Headache after Hair Dye: Dealing with the Unwanted Pain

If you’ve ever experienced a pounding headache after hair dye job, you’re not alone. Many people have been there, and it can be quite a nuisance.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the reasons behind the notorious “headache after hair dye,” discuss how to prevent it, and offer some tips for relief. So, let’s dive into this colorful but occasionally painful world of hair dye.

Understanding the Headache after Hair Dye

Before we delve into solutions, it’s crucial to comprehend why hair dye can lead to headaches. This phenomenon can be attributed to several factors:

Chemical Sensitivity

Hair dye contains various chemicals, such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, which can be potent irritants. When these chemicals come into contact with your scalp, they may trigger sensitivities in some individuals, resulting in headaches.

Allergic Reactions

Some people may be allergic to the ingredients in hair dye, causing their bodies to react adversely. Allergic reactions can manifest as headaches, along with other symptoms like itching and redness.

Strong Odors

The strong chemical odors emitted by hair dye can be overwhelming. Inhaling these fumes for an extended period while getting your hair dyed might lead to headaches.


The stress and tension associated with the hair dyeing process can also be a headache trigger. The desire for a perfect color outcome, coupled with the anticipation of change, can create mental strain.

Now that we’ve explored the reasons behind these post-dye headaches, let’s discuss how to prevent and alleviate them.

Preventing Headache after Hair Dye

To avoid the unpleasant headache that sometimes accompanies hair dyeing, consider the following preventive measures:

Patch Test

Before applying hair dye to your entire scalp, conduct a patch test. This test helps identify potential allergic reactions before they can lead to a severe headache.

Well-Ventilated Space

Ensure that the room where you’re applying the hair dye is well-ventilated. Opening windows or using a fan can help disperse chemical fumes and minimize their impact.

Use a Sulfate-Free Dye

Opt for sulfate-free hair dyes, as they are gentler on your scalp and less likely to cause irritation and headaches.

Relaxation Techniques

Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to reduce tension before and during the hair dyeing process.

Limit Exposure

Minimize the duration of contact between your scalp and the hair dye. Follow the recommended application time and rinse promptly.

Relief Strategies for Headache after Hair Dye

In case you’ve already experienced a hair dye headache, here are some strategies to find relief:


Dehydration can exacerbate headaches. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which might help alleviate the pain.


Sometimes, a good nap or rest can work wonders. Lie down in a quiet, dark room to relax and reduce the headache’s intensity.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide relief from headache symptoms. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage.

Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to your forehead can help numb the area and reduce pain.

Avoid Additional Irritants

Stay away from any further irritants, such as strong odors, smoke, or allergens, which can exacerbate your headache.

Hair Dye Poisoning Symptoms: What to Watch For

Headaches from hair dye could also be something more serious.

Hair dye poisoning typically occurs when the chemicals in hair dye come into contact with the skin, eyes, or mouth, leading to adverse reactions. The severity of poisoning can vary depending on the type of dye, exposure time, and individual sensitivity. Here are the symptoms to be aware of:

Skin Irritation: The most common initial symptom is skin irritation, characterized by redness, itching, and a burning sensation at the application site. This irritation can develop within minutes to hours after dye application.

Eye Irritation: Hair dye can cause eye irritation if it comes into contact with the eyes. Symptoms may include redness, itching, tearing, and sensitivity to light.

Respiratory Distress: Inhaling hair dye fumes or particles can lead to respiratory distress. This may manifest as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

Gastrointestinal Issues: Accidental ingestion of hair dye can result in gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may develop allergic reactions to hair dye. These allergic symptoms can range from mild itching and hives to severe anaphylactic reactions, including difficulty breathing and swelling of the face and throat.

Headache: A headache is not an uncommon symptom of hair dye poisoning and can develop in response to the chemical odors or stress associated with the situation.

Dizziness and Lightheadedness: Exposure to hair dye fumes in an enclosed space can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness.

Head Feels Weird after Dying Hair

Several factors can contribute to the strange sensations you might experience in your head after hair dyeing:

The strong chemical odors and fumes emitted by hair dye can be overpowering. Inhaling these fumes during the hair dyeing process can lead to sensations of dizziness or lightheadedness.

Your scalp may become sensitive after being exposed to the chemicals in hair dye. This sensitivity can manifest as tingling, itching, or a general feeling of discomfort.

The anticipation and stress associated with achieving the desired hair color can create mental strain, resulting in unusual sensations in your head. It’s not uncommon to experience tension headaches in such situations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I dye my hair if I’m prone to headaches?

A: Yes, you can still dye your hair, but take precautions like patch tests and proper ventilation.

Q: What should I do if I have an allergic reaction during a dye session?

A: Rinse the dye off immediately, seek medical attention, and take an antihistamine if available.

Q: Are there any hair dye brands specifically for sensitive scalps?

A: Yes, some brands offer hair dyes formulated for sensitive scalps. Look for those with natural or organic ingredients.

Q: How long does a hair dye headache typically last?

A: The duration varies, but most hair dye headaches subside within a few hours to a day.

Q: Can I prevent hair dye headaches altogether?

A: While you can’t guarantee prevention, following the tips mentioned in this article can significantly reduce your risk.


A headache after hair dye is undoubtedly an unwelcome surprise, but with the right precautions and knowledge, you can minimize the chances of experiencing it.

From conducting patch tests to choosing sulfate-free dyes and managing stress, there are multiple ways to ensure that your hair transformation remains a delightful experience. Remember, a little preparation can go a long way in keeping those post-dye headaches at bay.

Go ahead, flaunt that new hair color, and enjoy the beauty of your freshly dyed locks!