The idea of not dying your hair during pregnancy has been around for a while, but it’s usually in relation to natural hair shades, not bright rainbow hair. So let me try and clear things up a bit.
There are two main reasons why people say you shouldn’t dye your hair during pregnancy. First, there is the theory that the chemicals in hair dye may affect the development of the unborn baby. Second, the hormones in your body during pregnancy can cause your hair to become resistant to dye, making it difficult to achieve the desired result. Let’s take a closer look at both of these issues…
The theory that dye chemicals may harm the development of the unborn baby is gaining traction…
Back in the 1980s, it was theorized that harsh chemicals contained in hair dyes (like 4-MMPD) could penetrate human skin and potentially cause cancer in laboratory animals. However, manufacturers have stopped using such chemicals in their products and some brands, like L’Oréal, have even started producing ammonia-free hair dyes.
There is limited research available on the safety of hair dye and bleach products during pregnancy, but what is available suggests that it is safe to dye your hair while pregnant. I am a hairdresser, and I know many of my customers choose to color their hair during pregnancy, with no reported problems.
Dr. Miriam Stoppard, a parenting expert, said, “The very powerful pigments in the darker shades of hair dye penetrate the scalp in a few minutes and can be detected in white blood cells in a few hours.” She goes on to say, “…this means the body is dealing efficiently with the pigment. The white cells are mopping it up and getting rid of it so that it can’t do any harm.” Still, most doctors suggest waiting to color your hair until the second trimester when the developing baby is less vulnerable.
Is there anything more fun than experimenting with temporary hair dyes? Whether you’re looking for a little bit of color to brighten up your look or you want to go all out with a bold and bright hue, punky rainbow hair dyes are the perfect way to add some fun and personality to your style. Plus, they’re temporary, so you can always change things up and try something new if you get bored.
Alternative hair dyes that are brightly colored and funky (such as Manic Panic, Special Effects, Raw, ‘N Rage, etc.) don’t contain any peroxide, ammonia, or fumes. This type of dye is synthetic, so it simply stains the hair cuticles in the same way that cloth dye stains the material. This means that it’s not using harsh chemicals to penetrate the hair like standard hair dyes do. In fact, some rainbow hair colors have some of the same ingredients as conditioner. Although there is no research to back this up, I think it’s probably safer to use semi-permanent hair color rather than permanent dyes. Semi-permanent color is much kinder to both your hair and skin. But if you’re still unsure, I suggest you talk to your doctor or a dermatologist.
If you want your hair to be a certain color, sometimes you have to pre-bleach it, so the final color will be more true-to-life. Many pregnant women will use bleach on their scalp with no problems, but if you’re still concerned, there are lots of ways to bleach your hair without any skin contact. (Any chemicals absorbed into your system would come through your skin/scalp, not through your hair.) So rather than doing an all-over head bleach, I’d suggest you try one of the following techniques as an ‘off scalp’ alternative:
Foils: Also called ‘streaking’ or ‘highlighting,’ is a hair coloring technique where small strands of hair are placed in foils with bleach.
Balayage: A coloring technique where bleach is hand-painted onto random sections of the hair.
Shoe Shine: A technique where bleach is brushed over the tips of short hair to create a frosted look.
Dip Dyeing: A hair coloring technique where only the ends of long hair are bleached to appear as if they’ve been ‘dipped’ in color.
I would recommend going to a salon if you want to avoid any problems; however, if you’re insistent on bleaching your hair at home, I would suggest asking a friend to help you mix and apply the bleach. The ammonia in the bleach can give off some fumes which can be harmful if inhaled directly. So it’s important to work in a well-ventilated space to help minimise inhaling any fumes.
The theory that pregnancy hormones can make your hair resistant to hair dye is based on the fact that…
Some women have reported issues with hair dyes not taking to their hair during pregnancy, as their hormones cause the color to turn out differently than expected. Hormonal changes can definitely have an effect on your hair during pregnancy, but this is only a minority of cases. Most women have no problem with achieving their desired hair color. That being said, hormones do have other effects on your hair during pregnancy and even after giving birth. A number of women will experience their hair becoming fuller, stronger and more shiny during pregnancy, as the body retains more protein. So, even if you do run into some issues with your hair during pregnancy, there are still some positive effects that you can look forward to! Women’s hair can go through a lot of changes after they give birth, especially if they are breast-feeding. Some women find that their hair becomes brittle and weak, and some even experience hair loss. Hormones can do crazy things to your hair during pregnancy, so it’s not uncommon for dry hair to become oilier, oily hair to become dry, or for curly hair to become straight (or vice versa).
Pregnancy can change your body’s immune response, which may make you more likely to have an allergic reaction to hair dye – even if you’ve never had one before. So if you’re thinking about coloring your hair, I suggest you do a skin test first, as most hair dye products recommend.
At the end of the day…
From what I know and from my experience as a hairdresser, I believe it is safe to color your hair during pregnancy. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim yet. In the end, it is your decision and your baby. I would always recommend that you discuss this with both your husband/partner and your doctor before making a decision.
I believe that every woman deserves to feel beautiful during pregnancy, no matter her personal style – be that natural hair colors, or rainbow Mohawks. But ultimately, whether or not coloring your hair will make you feel good or cause you to worry needlessly for nine months is something only you can decide. Trust your gut and go with whatever makes you feel the best!