The Balding and the Beautiful: A Follow-up

I owe you an apology.

I know it’s taken me a long time to write this postpartum hair loss follow-up, but there’s a good reason for that. It just didn’t make sense to write the post without giving the black-tea rinse a chance to shine or flop, and I thought a month was an appropriate amount of time.

Seventy-eight percent of you told me (via the poll) that you experienced postpartum shedding, so I knew you wanted to know if this “cure” is really snake oil. I didn’t want to give you an answer prematurely.

Here’s a quick reminder of my action plan:

  • Gentle detangling. Deep conditioning. Protein treatments. Scalp massages. 

I did really well with this — up until today when I detangled with a comb (a big no-no for me) to see whether the roots of my hair were any stronger.

  • Protective styling. Loose buns and ponytails. Limit or eliminate the use of my flat iron.

I followed through with this part, too, except for the flat iron. I realized at about the halfway mark that if my hair is straight, I have less tangling. Less tangling means less hair lost during detangling. I flat ironed my hair about once a week for that reason alone.

  • Eat well. Take my vitamins. Drink more water. 

I’ve lost three pounds since I started using this plan (maybe Momercizing helped?), so I think it’s fair to say I kicked butt on this part.

The final part was the black-tea rinses. Here’s how I handled those:

I rinsed or spritzed my hair using a modified version of this rinse. The original recipe didn’t mention using peppermint tea, but I had some collecting dust — and peppermint is supposed to stimulate hair growth — so I added a bag to the mix. (My final formula was four cups of water, three bags of black tea, and one bag of peppermint tea.)

I let the tea steep for three days before every wash. It went on after I shampooed and stayed on through the deep conditioning.

So what happened? Did my hair stop falling out? Did my edges grow back?

Yes and yes.

This was the hair loss I showed you pre-experiment:

Hair lost as a result of postpartum shedding

This is what I lost this afternoon during detangling:

Hair lost after black-tea rinse experiment

I used this fine-tooth comb to detangle my hair, and I’d typically NEVER do that. (BTW, I know that isn’t a quarter. I could only find an Australian 10 cent piece, and they’re pretty close in size.)

This is what my edges looked like pre-experiment:

Postpartum hair edges before treatment

This is now:

Post-experiment hairline

Better, right? They’re not where I want them to be but they’re a far cry from where I started.

So what’s my verdict on black-tea rinses? Are they the cure women are looking for?

I honestly don’t think so.

The bottom line is that doing the experiment made me take better care of my hair. I was regularly deep conditioning and making sure my protein-moisture balance was right. I trimmed my ends and restarted scalp massages.

Yes, my shedding is down significantly. Yes, my edges are growing back — but I’m 10 months postpartum. My hormones aren’t quite as out-of-whack anymore. I can’t rule that out as having some impact on my hair loss.

I’m always looking for a hair-care solution in a bottle, and I was really hopeful that this was it.

I’m not sure it was, but the experiment certainly didn’t hurt.

Can Black-tea Rinses Stop Postpartum Hair Loss?

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