Can you dye your hair when pregnant?

Whether you’re feeling all lumpy and frumpy (you’re not) or like a radiant goddess (you totes are), a trip to the hair salon or home salon can brighten more than just your roots.

There’s a LOT going on with that pregnant body of yours. Bodacious (if not slightly bothersome) bosoms? Check.  Glowing skin? Check. Lovely and luscious locks? Check. Cankles, morning sickness and pesky pigmentation? Check, check, check. But we’re focusing on the positives here, so let’s get back to that marvellous mane of yours. It’s growing thicker and faster than ever before – which is amazing, but it does beg the questions, what can (and can’t) you do with your hair while pregnant? Can you dye your hair when pregnant? Is hair colour pregnant-safe or harmful? Can pregnant women perm their hair? Ladies, read on for all the answers.

Can I dye my hair when pregnant?

Broadly speaking, colouring your hair during pregnancy is considered safe, according to the experts, including the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Research, though limited, shows that the chemicals in both permanent and semi-permanent hair dye aren’t readily absorbed through the scalp. Which means they’re unlikely to cause harm to your baby. And in good news for bottle blondes – that includes bleaching your hair lighter, too.

So, can you dye your hair while pregnant? Yes! But before you speed-dial your hairdresser, read on. There are a few reasons you might decide not to:

You’d prefer to wait until after the first trimester. 

If you’re feeling worried about dyeing your hair while pregnant, you might want to skip the salon in the first trimester.  While there’s no hard evidence that dyeing your hair in the first trimester is harmful, some experts suggest waiting until the second trimester before seeing your colourist. The advice from most major Australian hospitals, including The Royal Women’s, echoes this sentiment.

You already have sensitive skin. 

All those extra hormones surging around your body do more than make you extra weepy at sad movies. They also do all sorts of weird (and not-so-wonderful) things to your skin, making it more susceptible to conditions like Rosacea and eczema. You’ll want to chat with your GP and stick to gentle formulations. It’s good to know that perms and most hair colours are considered safe for pregnant women – and that you can have even more peace of mind if you wait until the second trimester.

You just don’t feel comfortable dyeing your hair while pregnant. 

So, the thought of dyeing your hair in the first trimester is giving you greys. Cruelly ironic, huh? First-trimester anxiety is a very real and entirely exhausting thing. One of the most important things you can do for you and your incubating baby is to try and keep your stress levels down. Do whatever you need to feel calm (unless it involves purchasing an at-home gravity floatation pod because that seems just a touch extreme).

Pro tips for dyeing your hair when pregnant

If you’re keen to colour your hair while pregnant, here are a few key things you can do to avoid colouring catastrophes, basin blowouts and hair histrionics:

1. Tell your hairdresser you’re pregnant, especially if it’s early days

Now you know that you can get your hair dyed when pregnant, when you get to the salon, let your hairdresser know you’re ‘with child’. While proclaiming your pregnancy when your babe’s barely the size of a blueberry might feel a bit weird, sharing your news is super important. Why? Hairdressers are the experts in the best and safest hair dyes when pregnant. They’ll be able to take extra care and make sure they’re using the gentlest products on you. They can also sit you near a window or door so you’re getting plenty of fresh air. Less chance of breathing in the obligatory olfactory overload of a hair salon? Sounds pretty sensible to us, especially if your sense of smell is heightened while pregnant. Plus, you’ll probably score extra pampering and peppermint tea – winning!

2. Stick to what you know

If you’re pregnant, or planning on becoming pregnant, now is probably not the time to try out a scalp bleach for the first time. Sure, you can colour and bleach your hair when pregnant and we’ve all seen celebrities do it, but you don’t have to bleach everything a celebrity tells you to (ahem!). Not only is it inadvisable to test out new products on your skin when it’s extra sensitive, there’s also something you need to know about Your Life With Baby – and you may as well start preparing for it now. Your post-baby beauty regimen will probably become relatively low-maintenance. And when we say low-maintenance, we mean non-existent.

3. Keep it comfy

We’re all for activewear and sweats and a comfy derriere. We’re also all for doing what you feel comfortable with when it comes to dyeing your hair when pregnant.

The best and safest hair colours when pregnant are gentler options like semi-permanents. Most semi-permanent hair dyes are both ammonia- and peroxide-free. They’re kinder on your skin. And, because they fade more evenly and gradually, they’ll also result in less severe regrowth. Natural and organic colours are worth exploring, too.

You can also choose colouring techniques that don’t touch the scalp – things like foils (highlights and lowlights) and balayage are all great options. Plus, they’re more forgiving if it’s a while between visits, whether that be to the salon or the supermarket to grab a box dye.

4. DIY colouring your hair with a box dye? Glove up, go slow and have good air-flow

You can also box dye your hair when pregnant. If at-home box dye is more suited to your look or budget, opt for a semi-permanent colour. Always read the instructions carefully, wear gloves, do a patch test, and make sure you’ve got plenty of fresh air circulating wherever you’re working your magic.

I don’t want to dye my hair when pregnant (but I don’t want to die of bad hair either)

You want it all? We get it. Hairdressers say there are heaps of ways you can keep your pregnancy locks looking lush – all while holding off on the hair dye.

While you can bleach, colour and perm your hair when pregnant, there are plenty of commitment-free options, too. You can freshen up your look with a new cut and try volume-boosting styling methods. An at-home (or salon) blow wave can hide weeks of regrowth. So can looks that draw the eye away from the roots and down to the ends, like GHD curls. Zigzag parts (stay with us!) are another quick hack for blending darker roots – and we all know ‘90s style is back en vogue. You can also try coloured chalks, sprays, shampoos and conditioners (after checking the labels for known nasties). Sometimes the best hair dyes when pregnant are those that easily wash away. And if all else fails, just pop on a beret and live your best Emily in Paris life.

A final thought

Stay with us here, but is this really even about getting your hair dyed when pregnant, or are you actually in dire need of some pampering – and f*cking pronto? Maybe what you’re actually craving is self-care, Mama. The intense process of Growing A Child With Your Very Own Body can be pretty damn exhausting. And that means making time for self-care is important. And not just for you – for your baby too. Don’t want to colour your hair while pregnant? Why not get your make-up done somewhere? Or book a pregnancy massage or acupuncture session? The healing power of touch is the perfect antidote to any Atwood vibes. As well as relieving aches and pains in places you never even knew existed – many dedicated pregnancy masseurs offer mindfulness as part of a session. Plus, these massages have a splendidly soporific effect (and there’s zero judgement if you nod off and snore like a chainsaw*).

*The writer of this article has personally verified this statement. 

Read next: The best prenatal massages in Australia

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Common Questions in Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic, Hair dye and pregnancy: A concern? 

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

The Women’s Royal Hospital, Having your baby at the Women’s

Web MD, Hair Dye Safety

Choice, Chemicals in cosmetics – are they safe?

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