Oh man, you guys… I have to admit that my postpartum hair regrowth situation has been such a challenge. I was fully aware that it would happen, as in I knew conceptually that the extreme hair shedding would occur, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional reaction I would have to of clumps of hair coming out at once and I was definitely not prepared for what to expect after the excessive hair loss. Navigating this bizarre regrowth situation and trying to feel pretty & put-together through it all has been a true adventure. 😂
This excessive hair shedding topic feels a lot less important than receiving emotional support or managing your medical recovery after giving birth, but it is something that I have grappled with and if there’s anything that I’ve learned from the internet is that we’re all a lot more alike than we think so I’m probably not the only one struggling with this aspect of postpartum. If you are also navigating this interesting chapter of life, or maybe you’re pregnant and just preparing for your future, I hope that you find this information helpful (and don’t let it scare you!)!
POSTPARTUM HAIR LOSS
What is postpartum hair loss and why does it happen?
You can read more about it here, but essentially, throughout pregnancy your body seems to be focusing all of its energy on growing a baby. A few months after baby arrives, when your hormones begin to regulate, the body releases all of the hairs that it has been hanging onto for the past ~year (that you would have gradually lost throughout that time) and the shedding is excessive compared to what you are used to finding in your hairbrush or in the shower drain.
The shedding will eventually slow down and return to a normal rate, but it takes time (it was almost 3 months for me) and it can be quite disconcerting as its happening, leaving bizarre patchy “bald spots” where new hair will return (usually in the most inconvenient spaces 🙃). The term “regrowth” refers to the abundance of hairs that grow back in after the excessive shedding.
MINIMIZING HAIR SHEDDING / ENCOURAGING GROWTH
Discouraging as it is, there is no quick-fix magic product or tool that is going to make your hair regrow faster, but there are things that you can do to minimize your hair loss and make it easier for your hair to grow back:
Continue Taking Prenatal / Postnatal Vitamins
These vitamins help to replenish the nutrients that your body needs to regenerate hair! It’s not necessarily going to increase the speed at which it grows, but it may help prevent it from slowing down.
People often recommend taking Biotin and / or Collagen to boost hair growth, but I think that what these products are actually doing is strengthening your hair as it grows to prevent future breakage. Read: these supplements definitely can’t hurt to take, but just be aware that they are likely not going to provide the desired results if you are hoping to rapidly grow your hair.
Be Gentle When Brushing
Try not to brush your hair wet (do most of your detangling before showering!). Don’t brush it roughly; start gently detangling at the bottoms of the strands and work your way up to your scalp. I recommend this brush to help detangle (for all hair types!) without excessive pulling.
Administer Scalp Massages
I always use a scalp massager in the shower because I like that it does a better job at getting the shampoo down to my scalp to remove any dirt and product. The silicone “spikes” are way more gentle than my fingernails at getting at the roots of my hair and their gentle massage helps to stimulate the hair follicles.
Take Protective Measures For Sleeping
I recommend a silk pillowcase for anyone (not just for postpartum!), but it’s especially helpful during this delicate time to have those gentle fibers covering your pillow. Plus, it’s great for your skin and if you apply any products before bed!
You should also prepare your hair for bed in a loose braid or a gently twisted “pineapple” on the top of your head to minimize tugging and pulling if you roll over on it in your sleep. Secure these styles with a gentle silk scrunchie.
Limit Use of Hot Tools
Allow your hair to air dry as often as possible, so any heatless styles are going to be super helpful. I know that there are a lot of mixed feelings about the Dyson Airwrap, but I think one of the main benefits of it is minimizing heat damage and the styles last for days so you don’t need to fully style your hair as often (just do daily fluffs and touch ups). You can read my full review of my Airwrap styler here if you want even more info on it.
Limit Dry Shampoo Use
I’m a huge dry shampoo fan so I know how challenging this is, but in the long run it will be worth temporarily limiting this product use. Keep reading for hairstyling ideas that would totally work for dirty hair so you won’t miss the dry shampoo… as much. 😉
EASY HAIR STYLES
Firstly, I recommend talking to your stylist about a hair cut that will help to camouflage those regrowth hairs that will also work best for your hair texture. This will help to eventually blend those shorter hairs into the rest of your hair strands and make the length difference feel less awkward. I discussed this with my hairstylist and together we decided that I would keep most of the length (with a “health trim” for the ends) and adding long layers with angled face framing pieces. I made sure the angled pieces were still long enough to clip back if I wanted (read: not classic bangs).
