So you've got the baby, you've (temporarily) nailed the sleep schedule and life is finally feeling a bit more familiar. Then one morning, you finally decide to shower, and a small mammal shows up in your drain... or at least a small mammal's hair.

My postpartum hair loss experience took me by surprise... I've always shed a lot for a typical human, but it picked up a bit more than usual after my baby arrived. Yet I had no idea what was in store for me upon that 3-month mark. A handful of hair here and there became the norm... THE NORM! It was shocking to say the least but I took it all in stride, and you should too. Here's how to cope.

Why postpartum hair loss happens

While this is a completely normal and—luckily—temporary issue, it's nice to have some science-based info for those times you think you might actually be going bald. Like with most pregnancy-related things, postpartum hair loss is due to hormonal changes. During pregnancy, estrogen levels rise, which stimulates the dramatic increase in the 'growth phase' of hair.

After birth, however, the hormones shift yet again, and your hair enters its 'resting phase,' which is followed, about three months later, by shedding and regrowth. These phases are typical of hair growth, but they become very intense thanks to the upsurge of hormones during after pregnancy.

Pro tip: "Choose a healthy, organic conditioner that won't add weight to your hair, and one that also enables you to skip the shampoo between washes," says Fabian Lliguin, co-founder and CEO of Rahua. Rahua's Voluminous Conditioner works wonders for this, and thanks to its Omega-9 Amazonian molecules, it also reduces hair loss while maintaining the essential moisture and oils on the hair and scalp.

Postpartum hair thinning happens, too

Once that 3-month post-pregnancy hormone dip hits, you'll most likely notice an intense thinning of the hair. While it might feel like you're losing every hair you've ever had, you are in fact only shedding the excess you accumulated throughout the pregnancy.

Pro tip: If you feel like you're struggling with thinning hair, try using dry shampoos, texturizing sprays and products containing bentonite clay, which helps add grit and hold to hair. These will keep your postpartum mane looking (and feeling) full.

What's up with the postpartum baby hair

Regrowth is a beautiful word for most of us, but for new mothers it means a thousand crazy baby hairs crowning your head like the queen you truly are. This is yet another gift your sweet hormones are bestowing upon you! As your hair cycles into its regrowth stage, you may find yourself fighting the unending battle against the dreaded disappearing hairline and those newly acquired 'baby hairs.' No amount of hairspray, gel or cement will get those tiny, fine hairs flat, and product will only weigh the hair down, giving you a deflated effect. Resist the temptation to shellac! It will take some time for them to grow out, but grow out they will.

Pro tip: Keep those strands down! Stylists recommend avoiding ponytails and top knots as much as possible to minimize the appearance of the fine hairs around your hairline. Also think about requesting deep layers or face framing texture from your hairstylist, this will help keep the baby hairs under wraps. If you find yourself with a quickly changing hairline, some stylists will recommend a full fringe.

The best products for postpartum hair

My best advice to any new mom—grin and bear it. Consider your new hair your postpartum halo. And know, as with much of motherhood, this too shall pass. But until then, here are five of the best hair products and supplements to help you through this wild hair phase.


postpartum hair loss: moon juice super hair

Moon Juice

$60

Super Hair

Moon Juice’s Super Hair is designed to protect and revitalize hair growth through a combination of vitamins, minerals and herbal compounds. The formulation includes the powerful hair protectant saw palmetto, but be sure to talk to your doctor about taking this herb if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

postpartum hair loss: phytocane

Phytocane

$59.99

Revitalizing Serum

This triple-action serum helps support your dreams for the lush locks you had throughout pregnancy. Combining sulphured amino acids, B vitamins, ginkgo biloba, and silk proteins all helping to encourage keratin production at the follicle level, it essentially jumpstarts the growth phase and leaving you with thicker, stronger hair strands.

postpartum hair loss: rahua

Rahua

$36

Voluminous Shampoo

Rahua’s voluminous line helps strengthen and clarify hair while achieving maximum volume thanks to a combination of antioxidants, Rahua oil and lavender. Citrus juice and lemongrass remove build-up and reduce oil production helping to extend time between shampoos—exactly what every new mother needs. Rahua oil, which is incredibly rich in omega-9, pumps up the volume and restores the hair to its previous glory. The Voluminous Dry Shampoo is a personal favorite, with organic, food-grade Cassava (Tapioca) starch that helps to absorb oil and perspiration from the scalp and to build a supportive base for long-lasting durable styles.

postpartum hair loss: Perelel vitamins

Perelel

$48

Mom Multi Support Pack

Perelel’s founders were inspired to start the brand after becoming pregnant and struggling to find a reliable, clean approach to prenatal vitamins. Their super convenient and tirelessly researched vitamin packs contain all the things postpartum mamas need, including a Beauty Blend supplement that’s packed with biotin and collagen to help preserve and protect that gorgeous mane. The subscription-based service is a perfect setup for new moms! *please speak with your doctor before using supplements if you are breastfeeding/pregnant.

postpartum hair loss: sansceuticals

Sans[Ceuticals]

$33.90

Moisture + Protein Infusion

If regrowth has bestowed you with a frizzy baby hair crown, a dose of moisture can be helpful to keep it tame and restore your hair as it grows back. The result? A mane that’s stronger, shinier and healthier all around. Plus, it helps detangle the hair with limited breakage—a relief for any mama who’s already struggling with hair loss. We also love that you can count the ingredients that Sans[ceuticals] uses on both hands, and that the brand doesn’t do any testing on animals.

A version of this post originally appeared on April 8, 2021. It has been updated.