It’s one of those postpartum surprises nobody ever tells you about, until you look down in the shower to see hair falling out, and eventually baby hairs growing in their place around your hairline. And it’s far from something to be ashamed of — the American Pregnancy Association (APA) says 40-50% of moms experience postpartum shedding, though it seems to be one of the best kept, but not so welcome secrets of new parenthood.

Ashley Graham, model and celebrity mom of 3, turned the postpartum woe into a fashion statement, of course. In a recent Instagram post, she writes, “the best nights end with letting the baby hairs run free…and a glass of wine…”

(Scroll to the last slide to see the baby hairs running VERY free.)

Related: Postpartum hair loss is real–these products help

And it’s not the first time Graham has been vocal about postpartum moms’ changing hairlines. After the birth of her first son, Isaac, she posted a “bond villain” look writing “postpartum baby hairs come through!”

The little wispies that take its place might be reminiscent of your preschool pictures, and have you in a styling conundrum, trying to slick them back, conceal with a headband, and other creative hacks. But why?

The process is called Telogen effluvium, or excessive shedding, and happens between one to five months postpartum. The good news is that it’s temporary, and you won’t be losing your hair forever. Like most postpartum surprises, we can blame hormones, specifically falling estrogen levels.

During pregnancy, the rising hormone rates keep us from losing our hair, but everything levels out postpartum, so our hair tries to play catch up. Most women won’t see bald spots, but if you feel like you have much more hair loss than normal, check with your doctor about potential vitamin deficiencies.

The APA has some tips to help improve hair health, and prevent too much shedding:

  • Skip the pigtails, braids, hair weaves, and tight rollers which pull on your hair
  • Use shampoos and conditioners with biotin and silica.
  • Switch to the cool setting on your hairdryer. 
  • Eat a nutrition-dense diet, with lots of fresh fruits and veggies to get a variety of vitamins that will help your hair too.

If the wispies are bothering you, take one from Graham’s beauty team and use some gel and hairspray to slick every hair back in a sleek bun. But, slicking those new hairs down for a fancy night out can create a chic and original surprising look as well. 

Related: 7 ways to prevent postpartum hair loss, according to a scientist

As usual, fans were there for Graham’s real momming, which she’s wowed fans with in abundance since the pregnancy and birth of her twins early in 2022. Fans replied, “Can we all agree we need more of @ashleygraham in are [sic] lives,” and “Wow. I needed this. Thank you for being so freaking authentic.” 

Other celebrities from Lea Michele to Olivia Munn are working to bring attention to this lesser-known mama issue that catches you off guard, along with so many other postpartum surprises.