Hair and nails
One of the most common questions pregnant woman have is “Can I get my hair colored?” It’s also one of the “don’ts” you’ll hear frequently from well-meaning co-workers and girlfriends.
There’s really nothing to back up the claim that dye and other hair products are harmful during pregnancy. In fact, these products—like other cosmetics—are rigorously tested for safety.
Researchers took a look at hair stylists to determine risks posed by hair products during pregnancy and lactation. And as authors Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham report in their book The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years, they “found no evidence that congenital anomalies, poor pregnancy outcomes or children’s developmental problems” were linked to them.
Our experts agree that most topical nail products, such as polishes and lotions are probably fine. New evidence does suggest, however, that exposure to chemicals commonly used in nail salons may carry higher risk. “Obviously you want your salon to be well-ventilated,” says Loretz.
If you plan to keep up with your salon treatments, Ashby recommends waiting until after the first trimester.
Still concerned? Switch to a henna-based dye or a nontoxic nail polish for the time being, suggests Zeichner. You may also want to trade in your hair spray for gel or mousse to avoid phthalates, which some animal studies have linked to sexual development interference in males.
Far and away the best thing you can do if you’re concerned about skin care and beauty product safety during pregnancy is consult your dermatologist or health care provider. “Every situation is a little bit different,” Zeichner says, “and you have to discuss the risks and the benefits.”