Can Hair Color Cause Headaches?

You dyed your hair over the weekend and have a constant headache. Surprisingly, your hair colour might be the culprit. Many overlook this potential connection, but it’s worth exploring. 

This post delves into the intriguing question: Can hair color cause headaches? We’ll examine the science behind it, potential triggers, and what you can do to alleviate discomfort. 

Reasons for Headache After Bleaching Hair

Fume exposure

During hair bleaching, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide emit potent fumes. These chemicals irritate the respiratory system, causing headaches. 

Ammonia’s pungent odour and hydrogen peroxide’s breakdown into oxygen gas contributes to the characteristic bleach smell. 

Factors like concentration, exposure duration, and ventilation affect fume intensity. Chronic exposure may sensitize the respiratory system and increse the headache risk. Unfortunately, you may experience more severe headaches if you have respiratory conditions.  

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions to hair bleaching products can trigger headaches and other symptoms. These may include scalp itching, redness, or swelling. Each person’s allergic response varies. 

So, patch test before using new products. This test helps identify potential allergens, ensuring safer usage. Headaches stemming from allergic reactions can be mild or severe, mixed with other discomforts. 

Physical strain

Applying and rinsing bleach can strain the scalp and surrounding muscles. Prolonged tension and pressure during these processes often result in muscular tension headaches. The physical strain from manipulating the hair and enduring the application process can exacerbate these headaches. 

Also, individuals with sensitive scalps or pre-existing muscle tension may experience more discomfort. 

Stress and blood pressure factors

The chemical process of hair bleaching and the anticipation of results can induce stress. The anxiety surrounding the outcome and potential hair damage exacerbates this stress. 

Furthermore, stress-induced changes in blood pressure levels can trigger headaches. Fluctuations in blood pressure, whether due to emotional stress or other factors, can amplify headache symptoms. So, understand the interplay between stress, blood pressure, and headaches before bleaching. 

Over-stimulation of scalp

The scalp may become overstimulated while applying hair dye, resulting in sensory overload and headaches. Applying and washing bleach can irritate the scalp’s nerve endings, leading to discomfort and pain. 

The sensation of tingling or burning during bleaching indicates nerve stimulation, which can intensify headache symptoms. 

Dehydration, fatigue, and skipped meals

After bleaching your hair, you need to rest. Otherwise, dehydration, fatigue, and skipped meals can worsen headaches. The bleaching process dehydrates hair and the body, which can trigger headaches. 

Dehydration compromises bodily functions, including blood flow to the brain, intensifying headache symptoms. Additionally, fatigue and skipped meals exacerbate headache severity. Lack of adequate rest and nutrition diminishes the body’s ability to cope with stressors, amplifying headache discomfort.

Pre-existing conditions or sensitivities

Pre-existing conditions like migraines or chemical sensitivities can make you more susceptible to headaches after hair bleaching. These conditions heighten the impact of the bleaching process, intensifying headache severity. 

Migraine sufferers may experience amplified headache symptoms triggered by the chemical exposure during bleaching. Similarly, individuals with chemical sensitivities may have stronger adverse reactions to the ingredients in hair bleach, exacerbating headaches. 

Hormonal changes

Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women, can influence headache occurrence after bleaching hair. Hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause can increase susceptibility to headaches triggered by the bleaching process. These hormonal shifts may alter pain perception and sensitivity, exacerbating headache symptoms. 

Temperature sensitivity

Fluctuations in temperature during the bleaching process can trigger headaches. Exposure to cold air or water during rinsing, especially if the scalp is already sensitized from the bleach, can lead to discomfort and headache.

Additionally, abrupt temperature changes, such as moving from a warm salon to a colder outdoor environment, may induce headaches in susceptible individuals.

What to Do: Remedies for Post-Bleaching Headache

Rest and relax 

After bleaching hair, prioritize rest to alleviate headache symptoms. Lie down in a quiet, dimly lit room to minimize sensory stimuli. Practice deep breathing exercises or meditation to promote relaxation and reduce tension in the scalp and muscles.

Pain relievers

Purchase over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate headache discomfort. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce headache intensity. Follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.

Cool compress

Apply a cool compress or ice pack to the forehead or temples to soothe headache pain. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels, which can help alleviate inflammation and reduce headache severity. 

Ensure the compress is wrapped in a cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin and avoid prolonged use to prevent frostbite.


Drink plenty of water to rehydrate the body and alleviate dehydration-induced headaches. The bleaching process can dehydrate the hair and the body, leading to headache development. 

Replenishing lost fluids helps restore proper hydration levels and supports overall well-being. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as they can further dehydrate the body and exacerbate headache symptoms.

Massage therapy

Consider gentle scalp massage to alleviate tension and promote relaxation. Use your fingertips to apply light pressure in circular motions to the scalp and temples. 

