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T's Hair Journey

T's Hair Journey
Loving her hair for the first time!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's smell got to do with it?

In honor of finding the WORST smelling product EVER I want to take a moment to chat about smell.

Yes I have seen the other side of smell--Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn Leave In and Curl Activator Spray -- the worst smelling product. In fact so bad I had to re-poo and condish and start over completely--TWICE! Aubrey has several products in the worst smelling category--I guess they think if it's natural no one is going to complain about the odor?

In hair care the importance of product smell (or odor in some cases!) cannot be understated. Regardless of how well a product works if you absolutely hate the smell you are probably not going to use it or at least not repurchase it.

I generally classify hair product smells into one or more of the following categories:

  1.  Sweet (fruity or berry like or tropical)
  2.  Food (smells like cake batter or ice cream or hard candy)
  3.  Hippie Stink like patchouli or other earthy herbally scents (the type that would disguise other less legal scents..not that I would know or anything)
  4.  Floral (no need to explain this one)
  5.  Chemical or artificial smell (to me common with many store bought products under $5)
  6.  Citrus scents (e.g. lemon, orange, etc)
  7.  Sour scents including bitter type
  8.  Natural of undetermined origin

Now my favorites are 1, 2, or 6 for the most part. I don't mind the patchouli herbally scent if it smells more sexy than stinky and the floral scents if they aren't for a flower I don't like the smell of. My sniffer is really sensitive to some perfumes so much so that if I get in an elevator or walk down a hall after someone who has laid on the perfume really heavy I will have a sneezing, watery eyes, allergy type attack.

Here are my favorite and my worst products based on scent

Top 12 favorite products due to scent (not in any particular order) -- note products from the same company that have the same scent are classified as one product total:

  • Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner (#2 and pumpkin/spice--YUMMY!)
  • Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent Treatment and Repairing Protein Treatment (#2 chocolate latte--OMG)
  • Spiral Solutions Firm Hold Gel and Curl Enhancing Jelly (#1, 3, 6, and 8 notes)
  • Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Smoothing Conditioner and Smoothing Gellie (#1-tropical fruit!)
  • Sweet Nature by Eddie Dream Moisturizing Cream and Inspiration Shampoo and Growth Spray (#1  Berry like)
  • Jessicurl products (any) in Island Fantasy scent (#1 but tropical)
  • DevaCurl One C (#6 citrus but sweet as well)
  • Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly (#6 citrus)
  •  Afroveda Shea Amla Cream (#3 plus musky-sexy!)
  •  Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana scent (#2 and 1--banana bubble gum)
  •  Oyin Whipped Pudding or Sweet Nature by Eddie Wisdom Cream (chocolate--nearly identical smell #2)
  •  Oyin Juices and Berries spray (#1)

So you can see from the list that I predominantly like #1, 2 and #6 as I mentioned)

So what made the list of my worst smelling products and am I still using them (I've marked NO or YES to whether I am still using them) ?

  • Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn Leave In and Curl Activator Spray - #8 Simply horrific NO
  • Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Conditioner and Shampoo - #8 NO
  • No Frizz Styling Cream - #5 NO
  • Simply Curly Conditioning/Styling Pudding (#6 and #8 -- smells rancid to me) NO
  • CHS Tweek and Curl Keeper (#5 in a major way) YES to CK and NO to Tweek
  •  Boots Curl Creme's (pink and white--very strong #5 and maybe #4 a little) YES
  • Terax Crema and Life Drops (#5) YES
  • Tresemme Silicone Free Conditioners (#5, #4) YES
  • Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Gardenia scent (#4) YES
  • Curls Ecstasy Asian Tea Conditioner (#8) YES

So you can see in many cases I will still use a product even if the scent turns me off. However the ones marked NO I would not use if they were my "Holy Grail" products--the smells to me are that bad.

So what do you think? What's the worst smelling product you use or don't use? Best smelling? I'm curious....


  1. Worst smelling for me would have to be AOHR. It's not a bad smell...just not my favorite. Reminds me of sunscreen. I hate how AO seals their conditioner bottles so that you can't smell it before purchasing because if I had known that it was so cloying, I probably wouldn't have bought it.

