Guess what? Your period can mess with your hair, too.

Image: iStock.

Cravings, cramps, breakouts, fatigue, crazy bowel movements — yep, periods can be accompanied by some decidedly unpleasant side-effects.

As if it’s not enough to deal with mood swings every single month, your period can also mess with your hair. Seriously, menstruation — is nothing sacred? For the love of tampons, could you not just leave our hair alone?

For some women, the arrival of their period is heralded by a marked difference in the way their hair looks and how it feels. The culprit for these bad hair days? Hormones, naturally.

Over your menstrual cycle, your body’s hormonal balance changes from week to week (and day to day). In the days leading up to your period, often including the first day of it, your levels of oestrogen and progesterone — the so-called “female hormones” — drop.

This leaves you with higher-than-usual levels of androgens, like testosterone, which can then result in a higher production of sebum. Also known as oil.

Watch: Dr Ginni Mansberg and Shelly Horton discuss the mystery of a lost tampon. (Post continues after video.)

“A little bit of sebum is totally normal and, in fact, necessary for gorgeous hair and glowing skin. But when its production goes into overdrive, it typically affects your scalp and your T-Zone,” ob-gyn Maggie H. Smith explains to Teen Vogue.

In other words, you’re probably going to experience more greasy, limp-looking hair around this time of the month. Along with that, your general head area can also be “much more sensitive” around the time your period shows up.


“If you’re going to get your hair coloured or blow-dried, don’t plan those things on the days when you know your scalp is going to be at increased risk for sensitivity,” scalp expert Francesca Fusco tells Allure.

If you find your menstrual cycle makes your hair go haywire, you might be interested to learn there’s a new period tracking app that can help you record (and perhaps anticipate) these changes throughout the month. Called Clue, the app allows you to tick off whether your hair is good, bad, oily or dry — their words, not ours — each day. (Post continues after gallery.)

Alas, menstruation isn’t the only hormonal event that can cause changes in a woman’s hair — puberty, pregnancy and menopause are also known to have an impact.

As Dr Jodie Silleri, Cosmetic Physician and General Practitioner with Melbourne’s enRich Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Center explained to The Glow, the heightened levels of oestrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can often result in luscious hair due to a delay in the natural shedding rate.

The shifted hormonal balance can also affect the hair’s natural texture — often this will normalise when the pregnancy ends, but it can also be longer lasting. Just ask Zoe Foster Blake, who last year reported that pregnancy had turned her natural ringlets stick-straight.

The formerly curly-haired Zoe Foster Blake.


On the other hand, menopause is characterised by a significant drop in oestrogen. The outcome? Hair that doesn't grow as long or thick as it used to — and sometimes, hair that grows in unexpected places.

The moral of all this? Hormones are a force to be reckoned with.

How does your period affect your hair?