Star football player Odell Beckham Jr. gets major props, not only for his talent but for his blond, curly Mohawk — which some parents are now allowing their children to mimic as a way of saluting their favorite New York Giant. The trend of allowing kids to playfully dye their hair is one that seems to be growing.
That’s even true for celebrity kids: This week, model Amber Rose posted a photo her 4-year-old son Sebastian wearing a high-top version of his natural curls with a section of his hair highlighted blond. “The Most handsomest Pumpkin in all the Land,” she wrote, with lots of commenters agreeing by noting, “He’s a handsome young man,” and “so cute.”
Other recent instances — such as the mom who shared on Instagram how she dyed her daughter’s hair pink, and tattoo artist Amy Lyn, who made headlines for allowing her 2-year-old to have a head full of dyed purple hair — have resulted in big parenting debates.
Many agree that it’s cute. But is coloring a child’s hair at such a young age safe?
Latanya T. Benjamin, MD, medial director of pediatric dermatology at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, for one, doesn’t advise it. “There are many chemicals that a child could potentially absorb or have an adverse reaction to,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
One ingredient particularly worth being wary of is p-Phenylenediamine, an organic compound found in many hair dyes, also known as PPD. “Many permanent and some semipermanent hair colors often contain PPD, which can trigger an allergic response to anyone at any time,” Benjamin explains. “A person can be sensitive to color at any point in life. Therefore, there is no safe age to start experimenting without prior patch testing to chemical ingredients.”
To do a patch test, use a cotton swab to dab a small amount of hair dye near the back of the ear or another inconspicuous area of skin. Allow it to dry and stay there for a minimum of 24 hours, and then examine the skin to see if there are any allergic reactions. If there are, you should try a hair color with a different formulation.
Colorist Maddison Cave of Rita Hazan Salon in New York City advises starting out with highlights or a sectioned pop of color on kids. “It’s a technique that doesn’t require color to touch the scalp,” she shares. “Most color has ammonia or peroxide, so it is best to do color in the salon with good ventilation and off-the-scalp application.”
When it comes to actually gearing up to color a young child’s hair, it’s important to carefully consider the types of hair dyes, says Cassondra Kaeding, Redken brand ambassador and colorist at Mare Salon LA. “Something like Redken City Beats, which is a direct dye, or Shades EQ glosses, a demi-permanent dye, are less invasive to the hair follicle, so those types of hair-color options would be the best introduction to hair color,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Alternatively, there are even less invasive options, such as IGK Girls Club Color Spray, that are safer, wash out easily, and don’t contain many of the harsh ingredients that can be found in most hair dyes.
Experts agree that no matter what dye you plan to use on a child’s hair, it’s best to do a patch test. It’s also a good idea to visit a licensed salon professional to ensure that best practices and precautions are used — especially if it’s the first time.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- This video of a 3-year-old girl with pink hair has the internet divided
- Picnic tablecloth-inspired dye job is wild and wonderful
- Your Hair Dye Is Killing You, According to This Advocacy Group