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Is it safe to dye, color, bleach, or perm your hair while pregnant, especially during the first trimester?

Updated on March 29, 2012

I will admit, I was once a hair dying fool. I was addicted. My hair is naturally this really ugly brassy red color, not the radiant red you often see, and I hated it from the time I was very little. Ever since I could bully my grandma into letting me when I was in the fifth grade (needless to say, mother was none too happy when I came home that day), I have either been bleaching or dying my hair at least between 6 and eight times a year ever since. This was of course; until I found out I was pregnant. Is it safe to dye and/or perm your hair while you are pregnant?

There is no concrete evidence that processing your hair while pregnant will harm your unborn child. However, just to be on the safe side, here are some tips.

  • Don’t process your hair until you are at least out of your first trimester (generally after 12 weeks).
  • Try to settle for high lights instead of all over color, since the product shouldn’t come in contact with the scalp and is therefore less likely to be absorbed. It is known that it is absorbed through the skin, since the chemicals can show up in a urine test.
  • Make sure there is adequate ventilation in the area where you are getting your hair done.
  • If you are doing your own color/perm at home, see if you can find a low-ammonia option with less harsh fumes.
  • If you’re going to the salon, try and schedule your appointment during a time and day that you think they won’t be very crowded, so that you are exposed to less fumes coming from other customers getting their hair done.
  • Know that since your hormones are changing, your hair may not respond to these chemicals the way it did before. Don’t be surprised if your hair won’t perm, or if you come out with a funky color.

On the bright side, if you had been meaning to give up the habit and let your hair grow out naturally, this would be the time to do it. It will not only save you the worry of wondering if you’re going to harm your baby, but your hair is growing more rapid now that it ever has, so growing it out won’t take as long as it normally would have. You'll also save tons of money that you can now use on more important things for baby. Just know that people will understand why you have atrocious, out of control roots (just as I currently do) and won’t judge you too harshly for it.


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