Can I Color My Hair While Pregnant?

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Can I color my hair while pregnant?
Can I color my hair while pregnant?

Many moms-to-be crave a touch-up, a new hair color to complement their changing look. However, the question of safety often arises. Can I color my hair while pregnant? Is it harmful to my developing baby? Hair dyes contain chemicals, and the potential for these chemicals to be absorbed through the scalp and reach the fetus is a valid concern. With limited research available and conflicting opinions circulating online, it’s no wonder expecting mothers feel hesitant about hair coloring.

Don’t despair! This article will shed light on the safety of hair coloring during pregnancy. But that’s not all! We’ll also explore safer alternatives for coloring your hair while pregnant. 

Is It Safe To Color My Hair While Being Pregnant?

It is safe to color hair during pregnancy
It is safe to color hair during pregnancy

Can I color my hair while pregnant? Good news for expecting mothers! Leading experts like Dr. Sherry Ross, an OB-GYN and women’s sexual health expert,  generally agree that hair dye does not pose a threat to a developing baby. 

The concern focuses less on the hair and more on potential absorption through the scalp.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) cites animal studies where high doses of hair dye chemicals resulted in no significant birth defects.1  Furthermore, only a minimal amount of these chemicals are absorbed by the scalp.

However,  you should avoid coloring your hair until the second trimester of pregnancy. The first 13 weeks are crucial for the fetus’s development. So you should be careful.

How To Dye My Hair Safely While Being Pregnant?

To minimize any potential risks of coloring your hair while getting pregnant, follow the below guidelines from the FDA (U.S Food & Drug Administration)2:

Wait Until The Second Trimester

The first trimester is a crucial phase marked by rapid fetal development, including the formation of major organs like the brain and spinal cord. For expectant mothers seeking maximum peace of mind, delaying hair coloring until this critical period has passed is a wise choice.  

Many doctors recommend waiting until at least week 13 of pregnancy before coloring your hair. This precautionary approach ensures a safer environment for your developing baby. 

Do A Patch Test

Do a patch test to prevent any allergies if you want to color hair during pregnancy
Do a patch test to prevent any allergies if you want to color hair during pregnancy

Before coloring your hair, especially during pregnancy, it’s crucial to perform a patch test. This simple step helps identify any potential allergies to the dye ingredients. Apply a small amount of the dye to a discreet area of your skin, like behind your ear. Wait 24 hours to see if you experience any irritation or reaction. 

And remember, hormonal changes when pregnant can mess with hair color! Test a strand before coloring your whole head will prevent you from surprising hair color later.

Use Safe Hair Dyes

Semi-permanent dyes that are free of ammonia, peroxide, and parabens are generally considered safer for expecting mothers. Additionally, pure henna offers a natural alternative.  Unlike synthetic chemical dyes, vegetables, and pure henna are considered safe to use during pregnancy.  By choosing these gentler options, you can enjoy a touch-up while giving your baby that extra layer of protection. 

Highlights Are A Good Alternative

For pregnancies craving a change but apprehensive about full hair coloring, highlights offer a fantastic alternative.  This technique adds pops of color and dimension to your hair without applying dye directly to the scalp, minimizing potential risks.  

Beyond highlights, other low-contact coloring methods like streaking and frosting can be safer options while getting pregnant.  These techniques involve weaving color throughout strands of hair, keeping the dye away from the scalp area.  So, if you’re yearning for a touch of vibrancy without taking risks when having a baby bump, these gentler coloring ways are worth exploring.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Hair dye products can emit chemical fumes. To minimize your exposure, good ventilation is necessary. Open windows and doors to get enough fresh air. Consider using a fan to further circulate air. Choose a salon with a good ventilation system.

If anything is still on your mind, let’s see if the following information can help.

Is It Risky To Work in A Hair Salon While Being Pregnant?

The safety of hairdressers who are pregnant is a complex issue. There are some concerns about the chemical fumes. But generally, it is safe with proper precautions. The important thing is that you need to listen to your body, take a break, and rest when needed.

Can I Bleach My Hair While Pregnant?

If you want to seek a lighter hair color, bleaching is considered a safe option. But similar to hair dye,  you should wait until the second trimester to minimize the risks of bleaching hair while pregnant.

When Shouldn’t I Color Hair During Pregnancy?

While the risks associated with hair coloring during pregnancy are generally low, there are situations where it’s best to wait. If you’re experiencing any skin problems or have open cuts or wounds on or around your head, you should hold off on coloring your hair. An open wound can increase the chance of the chemicals going into your bloodstream. 

As we said, dying hair while pregnant can be safe if you take certain precautions. While the concern about chemicals in hair dye is understandable, the evidence suggests that the risk is minimal. Opting for ammonia-free or natural dyes, ensuring proper ventilation, and waiting until the second trimester can further reduce any potential risks. By staying informed and cautious, you can enjoy a fresh look without compromising your baby’s health.

  1.  Is it safe to dye my hair during pregnancy? ACOG. Available at: (Accessed: 24 June 2024) ↩︎
  2. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition & Cosmetics safety Q&A: Hair dyes, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at:
    (Accessed: 24 June 2024)

Rachel Frost
Rachel Frost

Rachel Frost is a mom of three who loves sharing her parenting journey. She writes about her experiences and guides parents on which baby products to buy and which to skip. Rachel uses a bit of humor to lighten the messier side of parenting, focusing on the beautiful moments it brings. Originally from Southern California, she now lives in Austin, Texas. Rachel looks forward to connecting with readers through BABIES PARENT.

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