Can You Dye Your Hair While Pregnant? 3 Experts Weigh In

With pregnancy comes a lot of sacrifices. In addition to the toll it takes on your body, the lifestyle changes can be a bit of an adjustment. As you get further along in your pregnancy, you'll encounter situations where you're second-guessing whether or not it's safe to do. For example, when you start to notice your roots growing out or a few grays invading your once freshly dyed hair, you may wonder to yourself: can you dye your hair while pregnant?

Whether you color your hair at home with box dye or get it professionally done at a salon, you probably have a rough timeline of when you're due for a refresh. You might even have pre-booked appointments for touchups in your calendar, but being pregnant can put a halt to those plans. Anyone who has smelled the fumes from hair dye and bleach knows just how strong they can be. So, is it safe to dye your hair while pregnant? We spoke with an OBGYN and pro hairstylists to explain if the hair-dyeing process is safe or if you should put your beauty plans on pause for nine months. Keep reading for their thoughts.

Can You Dye Your Hair While Pregnant?

Nine months is a long time to go without touching up your hair color, but you may be surprised to learn that many experts believe it is actually OK to dye your hair while you're pregnant. You can now breathe a sigh of relief.

"Hair dye contains chemicals; however, animal studies have shown that even at high doses of these chemicals, it does not cause serious birth defects," OBGYN Dorothy Bestoyong, DO, tells PS. "The good news is that only a very small amount of chemicals from hair dye is absorbed through the scalp."

If you're still on the fence, it's important to talk to your doctor about it. Since you're the one carrying the baby, you should make sure you have all of the facts so that you can make an informed decision. This will calm your nerves while educating you about how hair dye affects your body while pregnant. "Some doctors are more conservative than others when it comes to this, so find someone you trust and who aligns with you," hairstylist Rogerio Cavalcante says.

It's not uncommon to put your hair-coloring plans on pause just until the third month of your pregnancy "because that particular phase is crucial for the fetus' development." Hairstylist Beau Dieda says that as a rule of thumb, he'll usually wait to color the hair until the second trimester, around 13-15 weeks. But that timeframe varies from person to person.

"The most common concern is that chemicals present in hair dye will affect the baby," Cavalcante says. "Some pregnant women opt for natural or ammonia-free hair dyes as a precautionary measure." At his salon, The Second Floor Salon, they use Goldwell, a brand that makes hair dye and bleach products that are free of ammonia.

"If the client and their doctor approve, I am comfortable dyeing their hair," Cavalcante says. Both of the stylists say they've never experienced any issues dyeing a pregnant person's hair.

Can You Bleach Your Hair While Pregnant?

Bleaching is a harsher process for your hair and therefore, may seem like it's more dangerous for you and your baby. However, Cavalcante says that you can bleach your hair while pregnant, too. "Bleach should not be applied directly to the scalp, so it's generally considered safe."

He explains that the smell may bother some people, and some salons will offer masks to help minimize any discomfort. You can always bring your own mask to your appointment if you're worried about the smell. Opening windows or even using a fan may also help if you're bothered by the scent.

What Are the Risks Associated With Dyeing Your Hair While Pregnant?

"Hair dyeing during pregnancy raises concerns related to chemical exposure, as dyes contain substances like ammonia and hydrogen peroxide that can be absorbed through the scalp and potentially enter the bloodstream," Cavalcante says. "Although absorption is typically minimal, some caution against prolonged or frequent exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy, but since hair dyeing is a sporadic activity, it should be OK."

Something else to consider is that pregnancy can heighten sensitivity to these substances, which could increase the risk of allergic reactions such as skin irritation, redness, and swelling. Cavalcante says it's recommended to perform a patch test before full application to check for potential allergies.

Again, if you're concerned, you should consult with your personal doctor to ensure that dyeing your hair while pregnant is the right choice for you.

Sydney Wingfield has been a freelance writer in the beauty and wellness space for six years. She has written for Women's Health, Marie Claire, Glamour, and other publications and loves to cover all things skin care, makeup, and hair.