NHS website - Is it safe to use hair dye when I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Is it safe to use hair dye when I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

The chemicals in permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes are not highly toxic. Most research, although limited, shows it's safe to colour your hair while pregnant.

Some studies have found that very high doses of the chemicals in hair dyes may cause harm. However, these doses are massive compared with the very low amount of chemicals a woman is exposed to when colouring her hair.

Using hair dye when you're pregnant

Many women decide to wait to dye their hair until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the risk of chemical substances harming the baby is much lower. If you're colouring your hair yourself, you can reduce the risk further by making sure you:

  • wear gloves
  • leave the dye on for the minimum time
  • work in a well-ventilated room
  • rinse your scalp once the dye is applied

Highlighting your hair, by putting the dye only on to strands of hair, also reduces any risk. The chemicals used are only absorbed by your hair, and not by your scalp or bloodstream.

Semi-permanent pure vegetable dyes, such as henna, are a safe alternative.

Do remember that pregnancy can affect your hair's normal condition. For example, your hair may:

  • react differently to colouring or perming than it usually does
  • become more or less absorbent, frizzy or unpredictable

It's always a good idea to do a strand test first using the hair dye or treatment you intend to use. Speak to your hairdresser for advice.

Using hair dye while you're breastfeeding

While information about hair treatments while breastfeeding is limited, it's thought to be fine to dye your hair while you are breastfeeding.

Very little of the chemicals used in hair dye enter your bloodstream, so it's very unlikely that a significant amount will be passed on through your breast milk.

In the past, many women have used hair treatments while breastfeeding with no known negative results.

Further information:

Online Doctor

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Impotence
  • Weight loss & management
  • Stop smoking
  • Influenza

View all

Repeat Prescription Service

An easy way to manage your Repeat Prescription online.

  • Free Registration
  • Auto reminder service
  • Free Delivery

Register

Common Health Questions

    • NHS video wall with stroke, diabetes, and kidney and heart?
    • Your health, your way. Your NHS guide to long-term conditions and self care?
Read More
    • Can I take cough and cold remedies while I'm breastfeeding?
    • Can I take paracetamol or ibuprofen with cough or cold medicines?
Read More