Tucked comfortably into a pair of skinny jeans, makeup done, and heels on, you'd think I'd be feeling pretty good about myself skipping out for a girl's night with my dear friend Amy. She rarely gets to visit NY, and I was stoked to meet her at a hidden gem of an underground Japanese restaurant. All good stuff, but something was amiss - actually, missing: my hair.
Somewhere around three months postpartum, it's not uncommon for new moms to see hair falling out. It may seem like a few strands, until clumps cover your shower wall and your scalp becomes visible. Luckily I went through this phase in the winter, and Amy assured me I looked very chic sporting a beanie during our aforementioned sake-spiked outing.
This hair loss is rarely related to diet and has quite a bit to do with fluctuating estrogen levels during and after pregnancy. Essentially, you hang on to extra hair when your bun is in the oven, resulting in thick, lustrous hair, only to see all those strands fall out when estrogen levels drop postpartum. You're losing sleep, a bit of sanity, and now, your hair. Great!
Fortunately it all comes back (in most cases). Unfortunately, it's not the most attractive look. New growth is most obvious around your forehead and temples, and baby hairs stick up and out of a sleek do. Telltale growth will also show up at the nape of your neck. Sounds fun, right?
Don't tear the rest of your hair out just yet. I turned to the main man who manages my 'do, Constantine Theodoratos of Muze salon, and Paula Figueiredo, lead stylist and owner of Salon 365 for some expert tips on managing your new-mom hair loss and regrowth.
1. Step AWAY from the flat iron. Figueiredo cautions against the use of heat styling tools during the hair loss period, noting "this will only further damage your hair and accelerate the hair loss process."
2. Embrace air-drying with the help of product. "Mousse gets a bad rap, but it's come a long way," says Theodoratos. "It's an especially good product for fine-textured hair, and can help new growth blend in with the rest of your hair. I love that it's fluffy and easy to use - fix your style and let it air dry. If it gets too crunchy or dry for your liking, you can always brush it out and add serum."
3. Consider the site of your patchiness. "When clients are losing a lot of hair from the temples and front of the hairline, I encourage them to get bangs," says Theodoratos. "They'll help camouflage obvious loss, and allow new growth to blend in with the rest of your hair."
4. Let go of length. Envious of the lob or bob, but never had the guts to make the cut? Figueiredo says this is the perfect time to take the plunge. "Go shorter! This will afford a more manageable hairstyle and will also speed up your hair's regrowth process." Theodoratos agrees, and gives a nod to a recent hair transformation: "The lob is really big right now - Khloe Kardashian recently went for it."
5. Follow the lead of another (in)famous KK with a braided 'do. "Kim Kardashian has been seen all over NY wearing corn braids (cornrows) this week," notes Theodoratos. "It's going to be a big look this season. Braids are a great way to have a look that lasts a couple of days, and an experienced braider can hide baby hairs." Looking for a more substantial braid? He suggests having your stylist incorporate some loose or clip-in hair extensions.
Lastly, I think it goes without saying, but...nurture yourself with a variety of foods. Stay tuned for more on the hair and skin benefits of a balanced meal plan!