There's like nine colours here, and they're all unpleasant.
June 11, 2012 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm two months pregnant and have two months regrowth. One of these things I'd like to keep, the other not so much. Help me stay fabulous while I gestate!

Up until quite recently I've been bleaching my hair on one side, dying it fire engine red, and doing the other side in black, like this. I love it but it's grown out and looks a hell of a lot rattier now. It's a fairly brutal process, and given that the first trimester is when I'm most fragile to harsh compounds in commercial dyes I've got to come up with a better plan. I've got fairly dark hair, very fine, shot through with grey and silver, and it takes dye up well but doesn't hold it.

So the question here:

If I were to cover the lot with henna, am I going to have weirdness due to the fact I've bleached the crap out of only half of my hair?

Am I going to have weirdness anyway because of the syntheticl dyes already in the hair shaft?

Can I get away with henna on the red side and indigo on the other, or is it just going to look weird and bland? An I better off just going black on the lot?

How feral does this stuff smell anyway? I'm fairly fragile to smells right about now.

Also: I'm clumsy as hell. How badly does it stain your scalp? How hard is it to get in there compared to commercial chemical dyes?

Any extra experience from those of you with creative hair making the best of it during pregnancy would be greatly appreciated. I've got another 30 odd weeks or so of this, so any and all inspiration would be wonderful.
posted by Jilder to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Funny, as I read above the cut, I thought, Henna.

How much do you gag at the smell of hemp/pot? Because that's what Henna smells like. It also stains like a mo-fo, so be sure to clean out the tub/sink as soon as you're done.

Rinsing it out will take forever, so do this when you have a lot of time on your hands.

Here's a link to a previous askmefi.

As others have said, you want pure henna, nothing with metalic salts or additives.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:00 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Only experience with fixing hair disasters when not pregnant, don't try to do it yourself, go to a hairdresser you like and trust and let them recommend and do something you can live with that won't scare the baby when it comes. Best to stay away from harsh chemicals during pregnancy, just in case. This too will pass.
posted by mermayd at 9:00 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't speak from experience to the interactions between henna and previous bleaching, but I think that as long as you get really good quality henna or indigo (body art quality), then it should not have too bad interactions with any dye still on your hair. A lot of "henna" you can buy at say, an Indian grocery store, has heavy metals and preservatives, which can make bad interactions, in my understanding.

I actually just hennaed my (below shoulder length) hair for the first time a week ago. The smell is not that bad. It smelled to me kind of like fresh mowed grass. My hair is pretty dark brown, but with some golden-ish highlights, and I'm sooo happy with it. It is not a striking red like the one you have, but on bleached hair it gets extremely orange.

You will probably need help to get it on you. I used 500 grams of body art quality henna (from mixed with enough lemon juice to make a paste the consistency of yogurt. My roommate and I sectioned my hair and slathered it on as much as possible into all the strands, which ended up being kind of an uncomfortable process. It was really heavy! We did it outside and wore gloves, but we both still got little flecks of it on us, and I got some on the edges of my scalp. The stuff we washed off immediately was a little orange at first, but faded within a couple days. Getting it off was also kind of a chore - we used an outside hose and it took forever to get it all out. I would recommend doing as much of it outside as possible.
posted by permiechickie at 9:03 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

The thing about henna is that it is really, really difficult to dye hair that has been hennaed (I would say impossible, but some professional stylists seem to be able to manage it somehow). So by going henna, you're committing to staying with henna rather than dye for a bit. That may not be an issue for you, given your time frame with the pregnancy and all. is an excellent source.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:28 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're going to want help. Henna is a messy, messy substance, and doing it right is somewhat labour-intensive, especially if your hair is longer than jaw-length.

It does commit you to henna until you find a stylist who knows the chemistry for dying over it (unless you plan on cutting your hair off at some point to clear it all out, but that doesn't seem likely).

Most of my funny-hair-colour friends (including myself) just let roots take over until we felt regular colour was safe and the process was dealable. Some of us continued to put off re-dying until after nursing (at least until the every-other-hour phase). And some of us have given it up entirely (although perhaps not permanently).
posted by batmonkey at 10:03 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I haven't used henna with previously existing hair dye, but I dye my hair with henna every 6-8 weeks.

