Sunday, March 24, 2013

Postpartum Hair Loss: AHHH WHAT CAN I DO?!?

If you've arrived here after relentlessly searching for the solution to losing hair by the handful after the birth of your darling child, well, you're not going to find it. Not here, not anywhere. The sad truth is, it's hormonal, it's not like you're flat ironing too much or not conditioning enough - it's just that what goes up, must come down. Repeat after me: I am going to lose some hair. 

During pregnancy higher estrogen levels prolong the growing stage of your hair, so you probably noticed thicker, fuller, bouncier, better hair than you probably ever had in your life. Basically, fewer hairs were in the resting/falling out stage. However, after birth your estrogen levels drop and your hair pretty much compensates for what it was holding on to, by letting it go, all at once - instead of subtly, which is what happened before we got into this whole shebang.  

I was alarmed at the amount of hair that came out of my head. I have super baby fine hair to begin with, so I am surprised I have any left to be quite honest. It was in the shower drain, in the carpet, on the couch, all over my pillow, my brushes were full, on every item of clothes, THE KITCHEN, my baby's pacifier... my friend Andrea and I joke that it's the equivalent to sand at the beach, you find it in many places you didn't even know it could go. Except there is no beach vacation or fruity, umbrella adorned cocktail involved.
Eww. Every single time I washed my hair for 2 months!

I can't provide you with a magic answer. I desperately wish I could, because while losing mine, I damn near lost my mind. It would cling to me and tickle my arms, like bugs crawling on me and I couldn't find it to pull it off!!! Okay, sorry. But I can offer some really simple helpful tips to make it easier to deal with. And rest assured, it will stop after a month or two, and should be back to pre-pregnancy shape by your sweet one's first birthday.

- Brush your hair thoroughly before bed, every night. It always makes me think of those old movies where they sat at their cutesy vanity and brushed 100 strokes... same principle. Brushing stimulates your scalp, so it'll get those new hairs growing quicker, and it will also loosen what is inevitably going to come out anyway - that way you can just grab it and throw it away, instead of finding it strand-by-strand every freakin' where. Always wanted a reason to invest in a Mason Pearson? Now's the time. Mine's about worn out! Oh, and their detangling comb is amazing for wet hair without doing further damage.

- Use a volumizing shampoo and only condition the ends of your hair. Depending on your hair's texture, choose what is appropriate. Again, my hair being baby fine I discovered that the Living Proof Full line worked best for me. The shampoo is super cleansing but not stripping and the conditioner is very light. I tried the Thickening Cream, but it was a little heavy for me, as was the root lift - but I did enjoy the mousse. The AG Thikk Wash Volume line also works pretty darn well, and is PETA approved, paraben free and color safe. For any hair type, a great option is Phyto's PhytoDensium line for "lifeless, aging hair". Comprised of oils and omega fatty acids, I found that it cleanses effectively yet gently and truly provides lift and density. The mask was too much for my wimpy hair, but the basic shampoo and conditioner were superb choices.

- Give yourself a style that is max volume! For me, that is layered cuts and always drying it with a round brush and some sort of styling product. I do best with mousse because it's light and provides lift without making me look greasy. And I'm not afraid of teasing at the roots for a little extra lift once it's dry. You may try trimming the ends a little (or a lot) to lessen the weight of your hair. If you're seriously fed up, find one or two great pony tail/braid/bun looks you can rock until you're feeling back to normal.

*If any of these photos belong to you, just let me know, I'll give you credit :)

Just try and hang in there and know that it WILL STOP falling out and you will have hair left. I promise. Get some good volumizing products for your hair type and practice a few quick styles that mask the appearance of reduced density. PLUS, no one really knows you've lost a ton of hair besides you (and those you live with) and you are most definitely not alone!


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