Coloring Your Hair in Pregnancy at a Beauty Salon or Home

Is it safe?

Hair Coloring
Photo © Graça Victoria -

Women have been dying their hair for many centuries. As we became more concerned with the possible effects of everything we did had on our unborn babies, concerns started to be raised about something as simple as coloring your hair. So is it safe to color your hair while pregnant? Or are you doomed to have drab hair with roots for nine months? Should you do it at home or the beauty salon?

The truth is that we really don't know the exact answer.

While the chemicals that are used have been around a long time, we are unable to say exactly what they will do to babies. Some studies have been done by exposing rodents to large quantities of the chemical, but this far surpasses what the average mother-to-be would get from coloring her hair every few months.

Some practitioners recommend that you simply wait until after the first trimester is over to dye your hair. This is the period of time where your baby is the most susceptible to birth defects - so it is the period of greatest risk. Others advise you to ditch dying for nine months.

"My midwife told me that I could dye my hair, but that I should wait until after the first trimester, just to be on the safe side," explains Amy, expecting her first baby. "I decided to not dye my hair at all. That lasted until the very end of my pregnancy and I just couldn't handle the roots. In the end, I used a natural product that didn't have the same harsh chemicals I was worried about.

I'm glad I waited and used something different. It was the right choice for me."

Another alternative is to just do the frosting or streaking of the hair. Since the chemicals are absorbed through your scalp and not the shaft of the hair, you are exposed to less chemicals using these techniques.

If you choose to go a different route and use a vegetable dye like Henna, you should be safe.

While there are color options, there are not as many available as with chemical dyes. Be wary of some hair coloring products found in health stores as they may also contain chemicals which you are trying to avoid. A trained person at a beauty salon should also be able to give you advice.

In the end only you can make the decision for what is right for you and your baby. Know that a lot of thought has gone into this issue and as with many things, we still don't know the one true answer.

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