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Fear Of Haircuts With Migraine

It might seem silly to a lot of people, but I hate getting my hair cut. The neck pain, the uncomfortable shampoo washing, and my sensitive scalp. I want to be able to enjoy a shampoo and conditioning massage like everyone else, but it never seems to happen.

Scalp sensitivity during a salon shampoo

I have arthritis and after sitting in that shampoo chair for 30 seconds I need to shift. I quickly go from being slightly uncomfortable, to very uncomfortable but never want to sound rude when I’m getting serviced. To be honest, I hope the person doesn’t talk just so I can try to enjoy a little massage before a sting of pain kicks in. I move a little, which is noticeable. Sometimes, I’m asked if my neck is okay and it usually isn’t, but I feel as if I’m not validating their attempt to try and service me despite my pain.

I have moderate chronic pain on a daily basis, so the thought of going for a haircut after several bad experiences through the years gives me massive anxiety. Almost every single time I’ve left a salon, I’ve also left with a migraine.

I envy men who have short hair that can enjoy a massage without having to worry about being tangled. I know men struggle with the same shampoo washes and conditions like I do too, though. It’s bothersome on our neck, which can quickly throw our whole body out of whack quickly. Even with towel and body adjustments, it just has not worked out the way I’ve ever wanted it to.

Some hairstylists are more understanding of pain than others

Even the times that I have requested and stated that I have a nerve condition that also makes getting my hair washed and combed absolutely no fun at all. My hair is thick and coarse due to the medications I’ve been on for years. Usually, it’s met with kindness, but then again, I’ve also noticed how hairstylists have skimped the massage all together then. It’s what I come for! I’ve also had some very good stylists who understand the pain I’m in, as I’m very honest with them. But I just haven’t found that happy medium yet where I’ve ever been able to leave the salon feeling good.

How do I find a balance and tell my salon about my migraines, chronic pain and overall sensitivity to the salons smells? (Most people would tell me to find a new salon, or to cut my own hair at home, sarcastically). I’m not sure that people without migraine know how awful and painful something as simple as a haircut can be.

How do you inform your hair care specialist what your needs are? How are your concerns met? Have you ever fired a hairdresser?

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.


  • glassmind
    2 months ago

    Honestly, I have given up on most salon care.

    Due to joint pain, I absolutely cannot spend one second at the shampoo station. I have tried various pillows, towels, etc and just always was in severe pain despite the staff attempts to help me be comfortable.

    I can occassionally tolerate a haircut if I go when the salon opens and no one is getting chemical treatments. I wear a mask and close my eyes even while going to salons that use all natural products.

    But that happens once or twice a year max.

    Otherwise, I do cut my own hair at home.

    Yes, I miss the salon. I once went monthly and got color treatments often just for fun. I liked waxing and manicures. But I like avoiding migraine more.

    Now, I just wear my nails and hair natural. I pluck my own brows. Lol

    The natural salons were more tolerable and would help me get appointments at times with minimal triggers. They’d even dim lights for me as possible. (They do need to see to work). Maybe you can find a salon so accommodating.

    Another option is to hire someone who can come to your home. Or trade services with a friend. You could wear a swim suit and sit on a shower chair to get a nice conditioner massage. Weird? Maybe. Worth it? Also maybe.

    Or you might seperate these services. Massage technitians can do head and scalp massages, no haircut or shampooinvolved! And you get to laydown in a dim quiet room!

    You can,get haircuts without shampoo. Just have the stylist use a spray bottle to wet your hair. That’s what I do, when I do go. I just ask for a stylist who does dry cuts or works with the spray bottle. Plenty know how to do this without damaging your hair.

    And I always pass on styling products. I just use my own that I know are migraine friendly after I leave.

    A good stylist will make accommodations happily. If not, totally find a different one! And do check out salons before making appointments. Go in, talk to the host/receptionist, explain your concerns and ask if you can just sit in the reception area for awhile to see if the environment suits you. Some will give you a tour also if you ask.

    You have every right to have as painfree an experience as possible. You are paying for it!

  • Luna
    3 months ago

    I quit having my hair cut at a salon. I’ve let it grow to just past my shoulders. Every once in a while I trim it so it is all the same length and doesn’t get too long. The smells at the salon get in my hair and clothes and it takes several days to air out. Their shampoos smell way too much. Don’t feel like paying someone to make me feel lousy.

  • #purpleproject moderator author
    2 months ago

    I’m going to have to look that product up – I’m curious. I’m sorry you’re not able to have that “salon” experience of getting a relaxing wash & massage. Definitely not worth the money!
    Kelly, Team Member

  • Lawrence moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi Luna. Thank you for your post and for being a member! I’ve heard other people within the community speak about how smells impact and exacerbate their symptoms, so you are not alone in that. Do you have a preferred shampoo that you use? Sending my best! -Lawrence ( Team)

  • Lawrence moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi Luna. Thanks so much for sharing! I am glad that Magick Botanicals works for you. I am sure other community members with similar sensitivites as you will be glad to have a product to try! Wishing you a pain-free day! -Lawrence ( Team)

  • Luna
    2 months ago

    The only shampoo I have found to use is Magick Botanicals.

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