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Is It Safe to Dye Your Hair While Pregnant?

Know what to expect when you’re expecting and want to change your hair color.
May 16, 2022

Between baby shower beauty looks and pregnancy skin care routines, there are a handful of modifications that need to be made to your beauty routine when you have a little bundle of joy on the way. 

Aside from the aforementioned, your hair — and more specifically, your hair color — routine may need some sharpening up. Dyeing your hair while pregnant is a common concern many moms-to-be face, so we’re here to help. If you’re expecting and wondering if it’s safe to dye your hair while pregnant, keep reading as we break down what you need to know.

Is It Safe to Dye Your Hair While You’re Pregnant?

According to the Mayo Clinic, your skin only absorbs a limited amount of hair dye and other hair grooming and styling products, with these chemicals generally not posing a threat to a developing baby. That being said, infected or irritated skin can lead to more chemicals being absorbed as well as if there’s a break in the skin. Still, more research needs to be done to conclude that there are no adverse effects caused by coloring hair during pregnancy, making it important to take precautions. 

“First, I always advise any mother-to-be to speak to her doctor first,” explains Jonathan Colombini, celebrity hairstylist and L’Oréal Paris creative director of style and color. “I’m not a doctor, I can just advise on my experience to my clients that are expecting and what they choose to do. However there are professional hair color products that do not have ammonia in them which is what you want to mostly avoid when pregnant.”

He also advises holding off on coloring your hair during the first trimester if you’re unsure, as you’d want to steer clear of any harsh chemicals. The American Pregnancy Association agrees, stating that it’s best to wait until your second trimester to chemically treat your hair in any way. And because “bleach is one of the more aggressive hair color [products],” Colombini suggests you may want to consider skipping it until your little bundle arrives.

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How to Dye Your Hair While Pregnant

If you choose to dye your hair while pregnant, you want to take precautions. Keep these helpful tips in mind before you book your salon appointment or go pick up that DIY hair dye. 

1. Follow Directions 

It’s important to follow the directions in your hair color kit whenever you decide to color your hair at home, but even more so when pregnant. Pay special attention to how the product should be applied — and how long. Leave your hair dye on only as long as stipulated to err on the side of caution and be sure to apply the hair dye in a well-ventilated area.

2. Cover Up

When applying hair dye, pop on a pair of gloves. This is true whether you’re getting your hair done at home or if you’re a hairdresser coloring a client’s hair while pregnant, according to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), as wearing gloves helps protect your skin from absorbing the product.

3. Rinse Thoroughly 

After using hair dye, make sure to rinse your strands and scalp thoroughly to avoid any residue being left behind.

4. Limit Your Coloring Sessions 

Whether you have grown out roots or notice your strands getting brassy, it’s best to minimize the number of times you dye your hair during pregnancy. The NCBI study found that receiving hair treatments three to four times during pregnancy does not appear to increase the risk of adverse effects on the fetus for the average pregnant woman.

5. Limit Your Hours Of Exposure

If hairdressing is your profession, pay attention. That same NCBI study suggests hairdressers work for less than 35 hours per week to minimize prolonged exposure to hair dyes. This may be difficult, especially for independent hairstylists. Talk to your employer or work out a plan that allows you to limit your daily exposure to certain types of hair dye

Editor’s tip: If you have any pregnancy- or health-related concerns, it’s always best to consult your doctor.

6. Opt For Ammonia-Free Hair Dye

Temporary hair color sprays and semi-permanent hair color are great options when you want to switch up your color for a short period of time — and they could be your best route to a new hair color while pregnant. Because these hair dyes don’t contain ammonia or peroxide — there’s no developer or pre-mixing — they don’t penetrate the hair shaft. The color simply wraps around your strands and washes out on wash day.

For hair color that goes away with just one shampoo, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary 1-Day Hair Color Spray. If you want bold, vivid color with a bit more staying power, try the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color, which fades after four to ten washes. 

Editor’s tip: These are also great options for touching up your roots if your hair is already colored, and for extending the time between hair coloring sessions. Additionally, using a root touch up spray or an at-home hair gloss can also allow you to keep your hair color fresh until you feel comfortable undergoing a full-on hair dye session again.

Next: 6 Tips to Help Prevent Your Hair Color from Fading

Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: iStock

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