Pregnancy and Hair Dye: Is it Safe to Color Your Hair?

Hair Dye During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know!

As a licensed cosmetologist with decades of experience as a colorist, I have spent a lot of time around hair color and other chemical hair treatments.

With that first hand experience and research-backed information, you can expect to find the need-to-know details about pregnancy and hair dye safety in this article.

Upclose photo of roots being dyed on blonde hair.

Is it OK to Dye Your Hair While Pregnant?

The safety concern of using harsh chemicals close to and even on the skin while pregnant is rightly the biggest worry when it comes to hair dye.

To simply answer the question of whether it’s safe to dye your hair while pregnant doesn’t quite address the differences between the first, second and third trimester. There are many things pregnant women are advised not to do in the first trimester that is perfectly OK in the second and third.

The same guidelines go for hair dye.

Is it Safe to Dye Your Hair in the First Trimester?

During the first trimester of pregnancy, the baby is developing rapidly. This is the time when all of the major organs are forming, such as the brain and spinal cord.

Because of this, it is recommended to avoid dying your hair in the first trimester of pregnancy.

However, not all hair dye is created the same.

For instance, a permanent hair color meant for gray coverage or lift, will contain ammonia and harsh peroxides. As a cosmetologist, this is usually the type of color I would advise my pregnant clients to avoid in the first trimester.

Other hair color options such as semi-permanent or demi-permanent formulas are generally considered safe during all stages of pregnancy. 

Summary: Even with the improvements made in hair color, it is still generally advised to avoid coloring your hair in the first trimester of pregnancy. 

How Can I Safely Dye My Hair While Pregnant?

It is always a good idea to communicate your interest in coloring your hair while pregnant with your OBGYN before you make any plans to do so.

With that said, here are some hair coloring safety precautions you can take while pregnant:

Avoid the Scalp

A large reason why there is concern revolving around hair dye and pregnancy is that there are chemicals coming into contact with the skin and therefore, entering the blood stream.

This is especially worrisome if there is an unknown cut the chemicals can uninhibitedly pour in to.

Even so, there are plenty of ways to refresh and dramatically change your hair color without chemicals touching the skin whatsoever and those are:

  • Hair color placed in foils can be used to add low-lites, dimensional color and shine.
  • Bleach in foils can be safely used in a well-ventilated room to subtly or dramatically lighten the hair.
  • Balayage is an open air hair painting technique that can also be utilized as a hair color option that avoids direct contact with the scalp and skin.

Use Natural Dyes

As I pointed out earlier, not all hair dyes are formulated the same. In fact, there are tremendous variations and options when it comes to hair color.

Some natural hair dyes include things like:

Properly Protect Yourself 

When coloring your hair yourself at home, it is easy to get a little haphazard. Take note of these safety tips when DIY-ing your own color at home: 

  • You should take extra care to avoid getting hair dye on your scalp or surrounding skin. Use vaseline to help create a barrier between your skin and the color. Apply the vaseline before mixing the color to hairline, ears and neck.
  • Do not over-process your hair by leaving the color on longer than what the instructions say to. During pregnancy, the hair structure can change and therefore, it can be more susceptible to damage.
  • Wear gloves and a color cape to further protect your skin from coming in contact with the hair dye.

Color in a Well-Ventilated Room

Inhaling large amounts of chemical fumes while pregnant can be dangerous as you know. Which is why it is very important to ensure all hair coloring procedures are being performed in a well-ventilated room.

If coloring your own hair at home, try taking it outside.

If that is not an option, place yourself in a large room with air flow. You do not want to be using chemicals such as ammonia in a tiny bathroom void of fresh air.

Summary: By avoiding the scalp and skin, using natural dyes, properly protecting yourself and coloring in a well-ventilated room you can safely dye your hair while pregnant.

Related: Safety of Coloring Hair While Breastfeeding

The Takeaway on Hair Dye During Pregnancy

During the first trimester of pregnancy, most medical professionals will advise to avoid any contact with chemicals, including hair dye. Once a woman reaches around the 13th week of pregnancy, it is generally considered safe to responsibly color her hair.

There are also presumably safe alternatives to permanent hair color in the form of plant-based stains such as henna and ammonia free semi-permanent (deposit-only color).

Avoiding the scalp and surrounding skin during a color process while pregnant is preferable. If you are a hairstylist and are pregnant, take extra precautions by wearing gloves when handling color and applying it in a well-ventilated room.

Related Pregnancy Topics:

References:

  1. Cleveland Clinic – Is it Safe to Dye Your Hair While Pregnant?

Pregnancy and Hair Color: Safety, Tips and Facts