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Expert Answer: Hair Dye & Migraines

Question: Will dying my hair make my migraines worse?

It is hard to predict whether dying your hair will make your migraines worse. Some migraine individuals are very sensitive to chemicals and fragrances that would be in the dye.

It may be worthwhile to simply open up the bottle and smell it as a test before putting it on your hair. The most vulnerable time would be expected to be when it is applied especially if done in a hair salon where there are many fragrances and chemicals in the air. Taking your migraine medication such as a triptan as a preventive before you go to the salon may help prevent the migraine. Some individuals may simply choose to take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or naproxen as an inexpensive preventive before going to the salon.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Zoya Abdullah
    7 years ago

    I’m not sure if there is a connection, but I just coloured my hair.. and for some reason, i got a weird headache before washing my hair! and the headache didn’t go even after I washed off the dye! I have a migraine history..and I get severe migraines quite often..:/ should I avoid coloring my hair? hasn’t happened before! so I’m not sure about anything.

  • Angia Thomas Hughes
    8 years ago

    This is something I hadn’t considered as a possibility, but during the time I was coloring my hair regularly, I was getting horrible recurring migraines….there wasn’t much time between recovery from one & the next one coming on. Hmmm. I still get migraines, of course, but not in the same recurring nightmare that they were while getting hair colored consistently.

  • Anne Miller
    8 years ago

    coloring does not bring on a migraine for me at the feeling of being pampered.

  • Laurie A Faust
    8 years ago

    good luck to anyone with migraines! they are like black holes in your life! you are at the mercy of the pain, nausea and mental and physical anguish they cause! You lose time from work, time with family, cannot eat, barely keep down even water…cannot stand smells…sounds and sight(lights will feel like shocks to you brain/eyes!)and then your are also wiped out…sooo tired from it…and can last for more then three days! just disgusting to go through! I have had less over the past year now, thankfully…but I had one this past week…I took one of my prescribed meds for them…one did nothing…but thank God no vomiting! took another after 2 hours…then just crashed! awoke at 2am…still pounding head and sick from it…took another…awoke at 5am…feeling better!(When I, what I call “peak”, I would just uncontrollable vomit…sometimes hours or one time 2 days..straight! eyes have broken blood vessels, dots all over face! terrible)I find help from ice packs, cold in general…darkness and quiet…and a great helpful, caring 11 yr old son does wonders…of course husbands too! but my sons a better hugger!

  • Bonna Mullaly
    8 years ago

    I can’t stand to do the shampoo sink. A lot of odors do give me migraine and of course I wouldn’t color in the middle of one, but I’ve never gotten one just from coloring my hair. The shampoo sink though – ohhhhhhh, it is now a torture chamber so I had to give that part up. Hate that – it’s part of the being pampered feeling we all need now and then.

  • Carolyn Nelson Doherty
    8 years ago

    I too get migraines from coloring my hair. I now bring my own unscented shampoo and conditioner with me. And I don’t allow any other products on my head. It’s crucial I get a folded towel placed under my neck when I’m getting rinsed. That position is so awkward.

  • Kathy Ulrich
    8 years ago

    migraines are the pits!

  • Laura Sharick-Morales
    8 years ago

    Another cost to be beautiful! I don’t think mine are connected. But I didn’t realize magnesium could interfere with color….will have to pay attention to that one! Thanks for that info Jean!

  • Twila Gorley
    8 years ago

    I get them all the time and have only colored my hair once in the last 6 years.

  • Jean Oliver
    8 years ago

    I don’t get migraines with hair color but since going on mega-magnesium, my coorist is having a hard time getting my color right – have had to color twice in one day.l.

  • Debbie Zippay-Matthews
    8 years ago

    Interesting, since I, too, have had migraines within days of hair appts. I always get color, highlights, cut & style. I have wondered if it was from all the washes in the salon sink, having my neck in such an awkward, strained position, or the actual hair dye, accentuated by the intense heat from sitting under the dryer. Never sure what the actual cause was.

  • Vanessa Waltman White
    8 years ago

    I think it’s the intense heat from the dryer. I think I’ll skip the dryer next time.

  • Donna Davis
    8 years ago

    For me there is definately a connection. I don’t know what it is but I usually get a migraine as much as 2 days after coloring my hair. It was interesting reading this because I’ve often wondered if that happened to other people.

  • Dina Issa
    8 years ago

    Agree with you Donna. I’m exatly the same. I actually searched “hair dye” to see what others are saying. I dread when it’s time to colour my hair although I am less likely to get a migraine if I colour it myself. My theory is that the chemical or dye applied to the scalp actually gets into the bloodstream and triggers a migraine since I have noticed that when I do my own touch ups, I am less likely to get a migraine as I use a low ammonia formula (less smelly) and I try not to apply it on my scalp. Hairdressers however use way too much colour and they actually rub it into the scalp. I always get itchy too..

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