Dying Your Hair While Pregnant – How Safe Is It?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Mercier, ND, PhD
Written by Charushila B

Between morning sickness and prepping the house for the baby, has coloring your hair often crossed your mind? But are you worried that the chemicals in the dye might not be pregnancy-safe? As a would-be mom, it is imperative to cross-check every step you take to keep your baby safe. That’s why it is best to get the facts right and explore the hair color options you have during pregnancy. Read on to know if it is safe to color your hair while pregnant and about natural hair colors and the precautions to take. Scroll down to know more!

Can You Dye Your Hair While Pregnant?

The Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS) is the most trusted source of information about the risks of exposure to any substances during pregnancy. According to OTIS, it is safe to color your hair during pregnancy because of two reasons (1):

  1. Little or no hair dye is absorbed by the scalp and enters the bloodstream, much less enough to reach the fetus.
  2. Pregnant animals that were exposed to hair dye showed no signs of reproductive damage.

However, a study conducted at the University of North Carolina found that maternal use of hair dyes may moderately increase the risk of neuroblastoma in the offspring (2). It was also surprising that temporary hair colors increased the risk of cancer development, and not permanent hair dyes (3).

Another study found that maternal exposure to hair dyes during breastfeeding increased the risk of childhood germ-cell tumors, especially in girls (3). However, a contradictory study showed no association between maternal use of hair colors during pregnancy and the development of childhood tumors (3).

Therefore, more research with a larger sample size and greater categorization of different conditions of the mother during pregnancy is required.

It is best to consult your gynecologist before coloring your hair. Also, consider these points before you color your hair during pregnancy.

  • Consult a dermatologist to know if there are any pregnancy-safe hair colors.
  • Talk to your gynecologist to know if you should wait for a few weeks before dying your hair.
  • Check if highlights, lowlights, ombre, and streaks will be safer than global hair color.
  • Check the label to see what chemicals the hair color contains. If you are not sure which ones to avoid and which are safe, read the next section.

Here is a list of toxic chemicals in hair dyes that you must avoid.

What Are The Chemicals In Hair Dyes?

  • Ammonia – It is a respiratory irritant and may cause hormonal imbalances.
  • P-phenylenediamine – It causes liver toxicity, birth defects, and irritate the skin.
  • Coal Tar – It is carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and may cause eye injury.
  • Toluene – This neurotoxin may terminate the pregnancy and cause birth defects or allergic reactions.
  • Resorcinol – It is a neurotoxin and causes hormonal imbalances.
  • Other Chemicals – Peroxide, methylisothiazolinone, DMDM hydantoin, and fragrance.

Avoid hair dyes that contain these toxic chemical ingredients. Instead, use hair colors that are made with natural ingredients and tested for heavy metals.

There are a few natural hair coloring options you can try at home without fretting! You will find these natural hair colors for pregnancy in your kitchen or at a grocery store. Also, their color payoff is stunning. Let’s take a look at them in the following section.

How To Color Your Hair Naturally During Pregnancy?

  • Henna: This natural dye is prepared by crushing the leaves of the henna plant. Henna powder is easily available at any Indian or Middle Eastern store. Mix the henna powder with tea decoction and lemon juice (add a little coconut oil if you have dry hair). Apply it to your hair and rinse after 60 minutes. This ingredient imparts a gorgeous red-orange or auburn shade to your hair.
    Note: If you have blonde hair, henna might turn it bright orange.
  • Beet Juice: Beet juice gives a subtle red tint to your hair that comes to life when you step out into the sun. Beetroot has antioxidant properties, which help prevent premature graying of the hair. If you want a more orange hue, try carrot juice. You can also customize your hair dye by mixing both juices. Apply this pure vegetable dye to your hair and wash off with a pregnancy-safe shampoo after 60 minutes.
  • Tea: Concentrated tea decoction can help darken your hair and cover grays. Black tea is shown to have almost the same compounds as henna (4). On the other hand, chamomile tea has a bleaching effect and might lighten your hair if you sit under the sun after applying it.
  • Coffee: If you want to darken your mane or add some depth and dimension to it, coffee is the way to go (5). A mixture of a strong cup of espresso coffee, leave-in conditioner, and coffee grounds works wonders in adding a dark shade to your hair. Wash off after 60 minutes.
  • Lemon Juice: A few highlights throughout your tresses can go a long way in transforming your hair. The easiest way to go about it naturally is with lemon juice. Lemon juice is used as a lightener, especially to achieve blonde tones (6). Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice on thin sections of the hair and leave it on for several hours to lighten your hair and create highlights.

Take the following precautions before using natural hair color or coloring at home using natural ingredients.

Precautions For Coloring Your Hair During Pregnancy

  • Check the label of the hair dye to see if it contains any harmful chemicals.
  • Wear gloves before dying your hair.
  • Apply Vaseline or olive oil on your hands, neck, and forehead to prevent hair dye stains on your skin.
  • Apply the hair color in an open space.
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly with a color-safe shampoo and follow with a conditioner.
  • Consider using pregnancy-safe hair colors from Radico’s and Hairprint as they are made of organic ingredients.


Both temporary and permanent colors contain harmful chemicals that should be avoided during pregnancy. Choose a hair dye with natural organic ingredients and without toxic chemicals. It is even better if you use natural hair dyes like henna or beetroot juice. Follow the natural hair coloring steps and precautions taken mentioned above. Make sure to talk to your gynecologist and a dermatologist before you dye your hair while pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which hair color is safe during pregnancy?

Hair colors without harmful chemicals like ammonia, peroxide, toluene, coal tar, P-phenylenediamine, resorcinol, methylisothiazolinone, DMDM hydantoin, and fragrance are safe during pregnancy. It is safer to use vegetable dyes like beetroot juice or plant-based dyes like henna, tea, or coffee for dying your hair during pregnancy.

When can you dye your hair when pregnant?

Consult your gynecologist and dermatologist. If you are using natural hair dyes, you can probably dye your hair at any time. However, wait a few weeks if you want to dye your hair at a professional salon.

Is ammonia-free hair color safe for pregnancy?

Yes, ammonia-free hair color is safe during pregnancy.

How many times can you dye your hair when pregnant?

As many times as you want! Ensure you do not use hair colors with harmful toxins like peroxide and ammonia.

Can pregnancy hormones affect hair color?

Yes, pregnancy hormones may play a role in dying your hair a bit differently.

6 sources

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