Hair To Dye For

6:11 pm in Body Burden, Personal Care Products by Mary Brune

If you’re not clued into the latest drama unfolding on TMZ, consider yourself lucky. I’ll admit freely that the TMZ app on my phone is a little guilty pleasure of mine. When perusing the “un-news” last week, I came across the tidbit about the backlash aimed at Kourtney Kardashian for coloring her hair while pregnant. Before you click away from the page for me admitting that, yes, I do read TMZ, let me tell you why I find this controversy so interesting.

For those readers who don’t know me, I’ll give a little introduction. I’m a pretty crunchy mama. I do my best to use the safest products on, in, or around my body and those of my family. My 7-year-old-daughter knows how to find non-toxic nail polish, and shuns strawberries that aren’t organic, and doesn’t eat the frosting on most of her friends’ birthday cakes because it contains food dyes.

That said, however, I’m also a 41-year-old woman who got her first gray hairs at age 25. While I’m pretty crunchy where many things are concerned, my one admitted weakness is in wanting (I know it’s vain, I anticipate the flames) to keep my brown hair brown just a tad longer.

Now here’s the real rub: I’m also pregnant. While I have dyed my hair once so far in this pregnancy, I used a product that is ammonia-free and is a foam, so it is less likely to drip onto my scalp where it could be absorbed by my system. I also waited until after the first twelve weeks so that any risk of interfering with baby’s organ development was minimized. But here I am a month later, and those nearly white patches of hair are shining through all over and I’ve found myself wanting, against my better judgment, to do something about them. Because I do know better, I’m trying to resist. But I’m not even halfway through my pregnancy yet and I’m sure I’m going to need the confidence boost before the end.

I know I ought to know better. I also know that—right now—there isn’t a whole lot that’s going on with my body that I can control. Including comments from others about the speed with which my abdomen is expanding, or how full my face is looking, or questions about how many babies are in there (despite the appearance, it’s just one). Can you really blame a pregnant woman for trying to do something to improve her self-image?

With all we’ve learned in the past few years about phthalates in fragrances and carcinogens in shampoos, the beauty care industry has come a long way. There are plenty of safer options on the market for everything from make-up to moisturizer. But we haven’t made much headway in creating truly eco- and health-friendly hair dye. I’ve long said that the company that comes up with a truly non-toxic, effective hair coloring product I can use at home will have struck gold.

In the meantime, though, there are a few actions we can take. First, we can work to pass the Safe Cosmetics Act which would eliminate the most harmful ingredients from cosmetics and personal care products. Since self-regulation of the industry hasn’t worked so far, perhaps we can try some good old-fashioned governmental regulation, hmmm?

The other action we can take is to keep our opinions to ourselves. If you happen to spy a pregnant woman leaving a salon and she looks freshly dyed, let’s assume she’s consulted the experts and is doing the best she can for herself and her baby.

But if she happens to have a cigarette dangling from her lips, is holding a mojito in one hand and is about to spray herself with pesticides with the other—by all means, please intervene.