What You Need To Know Before Dyeing Your Child's Hair

Manufacturers and the top industry bodies advise that no hair dye products be used on children under 16 years old.

There are probably very few parents who haven’t had their children ask them if they could dye their hair.
Depending on your child’s age you may be able to influence them but if they are teenagers there is every chance they may return home one day with their hair dyed!
As many of us can remember we all loved to experiment with hair dye but there are some things to consider first. Manufacturers and the top industry bodies advise that no hair dye products be used on children under 16 years old.
However, some children are managing to get their hair dyed. Parents are pressurised by their kids and as much as we hope to be strong and refuse a child’s demands, doing so is difficult.
So, let’s look at some facts…
Hair dyes contain chemicals and we know that in some (albeit rare cases) such dye can cause allergic reactions – some of which can be life-threatening or debilitating at the very least. Hair dye manufacturers state that their hair dye is not for use for those under 16 years old and when I asked some hairdressers, they all agreed that while it is not advised to dye children’s hair, there aren’t any major regulations in place.
Some salons request parental consent too and many don’t allow any hair colour services unless the child is at least 18 years old. It varies from salon to salon but of those who I spoke to, they all said it is vital that anyone who is planning on dyeing their hair must get a patch test done prior. 
With so many freelance hairdressers and salons it is hard to gauge how many children get their hair dyed on a regular or non-regular basis. Hair dye and, indeed, hair bleach can be damaging to children’s hair for several reasons. In fact, a young person's hair is thinner than adults and is, therefore, more susceptible to damage. There are also the fumes that hair dye gives off to consider and while it may not affect every child it could be a problem.
Then, there is a child’s delicate skin as any dye added to the scalp could cause burns or damage. There are patch tests and there is no way you should consider using hair dye on your child unless they have been tested properly.
Is there a way around it?
If your child is determined to dye their hair and they are 13 years old or more there may be a way by using semi-colourant dyes that are less damaging than permanent hair dye. You will still need to do a patch test but there is a less chance of skin reactions etc. Maybe suggest only dip the ends of their hair thus keeping harmful chemicals off their scalp and skin. Some children will be happy to have a dip dye and it may be suitable for your child’s age. Ensure you consult a professional’s advice and don’t be tempted to do any colouring without the right expertise.
Over-caution is key and whether your child is demanding a new hair colour remember you are the parent and have the final say!
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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