HairPolitik says:

    I can definitely relate! My mom's a smoker. I use Shescentit moisture mist leave in conditioner and that usually does the trick.

  • Anonymous says:

    I find that running a blow dryer through my hair on the "cool" setting helps somewhat.

  • Kayla says:

    Tresemme makes a dry shampoo specifically for curly hair. Meaning you don't have to comb it out. It is oil that attract the odor to your hair and the dry shampoo removes them.

  • socialitedreams says:

    what about hair perfume like pink sugars hair perfume spray? that could help! or a dry shampoo/shampoo spray.


  • Anonymous says:

    I suggest that if you know day in advace that you are going out, don't wash your hair until after the fact. Personally, I wash mine as needed, and it's still thick and healthy. I can't stand cigarette smoke, and no matter what you spray on it, you still be able to smell it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would suggest mixing in some essential oil (rosemary, lavendar, scent of your choice) and water and just misting in into the hair…it will smell fresh and will also add some moisture back into your hair…good luck.

  • Arianna says:

    i know what you mean…i usually try to sit outside and let the wind do its magic which it usually does but that may take a minute
    twists or braids take less odors for me as the hair is kind of locked but from Julia's comment maybe not always
    i would try a mix of braids/twists and use that lemon that BB said when you come home or take a quick steamy shower and let that steam out the smell
    lemon is an excellent with smelly things
    u may not try all but leaves room for experimentation 🙂

  • CashmereKinks says:

    I had a similar situation just recently… not @ a bar.. but my grandparents have a wood stove.. old old old. and it left my clothes and my hair smelling like smoke when i left after thanksgiving.

    I was gonna see one of my guy friends the next day and didn't want my hair smelling like smoke. So i sprayed my hair with body spray (that surprisingly has no alcohols in it. –> i just checked: PINK with a splash in warm&cozy form vicky's secrets)

    Then that night I sprayed my hair with my usual leave-in conditioner mix (late disclaimer: that i'm currently using in my crotchet braids)

    That worked. My hair had sort of a light sweet scent to it:) and i don't think he ever knew that it was smokey before.

    Hope that helped!
    (psst… transitioners drop by!)

  • Anonymous says:

    I have heard people say that they sit under their steamer for a short time and that gets rid of the smell. There's a smoking ban in my country so people can't do things like this anymore.

  • Anonymous says:

    …move to California, you can't smoke in bars here.

    Honestly, I've never been able to get around this. I worked in a bar for some time in a place where smoking was allowed and I had braids at the time. My hair ALWAYS smelled of smoke – ick. I'd roll over on the pillow after a long night and blah!

    yea, I'm no help at all.

  • Bitty Boss says:

    I just read that rubbing a little lemon juice or spraying a little perfume works to eliminate smoke odor from the hair, but I worry that these methods may dry out natural hair (acidic nature of lemon juice and alcohol in the perfume).

    I would recommend spraying hair with a light, moisturizing body spray that does not contain alcohol without alcohol. For those worried about chemicals: You can also rub a little bit of a very light oil mixed with refreshing essential oils such as rosemary, tea tree oil, lemongrass, or lavender.

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