A few weeks ago, Beauty Undercover received inquiries from pregnant ladies inquiring about the safety of hair services during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
We have therefore asked hairstylists and gynaes for advice, scoured the web for information in this area and finally gathered all the tips we've heard in one place.
Hope you will find this useful!
Basically, there is NO concrete evidence that going for hair colours and other hair services will cause defects to the unborn child. Although limited, most research show the chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent colours are not highly toxic and are safe to use during pregnancy. Moreover, only small amounts of hair chemicals may be absorbed by the skin, leaving little that would be able to reach the fetus. As such, this small amount is not considered harmful to the fetus even if it is exposed.
Nevertheless, the first 12 weeks are a time of major development for your baby: organs are taking shape, muscles and vocal chords are forming, and nail beds and hair follicles are starting to develop.
Therefore, experts often advise mothers-to-be to wait until around the beginning of the second trimester (14 weeks!) before going for that hair colour that you've been itching to get!
Second trimester is also possibly the best time to get your hair done as the tummy is not that big yet. Therefore it is not as uncomfortable when sitting the chair for 2-3 hours as compared to when you are in your third!
Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor to book the salon appointment, you may want to reconsider which service you get. Root touch-ups and a root-to-tip colour change are considered single-process colour - dye is applied to the hair and scalp, where the pores in your skin soak up the chemicals. For a safer alternative, try techniques where colour is painted directly on to the hair shaft — highlights, for example. Pulling hair through a cap and then applying colour is a less common method but equally as safe, since the cap covers the scalp.
Avoid harsh hair treatments that require bleach as it contains hydrogen peroxide, which is known to be carcinogenic in large doses. Consider skipping vibrant hair colours and opting for more natural hues when you are pregnant!
It's also interesting to note that pregnancy hormones frequently interfere with, or even change, the way your hair reacts to perm or relaxing solutions. You could easily end up with a look that is quite opposite of what you expected! Hair can get frizzy or straight instead of curly, or kinky and frizzy instead of straight. You may therefore want to consider forgoing the perm or straightening for now and opt for a style that's easy to manage without the extra chemical treatments!
Alternatively, you can consider hair extensions which will not expose you to any chemicals at all!
We love the vibrant colour extensions carried by CLEO Hair & Make!
Also important to keep in mind is the type of colouring.
Previously, the type of hair colours available are limited to those with significant levels of Ammonia, PPD and Resorcinol. Although effective and produce long lasting colours, these chemicals are often toxicants or possible carcinogens that may cause allergies such as dermatitis!
In recent years, however, we see that hair product companies are innovating to reduce the levels of such chemicals and for some, even eliminate them all together!
Here are some notable brands with zero or minimal levels of such chemicals so that you can reduce the risk to your unborn fetus!
Ammonia-free, PPD-free and Resorcinol-free, O&M hair colour is possibly one of the safest hair colour option we’ve seen for pregnant ladies out there.
By blending micro colour pigment molecules with a blend of micronized mineral and natural ingredients, O&M has created a hair colour that pregnant ladies and the health-conscious can trust!
Minerals included in O&M:
✔ Illute (allows micro pigment to permeate and saturate hair with colour)
✔ Kaolin (guards against colour fade and ensures colour stays locked)
✔ Montmorillonite (nourishes the hair and scalp to improve hair and scalp condition)
The hair colour also includes sunflower seed wax and sweet almond oil to further strengthen the hair and scalp.
As there is no ammonia, the awfully strong salon smell is absent. Best of all, it can achieve 100% grey hair coverage and up to 5 levels of lightening!
The only issue is that very few salons carry O&M due to their limited presence in Singapore.
We however know of one hair salon that carries this: Focus Hairdressing.
Read reviews for Focus Hairdressing here.
The “original” non-ammonia hair colouring system, Colour Herbe is one of the few (if not the only one) with:
Colour Herbe contains natural ingredients such as Meadowfoam (which is rich in vitamins E and F), White Birth (which acts as a hair tonic and remineralizing agent) and Witch Hazel (which is rich in flavonoids and essential oils to treat the scalp) as well as Echinacea Angustifloia (which rehydrates and cleanses) to nourish your hair and scalp while making your salon experience during your pregnancy that much more comfortable, stress-free and harmless.
Do note that Colour Herbe still contains a small amount of PPD (3%) and Hydrogen Peroxide to help customers achieve longer lasting colours. The formulation is still among the gentlest in the industry so it is definitely worth a try after the first trimester!
A familiar eco-friendly brand, Oxidative dyes make up only 1% to 3% synthetic ingredients of the Aveda formulations (as compared to close to 100% for typical brands). By researching into essential oils and plant extracts, Aveda has found and patented a process to oxidize the dye using green tea extract. Not only is the end process less petroleum-based, but the result is more natural looking. The common base formulas for dyes are petrochemical solvents, and in this process Aveda has substituted protective and lubricating plant oils in the formula so that it is significantly less drying to the hair than the solvents normally used.
Nevertheless, Aveda permanent hair colours still contain small amounts of PPD and peroxide in the lightening shades. This helps to make the colour more lasting but may still be of concern to some mothers.
Even though not free of the other chemicals, Chromatics is a permanent colour that does not have odour or ammonia. We love the vibrance and shine of this colour so for those who love the Redken range, Chromatics is definitely a healthier choice than the usual Redken colours!
Agent S tried out Redken Chromatics hair colour and loved it!
INOA (Innovation No Ammonia) is L'Oréal Professionnel's leading no ammonia permanent hair colour range, which apparently uses a new oil delivery system that ensures zero odour and no ammonia.
Although not free of the other chemicals, INOA is also a healthier alternative if you find L'Oreal colours attractive!
If you are thinking about colouring your hair, stick with the safest options and colour your hair without having to worry needlessly for nine months!
Are there alternative brands you think are good for pregnant women?
Share your experience with us below!