My colleagues figured out I was pregnant before the 12 week mark because my hair was in such spectacularly bad shape. In an effort to reduce the baby’s exposure to toxins, I went cold turkey on hair colour as soon as we started to try to conceive. This wasn’t as big a sacrifice as it might seem – I’ve never been a once every six weeks highlighter. I’m lazy where beauty’s concerned and as hair salons’ prices have crept up in recent years, I stuck to the laidback beachy vibe of my Cornish roots (pun intended) and booked in for a colour topup twice a year only. But the problem is that in the months before getting pregnant I bought my first house and in so doing gave away all my worldly goods and reduced my expendable income to zero, so by the time I got pregnant, my hair was already in dire need of a good blonding.
The NHS is reasonably unclear about whether to dye or not while pregnant saying: “Most research, although limited, shows that it’s safe to colour your hair while pregnant. Many women decide to wait to dye their hair until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the risk of chemical substances harming the baby is much lower.”
So far, so confusing. But it does suggest that: “Highlighting your hair, by putting the dye only onto strands of hair, also reduces any risk. The chemicals used are only absorbed by your hair, and not by your scalp or bloodstream.”
So when it got to the point where my boss told me that she was staging an intervention and pretty much ordered me to sort out my by then greying, half blonde, half brown moptop, I felt, at six months’ pregnant, that I was past any point at which I could cause the tiny one any damage and, at any rate, I’d be having the less risky highlights. Safe, see.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that in the name of vanity I was exposing the babba to a whole host of bleachy chemicals. Which is when I thought of Aveda, whose tagline is “connecting beauty, environment and well-being”. Their website is covered in talk of: “the art and science of pure flower and plant essences,” so if any salon was going to protect my baby from the potential perils of dyeing my hair, these guys would.
I booked in for a Aveda Full Spectrum™ balayage. They’ll only let you have it done after you’ve passed the 21 week mark, which is interesting considering the dye consists of 99% naturally-derived formulas. I was due to have highlights but when I explained to my lovely colourist that I was still a bit nervous about having my hair coloured while pregnant, he suggested balayage. Kate Middleton’s a big fan and I can see why. It basically involves painting ammonia-free dye onto the hair to create a more low-maintenance, natural look. It also reduces the risk of the uniform streaks that highlights can sometimes create and frankly if Queen of Hair Kate’s into it, I’m into it.
It was a shock looking into the mirror immediately afterwards. I was convinced it was too orange but within a few days, my eyes had adjusted (and friends had reassured me I just wasn’t used to seeing my hair coloured after having left it so long) and I loved it. I loved it so much in fact that I didn’t need to do anything to it before I got married six weeks later. It’s natural-looking, glossy and by God if his constant kicks are anything to go by, hasn’t done the baby any harm at all.