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Why Does My Hair Hurt? 7 Likely Reasons

photo of woman getting scalp massage

It feels a little crazy to say out loud, but your hair hurts every once in awhile. Deep down, you know that your hair can’t actually feel anything, which fuels your confusion but doesn’t get rid of the pain at the end of the day. The good thing is, you’re not alone. Many people wonder exactly the same thing: Why does my hair feel like it hurts sometimes?

Lucky for you, the pain you’ve been experiencing is a lot less mysterious than you might believe. We’re breaking down seven reasons your hair might hurt and how you can minimize the pain.

You’re pulling your hair too tightly.

We should start by pointing out that your strands aren’t what is actually experiencing pain. When you feel as though your hair hurts, that pain is probably coming from your scalp.

When you pull your hair tight to create flawless ponytails, buns, and braids, you may be putting an unnecessary amount of pressure and tension on your scalp, resulting in pain.

Easy Fix:

Don’t pull your hair back so tightly. We promise your braids, buns, and ponytails will look just as flawless if you lighten up on your grip.

You’re wearing the same style too often.

When life becomes stressful and hectic (which is all of the time if we're honest), making sure you leave your house every day with a fresh and unexpected hairstyle is the last thing on your mind. More often than not, you rely on your go-to ponytail or bun to get you through the day. Unfortunately, your most trusted hairstyle may just be the cause of your pain.

When you style your hair the same way every day—especially in styles like ponytails and buns—you may create tension on your scalp in the same exact place day after day.

Easy Fix:

Switch up your hairstyles. We know waking up an extra 15 minutes earlier to style your hair is a lot to ask, but your hair will thank you for the much-needed break.

You’re not washing your hair enough.

The number of times you wash your hair per week can sometimes make or break your hair care routine. If you like to space your wash days far apart, it is possible that excessive product build-up is the cause of your hair pain.

The products you apply every day can build up when you skip wash day.

Easy Fix:

If you experience product buildup, wash your hair more often. Aim for two to three times per week. You should also consider switching up your wash technique. Make sure to scrub your scalp, but gently, when you wash your hair. If you can’t imagine putting even more effort into your wash day, it might be worth it to invest in a shampoo brush that can help you do the hard work.

You’re brushing your hair too roughly.

Just like everything else on your body, your hair needs to be handled with care. When you brush and comb your hair with tools that tug and scrape at your scalp, it can be extremely painful.

Easy Fix:

Invest in the proper tools for your hair type and texture, gently using those tools to achieve your desired look. Brush from mid-shaft to ends first while holding the section to avoid pulling at your scalp while easing out tangles.

You’re using the wrong products.

Sometimes it seems as though there are a million hair products. While it can feel difficult to find the right product while you’re shopping, it’s for a good reason: There’s a formula for nearly every hair type, texture, and concern. What works for your best friend may not work for you.

Easy Fix:

Identify your hair type and texture. If you’re unsure about either, a trusted stylist can diagnose your strands for you. Then analyze any hair concerns you’d like your products to address. Do you suffer from dandruff? Is your hair dry? Was it recently colored? Once you’ve established those three things, you should be able to pinpoint the perfect products for your hair.

You have a lot of hair.

Having a ton of hair is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can pull off just about any style your heart desires. On the other, carrying around all of that hair on your head can get pretty heavy. The sheer weight of your locks can often create tension and pressure on your scalp, especially when you pile all of your hair on top of your head in an updo.

Easy Fix:

If your hair is so dense you experience pain even when allowing your hair to hang down, consider an undercut. The shaved style will remove some of your hair, allowing it to feel much lighter. As a bonus, no one will see it unless you decide to style your hair in an updo. If you’re not ready to shave your head, consider a shorter cut like a bob or a lob to remove some of that unnecessary weight.

You have an undiagnosed condition.

There is a possibility that your hair hurts for reasons that have nothing to do with styling or care. If you have additional questions about these health topics, your doctor is sure to be a great source of information.

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