“After you give birth you’re hair is going to fall out!” I heard this for the majority of my pregnancy but I dismissed the warning because I was convinced that if you have locs your hair won’t fall out; I’d bet money on it. At 3 months postpartum, I was winning the bet but by 4 months postpartum my luck started to change.
What is Postpartum Hair Loss?
By definition, postpartum (hair loss) alopecia is the temporary telogen (resting phase of a hair follicle) loss of scalp hair at the termination of pregnancy and its characterized by spread thinning. Many pregnant women experience the benefit of full and luscious hair as the surging hormones slow down the shedding of hair. However, it is not guaranteed that the luscious perks of pregnancy will remain after you’ve given birth; in fact, on average 40% off women experience postpartum alopecia.
My Denial of Losing My Hair
When I reached 3 months postpartum I hadn’t noticeably lost any hair so I thought I was in the clear. Praise Him! But shortly after proclaiming my victory over postpartum hair loss, I began to notice more and more curly stands around the house. “This isn’t my hair,” is what I told myself on an almost daily basis. Even as the bottle of my hair oil was covered with fallen coils. “That isn’t my hair, ” was repeated over and over in my head. I was in complete denial. I had taken my prenatal vitamins, I was exclusively breastfeeding, I didn’t comb or retwist my locs excessively, my mother (so she says) didn’t lose her hair, I’d been exercising 4 times a week and eating healthy, so I couldn’t be losing my hair. Right? Wrong.
I didn’t face the reality of my postpartum hair loss until around 5 months postpartum when I had no choice. I looked in the mirror and my edges were hanging on by strands. My once full roots had spaces that weren’t there before and that’s when I realized I was experiencing postpartum hair loss.
I’ll be honest, it was very hard to see and accept that my hair was falling out. Despite all the information I had about postpartum hair, when it happens first hand it’s a different story. However, now at 7 months postpartum, I can see my (almost) bald areas beginning to sprout new hairs and I feel confident enough to share my testimony and words of advice.
4 Tips to Overcome Postpartum Hair Loss
- You’re not the only one. Medical research has shown that about 40% of women experience varying degrees of Postpartum hair loss. Just like each pregnancy is different, so is the healing and recovery process afterwards.
- Don’t Worry. Understand postpartum hair loss is a hormonal change and there is very little you can do to change the inevitable. Also, know going into motherhood that it takes about a full year for your body, organs, and hormone levels to balance. The important thing is to stay fit and healthy, especially eating whole foods, for you and your baby.
- It will grow back. By definition postpartum hair loss is temporary and related to your hormones therefore the best treatment is healthy hair and internal wellness. I recommend using moisturizing shampoos (link) and oils such as, rosemary oil & Jamaican Black Castor Oil, to help stimulate your hair follicles.
- Accessorize. There are styles and accessories to get you through the hair loss, almost without anyone realizing. You can try curls that with camouflage the thinning area(s), headwraps or hats, like fedoras, that can complement almost any outfit. Here are a few links to tutorials:
Please share this post with a mother & list any tips below that you have for overcoming postpartum hair loss!
January 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm
I have experienced postpartum shedding three times. The first time I was relaxed and I thought I had over processed my hair. I was distraught then I googled hair loss after birth of a baby and realized it was normal. Babies 2 and 3 I had natural hair but was able to cover it more with the 2nd one. This time had been far worse than the previous two or maybe I was more aware. I am just now rebounding from it too. I had my son in June and it started to shed in September.By November I was bald on both sides and have had a fear of losing 6 locs. One was so bad I had to cut it off. I am considering getting them repaired to blend in. In fact the 6 that are the weakest have big bumps from the hair shedding so fast so it looks odd but it just means my locs will have a story. Thanks for your post. It was on time. I had a hair dresser tell me I retwist too tight too much, but I semi freeform. It makes me sad that ppl aren’t educated on postpartum shedding.
January 11, 2015 at 10:35 am
First, congratulations on your 3 blessings! As a Stylist myself, I wasn’t educated, at least not well enough to speak on Postpartum Hair Loss, until I went through it. I could explain the science behind it to the women in my chair but it wasn’t until after giving birth to my son and losing my hair that I understood the emotion behind it and what it takes, mentally and internally to get it back. Hence why 7 months later I am just sharing my story. Sharing this post in hopes that other Stylist or women with locs/textured hair know there is hope and others that relate to their story.