    Also, the smell lingers A LOT. I used the AOHR on my hair 3 days ago and I can still smell it! And that's after 3 showers using different conditioners and a strongly scented leave-in on top.

  2. i find i don't mind a lot of scents that turn other people off...for example aohr. i actually like the smell and am sad my hair doesn't tolerate the oils in it for that reason. :) i tend to prefer scents that are floral or citrus. if it smells like food, especially fruit, it makes me want to gag. coconut and spices would be exceptions.

    not sure i really have a favorite scented product, to be honest. but i hear you on giving things up no matter how awesome if the smell is wrong.

  3. It's only been recently that I have discovered the CG world but I've become a sample queen very quickly. I've read a lot about AO's products and I stopped at my local favorite organic store in my area and sound tada... AO's products!

    So I picked up the swimmers low-poo, GVP, AOMM, AND Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn Leave In and Curl Activator Spray.

    The Low-poo not bad, GVP & AOMM herbal smelling but I can hang with it... but I'm sorry.... the curl activator is rancid smelling. I've forced myself to try it and I keep hoping maybe it'll smell better too me, but nope I'm sorry it doesn't. I hate wasting my money but this stuff.... just has to find the bottom of a trash can. Sorry AO.

    My Favorite is on your worst list Alex! CJ's Curl Rehab Gardenia/Coconut. I LOVE it, but Gardenia is my favorite floral scent. One of my least fav smells also came on your best smells list which is CJ's Hibiscus and Banana. I'm just not big on things smelling like a banana that aren't the actual fruit, but I still use it!

  4. I think AO Island Naturals smells like Bactine. It doesn't stop me from using it, but I always feel like I should check the bottle to make sure I didn't grab the boo boo medicine by mistake.

    I love the scent of fruit/citrus. I love Darcy's Botanicals Peach Kernel Hydrating Milk. It just smells so nice. I also really like Alaffia Hair Lotion because it has a strong citrus scent (and works). Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee smells good enough to eat. Mmmm.

  5. I also find the CJ Curl Rehab gardenia scent not so great. HOwever, I really dislike the Strawberry Ice Cream one, so when I repurchase, I'll get the gardenia, only cause I'd rather my head smell like a flower I have in my garden than like someone spilled milk n strawberries on my head. If it had been a full-on fresh strawberry scent, I'd have loved it. It's the milky tones I find offputting. I've also grown to like the SS caramel latter smell, which at first put me off. Now, I enjoy it. Funny how that one is not as milky as the CJCR. Agree with the ONE C. Nice. And the CJ H&B. Putting that on my head cheers me up.

    Scent for hair matters A LOT, cause I gotta smell that all day and my husband will kiss me and smell it. So, definitely im;portant.

  6. I've heard the Seabuckthorn is nasty. I kept looking for it onground so I could smell it before I purchased. I'll just skip it now hah.

    The worst smelling for me was LaCoupe Fragrance Free leave in spray. I now know why they put fragrance in hair care products. I thought I was going to die of chemical inhalation. I immediately thought, "wow, this is what it must feel like to die of poison gas." I immediately returned it.

    I'm not big on the food smells...though I don't mind them at all. Love the Strawberry ice cream smell of CJ Beauticurls Daily Condish. On the other hand, the H&B deep fix smells like rancid bubble gum to me. I don't smell any banana. I still use it, because I lurve it.

    Fruit (peachy esp) is good, and I love Hippie STINK!

  7. Aubrey is just ALWAYS bad when it comes to smell! AOHR, AOIN, AOMM, AOB5 -- just bad, bad, BAD, all of them! But I like the products, so I still use them. What can you do? And I must like them a lot. Because I have been known to drop products due to smell alone. But not with the Aubrey products.

  8. I totally agree on the AO sea buckthorn! First time I used it, all day at work I kept sniffing and searching for whatever was spoiled. Then I realized it was me...ewww! I do have to admit that it worked very well on my fine/thin/colored hair. Second time I tried it, I used JC awe inspiring and it masked most of the smell so it was tolerable, but I still have to work myself up to using it.