Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Dye a Child's Hair

Q: Is it ok to dye a child’s hair? My 12 year old daughter wants to color her hair, but I think she’s much too young for this. What’s the youngest age for kids to color their hair? Are hair stylists allowed to color the hair of a child under a certain age? I would expect that there are regulations on when to color a child’s hair.
A: Actually, although some areas may have regulations that govern who can or cannot be serviced in a salon setting, this is usually governed by insurance providers than by the State Boards in those areas. Many cosmetology schools do not accept clients under the age of 18 for insurance liability purposes.
little girl getting her hair cut However, when it comes to “how young” is acceptable to color a child’s hair, you should consider this a strictly parental decision and not accept the word of any stylist who claims to “do it on kids all the time”. Most stylists’ and salons’ primary goal is the making of revenue. This isn’t to say that they aren’t concerned over the client’s well-being, just that you will be more concerned over your child’s well-being than any non-parent of that child.
So, if you have concerns, you should probably reconsider coloring your child’s hair, or at least consider the options for doing so. What kind of color does she want, something fun and funky like pink or green? There are safe temporary color sprays that will give these effects without damaging the hair.
If she wants a slightly darker or richer shade of color, you could consider a demi-permanent color, but these formulas and those of permanent colors have to process on the hair and contain chemicals that could irritate or cause allergic reactions from exposure.
My general rule is to argue against performing any chemical service on anyone under the age of 16. Younger individuals are developing their bodies and growing at a remarkable rate still, there is no way of knowing how they may react to the chemicals in the products used. As an anecdotal example, when I was 13 I had a summer where I broke out in a rash if I ate anything containing tomatoes. The reaction passed after about 6 months and I was fine with tomato-based products. But that illustrates the way the body changes during growth and how unpredictable the results can be.
The bottom line is that it is your call, but if she wants a more long-term chemical processing than a simple temporary color application, then I would personally advise against it until she is older.
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