If I put my hair up in a topknot, I get this bizarre halo of regrowth hairs all around my hairline and it’s just not cute (see photo above). My regrowth hairs are a bit grown out now (finally), but when they were a lot shorter, I would have appreciated these hairstyle suggestions because those hairs were just feral looking since they stuck straight out of my head. haha
Wearing your hair down is going to be the easiest option for concealing these hairs, especially when styled with a creme designed specifically for air-drying your hair — this one and this one are my two favorites), but I know that sometimes you need your hair out of your face (especially with grabby little hands!), your hair is dirty and isn’t looking its best, or you just simply want to mix it up.
Here are some options for those days:
Thank goodness for the messy mom bun because they’re pretty forgiving when it comes to loose strands falling out. If you’re a Millennial like me, you already know that we tend to gravitate toward the topknot style and while I still love that look, a low bun is going to help to disguise / conceal the wild, short hairs during this chapter of life.
I also recommend securing the low bun style with a hairpin as opposed to an elastic hair tie because it will be a lot more gentle on the hairs themselves, plus, U-pins are are trés chic! If you really don’t want to use the hairpin, you can use a silk scrunchie instead because it’s a lot less damaging than the alternatives, but I will admit, the hairpin will keep the style all day long as it is way more secure (when installed properly).
If you’d prefer a little more finesse with the hairs around your face, I recommend smoothing everything into place with this styling product and this little brush combo — don’t skip the brush; it’s a must for smoothing the flyaways, particularly when the hairs are shorter. You could probably just use a spare [clean] toothbrush or makeup spoolie, but I kind of like the idea of a specific brush that I wouldn’t mix up with my toothbrush or makeup. haha
*This slicked back low bun would be great for greasy hair days.
These two updos are essentially the same twisty style and located in the same place on the back of your head, but using slightly different methods and different tools to secure them so I’m including both of them under the same category.
The French Twist is such a classic, chic style, you’ll definitely want this updo in your arsenal even after those regrowth hairs have fully grown out. I left the little tail out of my twist for this photo, but you can make it as messy or as tight as you like (this would also be such a pretty option for a formal event!).
I also prefer to use a more rigid French Pin in my hair over a flexible one, but there are quite a few options to choose from so that you can find which kind works best for you and your hair’s needs; I’ll link some of the ones that I like in the widget below along with others that have high ratings.
These are the kinds of styles where the more “undone” they look, the better so that all of those wild regrowth hairs will just blend in! I also really like this additional Claw Clip Method (which may be easier for those of us with layered hair).
Also, be sure to use a clip that works for your hair thickness. I have Type 2B hair and this chic rectangle clip is a favorite of mine, but I’ll link more in the widget below that I have heard are awesome for fine hair, super thick hair, and everything in between.
Allow your hair to air dry using a styling creme and then separate your hair in half and clip the top half up! I love the clever method of looping your top section of your hair around a small clip to give it extra hold; pulling the hair around the clip gives it the appearance of a mini bun. So cute and functional!
When the regrowth hairs are super short and spiky, cute hats are going to be your best friend when leaving the house! Beanies are cozy during the fall / winter and baseball caps are cute for a super casual look while running errands, but literally whatever style of hat that suits you and your aesthetic is great. Hats are great accessories that are both fashion forward AND helpful for concealing those hairs that just.won’t.cooperate with styling! 😜
*Hats are also excellent for concealing dirty hair.
When the hairs reach a few inches long you can incorporate headbands to keep those [unintentional] bangs out of your eyes. 😜 Unless you want to fully commit to a fringe look, a headband or twisting the face framing hairs back and securing them with a bobby pin or clip is a really easy way to mix up your look when you wear your hair down. Sophie is currently 15 months old and my excessive hair shedding started around three months postpartum so it’s been about a year since my hair began to fall out en masse, and my hair is only just now long enough for headbands to hold everything back to where I like for the headband to sit on my head.
My favorite places to buy headbands that don’t end up hurting my head throughout the day are: Alice & Hops (designer scarves upcycled into headbands — tell Kristine that Natalie in the Northwest sent you!), Hill House, J.Crew // J.Crew Factory, and Jennifer Behr. Linking a few of my current favorites below!
If you’re looking for more hair-related fun, you can always find all of my hair care tips, styling ideas as well as cut / color inspiration here.
I don’t want to put too much emphasis on something as superficial as hair, but as someone who really loves her hair and struggled a lot with this change I wanted to create a resource that would prevent anyone else from feeling as bummed out or frustrated as I have over the past ~12 months.
I know the last thing that you want to read is “be patient”, but that’s literally the only thing you can do. There’s no magic product and the hair will grow back in its own time, but it’s definitely an annoying process so I hope this post helps it become less frustrating for you and boosts your confidence!
Lastly, please don’t feel ashamed of your hair regrowth; that is not the intention of this post at all… I just want to help others feel beautiful and confident in a potentially awkward hair phase.
Sending hugs —