The Why, the How and the WTF to do about it.
So you've got the babe, you've 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 babe 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 You’re Losing Hair.
While this is a completely normal and – luckily – temporary issue, it's nice to have a little 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. While pregnant, our estrogen levels rise, which stimulates the dramatic increase in the 'growth phase' of our hair. After birth, however, the hormones shift yet again, and your hair enters its 'resting phase,' which is followed, about 3 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.
Thinning Hair is a Thing Too.
Once that 4-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 Beonite Clay, which helps add grit and hold to hair. These will keep your postpartum mane looking (and feeling) full!
What’s Actually Up with the Baby Hairs.
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! Time and a healthy diet, plus supplements like Ritual Vitamins (check with your doctor before taking, especially if you’re breastfeeding) will all help to speed the regrowth process.
Pro tip: Keep that hair 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 as your Postpartum halo. And know, as with much of motherhood, this too shall pass. But until then, here are 5 of the best hair products and supplements to help you through this crazy hair phase:
1. Rahua Voluminous Line $32 - $34. The brand’s whole 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.
2. Phyto Paris - Phytocyane Revitalizing Treatment Serum $69. This triple-action serum helps support us in our dreams for the beautiful lush hair we 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 us with thicker, stronger hair strands.
3. Ritual Vitamins $30. Ritual’s founders were inspired to start the brand after becoming pregnant and struggling to find a reliable, clean prenatal vitamin. They have since simplified the daily vitamin down to its nine most essential nutrients, each in their most effective, vegan, non-GMO, gluten, soy and dairy-free forms. Containing, among other things, Boron to support and balance hormones and Vitamin E to get that added antioxidant kick. The subscription based service is a perfect setup for new moms! *please speak with your doctor before using supplements if you are breastfeeding/pregnant.
4. Herbalore - Catalyst Gold $96. Another interesting vitamin option on the market is Catalyst Gold, which is committed to bringing the world cutting edge, therapeutic formulations that combine old-world herbalism with modern scientific knowledge. Herbalore is an all-natural, non-gmo, allergen-free, vegan supplement of supergreens/fruits, herbs and essential minerals designed to protect and revitalize the body and support the hair and skin. The formulation includes the essential hair vitamin and the Beautifier Biotin. *please speak with your doctor before using supplements if you are breastfeeding/pregnant.
5. pH + Shine Corrector, Sans[ceuticals], $50. Is your baby hair crown feeling extra frizzy these days? Keeping your hair down will help keep the frizz under wraps, but the pH + Shine Corrector can be a long-term help in restoring the moisture of your hair as it grows back, making it stronger, shinier and healthier. 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 use any chemicals and doesn’t do any testing on animals.