The Straight Story on Hair Straightening During Pregnancy

As all moms and moms-to-be know, there are so many things to consider during your pregnancy. From avoiding certain foods to keeping an eye on medicine you might otherwise take without hesitation, being pregnant often means staying on high alert. Unfortunately, here’s one more item to add to your “beware” list: hair straightening.

While many women enjoy getting their hair straightened using a method called Keratin Straightening (otherwise known as the “Brazilian Blowout”), it is wise to consult your doctor before booking your next appointment at the salon. Most physicians will tell you to avoid it altogether or during the first trimester at least. Simply put, the harsh chemicals used in straightening serums may be absorbed through your scalp during treatments and passed along to your growing baby.

While keratin is a protein that is found naturally in your hair, its mixture with formaldehyde makes for a toxic combination. Once applied, the mixture fills in the gaps in each hair shaft, which the stylist “seals” with a very hot flat iron. At this high temperature, liquid formaldehyde converts to gas vapors. The negatives here are plentiful. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. It has also been known to cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and lungs, as well as dizziness. Even short-term exposure can cause asthma-like symptoms, while long-term exposure can cause permanent central nervous system damage and ongoing pulmonary problems. As a result, the treatment has actually been banned in several countries including Canada and the European Union. Needless to say, gaseous formaldehyde could also pose a risk to your growing baby.

Fortunately, there are some healthier alternatives:

Professional Blowout: Though it may not last as long as a keratin treatment (days versus months), a professional blowout is both a fun way to treat yourself and achieve the sleek, straight look of  a straightening treatment – without the risk of chemical exposure. Be sure to go to 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 and minimizes exposure to chemicals.

Flat Irons: When in doubt, do it yourself! Keeping a flat iron at home is the easiest way to smooth out your hair in the most convenient way possible. Try the Rusk Professional Str8 Iron, it features plates infused with ceramic and tourmaline, which provide instant and precise heat for optimal straightening results.

Embrace Your Natural ‘Do: Whether you have stick straight hair or tightly curled tresses, chemical-free  hair is best for you and your baby. So embrace your natural hair texture, and get creative with fun hairstyles. We’re pretty sure your hair will also thank you for the break from all the chemical treatments.

And remember! Healthy hair is easy to style hair! Taking care of your tresses by using safe, high performance hair products during pregnancy, such as Nine Naturals Nourishing Citrus + Mint Shampoo & Conditioner, will make the flat ironing process easier and your hairstyle longer lasting.  To keep hair healthy in between stylings, use a deep conditioner once or twice a week, like Nine Naturals Mandarin + Ginger Restorative Conditioner.

Wondering about rules of dyeing your hair while pregnant? Read our article on the safety of dyeing hair during pregnancy.