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The term tender headed is a common phrase amongst the Black Family. Whether it is a child who lurches every time her head is touched;to the woman who doesn’t like a lot of combing or the gentleman with locs who detests his retightening session because of the sensitivity of his scalp-being tender headed is no fun. This may cause some women to stay away from longer hair or styling their hair at all, letting a wig cover it up instead. Men may skip tightening sessions or not keep their braids up because of the pain they experience when they get their hair done.

Being tender headed can be as serious as needing to take Tylenol before getting your hair serviced or as mild as sore spots in certain areas of the head. From little children to the elderly, all ages of people can have tenderness from time to time. Some soreness is due to changes in a person’s health, sleeping or eating habits or due to the changing of a style or a reaction to hair color or other chemical treatments like Keratin or Brazilian Blowouts.

Dealing with a tender head doesn’t have to make hair care dreadful. There are some things you can do to make your hair care grooming and styling more bearable:


  • Comb the hair in small sections. It may take a longer time to do, but detangling and styling your hair in smaller sections will make a world of difference on a tender head. You can more easily manage a smaller, thinner section of hair, adding product only to that section, then combing it out and styling it as you see fit.
  • Hold the hair close to the scalp to comb out or detangle as well. When you do this, combing from the ends toward the scalp is less painful or stressful for you.
  • Add moisture. If you are working with very dry hair, that can lead to a painful experience. Try using a spritzer bottle to moisten sections of hair before styling
  • Loc care. If you have locs, you can opt to have them twisted instead of tool maintained. But if you require a tool, have your loctician work in smaller sections, spraying a little water with peppermint on the scalp for soothing.
  • Take breaks during styling if time permits. If you are going to a salon, you don’t want your stylist to rush through your hair, but if you require more time, request it or select styles that are gentler on your hair like roller sets and twists.
  • Avoid comb attachments, pressing combs and hard styling tools like nylon brushes or metal combs. Tearing and snagging your hair and scalp with hard styling tools will not only break your hair off, but it could leave your scalp sore and tender.
  • Use accessories that are smart. Rubber tipped bobby pins and hair pins, metal free elastic bands, seamless head bands and clips without teeth in them. You may also want to avoid tying your scarf tightly, especially around the edges. If you do it for edge control, that is one thing, but tying it too tightly each night or for styles may be too stressful on your hair.
  • If you feel you have to take Tylenol before hair services like braiding or any type of extension service, you may want to speak with your stylist about being gentler with your hair. Don’t buy into to natural hair is unmanageable, making your experience a horrible one. If they cannot figure out a way to create a secure style without pulling your scalp off, then FIRE THEM!