I adored my pregnancy hair. I loved how it was so lush, thick, and shiny—like the virgin locks of my teenage days, way before I got addicted to color and perming. It stayed that way after I gave birth; just visibly messier. During my first post-baby checkup, I remember my ob-gyn telling me, “'Di ka na nagsusuklay!” I simply laughed off her comment and promised to pick up a brush. But truth be told, my hair was the least of my worries. I was just so besotted with my son.
By the fourth month, though, that’s when I started noticing the changes. It all seemed so innocent at first: a couple of strands on the floor, a few on the shower drain. Normal, right? By the fifth month, I was panicking. It came to the point that I didn’t want to brush my hair anymore. Our bedroom floor was littered with stray strands, and I could literally see my scalp whenever I tied my hair up in a ponytail. I was beyond mortified. What was happening?
Apparently, it all boils down to our lady hormones. During pregnancy, women’s bodies have increased levels of estrogen and androgen, which promote shinier, healthier-looking hair. Normally, around 85 to 95% of our hair is actively growing, while the rest is in a resting stage—the stage right before they fall off. When you’re pregnant, the excess estrogen prolongs the growing stage, which results in very little shedding.
After birth, however, the level of estrogen plummets, and most of our tresses suddenly enter the resting stage. This is why at around four to five months postpartum, women experience sudden hair thinning.
While the experience can be downright scary (you feel like you’re going bald!), you can rest assured that it doesn’t last forever and that by the time your baby turns a year old, your hair’s growth cycle will have normalized. Here are some helpful tips from one mom to another:
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1. Switch to a more gentle shampoo. Though it didn’t stop the thinning completely, I found that replacing my shampoo with a more gentle, organic variant minimized hair fall while in the shower. I used Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo (P469) from Healthy Options. It has a blend of biotin, vitamin E, and other organic ingredients that nourish your locks and scalp, and help give body to thin, fine hair.
2. Skip the heavy conditioners. Conditioners can weigh your hair down, making your locks look extra limp and thin. Skip them altogether, or use an organic conditioner—but only on days when you feel you need a smoothening boost.
3. Avoid excessive styling. I ditched my brush in favor of a wide-toothed comb because the former can snag and pull on hair more. It’s also a good idea to cut down on your heat styling to minimize hair damage and avoid too-tight hairstyles. If you must use styling tools, go for gentle volumizers like a vegan dry shampoo. Try Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo (P575).
4. Forgo chemical treatments. Itching to get your hair dyed, rebonded, or permed after over nine months of waiting? Sorry, momma, but it’s best to wait a little longer as chemical treatments can only aggravate your hair loss. Your choice!
5. Opt for a shorter style. If you really can’t bear to see any more hair fall, you may want to cut your hair short; longer styles are more prone to shedding as they’re heavier and in need of more styling. A bob, meanwhile, is lighter and more convenient to wear, especially if you’ve already got your hands full with the baby!