Many women, myself included, experienced a period of lush, shiny, full hair during their pregnancy only to have it fall out in astonishing quantities after giving birth. Once, during a delicate, post-cesarean shower, I was convinced I was going to come out completely bald judging by the handful of strands that came out while shampooing. I rushed to my friend and licensed hair stylist Tiffany Sposato, desperate to find out how to prevent postpartum hair loss.
To make matters worse, I spun myself into a tizzy after falling down the rabbit hole of message boards, comment sections, and "medical" articles on the internet. Again, Sposato came to the rescue and echoed what the experts at Baby Center said, which was that hormones were the reason for postpartum hair loss.
She told me that when you're pregnant, your body is flooded with hormones that signal your hair to stay in the growth stage, making it appear as though you have more hair. As your hormones go into a tailspin postpartum, all that hair that was told to stick around suddenly jumps ship. That's why it seems like your hair is falling out in droves. So if you're looking for ways to prevent or cope with postpartum hair loss, check out these tips.
1. Continue Taking Vitamins
One of the things Sposato recommended was to continue taking my prenatal vitamins, as many of the nutrients found in typical prenatal vitamins are the same ones which promote healthy hair growth. For example Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins contain biotin, vitamins A and C, and zinc on their list of ingredients. Those are also the same nutrients in Nature Made Hair, Skin, and Nails Vitamins. So save yourself a trip to the pharmacy and continue taking your prenatal vitamins, unless your physician has advised you otherwise, of course.
2. Trim Your Tresses
Not only will you save yourself precious time as a new parent, but getting a trim can also rid your hair of dead ends. According to Singapore's informational website, Pregnant, long hair is also more likely to lead to tangles which can cause even more hair to fall out. Plus, having a low-maintenance 'do will make your morning routine that much easier.
3. Moisturize More
All hair types, but especially natural hair, can become extra dry postpartum and lead to even more breakage. Tyrika Williams, an aromatherapist and licensed prenatal massage therapist, told Natural Hair Rules that, "increasing the frequency of your washing or co-washing, properly sealing afterwards, and misting your protective styles will help decrease breakage." Additionally, you can use these moisturizing routines as opportunities for some much-needed time alone.
4. Play With Parts
My hair has been parted on the left for as long as I can remember and I have the old Glamour Shots pictures to prove it, too. But sometimes you just have to switch things up. Stephanie Scuoppo, a celebrity hairstylist, told Parents that simply changing your part camouflage any thinner areas and can also reduce tension if you're constantly pulling your hair back to only one side. Play around with different parts and styles to find your perfect fit.
5. Skip The Heat
If styling your hair with heated tools, like flat or curling irons, is a major part of your routine, you may want to reconsider. According to the experts at What To Expect When You're Expecting, you should "skip blow-dryers, curling and flat irons if you can," since your hair is already fragile and you don't want to risk causing further breakage with heat. If you really must use heat, though, do try and use protective styling products to minimize any damage.
6. Massage Your Locks
Whether you do it yourself or are lucky enough to have someone do it for you, a little head rub can do you a lot of good. Williams told Natural Hair Rules that "shedding can be minimized by frequent scalp massages." What's the purpose or benefit of doing this? Williams went on to explain that, "massages increase blood circulation which creates healthy hair follicles [that] tend to hold on to their attached hair root better." Any excuse for a massage is a good one, if you ask me.
7. Add Texture
Whether your hair is naturally curly or straight, creating movement and depth can give the illusion of thicker locks. Scuoppo told Parents that you can add texture to hair by getting a layered cut, embracing your natural curl, or using heat-free rollers. So have a little fun and experiment with different looks.