With locs, the lumps will eventually even out and as far as repairs, I would wait until you have a strong enough base and nu growth to support reattachment or additional hair, synthetic or human. Much love Mama! xo
January 22, 2015 at 1:35 am
Thanks! Congrats on your little person as well. I just cant say it enough, thank you for this post. I probably have another 2-3 months before its better. I love the blog, keep on posting.
Shea Moisture JBCO Edge Treatment Gel Review
January 11, 2015 at 2:22 pm
[…] Learn about the new Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Edge Treatment Gel and how I use it to regrow my edges after my postpartum hair loss. […]
January 28, 2015 at 11:25 am
I am 8 months prego and I’m not sure what to think about this pending phase of hair loss. I’m anticipating that it will happen and often wonder how much of an impact it will have on my locs but at the same time looking forward to just getting that phase (should it strike me) out of the way.
March 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm
Congratulations on your journey into motherhood. Try not to worry about the hair loss and enjoy your new baby! xo
2 Year Loc Update | CurlyNuGrowth
December 12, 2015 at 4:47 pm
[…] my locs before I gave birth because otherwise I think I would have lost a loc on my hairline from postpartum shedding. Overall the locs that I have combined have fused together and the lines from two strand twisting […]
My Combined Locs Update | CurlyNuGrowth
December 17, 2015 at 4:45 pm
[…] Related: 4 Tips to Overcome Postpartum Hair Loss […]
February 25, 2016 at 6:16 pm
Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
There is very little online regarding postpartum shedding and locs. I’ve been very interested in starting my loc journey and I held off starting throughout my first pregnancy due to not finding much information on what would happen during postpartum. After I gave birth, I experienced massive shedding and lost the majority of my hairline from ear to ear about 1-1.5″ deep. it was devastating emotionally and when it began growing back, I cut off my bra strap length hair bc the difference in length bw my roots and ends was severe and my styling options (without weave) were few.
After all that settled and I was ready to loc, I fell pregnant again.
NOW, I’m 10 wks postpartum. Ready to get this show on the road. Wondering if I can start now or should I wait until after the shedding phase? I have no local loctitians near me so I’ll be diy. In your experience would you recommend waiting or going for it?
(I’m a fine haired natural w low to med density hair. I have garden variety texture w a few spots that are fairly loose. My edges are the kinkiest and most fragile hair on my head. I’m exclusively breastfeeding, taking my prenatals but not currently active. I do hope to exercise again once I get the hang of being a mother to two. )
November 24, 2016 at 2:21 am
I would definitely suggest waiting until after a few months postpartum to see if you will experience postpartum hair loss again.
March 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm
Thank you so much for this post. This is my first pregnancy after 11 years and I gave birth to twin boys. I don’t remember going through that with my daugthers but with the twins I thought I would have to cut off my locks. I’ve already lost 2…truly hope I don’t lose anymore..thanks again for the post.
June 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm
I am 4 months post partum and I am loosing locks on my edges. I have Sisterlocks so they are tiny and popping off. I’ve been stressed about it so I appreciate your post and validation. I am considering shaving one side to do something fresh since I battling the lost anyways… How often do you wash your locks? Not sure if I should wash and condition them more often due to the hair loss or leave my hair alone as much as possible
June 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm
Thank you so much for this post! I am 7 months postpartum with my second child and I didn’t know what was going on with my hair. I didn’t have any issues with my first one but with my baby girl, my hair has just started thinning like crazy! I haven’t styled it, hardly retwist and still keeps thinning! I even considered cutting my locks off, but I’ve had them for 8 years and I can’t bring myself to do it. Thank you again for this post, I will just remain patient, my edges will fill in soon enough 🙂
June 28, 2016 at 7:07 am
Hang in there mama! They will come back, drink lots of water, eat healthy, exercise and it will be like normal fairly soon. I will say that if you feel they are excessively thinning you should trim your locs or cut them off and then reattach them once your hair fill back in.
July 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm
I am glad I found your post, I am 7 months postpartum. I asked the lady that locs my hair what could this thinning be, and she initially stated it was from letting my locs hang, and the heaviness from them, but then once I saw her for an appointment she said it may be due to postpartum. She advised on keeping them twisted in braids to strengthen. This just did not seem like the right thing to do. I am only 2 years in, and I am thinking about just cutting them off.
August 12, 2016 at 8:11 am
I wouldn’t recommend braids because it could cause too much tension, unless you have really small locs. You could alternatively cut them off at the roots and then reattach them once your hair grows back (because it will come back!).
Best of luck on your journey mama and congratulations on your hew bundle of joy!