There is some good info here on dying with henna. I have someone help me put it in. I use the lemon juice mixed with body-art quality henna mentioned above. It smells strongly muddy to me, and the smell lingers for a while. It does stain skin, and the color darkens on hair after about 24 - 48 hours.

Here is what I do: the night before, I mix the henna and lemon juice (reconstituted industrial size) into a somewhat loose paste. I use a gallon ziploc baggie. This makes it easy to see if there are any dry spots, mixing doesn't involve any utensils, and it's a contained mess. The next day, i may add some water to get a better consistency. mix in the bag again. Rather than smearing it on, I use hair dye color applicator bottles with the spout cut large enough to allow for easy application. That's why I adjust the consistency, so it comes out without either dripping and running, but is still soft enough to use the bottles. This makes it much less messy, and you can get those roots really well. I just cut a hole in one of the baggie corners to squeeze it into the bottles. The baggie won't hold up the the squeeze pressure, unless you are mixing up a small amount.

Once it's on, I wrap my head with plastic wrap then a towel, and leave it in for 1 - 2 hours. Sometimes bobby pins are neede to help hold it in place. The best trick I have found for getting the henna out is to fill a bathtub with warm water, and immerse. It helps loosen the henna better than a shower, and then I drain the water, which looks like a mud-bath, and take a regular shower.

To prevent skin stains, keep a damp rag around to wipe up drips immediately. You can put a barrier around your hairline with some lotion.
posted by annsunny at 2:37 PM on June 11, 2012

If I were to cover the lot with henna, am I going to have weirdness due to the fact I've bleached the crap out of only half of my hair?

Almost Certainly yes.

Am I going to have weirdness anyway because of the syntheticl dyes already in the hair shaft?

Almost Certainly yes.

How feral does this stuff smell anyway? I'm fairly fragile to smells right about now.

I grew up on a farm, and have dyed my hair with henna. Henna is pretty close to the smell of swamp water mixed with cow dung. It was... tolerable, and I have a pretty sensitive nose, but not pleasant AT ALL.

If it were me, I'd probably go to Aveda, and talk frankly with a stylist about your options. Their hair dye is a lot more "natural" than a lot of the dyes out there, and henna isn't necessarily safe, especially black henna which can contain synthetic coal tar. They might be able to dye the already-dyed parts of your hair to match your regrowth and then add in some colourful highlights or something, without much, if any, dye touching your scalp. I've had my hair dyed by an 8 month pregnant stylist at Aveda and she felt comfortable using the dyes on other people daily without worrying too much about the effects on her pregnancy, so going once to get something maintainable throughout your pregnancy (and easier for right after the baby's born, because you'll have a lot of other things to worry about!) could be worth it.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 3:41 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a committed bleacher and dyer, I did some research on hair dye and pregnancy when I got pregnant. Studies have not been able to show that hair dye has an adverse effect on unborn babies. However, ammonia in larger doses than what is usually found dye can be harmful. Ammonia is usually found in dark dyes. I bleached with peroxide and dyed my hair purple a couple of times over my pregnancy and my doctor thought that was fine. The dye I use to get my hair purple is actually a "wash" and doesn't contain all the chemical fixers that "dyes" contain. It is the variety that washes out slowly over a few weeks. I looked into its ingredients and didn't find anything that was advised against, although I don't actually know what all the chemicals are. I use Punky Colour made by Jerome Russell.

Ok, so that being said, If you want to get creative you could use lemon juice and a lot of sunlight to bleach your hair, then use kool-aid (without sugar) or food colouring to add red after. However, both of these processes take a LONG time.
posted by keeo at 5:07 PM on June 11, 2012

As in previous posts, Henna is also the first natural dye that comes to mind. Make sure to get one without the harsh metals and sulfates such as those found at Lush. It has a pretty strong smell and will have different color results which each side of your hair. What a fun dilemma to have, though! Good luck!
posted by horizonseeker at 12:24 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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