Modern women dye their hair with the same ease with which they do their daily make-up. However, during pregnancy, the question of whether this is dangerous or not arises, as most dyes have strong chemical ingredients.

What are the risks?

From conception to birth, many changes occur in the future mother’s body – from obvious to internal and invisible, affecting hormonal balance and metabolism.

The ratio between progesterone (pregnancy hormone) and estrogen (female sex hormone) determines the condition of a pregnant woman’s hair. The influence of these hormones is different during the different stages of pregnancy.

First trimester

High levels of progesterone and gonadotropin are then observed. This combination of hormones does not have a good effect on the hair of the expectant mother. If she also suffers from nausea and can not eat properly, the hair thins due to a deficiency of nutrients and vitamins. The hair becomes drier, brittle and loses its shine.

Second trimester

Nausea and unpleasant symptoms decrease or disappear. The self-esteem improves significantly, but the baby’s need for calcium increases due to the onset of mineralization of the child’s bones. If you do not get enough calcium, the condition of your hair can deteriorate significantly. However, if you add calcium-rich foods to your diet, your hair will become more beautiful. By the middle of the second trimester, expectant mothers usually enjoy healthy, thick, and shiny hair.

Third trimester

The baby grows actively and accumulates mass. Growth hormones are releasing that affect the hair of the future mother – the hair growth accelerates, which is noticeable especially on hair with dye when the roots rapidly manifest their natural color. Towards the end of the quarter, estrogen levels rise.

Can I Dye My Hair During Pregnancy?

At each stage of pregnancy, a woman wonders if she can dye her hair. To answer this question, we need to consider several factors:

  • The effect of hair dyes’ chemical composition on pregnant women has not been studied clinically, so it is not known how the ingredients may affect the fetus. For this reason, doctors reinsure themselves, advising pregnant women not to use it. However, no one forbids dyeing with natural ingredients, such as henna.
  • During the first trimester, all the organs and systems of the baby are forming. Any negative factor can disrupt the delicate cellular processes, and therefore the ban on hair dying during this period is reasonable.
  • Dyes containing ammonia have one significant disadvantage – they have a strong odor and do not positively affect the respiratory system. During pregnancy you should avoid all cosmetics containing ammonia, and dye your hair with other dyes in a place with a good ventilation.
  • During pregnancy, the immunity is significantly reduced, and the metabolism undergoes changes, so even tested hair dyes can cause severe allergic reactions. This can also happen when dyeing with a product that you have used for years.
  • Due to the serious endocrine metamorphoses, the effect of the dye can be surprising – for example, the resulting color may differ significantly from the intended one. Also, the color can be caught unevenly – in spots or streaks.

In general, the benefits and harms of dyeing during pregnancy are quite individual. Hair coloring is permissible, but not by all means and not for all pregnant women. For example, in case of severe hair deterioration, it is not advisable to further inhibit it with dyes.

Will Dying Harm Me And The Baby?

There are still many pending questions about the effect of hair dyes on the baby. It is known that the substances in their composition can theoretically penetrate the placenta, but only if  you apply it over a large area and are in contact with the skin of the pregnant woman for a long time.

Ammonia can cause severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Carbon peroxide can cause chemical burns to the mucous membranes and act as an allergen. Parabens lead to inflammatory processes in the nasopharynx. Dihydroxybenzene as a phenol has the property to accumulate in the body and act as a toxin. Phenylenediamine is toxic to the kidneys and lungs, damaging the immune system. Persulfates are dangerous for the respiratory system. Lead acetate is toxic to the brain and nervous system and especially dangerous to the fetal nervous system. Formaldehyde and ethanolamine, which are found in at least half of the hair dyes on the market, are also dangerous. If you dye your hair without affecting the scalp with the dye (there are also such methods), the risk will be minimal.


We don’t recommend you to dye your hair during the first months (up to the 13th week). During this period, all organs and systems of the baby are formed. Doctors believe that if we can avoid a risk factor during this time, it is good to do so. The period up to the 10th week is especially dangerous. In general, however, it is good to refrain from experiments in the first trimester, not because there is a strict ban, but because several doctors believe that this is the least harmful and perhaps dangerous. The second trimester does not involve such serious restrictions. If necessary, the pregnant woman can dye her hair as long as she uses gentle ammonia-free dyes. The third trimester has two periods – from the beginning of the 27th to the 34th-week, hair coloring is OK subject to precautions. Still, the placenta begins to age rapidly and lowers its barrier functions, so towards the end of pregnancy, the expectant mother should again avoid contact with chemicals.

It is essential for women suffering from different types of allergies and pregnant women with endocrine disorders to avoid hair coloring during pregnancy.

How To Reduce The Risk?

Some precautions can minimize the possible risks:

  •  dye your hair no earlier than the second trimester of pregnancy
  • do not dye your hair too often. Once a quarter is a good option.
  • choose professional/semi-professional hair dyes with natural ingredients
  • read carefully what is the composition of the dye you will use. If it contains ammonia, dihydroxybenzene, aminophenol, phenylenediamine, formaldehyde, and other toxic substances listed above, it is better to leave the product back on the shelf. The safest one for the pregnant woman is with special organic dyes, with 90% natural components.
  • when you go to the hairdresser, be sure to let him know you are pregnant. A good professional will take this into account when choosing dyes for your hair. If you do not plan to go to a salon and dye at home, read the instructions carefully to not leave the product on your hair for too long.
  • when painting, be sure to wear gloves to minimize skin contact with the product. Consumers often miss the allergy test, but it’s a must-have during pregnancy – even hair dye that hasn’t hurt you before can cause an allergic reaction.
  • be sure to provide good ventilation to the room where you will dye your hair. You can use a special mask from the pharmacy to protect your respiratory organs.
  • among the various hair coloring techniques, choose more gentle ones – smooth leveling of the tone along with the roots, ombre, etc., in which it is not necessary to apply the dye directly on the scalp

The Best Safe Hair Dye During Pregnancy

For those who do not want to spend the 9 months of pregnancy without dyeing their hair, there are brands that can replace the common ones, which are lighter dyes that do not have ammonia: