Dying Your Hair, The Newest Trend For Pregnant Ladies Going Rogue

When you’re carrying a tiny human being inside of you, there are about a bazillion things that you aren’t allowed to do. You can’t eat queso at your favorite Mexican restaurant. You can’t relax in a hot tub or get a foot massage with your pedicure. No caffeine, no booze, no sushi, no diet-anything. Half of us can’t even digest our food properly while we’re pregnant. And just in case you forget, there’s always mind-numbingly nosy  well-meaning people around to point out all the things you’re doing wrong.

We here at Mommyish are very familiar with the public-shaming of pregnant women who disregard any safety warning, no matter how much merit is actually has.

That’s why we’re kind of shaking our heads at the newest controversy to hit the with-child world. It looks like some rebellious mamas out there are throwing caution to the wind and dying their hair.

It all started with a Kardashian, and isn’t that always the case. Pregnant sister, Kourtney Kardashian blogged about lightening her hair color while she was pregnant. (It’s nice to see that celebrity mommybloggers are given the same merciless scrutiny that normal moms get online, right?) Suddenly, the world was outraged over her callous choice to endanger her little one with chemicals. Plenty of her own commenters called her selfish and ignorant. It might be the first time that a Kardashian stirred controversy without even meaning to.

Still, Kourt defended her decision. In a follow-up, she wrote, “I also used products that did not contain any ammonia. It is also recommended to be in a well-ventilated area as well as being at least in your second trimester, and I followed both of those rules.”

Now, it looks like other moms are joining on the hairdye bandwagon. And some see this as a fundamental fight to keep their identity as women, even while growing a baby inside of them. One Salon writer, Marie C. Baca, talks about her “pregnancy rebellion.” During her third trimester, she walked right into a salon and got her hair dyed, enduring whispers and side-eyes from other customers throughout the experience. She writes that she knew about the risks and studied what she was doing, but this act of rebellion was obviously about a lot more than hair dye.

“The thing is, I’m not just an expectant mother. I’m a journalist who doesn’t want to worry about sweat stains around my armpits when I’m interviewing a source. I’m a wife who likes to feel feminine when I go out to dinner with my husband, and sometimes that means wearing makeup — not the natural kind. When I grab a cup of chai with my non-pregnant girlfriends, I want to be able to focus on the conversation and not the fact that my grays make me look about a decade older than they are. These roles and the others that comprise my identity are not dependent on the beauty products I use, but they are supported by them.”

So what do you think ladies? Is dying your hair a fundamental right that every woman should have, whether they’re carrying around a little one or not? Is this fuss over chemicals in hair dye a load of nonsense? Do your friends really care if you have roots, especially when you’re pregnant?

(Photo: WetPaint)

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  • Somnilee

    I only use henna hair dye so I’m not sure if that comes under the remit, but I’ve already decided (years in advance) that I’m not painting my nails if I ever get pregnant, apparently it can mess up testosterone production in the male foetus. I think it’s just something you don’t want to risk, 9 months without hair dye, nail varnish or certain foods isn’t a high price to pay for a healthy baby.

    • suchende

      Easy to say “years in advance.” As you near pregnancy, you may begin to value your own autonomy more and value weak scientific findings less. I find myself questioning “what is the risk really?” a lot more than before I got pregnant. Doing things “just to be on the safe side” is incredibly limiting, if you really listen to all the tenuous conclusions any study with a few lab rats after came to.

  • Sue

    I have had gray hair since I was 17. I colored my hair, as usual, every 6 weeks during my pregnancy and now have a smart, healthy 2 year old. My hairdresser had just had a baby and did the same during her pregnancy. In a well-ventilated salon, mind you. For me it’s about more than just vanity–in my early 30′s, a head of gray hair makes me feel incredibly self-conscious and insecure.

    Can anyone show me one shred of scientific evidence (not conjecture) that this is harmful? I certainly couldn’t find any. Do we really think that hair dye seeps through the scalp and into the uterus? And if so, shouldn’t it be considered dangerous to everyone, all the time? I’m not usually one to defend a Kardashian, but leave the woman alone. It’s not like she was smoking a joint or something.

