It’s a fact that migraines occur more often in women than in men. The reasons for this range from estrogen levels associated with menopause, through exposure to irritants. Could it also be that female patients are more likely to style their hair than men are, using equipment that might trigger a headache? It’s possible, and although this remains unproven we can recommend finding hairstyles less likely to put a strain on your head and cause pain.
Hairstyles to Avoid
Most women who wear hair long enough to tie back have experienced the scalp tenderness associated with changing the direction of the hair. Although this typically eases after about 24 hours as the hair becomes accustomed to the new direction, it can be quite noticeable for the initial period. Some styles are more inclined to cause pain, including:
- Tightly-tied styles, such as high back pony tails, buns and topknots. These pull your hair taught causing pressure to the scalp, which can result in a headache even in non-migraineurs.
- Complex hairstyles requiring use of a restrictive headband, bobby pins or barette to hold them in place. Most of these items cause pressure to the scalp, or hold the hair tight in the position you place it.
- Wearing bangs over the eyes, which may look stylish but can cause obstruction of your line of sight. The resulting strain on your eyes can trigger a migraine and also cause eye redness, irritation and infection. Even bangs that trend to one side can fall over the eyes if they aren’t secured, so either keep them short and tidy or find a way to hold them back.
- Using hairspray, which is typically required to help keep intricate knots and braids in place. Once again, the effect can be two-fold: chemicals and perfume in the spray can act as allergens and trigger a migraine, or the action of creating the styles in the first place could be tiring or cause stress to your scalp and head.
Few occasions occur when you can’t find a headache-free hairstyle, regardless of whether they are fancy or formal events or regular, more casual days. Here are options for all activities:
Doing Your Hair for a Red Carpet Event
If leaving long hair loose is not an option for your big night out, a low-base, chic ponytail at the nape of the neck looks both romantic and sophisticated. Pull the hair back gently and loop a hair elastic around it. Stroke back any loose bits with a light touch of unscented hair oil or gel, which won’t bother your nasal receptors. Then tie a ribbon that tones with your outfit—black velvet goes with almost everything—around the elastic to hide it. Leave the ends loose to avoid looking like you’re back in school, and let them hang free to act as an accessory. This gives you the added advantage of being able to skip wearing earrings, and the sheer elegance of the look will take your breath away.
Wonderful wrap-ups: Pick up a foam-covered bun maker next time you’re out shopping and use that for an easy, low stress way to neaten your tresses. Form the hair into a ponytail, pull it through the center of the wrap-up and move the foam down to the end. Roll it back up with your hair around it, bend it into shape and secure it. Watch this video for details on how to make it work.
Everyday Hair Art
Braids are good for everyday wear, because unlike tight pony tails and buns they distribute the hair weight evenly across the scalp. The more braids you have, the more locations where hair is secured on the head, too, which avoids pressure placed on just one secured site.
Fabulous fishtail: Make a perfect fishtail braid by separating hair into two equally-loaded sections. Pull a thin strand from the outside of one section and cross it over the other section. Join it to the second section and pull it gently together until slightly tighter. Next, take a thin strand from the outside of the second section and do it again on the opposite side. Click here for detailed instructions and images to do this.
Beautiful braids are another great option for everyday wear, and we don’t mean the ones you wore as a child. Some of the neat things you can do with them include:
- Braiding a long fringe or bangs from side to side, to keep the hair out of your face.
- Scrunching damp hair with a tiny bit of gel before braiding, to keep it loose and full.
- Braiding several sections of hair softly to wrap around your head in a style reminiscent of medieval times.
For very special occasions, tuck a hair ornament or a flower into the braid for a touch of freshness.
Your hair doesn't have to give you headaches. Style can be achieved without having to suffer through the pain of a migraine.