Can Dry Hair Cause Headaches? ANSWERED!

Dry hair is never a good thing, but could it be the reason behind your headaches?

Dry hair can cause headaches, especially if you are prone to them. When your hair is dry, it can make your scalp tender. This scalp tenderness causes pain in the nerves at the back of the neck and on your forehead, resulting in headaches.

If you’re curious to know how you can get rid of headaches that are caused by your dry hair or improper hair care techniques, then make sure you keep reading.

I’ve been lucky enough to have friends in the haircare business who have been willing to share tips and tricks for this that actually work!

This is what they have to say:

How To STOP Headaches Caused by Dry Hair

In order to prevent these headaches, we need to fix the dry hair issue. I cannot say this enough, you need to moisturize your hair and your scalp as well! 

The easiest way to stop headaches caused by dry hair is to keep your hair and scalp moisturized and hydrated. You can do this by applying a rinse-out conditioner after shampooing, applying a leave-in conditioner twice a week, doing a protein hair mask twice a month, and getting into the habit of massaging your scalp using hair oils to relieve pain.

1. Deep-Condition Your Hair

Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo then follow up with a deep-condition using a moisturizing conditioner. Try to find a conditioner that has natural oils in it as they help restore moisture.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is also a good natural hair moisturizer, you can apply some onto your hair before you go to bed then wash it out in the morning. Coconut oil has properties that allow it to cover the hair follicle and repair it.

If you follow these hacks to get rid of dry hair and you still experience headaches then there may other hair-related causes. Take a look at the list below to see if any of these apply to you. It may just be the answer to getting rid of your headaches for good!

6 Other Reasons Why Your Hair Might Be Giving You Headaches & How To FIX It

The main reason why your hair may be giving you headaches is due to tight ponytails or braids. When you style your hair in tight updos, you are pulling and straining your roots, thus tugging at the sensitive nerves on your scalp. To prevent these headaches, give your hair a break from tight hairstyles and tight braids, and wear your hair loose.

Hair Style Tips to Reduce Headaches

1. Ponytail Headaches

Ponytail headaches are considered to be a type of allodynia, this is when a normal sensation can cause pain. Having your hair in a ponytail should be a normal sensation yet it can cause pain for some women.

The cause of ponytail headaches, simply put, is due to the tightness of the ponytail tugging at the sensitive nerves under your hair follicles. Your ponytail actually triggers a lot of these nerves at once. The good news is those ponytail headaches are actually very common and their cause is an external source.

The bad news is that these types of headaches usually only occur in women who have underlying issues. These underlying issues range from persistent tension headaches, frequent migraines, or even a chronic pain condition such as fibromyalgia. 

How to prevent headaches caused by ponytails:

It may seem self-explanatory, but the best way to prevent ponytail headaches is simply to let your hair down. By avoiding wearing your hair in tight ponytails you will be saving yourself the trouble of going through these headaches.

However, if this is your go-to hairstyle then I understand that it might be difficult to part with it. An easy solution would be to give your hair a break from it, so don’t pull an Ariana Grande and wear your hair in a tight ponytail every day! Also, when you take your hair down massage your scalp with hair oils or moisturizers to promote circulation and allow your nerves to recover from the tension.

I do not recommend taking pain killers regularly for ponytail headaches, though supplements such as B2 and magnesium have been known to help give headache and migraine relief.

2. Hair Extensions

Hair extensions may enhance your beauty with a new hair look but when installed too tightly they can also be the cause of your headaches. Hair extensions are an additional weight to your scalp that is heavier than your natural hair. Not to mention that some hair extensions are quite heavy in comparison to others.

When you add additional weight to your hair it creates tension and excessive pulling on your scalp as well as your hair follicles. This causes the nerves in your scalp to have heightened sensitivity thus the feeling of pain and migraines follows. The downside of hair extensions, which is also its upside, is that they are worn constantly. This results in continuous pressure and strain being applied on your scalp.

How to prevent headaches caused by hair extensions:

When getting your hair extensions installed, be sure to chat with your hairstylist beforehand about how tightly they should be put in. This is completely dependent on your preference and what your scalp can handle.

Of course, the first few days after getting your hair done you will experience some discomfort whilst your scalp adjusts to the additional weight of the hair extensions. This discomfort should not go on for long though if it persists then your hair extensions are installed too tightly!

I would recommend uninstalling your hair extensions if this discomfort persists and leads to headaches. Also, do not wear your hair extensions for long periods of time, 3-4 weeks is long enough. You need to give your hair and scalp a break. Be sure to keep your hair and scalp moisturized as well so your scalp is less sensitive.

3. Wet Hair

When you go to sleep with wet hair or leave the house for the day, if you are exposed to cold weather (or air-conditioning), it causes a cold-damp condition. This leads to you having a heavy feeling in your head, usually cramping feeling that can improve with exposure to heat.

The reason this happens is that the moisture from your wet hair, when joined with the cold air that’s hitting the back of your neck and your shoulders, causes hypothermia as well as the dampness of your skin in these areas.

This in turn causes your blood vessels to constrict as well as the muscles in your shoulders, neck, and head. This triggers a physiological response from your body known as selective brain cooling which is the cause of your headaches, migraines, and sinus issues.

How to prevent headaches caused by wet hair: 

A way in which to prevent this is to simply use a hairdryer to dry your hair. It is honestly as simple as that. If you do not want to use heat on your hair in order to preserve your natural curls, then you can use a heat-free dryer. It does the exact same job as a hairdryer but without the heat.

4. Braids

Whether it’s French braids or cornrows, if your braids are overly tight then that just may be the cause of your headaches and migraines. These headaches are known as external compression headaches. They are caused by the tightness and pulling sensation on your scalp.

Doctors and medical experts believe that underlying factors may make you more susceptible to these external compression headaches. For example, when you are on your menstrual cycle your scalp may be more sensitive to pain, so the pain from getting your hair braided may seem worse and may lead to headaches as opposed to when you’re not on your menstrual cycle.

How to prevent headaches caused by tight braids: 

I would suggest letting your hair stylist know that you suffer from headaches when the braids are too tight so that they can adjust how tight they braid your hair. I often find that when my scalp is well moisturized, I don’t feel the tugging from my braids as much.

Another thing to consider would be to unbraid your hair after a week or two and give your scalp a massage to promote circulation and ease the tensions. I can’t stress this enough, your natural hair and your scalp need a break every now again!

Over the counter pain medication should be the last resort but if you are experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort then be sure to chat to your doctor about what the safest over the counter medication is.

5. Hair accessories

Whether it is for religious purposes or a fashion statement, hair accessories can be a leading cause of hair related headaches. These headaches are also known as external compression headaches and are caused when there is continuous pressure or strain on your scalp and forehead due to what you are wearing on your head.

It could be a scarf or a headband. The pain is usually more severe directly where the object is pressing on your head and it gets worse the longer you keep the object on.

How to prevent headaches caused by hair accessories: 

The simple answer would be to take the object off your head, but if you have deeper reasons for wearing it than simply making a fashion statement, this may not be possible.

A solution could be to wear it for short intervals at a time, maybe you can keep to just wearing the object when you are in public, then in the comfort of your home you can remove it. Be sure to massage your scalp and your forehead regularly as well.

Vitamins such as B2 and Magnesium are a good alternative to pain killers when it comes to headache and migraine relief. If you wear hair accessories or hair coverings on a regular basis then I would try to avoid pain killers as they can be addictive!


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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