by Colette Bouchez
If you're like many women, bleaching, dying, or highlighting your hair may be a regular part of your beauty regime. And if you're like most pregnant women, you probably have some hesitation or even a fear about continuing to color your hair while baby is in tow. Although research into the effects of hair coloring on baby's health are still somewhat limited,many experts now contend the dyes are most likely safe and that women needn't be afraid to color their world during pregnancy.
That said, don't be surprised if your doctor still suggests you approach hair coloring with caution. Because the dye is absorbed through the scalp and into the body (it can be identified in urine) some medical experts are hesitant to give carte blanche to hair coloring during all three trimesters. Often, many physicians advise holding off coloring hair with permanent dyes during the first trimester when your baby is undergoing important neurological developments. Coloring can then be resumed in the second or third trimester.
If you color your hair at home, look for products with the fewest number of chemicals and always work in a well-ventilated room, wearing gloves while handling the mixture. If you have your hair done in a salon, request the first appointment in the morning on their least busy day -- when you are least likely to suffer excessive chemical exposure.
If you don't want to take a chance on coloring your whole head of hair, you may want to consider adding highlights - a great way of accenting your color and bringing light to the face, not to mention a little pregnancy glow! Because this process involves applying the chemicals one-half to one-inch from your roots, they don't ever touch your scalp. So, they can't get into your blood stream - which is safe for you and baby. You can also easily allow 8 weeks or more between appointments - minimizing salon exposure.
If you colored your hair before pregnancy, and want to ease up on treatments until after baby is born, look for a semi-permanent dye, containing low or no ammonia, and low or no peroxide. These generally contain fewer harmful chemicals, and work well to blend the different colors of your hair, making "roots" appear less obvious. What can also help: Color enhancing shampoos, designed to deposit temporary color so they can significantly extend the time between hair colorings.
Finally, you can also try a "hair mascara" - tubes filled with temporary color and topped off with a thick mascara-like wand. Because they only coat the outside layer of your hair and don't get anywhere near your scalp, they are very safe to use. The wands are also faster, easier and safer than spray on temporary color -with no fumes to inhale - so they can work great to touch up roots.
To make your own ultra safe, all natural hair tints, try these recipes: