Can You Dye or Colour Your Hair While Breastfeeding?

Hair Colouring or Perming During Breastfeeding – Is it Safe?

Medically Reviewed By
Shyamala Sathiaseelan (Lactation Specialist)
View more Lactation Specialist Our Panel of Experts

If you are wondering if getting hair treatment is safe during breastfeeding, then you are not alone. These treatments require heavy use of chemicals, and therefore, it is natural to wonder if the chemicals will find a way into your baby’s system through breastmilk. After carrying the baby for nine months, watching your every move and ensuring everything you do is for the baby developing inside you, you might be in the mood for some “me time”. Spending a day at the salon to pamper yourself is one of the best ways to relax and rejuvenate. However, some salon procedures for getting your hair treated may not be safe for you yet, particularly if you are breastfeeding. In this article, we shall shed some light on whether it is safe for you to get your hair coloured or permed during breastfeeding.

Can You Colour/Dye, or Perm Your Hair During Breastfeeding?

If you are wondering if you can colour your hair while breastfeeding, here is what you need to know. While most breastfeeding mothers stay away from any chemical products, there isn’t any proof to suggest that hair colouring or perming can have negative effects on your baby. The chemicals used in these processes are mild and cannot be absorbed through the hair follicle. However, the chemicals will be absorbed in minimal quantities when it is applied to the skin. Also, some products leave fumes which could be harmful to the mother if they are inhaled. Thus, if you have to, you may use products that do not emit harmful fumes and ensure they are applied only to the hair and not the scalp or the skin. Have proper ventilation for chemicals with fumes and wash the scalp right after the dye is applied. Having said that, we always recommend mothers to indulge and pamper themselves in a salon only once your baby has been weaned on to solid foods.

Can Chemicals in Hair Treatments Cause Harm to Breastfeeding Moms?

As mentioned earlier, the products used for treating hair consist of chemicals which when applied to the skin can be absorbed into the bloodstream but in extremely low levels. Also, if the products emit harmful fumes like ammonia, the mother could experience minor health issues if she inhales them. Using good quality products from trusted brands can lower the health risks if any, but cheap brands with loads of harmful chemicals can cause some harm, whether you are breastfeeding or not.

Hair Colouring

Let’s take a look at the side effects of hair perming or hair colouring products.

Side Effects of Hair Colouring or Hair Perming During Breastfeeding

Some hair treatment products may contain chemicals which could lead to side effects. Here are some of them –

  • Some of the older and cheaper dyes use ammonia for hair colouring. The fumes of ammonia if inhaled by the mother can be extremely harmful to her. An easy solution is to use dyes that do not contain ammonia. Thankfully, most companies now make ammonia-free dyes.
  • Most of the treatments leave a strong smell on the hair. If you are a nursing mother, your baby might find the smell repelling, making it difficult for you to nurse your baby.
  • Pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding can cause a lot of changes to the body and make the hair react differently to colour than before, so it could turn dry or frizzy or increase hair fall, etc.

If you are concerned about your baby’s health and do not want to take any chances, you may consider alternative methods of treating your hair during breastfeeding.

Alternative Methods of Hair Treatment

Your doctor may dissuade you from getting any hair treatment, but you must not lose heart. There are several alternative processes that are chemical-free, and therefore, safe to use on your hair. Post your pregnancy, your hair might require much-needed love and care, and while these alternative hair treatments might not give results as good as the other professional products do, you will be assured that nothing will harm you and your baby while you are breastfeeding him.

1. Vegetable Dyes

One of the major complaints of breastfeeding women is the appearance of grey hair soon after giving birth; hence they wish to dye their hair. Since chemical dyes are not safe, you can always choose natural vegetable dyes. Dyes like henna will hide your grey hair, make your roots healthy and also give your hair shine and bounce. You can boost the colour and depth of henna by adding beetroot juice and coffee decoction.

2. Highlights

Instead of hair dyeing or perming, you can get only highlights for your hair. The dye then will be restricted to only small parts of your hair, and the exposure to chemicals will be drastically reduced. This option is stylish and in trend too.

3. Temporary Treatments

Another great idea is to choose treatments that are temporary and hence do not require any chemicals. Instead of getting a perm, you can just use a curler to set your hair the way you want. The same trick can be applied to straighten your hair. This way, you can also change your style according to your mood and occasion. This option requires less upkeep and will still ensure a great and relaxing spa day for you.

If your heart is still set on getting your hair coloured or permed, you may take some precautionary measures too. Let’s take a look at it.

Precautions to Take While Colouring or Perming Hair for Breastfeeding Moms

These precautions will help you get the required hair treatment and ensure the chemicals in the products you will be using do not enter your bloodstream.

  • Since the chemicals have little chance of being absorbed by the hair itself, you can pay attention solely to your scalp. Ensure no product touches your scalp, forehead, ears, the neck or the nape.
  • If you are doing the treatments yourself, wear gloves to avoid contact with the chemicals.
  • Make sure your scalp is healthy and does not have any cuts or infections.
  • Do not use products without doing an allergy test on yourself.
  • Do not keep the product on for long. Follow the instructions given in the package wash it off immediately after the stated time.
  • Ensure you do not touch your baby if you have the product on your hands.
  • It’s better to carry out the procedure away from the baby as the smell of the chemicals might cause discomfort to him.

If you want to get your hair coloured while breastfeeding, it is recommended that you consult a paediatrician first to know if it will affect your baby. Frequent hair colouring or hair perming should be avoided and should be done when it is absolutely necessary. If you do colour your hair during this time, follow the doctor’s instructions to keep your baby safe and healthy.


Also Read: Getting Tattoos during Breastfeeding

Previous article «
Next article »
Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.