Yes, The Coronavirus Can Live On Hair (But For How Long?)

woman with natural hair
Photo Credit: iStock

There have been numerous debates on how long the coronavirus can survive in the air and on objects. So far, the Centers for Disease Control report the virus can live as long as three hours in the air and, now, up to 17 whole days on surfaces.

[SEE ALSO: #HealthCheck: Do This Before You Install Your Next Weave]

And not just regular surfaces. Tim Starks, founder Ellagant Hair and CMO for Lyrical Hair, recently told Hype Hair that the virus can live on more than skin and nails, but also our hair.


Yes, hair. That includes hair on your head — and yes, those new bundles you just purchased. And, don’t forget those synthetic braids. (This pandemic is pure trash.)

And, he’s right. Today.com spoke with doctors last week who confirmed the same thing. How long, however, is up for debate, depending on if it’s on your head or just, say, laying on the table.

Dr. Adam Friedman, the interim chair of dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said the virus would be less likely to survive on hair attached to the scalp coated with natural sebum.

“They do have some antimicrobial properties, and they limit how well organisms can bind to the hair,” he said.

What about hair that “is no longer part of the human system?” Dr. Friedman said, “From what we’re seeing from a New England Journal of Medicine paper, it’s very possible it could live on that surface for up to three days.”

weave bundles

This does not mean that extensions are arriving at your door with the virus. (You are more likely to touch something and then touch your hair). But, it does mean that if you come in contact with the virus, that you should take proper precautions.

Simply put, Starks advises washing all extensions (bundles and synthetic hair) prior to installing to prevent any potential spread.

“You’ve got to wash the hair,” tells Hype Hair. “It’s something I’ve been saying since before this [pandemic] started. Especially, if it’s raw [virgin] hair that hasn’t been processed or treated with chemicals.”

Much like you should be washing your hands, wash your hair BEFORE installing it. (And, of course, wash your hands after handling it.)

Tune in to our Facebook LIVE on Tuesday, March 24 at 4pm EST / 1pm PST for a hair chat with Tim Starks about other impacts this coronavirus pandemic is having on our weave cravings.

About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is digital media director and online editor for Hype Hair. she is also founder of Sadiaa Black Beauty guide, the number one beauty directory for women of color.