If you lost little or no hair after having your baby, I hate you.
Women often notice shedding within three to six months of delivery, so I thought I was in the clear when, by five-months postpartum, I still had a wonderfully full head of hair.
Then I started to spot strands around the house. On the headrest of the nursery glider. In the shower drain on wash day. Between my fingers when I pulled my hair into a messy mom bun.
Denial went out the window the day this happened:
Yes, that’s my hair.
That’s just what was lost from finger detangling. (I never detangle with a comb. It’s just in the photo for a pop of color.)
The loss was mostly confined to my edges — which was a blessing and a curse. Blessing: My hair still felt pretty thick. Curse: There was no hiding my problem area while wearing the mom bun.
I couldn’t believe how my hair felt. I actually teared up.
I knew I wasn’t going bald, and that what I was experiencing would only last a few months. I knew it was connected to postpartum hormonal changes. I also knew I wasn’t alone in experiencing it. (About 40 to 50 percent of women deal with postpartum shedding, according to the American Pregnancy Association.)
But knowing those things didn’t make the situation easier to accept. I was embarrassed by my hair loss. And it’s hard to walk with an air of confidence — or to convince yourself that you look good — when you’re leaving a trail of hair behind you.
So I put together an action plan.
I function better when I have a plan. It helps me think I’m in control of my life.
- Keep up my hair regimen. Gentle detangling. Deep conditioning. Protein treatments. Scalp massages.
- Protective styling. The less manipulation, the better. Buns and ponytails are acceptable as long as they’re not pulled to tightly. And I’ll limit or eliminate the use of my flat iron.
- Nutrition. The shedding doesn’t mean that I have a vitamin deficiency, but eating well, being on top of taking my vitamins, and staying hydrated can’t hurt.
- Black tea rinses. According to online hair forums, black tea rinses reduce shedding. It’s online, so obviously that makes it true, right?
Here’s the recipe I’m planning to use, courtesy of Urban Bush Babes:
- Add two to four tea bags to 2 cups of boiled water. (The number of bags and cups of water might vary depending on how much hair you have.) Let the tea steep for a few hours or overnight.
- Shampoo your hair, then pour on the tea and allow it to “marinate” for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Apply a deep conditioner (without rinsing out the tea).
- Rinse after the appropriate amount of time has passed (usually 30 minutes), and finish your hair routine.
I hope following the action plan propels me back to normalcy. Even if it doesn’t, I’m told postpartum shedding usually ends within a year of giving birth, so I just need to make it to the end of summer.
God help my hair.