If you’ve already had a baby, you know it’s coming and you dread it: postpartum hair loss. Still pregnant or breastfeeding?
Sorry, mama: those gorgeous locks you got while pregnant thanks to all those hormones are only temporary. You, too, will soon experience the dread of watching your hair fall out after baby.
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Shedding hair in postpartum is completely normal. As your pregnancy hormones wind down, hair becomes dry, brittle, and dull.
But you are not powerless in the fight to keep that hair. Here are ten things you can do to reduce or prevent hair loss after pregnancy…
Take your (prenatal) vitamins!
The iron and folic acid in prenatal vitamins support hair and nail growth, plus they are packed with other vitamins, so there’s no reason to cut yourself off after your baby arrives.
Check the label, and make sure your prenatal includes a healthy helping of zinc, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, and vitamin C. If not, consider adding these supplements. Biotin is another supplement that has been proven to encourage hair growth.
Of course, a healthy diet is always the best way to get the nutrients that your hair needs, but you’re already eating super healthy, right? Right? Hello? Um, OK. On to the next tip…
Invest in a good shower cap
Do you mean, you have time to take a shower at all? Seriously, try reducing the frequency of hair washes to prevent hair loss after pregnancy.
This doesn’t mean you can’t shower. Just get a good shower cap ready for your postpartum days, so that even if you do shower daily, you can avoid washing your hair.
Use quality hair products (they don’t have to be pricey)
When you do shower or style, use hair care products that actually nourish your hair, instead of loading it up with toxins, like those from our friends at Innersense Organic Beauty (they are sponsoring this post, so shout out to them.
They make a fantastic line of truly sulfate-free, resin-free, silicone-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free products that promise not just to “do no harm.” They also include honey and organic ingredients that actually nourish your hair and scalp. We’re big fans.)
Don’t pull on hair when washing or towel drying
The warm water opens up the hair cuticles, making hair loss during showering more pronounced. Rather than pulling your fingers through your hair, work your hair towards your scalp. Same thing with conditioner. If you can stand it, rinse your hair in cooler water.
Same deal with towel drying. Do NOT put your hair in a turban to dry it — this pulls hair along the strand and at the scalp. As with washing, push the towel gently upwards from the ends to your scalp, to ensure there is minimal tugging.
(And yes, we love you. Thus the dreamy dude in the photo. Why not?)
For best results, use a wide-tooth comb when detangling, and always comb while hair is still wet.
And whatever you do, don’t tug on knots! First, try gently pulling small pieces of hair away from the grip of the knot — literally just a few strands at a time. You can also grip the hair just above the knot, then fix your hand against your head while detangling. This will help protect the hair at the root, where it meets the scalp.
Style gently, as if you were styling your baby’s hair
To stem hair loss after the baby, try to avoid hot irons and curling irons during this time. Blow-dry your hair on a medium heat setting. Remember every strand counts. Your goal is not only to encourage new hair growth but preserve the hair you do have and reduce hair loss in postpartum.
Cut off those split ends
Hair that is already partly damaged is more likely to fall out. By trimming the split ends, you can help preserve the health of the strand. Been considering a new, shorter do anyway?
Now would be a good time to try it out. A shorter style will help make both the hair loss and the new growth (which can be annoying) less noticeable.
Ditch the ponytail
It’s very important to avoid hairstyles that stretch your hair or pull at your scalp. If you must wear a ponytail (it was my go-to do in postpartum), wear a loose ponytail and use ribbon-style, elastic hair ties like No Crease Hair Ties.
Nurture the new hair as it grows in
That baby hair will be annoying, but it will eventually turn into new locks. Love it as you would your longer hair. Do NOT under any circumstances pluck it. Use a nourishing, light-weight oil to smooth them down if necessary: rub a bit on your palms, then LIGHTLY smooth it down
Relax! Don’t stress!
Yeah, right… because you’re already getting sooooo much sleep. But seriously, just like with the rest of your body, your hair responds to your stress levels. Given that your hair is already fragile, being especially kind to your entire body, self, and soul will have healthy effects on your hair.
(Cats. ‘Nuff said.)
Final thoughts: Remember that it’s perfectly natural to lose hair after your baby is born. But don’t let it fall out without a fight! Try these tips, and if you learn of any others, please don’t hesitate to share them here.
Got your own tips for preventing hair loss after pregnancy? How did you deal with postpartum shedding? Share your comments below, or read about other mamas’.