Coloring Hair when Pregnant

Pregnant woman with colored hair
Photo: G. Allen Penton/Shutterstock
Q: Do you know if you can color your hair if you're pregnant? Lots of people have told me not to, and some say it's ok, as long as it doesn't touch your scalp (as it can get into your blood stream). Is this true?
A: You should be safe in coloring your hair when pregnant. The studies performed on whether or not the chemicals used in coloring and perming the hair penetrate into the skin vary in the results espoused. There are arguments that range widely on both sides of this issue.
That is not to say that there is NO validity to the concerns, and I am always encouraging women and men (especially those in situations that may mean they have increased sensitivities) to ALWAYS insist on patch tests before any chemical procedure.
The bottom line is that the risks involved depend on what products are being used. If you are using a semi- or demi-permanent hair color, then the risk (even of sensitivity reactions) is minimal (though it should be carefully tested against). These are actually what I recommend if you are simply looking to add color (and not lighten) the hair.
However, if the color you desire is a lighter shade than your natural color, then you'll need to use a permanent color with a stronger developer.
So, the bottom line is this: given your pregnant condition, make sure you take care to use the gentlest formulas possible for the results you want and perform a patch/sensitivity test to make sure you won't have an allergic reaction to the product, (and I would recommend making sure you can tolerate the odor since many pregnant women have an increasingly sensitive sense of smell) and follow the product directions for use.
See also:
Dye or bleach your hair during pregnancy
Hair and being pregnant
What to do when you are allergic to hair color
Is there a safe way to color gray hair while pregnant?