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I decided that I needed to dye my hair. And it had to be now. I didn’t want to wait to go to a professional, more about why later. What I have read about dyeing hair in pregnancy is that it is controversial.

As an aside, Motherisk.org is a wonderful site and does have all the up-to-date information on risks in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Their motto is “treating the mother, and protecting the unborn”. They don’t mess around, if it’s bad for you they will tell you what research has indicated that and why, I highly suggest it for any soon to be pregnant ladies to get their FACTS on what is ok and not pregnancy. There are so many things out there that people tell you not to do in pregnancy, which all should be taken with a grain of salt and you should do your own research. I feel your own research should including consulting your physicians (I spoke to my GP, midwife and naturopathic doctor), and book/article research (finding reputable articles online, I underline reputable, check the site there is so much junk out there). This is an article from www.motherisk.org on hair dye in pregnancy:

http://www.motherisk.org/prof/updatesDetail.jsp?content_id=890

Highlights or foils feel like the safest to me. The dye does not travel down your hair shaft and go into your system. Your hair does not work like that, if it did we would never have to dye our hair again right! The only way the dye gets into your system, even with an all over colour, is if you have open wounds on your head or skin, and even then the amount that gets in is negligible with small abrasions. If you really want to be safe, use a vegetable dye like Henna. That was the extent of my research. I assumed henna was like other dyes but just natural, so off I went to the health food store to pick some up.

I got it home and it had very few instructions. Not to mention vague colour descriptions on the packages. I got “brown”. It was a dry powder that looked green…. after using it I think it smells and has the consistency of the Greens Plus drink, but to go in your hair… oh so gross. I don’t think I mixed it right, I mixed it in the bag provided instead of as the directions indicated. It was clumpy and not smooth. I don’t think I got the consistency right but put it in my hair anyway, left it for a little shorter than recommended. It was so messy and did I mention smelly? It was like sticky crap in your hair, now I know my nose is more sensitive in pregnancy, but it smelt like it too. As I was doing it my toddler was watching on and off and I said to my husband it smells like pooh. So my toddler, who is a sponge (as I was waiting for it to process on my head in a bag), would point to my head and say pooh pooh!

After, I didn’t notice much of a colour difference. I was trying to get the red shade out of my hair and I don’t think it changed it much. One thing I did notice was despite washing my hair, it STILL smelled! Yuck, yuck, yuck…. did I mention YUCK!

So now I am even more desperate to colour my hair. I marched right back the health food store and pick up some natural hair dye. I got it home and realized it was permanent. To colour your hair permanently the products has to lift the cuticle, essentially damaging your hair, although the natural companies do it without ammonia and much more naturally, they still need to lift the cuticle. I still wanted to limit the damage to my hair. I went back to the health food store and they only have permanent organic hair colour. I returned the box and went down the street to the drug store and picked up Natural Instincts by Clairol, semi-permanent hair colour (No. 24 Medium Ash Brown). A true semi-permanent only stains the hair. I figure semi permanent can’t be as bad as permanent, and it’s going to wash out over the next month or so anyway.

Once I got it home and read the directions it said right in the directions (but not ON the box) not to use the dye on henna dyed hair. WHAT?! And to wait until henna grows out to dye your hair… yea right… my hair is like 14 inches long, do you know how long that would TAKE! I did some more research and found out the reason they don’t recommend it is because the results are unpredictable. I did a strand test and it appeared fine, so I did the rest of my head. I think the henna didn’t take that well when I did do it, so it didn’t alter the results that much. And the semi permanent colour I was using was medium ash brown; it was dark… so it seemed to cover. There is a slight tinge of reddish, but better than before the henna. It will fade out over the next month, but I hope it doesn’t go that nasty brown red again. I just want my brown hair back!!

What an extremely messy process. Now I remember why I go to professionals, oh how I need to learn my lessons!  I had to do it by myself too; I don’t remember the last time I coloured my hair by myself. When I was in my teens and early twenties I always got a friend to do it for me. Needless to say it went all over the bathroom and me.

That night I felt extremely stupid and guilty. Worried and paranoid I may have hurt the baby. Somewhere in my head I thought the over the counter dyes have to be less toxic than the ones professionals use, but I have no basis for that.  I didn’t want to go to a professional and sit there with a belly and have people judge me. I feel like people will still do that now anyway. I know many women, including my GP, who delivers babies and sees women in pregnancy that continued to dye her hair while pregnant. So did my naturopath come to think of it? And I am in my second trimester now anyway, and if you want to avoid hair dye the worst time is first trimester of course, as for most things. So I shouldn’t feel guilty right?!

If there is a next time, I am certainly not going to do it by myself! I know Aveda’s colours are less toxic than most, and will go if I decide to again, or if after this washes out my hair looks like crap. All I want is my natural hair colour back! I had planned to get it coloured before getting pregnant back to my natural colour, but got pregnant a lot more quickly than I had thought we would. I’m not complaining, just explaining and trying to rationalize.