Do Hair Extensions Hurt at First?

Whether you’re getting lip fillers, microblading your eyebrows, or applying hair extensions, one thing that may come to the top of your mind is whether or not it will hurt. After all, we all know beauty is pain, but too much discomfort is a definite no-no.

Hair extensions can cause minor pain for the first few days following installation. This is mainly because your scalp is getting used to the new weight of the extensions, which can cause tenderness. Severe or prolonged pain can be an indication of something more serious.

If you’re considering having hair extensions installed but are concerned about the potential pain, you’ll be glad to know that most of the time, the pain is minimal – if there’s any pain present whatsoever. This article shares info about pain to (possibly) expect and when to seek help.

Don’t be “pained” with questions about hair extension pain. Just read this article!

Do Hair Extensions Hurt at First?

Hair extensions can cause slight discomfort the first three to five days after installation. This subtle discomfort is 100% normal and nothing to be concerned about. In fact, some new hair extension wearers claim they have zero pain whatsoever.

To be honest, “pain” isn’t really the right word to describe the feeling post-installation. Rather than pain, new wearers will feel some discomfort that isn’t too bothersome. The discomfort is slight to medium and can be caused by one of these three things:

  • Your scalp is getting used to the new weight of the extensions (most common)
  • Your scalp is sensitive to the attachment method (less common)
  • Your hair extensions are slightly too tight (somewhat common)

Regardless of what’s causing the slight discomfort, your scalp should become accustomed to the new extensions and their weight within the first three to five days. At that point, any discomfort will subside, and you can enjoy your new, beautiful mane.

Why Do My Hair Extensions Hurt So Bad?

For some new hair extension wearers, the feeling goes beyond “discomfort.” If you’re having severe and noticeable pain that can’t be ignored, or your pain extends beyond five days, there may be more serious issues at play.

Some causes of serious and prolonged pain include:

1. Fitted Too Close to the Scalp

Hair extensions are strategically placed close to the root so they lay flat against the head, ensuring a discreet application that can be enjoyed in any hairstyle.

However, while extensions are placed close to the root, too-close extensions can spell trouble. Not only will the extension method (micro-beads, for example) stick out like a sore thumb, but they’ll also cause rather intense pain.

If you think that your hair extensions have been applied too close to your scalp, you’ll need to have them professionally removed and re-installed. If you applied your extensions on your own, and they’re too close to your scalp, seek professional help.

2. Too Heavy

It’s normal for your scalp to need to acclimate to the new weight of your hair extensions, but your extensions shouldn’t be so heavy that your scalp is unable to adapt.

That said, if you have too many extensions installed, or you’re using the wrong type of hair extension for your hair type (i.e., applying thick extension strands to fine or thin hair), you’ll need to have them adjusted.

Again, this should be done by an expert hair extension installer. They’ll know how to match your hair type to the extension and only add as many as your hair and scalp can handle.

3. Allergic Reaction

It’s not very common, but some people have allergic reactions to hair extensions (specifically, the application method, such as tape or glue).

If you notice itching, irritation, inflammation, and redness on top of the pain and discomfort, you may be struggling with an allergy. It’s best to have the extensions removed ASAP. 

*In the case of a serious reaction that includes headache, nausea, and vomiting, consider seeking care from a doctor.

4. Incorrect Application

Lastly, you may be suffering from intense pain due to incorrect application. For instance, a few strands of hair may have made their way into the adhesive they shouldn’t have. Regardless, in this situation, you’ll need to start from scratch.

Recruit the help of a hair extension specialist to make sure that the extensions are installed correctly next time!


When it comes to hair extensions, a little pain for the first few days is OK, but severe and prolonged pain signals a potentially big problem. If you want to learn more about hair extensions and pain, check out these frequently asked questions.

Is it normal for extensions to hurt?

It’s normal for hair extensions to hurt a little for the few days following installation. The pain should dissipate around the three to the five-day mark. If you’re experiencing intense pain or discomfort that doesn’t subside, you may need to have your extensions checked and/or removed.

Are hair extensions uncomfortable to sleep in?

Hair extensions aren’t uncomfortable to sleep in. However, some discomfort may occur during the first few days after applying. Sleep on your side for the time being. Once the discomfort has subsided, you can sleep as usual (although it may take some getting used to).

What not to do after getting extensions?

Here are some basic tips for what not to do after getting hair extensions. Avoid shampoo and conditioners with sulfate and silicone, and don’t wash for 48 hours following installation. Braid hair before sleeping. Always apply conditioner, and don’t over-wash your new mane.

Hair Extensions May Cause Subtle Pain, But It Doesn’t Last!

It’s completely normal for hair extensions to cause slight discomfort in the first few days following installation. However, pain should subside around the five-day mark, if not sooner. If you’re struggling with severe pain or discomfort beyond five days, seek help from your hairstylist.

Have you ever dealt with pain after getting hair extensions? What did it feel like, and how long did it last? Share your “painful” stories with us below!

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