  • kate

    i dyed my hair, drank diet coke and coffee and ate lunch meat and I have 3 healthy, smart, perfectly normal kids. i think there is an awful lot of hype around what you “can’t” do, when really it should all come down to moderation. A good friend and i had a common refrain while i was pregnant (she also has three) “:when you consider our grandparnets smoked and drank vodka through their pregnancies..” (not that im advocating those things, but in comparison).

  • Kelly

    Oh give me a break, is this still out there? Even my midwife said to go ahead.

    Just a couple of the MANY places to go to debunk this stupid myth.

    Mayo Clinic

    American Pregnancy Association


  • Kelly

    Why won’t my comment show up?

  • Catharine

    I have the same issue as Sue – gray since 17. One of the first things that I asked my doctor was about hair dying during pregnancy & I got the “all clear” with the the caveats of using gentle products/well ventilated area etc. She also said that the hair dying products of today in general as much less harsh/harmful than those of 20 years ago and the “no hair dying rule” is more a carry-over than anything. I don’t understand what the issue is here.

    • Kelly


  • Katie

    I dyed my hair, wore nailpolish, ate sushi, drank coffee. Nothing wrong with my daughter.

  • Kerosena

    “It looks like some rebellious mamas out there are throwing caution to the wind and dying their hair.”

    This is nothing new. I just think pregnant women weren’t making it some sort of grand announcement about it until recently.

  • K.

    As a pregnant lady, I was at first meekly embarrassed when people gawked at whatever gaff I committed, then annoyed, and now I just get pissed. Because 9/10 times people have NO IDEA why such “rules” exist. Ask them “why not” and they will offer up no studies, no data, just the vague, “Well, it’s bad for the baby!”

    There were studies back in the 80s that demonstrated a small–small–risk of miscarriage if the mother handled hair dye in excess of 40 hours a week. 40 hours a week! Yes, it’s true that dye formulations change all the time and that affects what we know about overall safety, but to my knowledge, there hasn’t been an epidemic of miscarriage or babies born with birth defects among hairdressers, and they handle and breathe in those chemicals much more often than the average customer.

    If we’re going by statistical probability as to what will harm fetuses and you want to protect your baby as best you can, you should avoid getting into a car before panicking about your greys, your sushi, or your latte.

  • Elise

    If this were true (it’s not!), how would hair stylists be able to have families and keep their jobs? So ridiculous. Everyone’s an armchair OB/GYN these days. I continued to color other people’s hair while pregnant, multiple times a day because my doctor said it was ok. If people gave me grief, I asked to see their medical degree! My son had zero complications, and is developmentally well ahead of his age group.

    • wend

      Ditto!!! I did hair through two of my three pregnancies (as a hairstylist) and continued to color my own hair through them all. I think that it is ridiculous for people who have no expertise to be so judgmental and ignorant. Like there aren’t better things to be talking about…

  • Pingback: Mommyish.com talks hair dyeing, “My Pregnancy Rebellion” | Marie C. Baca()

  • NYU Grad

    After my last baby my hair was destroyed. I always had thick and soft hair but that turned into thinning and rough hair. I got a sample of Shielo’s Volume Shampoo & Conditioner, and the Shielo Leave in Protectant. I was definitely hooked after one use. Now about 3 months later my hair is thicker and is no longer falling out like a dog shedding in 100 degree weather. I love how soft and silky smooth my hair is now. And after a long day with my 5 boys I totally enjoy a “me” moment when washing my hair. I just love how it makes my hair feel refreshed and very clean. The other day I was out of my conditioner and had to use my husband’s and I hated the greasy feel.And an added plus is the Shielo Antioxidant Leave in Protectant since it helped with the frizzy mess my hair is in the morning. I love that I can just smooth it on, run a brush through it and head out the door to start my day.

  • Bonnie Brown

    Thanks for your sharing! Love your post!


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