The fourth trimester is a chaotic ride of ups and downs (to put it lightly). From establishing some semblance of a sleep schedule to dealing with leaky breasts and healing from birth, not to mention hormonal whiplash, it’s no wonder you’re up at all hours googling the most bizarre queries. 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.

You might have heard of the postpartum hair loss phenomenon, but when it happens to you, it’s still likely to incite utter shock—and maybe even denial. It seems to start slowly… then all at once. Around the 4-months postpartum mark, the normal shedding you see in your brush on a regular basis may suddenly turn into clumps. Running a hand through your hair can mean coming out with a veritable fist-full of strands on the other side. But take it all in stride, because it’s all normal—and it will come back. By one year postpartum, the majority of mothers have regained their normal hair growth, notes the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Here’s how to cope in the meantime, and potentially speed that regrowth along.

Why postpartum hair loss happens

While this is a completely normal and generally speaking, temporary issue, it’s nice to have some research-backed explanations for why your hair has suddenly started to defect from your scalp. As with most pregnancy-related issues, postpartum hair loss is thought to be related to hormonal changes in the months after birth. During pregnancy, estrogen levels rise, which stimulates the dramatic increase in the ‘growth phase’ of hair, and less hair falls out than normal.

After birth, however, the hormones shift yet again, and your hair enters its ‘resting phase,’ which is followed, about three or four months later, by shedding and regrowth. These phases are typical of hair growth, but they become very intense thanks to surging hormones during pregnancy—which promptly plummet immediately after birth.

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.

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 without weighing it down. For washing, “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 Shampoo works wonders for this, and thanks to its omega-9 Amazonian molecules, it also reduces hair loss while maintaining essential oils on the hair and scalp.

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 weird 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.

Stylists recommend avoiding ponytails and top knots when possible to minimize the appearance of the fine hairs around your hairline. Also think about requesting deep layers or face framing texture at your next hair appointment, which will help keep the baby hairs under wraps. If you find yourself with a quickly changing hairline, some stylists might recommend a full fringe. Love this for you!

The best products for postpartum hair

Our best advice? Consider your new hair your postpartum halo. And know, as with much of motherhood, this too shall pass. But until then, here are some of our favorite hair products and supplements to support you through this wild hair phase.

postpartum hair loss: moon juice super hair

Moon Juice

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


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


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


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.

postpartum hair loss: sansceuticals


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.