It’s a hair care lesson you may already be familiar with, albeit for a different reason. After all, your strands are very elastic when they’re drenched, so stretching them further (like with a hair tie) can cause those wet tresses to snap and break with the added tension. If you want to gather your hair away from your face while it’s sopping wet, experts recommend a loose bun or braid to avoid breakage as much as possible.
But Pitocco takes it a step further: By air-drying your hair in a high pony or bun, “you’re banking on it drying while [the strands] are completely compacted together,” she says, which traps moisture into your scalp. And as you’ve probably heard once or twice before: Water creates a fertile breeding ground for bacteria. So if your scalp never fully dries with all that hair piled on top, it can produce a bit of bacteria, which, in turn, can cause some itch.
“Think of it like laundry,” Pitocco explains. If you fold up your clothes while they’re still a bit damp from the wash, they can become a bit mildewy with odor-causing bacteria. “So with your head, you want to make sure that you are letting your scalp and hair dry 100% before you throw it up into a bun,” says Pitocco. “Because a lot of the itchiness can come from not letting your scalp properly dry.”