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Henna and conception

Choosing hair color when you want to conceive is stressful. We have all heard various things about the safety of hair color. One choice is definitely safe, but is it easy?

I'm talking about henna. Yes, the stuff that makes your hair red. Depending on the mix you make, it can make you more of a strawberry blonde versus a bold red or just enhance darker hair and cover gray.

Henna is a plant, and the part of it that makes the red dye is lawsone. It binds into the keratin in your hair, making it permanent. Truly permanent. It will fade in the first three days, but then it's the color it will forever be.

The difference is the color you get is the color you are starting with. Henna does not lift your hair color. You cannot take your hair color from dark brown to light red. On black hair, it will give some reddish highlights and cover gray, but it won't turn the hair red. On a blonde, the result is red hair.

I think Lucille Ball is probably the most famous modern henna redhead. She chose to go very bright red, but you don't have to. By adding cassia, another plant, you can tone down the red, making a strawberry blonde from a blonde. Or you can add indigo to make it more brown.

If you search the internet, you will find a lot of information on henna and how to do it yourself. It's definitely inexpensive, but I do think it's intimidating. I haven't tried it yet, but I am about to take the leap. The reason is safety.

No matter what hair color you are using, even the plant-based ones, there is some PPD or paraphenylenediamine in them. There are definitely safer ones, but it's all relative. PPD is the main allergen in hair color, and it's also a suspected carcinogen. It's not approved for use on skin, but it is approved in hair color products. As we all know, hair color definitely touches your scalp, making it curious that it's approved for hair application.

When you're trying to conceive or are pregnant, it's normal to be concerned about the chemicals you use on your hair. If you want a truly safe hair color, it's henna, but watch out for products called "compound henna." They contain other ingredients like metals that cause allergies, too.

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