Let's take a moment and talk about hair, postpartum hair that is. Most moms are familiar with the postpartum shedding that occurs about three to six months after their baby is born. After retaining most of your hair during pregnancy, the body needs to "correct itself" by shedding a whole lot of it all at once. Suddenly it's falling out in clumps, clogging your drains, vacuum, and forming a loose knit rug on your bathroom floor. It seems that about the time my baby is getting more hair, that I'm losing mine. A little ironic isn't it? Everyone's experience varies, and some will not even notice a big difference, or won't experience it at all. I've even heard that women with really thick hair actually enjoy it. Fancy that.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon hits the ladies in my family pretty hard. We share the common gene of fine, thinner hair already, so it can be kind of scary to see so much of it falling out. Even so, we continue on with life and look forward to having babies. We understand that it's just part of the mothering process and will eventually get better. My intention in sharing this is not to scare any moms, or moms-to-be, because really it's such a short part of life, and babies are well worth the sacrifice.
Now that I've experienced four pregnancies within an eight year period, my hair has been through a lot! I've gone through several cycles of "I'm pretty sure I'm going to be bald!", to "Hey, it's ever so slowly growing back!", to "Oh, I'm pregnant again" pregnancy regrowth, to "Wow, my hair is almost back!" to "The baby is here and DOH, there it goes again." Needless to say, I've learned a few things. Here are six tips to try when dealing with postpartum hair loss.
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Change Your Part
One of the hardest parts of postpartum hair loss is that a large amount of it happens in the areas that frame your face. Why?! (insert overly hormonal sob) This is typically near where you part your hair, which means it is usually quite visible to yourself and others. One thing that dramatically helped me was changing up my part, in a sort of "mommy-comb-over" attempt until my hair had some regrowth in those areas. If you normally part your hair on the left side, try parting it on the right, or try moving your current part down or up an inch or so, until the affected areas are covered.
Use A Teasing Brush
I grew up using a rat tail comb to tease my hair. It was the only tool to combat the flat-roots-blues until my amazing hairdresser introduced me to the teasing brush. This brush works a lot better in my opinion! Since postpartum hair loss primarily affects the hair closest to your head, your hair can tend to look a lot flatter and thinner on top than on the bottom. Use the teasing brush to back brush just underneath your roots in small sections will help add some volume and even things out a bit.
Go For Your Fullest Style
When I'm not battling postpartum shedding, I rotate between wearing my hair naturally curly and curling it with a curling iron after blow-drying it straight. If my hair is abnormally thin, which happens in this glorious stage of life, I stop wearing my hair naturally curly, because it tends to clump the sections of my hair together making it look even more scarce. I've found that blow drying my hair straight (after applying a volumizing mousse and curl creme for frizz), and then teasing the roots, and curling sections with my curling iron give it a much fuller look. Whatever your style is that makes your hair look thicker is going to be your go-to until you can get some regrowth going. For up-dos, try and keep your part going versus pulling all of your hair straight back. You can also leave your hair down and just pull up the front area directly above your forehead, leaving the sides down to frame your face.
Be Nice To Your Hair
Your body has been through a lot growing, birthing and nurturing a baby. Let's try to be nice to it, shall we? If you don't have a high-quality shampoo, conditioner and hair spray, this may be a good time to invest. Using professional quality hair products can be a huge game changer in helping your hair be healthier and look better too, so it's a win-win. Use a wide-tooth comb to gently brush out your hair when it's wet to avoid breakage. You may also consider giving your hair a break from any chemicals, which means if you normally do coloring or highlights, think about sticking with low-lights for a few appointments. I've forgone my usual highlights the last several months and am sporting more of an ombre look with my natural roots. I'm actually quite happy with it so far. This is just another way to preserve the quality of your hair while it's in a more fragile state.
Consider A Cut
Sometimes the best fix I've found during postpartum hair loss is going with a shorter haircut/do altogether. This kind of cut and style can help balance things out and make your hair amount look more even on bottom and top. It's also a way to start growing your hair out altogether versus keeping it long and having the baby hairs play catch up, which we all know takes a while. Having shorter hair means smaller hairballs to deal with.
Over the years my hairdresser has continually sung praises of Biotin and its aid in hair regrowth. She told me once of an elderly client she had that was dealing with extreme hair loss. The client began taking Biotin every day, religiously, and within six months to a year, her hair became noticeably fuller and thicker. Miracles people. Fortunately, my prenatal vitamins already have biotin in them, so I just have to remember to take them postpartum. Easier said than done. Supplements are not necessarily a quick fix, but they could do some preventative work and have your hair headed in the right direction long term.
If all else fails, it's can be comforting to remember that this challenge is only temporary and that hair does grow back with time. I know it's not easy, or fun, and some days you just want to throw on a big bird hat or shave off all your hair so you can start over. This too shall pass my friend, and one day your hair will look normal or at least semi-normal again.