Dear Scott: My daughter is 13 years old and wants to color her hair. She says that all of her friends are having theirs done and she feels like hers is ugly. I think she is too young to start coloring her hair. Her dad is about to have a fit, but he gives her anything she wants anyway. Is she too young to have this kind of stuff done yet?
Answer: Any type of on-scalp bleaching product or high-lift formulations would not be recommended. Thirteen years old is too young for the scalp to become irritated constantly. These type of products can cause a burning effect to the scalp that will eventually cause the destruction of the root of the hair at any age. Hair loss is possible over a period of time and it will not grow back.
At 13 years old, children become teenagers. Most girls will want to start experimenting with their appearance at that time. It’s a good thing I don’t have a daughter or I would want her to stay 12 forever. But kids eventually grow up. It is important to let them express themselves with their appearance or it can turn into a battle they will remember for the rest of their lives. Once you decide as parents what to do, here are some safe options for hair color fun.
Foil up-lights: This one will take an appointment at the salon. There is nothing like some one-on-one beauty time to strengthen the mother-daughter relationship. Lighten, brighten, caramelize, strawberry-lights or accent color pieces are a fun way to introduce color. The product is safely tucked away inside the foil to protect the scalp from exposure to chemicals. Sections of color are easily located for easy cover-ups when the need for change is frequent.
Extensions: Adding pieces of color is a snap. Buy the hair already colored and clip it in. Also works for a highlighting effect without the commitment.
Chalk: Do-it-yourself fun for kids of any age using soft pastels to add chunks of bright color without commitment. Great for sleepover games. Available at art supply stores, Senellier brand pastels get the best reviews. Put something down on the floor to keep things tidy. Wet the hair, twist it as you chalk it up. Try using two colors on one strand of hair to give it a tie-dyed effect. Don’t wet the hair for blondes or it will stain it.
Glaze: No peroxide or ammonia makes it safe. Non-permanent glaze will last from 6 to 12 shampoos. Glazing adds just a hint of color. Purple, blue, and bright reds are the favorites.
Brightener: A great way to lighten hair just a little. Seek a professional colorist for optimum results and touch-ups. Modify over-the-counter box color by adding one once of shampoo and one once of conditioner to the mix. This will buffer the product to make it safer for younger kids. Wet the hair and shampoo it in. Leave on for five minutes, rinse, wash and condition. Test for allergic reactions by doing the “patch test” suggested on the package before applying any product to the skin.
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