Why Do Weaves Itch?

Published By: Kennedy

Last Updated: February 9, 2022

Weave care is essential for healthy hair. Wearing a weave, specifically a sew-in, can be a great and convenient way to style your hair. However, a weave can quickly go from a cute look to a nightmare when it starts to itch. 

A weave does not inherently itch, there are several factors that go into the causes of itchiness that are preventable.

Why Do Weaves Itch?

There are 5 main reasons why weaves itch, and avoiding them will give you a way different experience with a weave. 

1. Not Washing Properly

It is rather easy to not wash your scalp properly while wearing a weave. Most people don’t take the extra time it requires to properly wash out all of the product, sweat, and dirt buildup on the scalp and natural hair. As a result of not washing properly, the scalp will start to get irritated from matting, bumps, rashes, dandruff, and other factors.

It is very important to wash the scalp and natural hair properly, even though they are covered by the weave. When you wash your weave, you want to make sure you are targeting your edges in the front and in the back – being as gentle as possible. You then want to massage your scalp and wash underneath your weave and closure as best as you can.[1]

If you have longer nails, they will really help you get in-between your braiding pattern. It is only necessary to scratch in the places that have a lot of product buildup, but even then you need to do this gently.

2. Not Drying Properly

After washing the hair, there can be a tendency not to dry the hair properly. It is important to note that even though the weave hair may be dry, that does not automatically mean that the natural hair underneath is dry. 

A wet scalp could produce mold and mildew, which could cause an itchy feeling as well. One of the best products to use for drying the hair and scalp completely is a hooded dryer. Sitting under the dryer for at least 45 minutes should ensure that your braids underneath have dried, however, you always want to check to make sure. 

Also, avoiding washing your hair before you go to bed will help to give your hair time to air dry whatever you may have missed. Covering and wrapping the hair are popular ways to protect the hair at night, but it doesn’t allow for air to flow through to the scalp – which is why you should make sure your hair is completely dry before going to bed.

3. Tension on the Scalp

Whether it is the tightness of the braids underneath the weave or the tightness of the sew-in, the tension can cause the scalp to be irritated – creating the urge to scratch.

Scratching the scalp does not solve the real issue, it is only a temporary relief that actually makes matters worse. The only action that will help ease the irritation in this case is to loosen the tension being placed on the scalp. 

Being mindful of how tightly you or your stylist is braiding your hair is essential to avoiding excessive tension. If your stylist is braiding the hair too tight, you will need to tell them. If the weave is a sew-in, the hair should not be sewn in too tightly either. 

Tension could also come from the way you style the hair as well. Pulling the hair into tight ponytails, buns, or updos can really take a toll on your scalp and cause it to be irritated. While wearing a weave it is best to leave it in one style for the most part, to avoid pulling on the scalp as much as possible. 

4. Lack of Moisture

Due to the scalp and the natural hair being underneath the net and weave, it is easy to neglect to moisturize all the way down there. 

The scalp is unable to obtain the necessary hydration it needs when it is trapped underneath these barriers, so this is why it starts to become dry and the scalp starts to itch. If the scalp is not moisturized properly, there can be rashes that form on the scalp in addition to dandruff. 

In order to moisturize the hair, make sure you are washing your natural hair as well as applying moisturizers to it while it is sitting under the weave. The natural hair will need to be cared for the same way it was when it was not under the weave. 

Using products such as tonics, oils, and leave-in conditioners are good moisturizing solutions, but only in small amounts.[2]

5. Too Many Hair Products

A weave should be a protective style to your hair, which means there should not be much manipulation or product application involved. When there is too much product applied while wearing a weave, that product does not simply evaporate off of the scalp like it would when the hair is not under the weave. 

Products like hairspray and ones that are oil-based can clog your pores overtime, which will irritate the scalp and can cause damage. Product buildup can also cause the hair to mat and become dry, which could lead to breakage. 

To avoid product buildup, it is best to stay away from using extra products on your weave as much as possible. Hairspray should especially be avoided because it can easily be sprayed through weave and down to the scalp. 

Washing the hair properly will also help get any extra product out of the head, leaving the scalp clear and healthy. If you do use products on your weave, moisturizing and hydrating products – such as hair milk – would be the best options. If you do use sprays for the weave, make sure you are only spraying the weave hair and not your actual scalp. 

6. Dandruff

Dandruff is the white flakes of dead skin that forms as a result of too much oil on the skin and yeast growth, though there are many other factors that can make dandruff worse. 

Dandruff can be a condition that people have prior to a weave, but it can become an even bigger problem, by moisture being blocked from the scalp and product buildup. If dandruff is an issue even after washing and properly moisturizing, you may need to use a anti-dandruff shampoo.[3]

How Often Should You Wash a Weave?

You should wash your weave and the hair underneath every 7-10 days. When you expose your natural hair to water regularly, that will contribute to the much needed hydration and moisturization. 

Washing your hair regularly will also get rid of product buildup – given that you have thoroughly rinsed out all the products, including the shampoo and conditioner.  You do not want to wash your hair every day, or even every other day because it is not beneficial to natural hair. 

Washing the hair too frequently will strip the natural hair of it’s natural oils, causing it to become dry and brittle underneath.

How Long Can I Leave a Weave In?

Generally, with good care to your weave it will last between six to eight weeks. If you wear your weave for longer than it should be worn, you risk irritation to the scalp which would ultimately lead to damage.

Also read: Do Weaves Damage Your Hair?

One significant way your hair could become damaged is by matting. Typically you shed about 80-100 hairs a day. When hair sheds under a weave, it doesn’t have anywhere to go because it is contained in the braids or just under the weave in general. 

African-American hair starts to dread after 3 months of being untouched, so the shed hairs contained in the dreading process can lock into the hair, causing the hair to mat. Three months is the most recommended time limit for a weave install, to maintain healthy hair underneath. 

The Final Word

Taking care of your hair and scalp is the most important task while wearing a weave. 

Itchiness comes as a form of neglect to the scalp. Being vigilant about your hair care routine will ensure you are not patting and scratching more than you are enjoying your look. 


I have always had a love for writing and have been blogging for about 3 years now. I have a passion for teaching what I have learned over the years, especially about hair. I have had almost every hairstyle - typical of a cosmetologist’s daughter- including the big chop in 2015. With all the knowledge I have gained, I feel it is my duty to help others on their healthy hair journey. I believe education can be fun, and I strive to make it fun to learn about beautiful black hair.

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