Is It Safe To Dye Kids Hair?

kid with coloured hair

kid with coloured hair

The crazy world of kid’s hair dyeing.

With the advances made by hair product manufacturers, and also the freedom for self-expression through fashion and make-up, there are frequent debates about whether temporary hair dye for youths is safe.

I am sure your kids are keen to own their hair dyes in pink, blue, or perhaps purple for their special occasion or just for fun.

As a parent, I’m sure you want to grasp the hazards of using dyestuff and the safest products to use?

I have been researching hair dyeing products to find the best one for a client of mine. Here are my findings.

Dangers of dyestuff 

Let’s start from the beginning.

Your hair follicles, and the hair shaft made up your hair.

The hair follicle containing the living cell is found at the root of your hair and attached to your scalp.

The hair shaft doesn’t have living cells, sticks out of this follicle.

Your hair colour comes from the pigment melanin, which is formed from the cells within the hair follicle.

Hair turns grey when melanin products cease or decrease.

When you use hair dyes, it either removes the natural colour or adds colour to the hair shaft.

There are two major categories of hair dyes.

A natural or organic dyestuff, and the other a chemical or synthetic dye.

Synthetic dyes are divided into two types, temporary /semi-permanent and permanent.

Permanent hair dyes are resistant to shampooing. It causes chemical changes and bleaches the natural melanin, which may damage your hair.

Because of its chemical make-up, which can include arylamines, is a primary concern.

You will develop hypersensitivity like redness, sores, burning sensation, itching, and swelling of the face.

Don’t you think your kids should avoid these forms of hair dyes?

Some other toxic chemicals, such as Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and Resorcinol may cause cancer.

Temporary or semi-permanent dye can easily fade after 4-12 washes.

These dyes also contain chemicals that remove melanin, but they’re not as strong and cause less damage.

Some ingredients are suspected of causing cancer, but there are currently no well-documented human studies that show a precise increase in cancer risk.

Children’s bodies are changing every day.

Are you aware that hair dye safety is evaluated by testing animals and adults, but not in children?

Children’s body mass is way smaller, so their body is more sensitive to toxic exposure.

Their body system, especially endocrine, metabolic, neurocognitive, and reproduction function, remains developing and therefore more sensitive to DNA-altering chemicals.

Your kid’s self-defence might not be mature to detoxify foreign substances compared to an adult body.

It goes without saying, kids’ hair is thinner, their scalp and brain are still developing and growing.

I don’t think it is a good idea to expose it to harsh chemicals found in hair dyes.

While vegan hair colouring sounds safe, it’s not necessarily so because it’s not been tested on children.

In the same light, “Natural” labels do not mean it is safer for children because there’s no specific, regulated definition for such products.

It is true that many children have dyed their hair with semi-permanent or temporary dye with no adverse effect.

But nobody knows what’s going to happen long term.

What are the side effects? The less exposure to chemical dyes, the better for them, don’t you think?

Low-risk option

Before your child dyes their hair, do an allergy test.

Put a small amount on their wrist, wait for a few hours or longer to work out if there’s a reaction.

Some safer alternatives to consider.

You’ll check online or on Pinterest to induce more details on the way to apply.

Kool-aid hair colouring – this is often a food colouring employed in hair dyes. It doesn’t penetrate the hair shaft, but sits on top of the hair like a sort of stain.

This dye can last between two and four weeks. If you wish a longer-lasting colour, you’ll leave the dye on the hair for about 30 minutes before washing off.

Streaks with hair chalk – it’s temporary and straightforward to get rid of with shampoo and water.

It is not as damaging as a permanent dye, but it does dry out your hair, making it more fragile. It’s best to keep hair chalking to minimum usage.

Herbal and tea dye – doesn’t contain any toxic ingredient, basically, it’s natural.

Black teas work best for darker hues, chamomile for blondes, and rooibos for redheads.

Spray on hair colour – temporary hair colour spray that you simply wash out anytime with shampoo and water.

 Bottom Line.

Most doctors and dye manufacturers will advise that it’s better to wait for your kid to pass puberty before using adult hair dyes.

You can also check the warning labels on all products.

It advises you to use the product on anyone younger than a particular age.


I hope this article has helped you learn about the safety aspects of temporary hair dyes for children and young adults.

Please share it with your friends, family and colleagues so that they can also have a safe experience when colouring their hair!

Do leave any questions in the comments box below. Thank you all again for following along, and I will see you next time!

Reference and Resources

• International Journal of Cancer – dyes and bladder cancer risk

• Newsweek Tech and Science – Breast Cancer 

• American Cancer Society

• Dr Zeichner – clinical research Dept. of Dermatology Mt. Sinai Hospital.


Disclosure: Just a Heads Up: My posts may contain affiliate links! If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a cent more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps to keep the lights on. All discount is taken from the suggested retail price. Many thanks!

Disclaimer: These statements are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. They are for information purposes only. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. You should read carefully all product packaging. If you suspect that you have a medical condition, seek help from your doctor. 

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