Hair Color For Kids: When They’re Dyeing To Go Neon, You Need To Be Smarter Than Your Fifth Grader About This

Hair color for kids is probably the last thing you thought you would be dealing with this year. One day, your little princess was trotting off to class, the most colorful thing about them being the My Little Pony backpack, then the next thing you know, they want hair in the same hues worn by the Equestria Girls.

You may remember dyeing your hair a color that did not exist naturally for humans, much less the mammals in general. Of course, you were older and it was in the interest of looking cool and making Mama or some other adult in your life roll his or her eyes and ask if it was permanent before dialing up the local beauty shop to get your tresses repaired. Now you’re the Mom and you’re wondering if there is actual hair color for kids. If there is, should you get it for your own little style maven?

Shannon R., a Nashville-based stylist, had an immediate answer to the question of home applications of Manic Panic for the elementary aged set.

“Hair color for kids is never a good idea. It’s temporary in ways you don’t expect or want and permanent in ways that will make you wish you’d gone with chalk or talked them out of it all together. If you’re going to dye your kid’s hair, get a professional to color it. You’ll be glad you did.”

Shannon does day to day salon work on grownups and also special occasion makeup and hair for modeling shoots, proms, quinceaneras, weddings, and sometimes even special effect styling for Halloween. She has fielded a few requests from brides who want their party from the matron of honor to the flower girls to match not only in terms of a natural hue but the color scheme of the wedding.

“The latest request I got was for a wedding with a seafoam green palette. The dresses and decorations the bride had picked out were very pretty. The problem was, green is the one hair color that will not come out. And most of the ladies had very dark brown or black hair that would have to be bleached for the coloring to show up. I sat down with everyone to explain what this would entail and even though some of the bridesmaids loved the idea of green streaks, the bride backed off and let everyone choose if they wanted to color their hair.”

Sometimes all it takes is a quick rundown of what is involved with keeping your hair looking great instead of grated. All of those great colors are nearly invisible on dark hair. To get the full Crayola effect, most hair requires bleaching, sometimes multiple times in order for the colors to take.

There’s also the permanence issue to consider. Brilliant purples, pinks, reds and some blues almost immediately start to fade. Bright sunlight and washing take a toll on those hair colors, which means a choice between touch-ups, letting it fade or grow out, or more dye to restore the original color. It’s also hard on clothing and pillow cases. A heavy downpour or post-bath dampness, that those cases or that favorite shirt could be history. On the other hand, head dyed green is a thing to behold and will stay green forever, at least until it grows out and is cut away. Green hair color is never a good idea for kids.

Most of the hair color products contain ingredients that, no matter how “natural” the companies may claim them to be, are too harsh for most children’s hair. Shannon noted that the processing involved can strip the natural shine and softness from a child’s hair.

Shannon maintains that hair chalk is a much safer, gentler product to use. Some of the chalks available last from three to five days and depending on the tints some companies use, the colors can linger on your kid’s hair for some time to come.

Would Shannon take on a young client who wanted purple hair? She demurred. Elementary age is just too young. She hopes hair color for kids is a trend that dies off, the sooner the better.

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]