An Ob-Gyn Weighs In Once and for All: Can You Dye Your Hair During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is an exciting time; it’s also a confusing time. You shouldn’t eat sushi, but you can have a tuna sandwich. You shouldn’t drink coffee­—sike—you can so long as you keep it to under 200 milligrams (or two eight-ounce cups) a day. You shouldn't overexert yourself, but exercise is still a good idea. 

And then there's the whole issue of keeping up with your color. Someone please clarify: Can you dye your hair while pregnant?

We’ve heard all sorts of conflicting advice over this topic, so we decided to call upon Dr. Omnia M. Samra-Latif Estafan, a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist in Hamilton, New Jersey to settle the score once and for all.

Her answer? "Per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, hair dyes—especially those that are ammonia-free—are considered safe to use during pregnancy because only a minimal amount of dye is actually absorbed through the skin."

We know what you’re thinking (because we thought it, too): Is the ammonia-free part really important? "Although the absorption is very minimal, breathing in the strong fumes of permanent hair dyes while pregnant can be harmful," explains Latif.

Ok, so what should I tell my stylist? You can ask for a semi-permanent dye—or you can keep the color completely off the scalp and opt for highlights or balayage instead. Both ensure that the chemicals won't come into contact with your skin. To which we say: Bring on the ombré!

Whether you decide to go to a salon or touch up your color at home, make sure you're in a well-ventilated area and only leave the dye on for as long as instructed on the directions. 

And if you’re still feeling nervous about it, Dr. Latif says that many of her peers (aka the ACOG) do recommend holding off on dyeing your hair in the first trimester of pregnancy, since that’s a critical time for the development of your baby. And there you have it.