Many pregnant or breastfeeding mothers have concerns about dyeing their hair because they are worried about potentially exposing their babies to toxic chemicals and might be considering balayage instead of dyeing all of their hair at once.
So is balayage safe while pregnant or breastfeeding? Dyeing your hair while pregnant or breastfeeding may allow chemicals to be passed to your baby, and natural dyes are limited in their effectiveness and longevity. Balayage is an alternative dyeing process that creates a long-lasting ombre effect that doesn’t require any chemicals to come in contact with the scalp, limiting exposure.
One of the hardest parts of being a pregnant or breastfeeding mom (other than learning to live without sleep) is navigating the maze of information about what is best for your baby, what is fine, and what can actually harm you or your child. From what type of vitamins you should take to the best vegetables to eat for the most nutritious breast milk, naturally minded moms spend their days making the best choices for the health and well-being of their babies, including whether or not they feel comfortable dyeing their hair.
Keep reading to find out what balayage is and why it is a better option for pregnant and breastfeeding women than a traditional full dye job.
What is balayage?
Balayage (pronounced bah-lee-ahge) is a salon technique for dyeing hair to create a gradual color transition from the root to the ends.
It traditionally applies to a painted highlight that mimics the look of sun bleaching but has become an umbrella term that encompasses any application of dye or bleach that creates a gradual transition between two colors ( also known as an ombre). Instead of setting the hair in foil, however, the hairdresser will hand paint the dye in long sweeping motions in order to create a natural-looking color fade.
How is it different than dyeing your hair?
Balayage is a popular technique because it creates a transition between your natural hair color and the desired shade. Because the dye never comes into direct contact with your scalp, however, there is no harsh line between the dyed hair and the roots and so it does not need to be touched up regularly and grows out easily.
The biggest benefit to this technique is that you avoid soaking your hair and scalp in hair dye for long periods of time which drastically reduces the amount of any chemical fumes that you might otherwise inhale or absorb through your skin during a traditional hair dye job.
Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to get this service at a salon. Prices range from about $70 for light coverage on a shorter haircut to as much as $250 for a full head of extra-long hair with multiple shades.
Can I do balayage at home?
Balayage is best left to a professional in a salon, but I don’t blame you trying to avoid the extra expense if you can help it.
Heck, diapers are expensive too!
If you are looking for the same look with a more budget-friendly price tag, you can create a similar effect by brushing your dye of choice through your hair before allowing the chemicals to set.
Just like any time you dye your hair with a baby, the biggest concern is the amount of time the chemicals need to be in your hair for the color to take. When you are dyeing your hair, there are several safety precautions that are recommended even when there is not a baby or young child in the house.
- Always wear protective gloves when dyeing your hair
- Rinse your scalp thoroughly after the dyeing process is complete
- Only dye your hair in a well-ventilated room
I also recommend picking up a hair dye that is PPD and ammonia-free to avoid the most potentially dangerous chemicals commonly found in hair dyes. This particular dye is from the beauty-capital-of-the-world South Korea and has an impressively clean ingredients list!
For the most part, being conscientious about following these best practices and keeping young lungs away from the fumes will ensure that it is safe to dye your hair with a newborn or young child. If possible, try to have someone else in the house who can watch the baby while you dye and rinse your hair, or be sure to plan your dyeing time around your baby’s nap or bedtime.
Is balayage safe to do when pregnant?
Balayage is a safe choice for pregnant women because the dye never makes direct contact with the scalp, so no chemicals can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Plus, your hair will still look great even if you don’t have time to get it touched up every four to six weeks after giving birth!
How is balayage safer than hair dye for pregnant women?
Permanent hair dyes often use ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and p-phenylenediamine (PPD) to open the hair shaft and then trap the color inside of it. Although the process is generally considered safe for the fetus after the first trimester, there have also been studies that indicate there could be a correlation between dyeing your hair regularly (every 5-8 weeks) and breast cancer.
Instead of a full dye job that needs to be updated bi-monthly, the color change in balayage starts away from the root so the dye does not have a chance to soak into the scalp, making it much safer for both mother and baby.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to be 100% safe with anything. All things considered, however, balayage looks to be a very safe way to add a little color to your hair!
Should I wait until after the first trimester for balayage?
Women are typically advised to avoid dyeing their hair during the first trimester because it is such an important time in the development of the fetus. Since the dye does not come into direct contact with your scalp, there should be no reason to be worried about chemicals entering your bloodstream and affecting your baby while using balayage techniques.
However, there are other things to keep in mind when deciding when to make your appointment. Any dyeing process is going to be time-consuming and most salons will be using a variety of heavily scented products such as dyes, bleaches, and hair sprays. Even with proper venting, it is likely that this sort of situation will trigger a bout of morning sickness, even if the smells have never bothered you before.
Which methods or products are the best to use?
Depending on where you go to get your hair dyed, you may be able to request a natural or organic dye if you are planning on going darker. If you are looking for a reddish, less permanent effect, henna is also a good option.
Unfortunately, there are no natural or organic bleaches available that can mimic the lightening effect of a traditional bleach.
Is balayage while breastfeeding safe?
There has not been much research done on the effects of dyeing your hair while breastfeeding, but there are a few studies that have been done on pregnant women that indicate neither permanent or semi-permanent dyes are toxic and only a small amount of dye is absorbed through the scalp. This also applies to getting a perm while breastfeeding.
Since balayage does not require the dye to make direct contact with the scalp, even those small amounts will not be absorbed and your breast milk will be completely unaffected by the process.