Massaging the scalp helps improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate headache symptoms. Combine with soothing essential oils like lavender or peppermint for added relaxation benefits.

Warm shower or bath

Take a warm shower or bath to relax muscles and alleviate headache discomfort. The warm water helps rinse hair, improves blood circulation and reduces tension in the scalp and neck muscles. 

Add Epsom salts or essential oils like eucalyptus or chamomile to enhance relaxation and soothe headache symptoms.

Methods to Prevent Headaches after Bleaching Hair

Perform a patch test

Perform a patch test to check for potential allergic reactions before bleaching hair. Apply a small amount of the bleach mixture to a discreet area of the skin, such as behind the ear, and wait 24-48 hours. If irritation or allergic reactions occur, such as redness, itching, or swelling, avoid using the product. 

Choose the right product

Select a hair bleach product that is gentle on the scalp and suitable for your hair type. Look for formulations that are ammonia-free or low in ammonia content. Ammonia can exacerbate scalp irritation and trigger headaches. Additionally, opt for bleach products enriched with conditioning agents to minimize damage and discomfort.  

Work in a well-ventilated space

Ensure you’re working in a well-ventilated area with proper airflow. Adequate ventilation helps dissipate fumes emitted by the bleach, reducing the risk of respiratory irritation and headaches. Open windows, use fans or work in a room with an exhaust fan to improve ventilation and create a safer environment for bleaching hair.

Stay hydrated

Maintain proper hydration by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after bleaching hair. Dehydration can exacerbate headaches,. So staying hydrated helps support overall well-being and minimizes discomfort.

Apply bleach to loose hair

When applying bleach to the hair, ensure it’s loosely gathered or sectioned to prevent tension and pressure on the scalp and hair shaft. Tight ponytails or braids can exert unnecessary strain on the scalp muscles, leading to headaches. Apply bleach evenly and gently to minimize scalp irritation and discomfort.reducing the likelihood of headaches after bleaching hair.

See more: How to prepare hair for bleaching.

Colours that Can Cause Headache

  • Intense white
  • Neon green
  • Neon yellow
  • Bright red
  • Vibrant yellow
  • Electric blue

Ingredients To Look For When Bleaching Your Hair

Henna: This semi permanent hair dye offers rich red tones and can also enhance hair strength and shine. 

Indigo: Derived from plants, indigo offers shades ranging from blue to black. Blend indigo with henna for nuanced brown hues, providing a natural-looking result.

Beetroot and carrot juice: Embrace the natural tinting prowess of these semi permanent hair dyes.  These ingredients offer a vibrant, yet gentle, option for hair colour experimentation.

Chamomile tea: Serves as a gentle lightening agent, imparting subtle highlights to your locks.

Lemon juice: Citrus-based solution offers a gentle alternative for those seeking a sun-kissed effect without harsh chemicals.

When to Consult a Doctor

Seek medical attention if headaches persist for an extended period. The severity may worsen over time, or get accompanied by other concerning symptoms.  If you feel dizziness, nausea, or visual disturbances plan to see a doctor. 

Besides, if you have a history of migraines, allergies, or respiratory conditions, first discuss with your healthcare provider. This is the only way to rule out any underlying health issues before they are triggered.


Why do I feel dizzy after dying my hair?

Feeling dizzy after dying hair can occur due to the strong chemical odours emitted by hair dyes. These chemicals, such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, can irritate the respiratory system when inhaled, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea. Moreover, the prolonged exposure to these fumes in poorly ventilated areas can exacerbate symptoms.

Does Hair Dye Enter my bloodstream?

Hair dye typically does not enter the bloodstream in significant amounts when applied externally to the hair and scalp. However, some small amounts of chemicals from hair dye may be absorbed through the scalp into the bloodstream. 

What is the side effect of hair colouring?

Common side effects of hair colouring include scalp irritation, allergic reaction, and hair damage. Scalp irritation may manifest as redness, itching, or burning sensations, while allergic reactions can cause more severe symptoms such as swelling or difficulty breathing. Additionally, frequent hair colouring can lead to hair breakage, dryness, or loss of natural shine.

Why does my head hurt after colouring?

Headaches after dyeing hair may result from strong chemical fumes, scalp irritation, or tension from prolonged application processes. Chemical odours emitted during colouring, such as ammonia, can irritate the respiratory system and trigger headaches in sensitive individuals. Scalp irritation from the dye or excessive tension during application can also contribute to headache development.

Safety first, Always

Whether hair colour can cause headaches has illuminated a fascinating intersection between beauty and health. Through our exploration, we’ve uncovered various factors—from chemical fumes to scalp irritation—that can contribute to post-coloring headaches. 

While the allure of a fresh hair color is undeniable, you must prioritize safety first. By being mindful of ventilation, choosing gentle products, and listening to our bodies, we can enjoy vibrant locks without sacrificing our well-being. Beauty should never come at the expense of health. 

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