Is it Safe to Use Hair Dye When You’re Pregnant?

Think twice before heading to the salon to get that touch-up on your roots! The question of coloring your hair when pregnant has been a debate among mothers and medical experts for years. Some doctors believe you only need to be cautious during the first trimester. However, a 2005 study linked women who dyed their hair during pregnancy with babies who had an elevated risk of cancer. Hair dyes contain questionable chemicals that can be absorbed into the skin or inhaled, including coal tar, ammonia and p-phenylenediamine (PPD).

We at Nine Naturals recommend abstaining from coloring treatments during pregnancy and while nursing. In keeping with the principles with which we formulate our shampoos, conditioners, body washes and belly butters, we believe your body and your baby deserve the all-natural, good stuff.

If you want to color your hair during pregnancy though, consider these options:

  1. Highlights: The harmful chemicals in hair coloring enter your system through your skin and not the hair shaft. You’ll be minimizing the chemicals that come into contact with your scalp by opting for highlighting, streaking, or frosting, which does not entail dye touching your scalp, instead of a full-process hair dye.
  2. Vegetable-based Dyes: These are a good – and generally natural – alternative to synthetic dyes that are harsh for your scalp and potentially unsafe for use when pregnant. Be warned though – some hair dyes claim they are vegetable-based but actually only have one or two ingredients derived from natural sources so make sure to read the ingredients carefully. Another drawback is that vegetable-based dye tends to fade faster.
  3. Henna: Henna has been used for thousands of years in India to color hair and decorate the skin. It’s derived from the henna plant and is safe for use when pregnant and actually extremely healthy for the hair. The downsides are that henna takes several hours to apply, can be messy and comes in a more limited color spectrum.

If you’re going to a salon, choose a salon that is well-ventilated and uses natural products, like our favorite salon Hale Organic Salon in NYC. Book your appointment early in the day when the air is more clear. If you are doing treatments at home, wear gloves, work in a well-ventilated area, and refrain from leaving the dye in for more than the recommended amount of time.

And, PS: If you lay off the dye for a few months, we’re pretty sure your hair will thank you for the break!