Can Your New Favorite WFH Hairstyle Really Hurt You? Don’t Worry, I Investigated

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April 19, 2024 at 1:59AM UTC
If you are anything like me, social distancing has relaxed your beauty and style routines quite a bit. While I used to wear my hair down and styled almost every day, I've been skipping that step of my morning routine and instead throwing my hair — usually air dried — into a ponytail or bun. It's easy and it still looks OK. But a little over 30 days into my social distancing routine, I've decided it's probably time to give it up. 
It turns out that piling my (admittedly heavy) hair on my head everyday isn't great for the health of my hair or for my mind, according to experts. In fact, wearing your hair in a similar, slicked back style everyday can lead to hair loss and hair damage, along with chronic headaches. 
In an interview with Allure, dermatologist Francesca J. Fusco said that "regularly wearing your hair tight in the same style... could ultimately lead to a level of hair loss, beginning at the hair line, known as traction alopecia."
"The idea is that the constant 'pulling' shocks the hair follicle, causing breakage and damage, which can permanently prevent the hair follicle from completing its regular growth cycle." according to Allure. 
While this affect can happen with any tightly pulled hairstyle — from a braid to a topknot to dreadlocks — it requires sustained tight styling overtime. However, more minimal damage can happen sooner. Just putting strain on your hair in a bun or braid can "cause strands to break where they’re being held by your elastic or pull out at the root," according to StyleCaster writer Wendy Rodewald. 
Telltale signs your updo is doing more harm than good? There is a noticeable tugging feeling or your elastic is strained. This can coincidentally also lead to headaches and fatigue. 
"When you put your hair in a tight bun or ponytail, or a weave or extensions, that will pull the nerves in the scalp. That pulling of the nerves will activate the sensory nerves even more," Dr. Denise E. Chou told Elle. "That can result in the headache itself, or it could be that the headache is beginning."
Chou continued to say her go-to style is a loose bun.  And me? After this research, I might be going with some boho-inspired loose looks myself. Or, going back to my styling routine. Not that that's likely to happen.

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