Pregnancy did my natural hair real good. I gave up heat styling (read: excessive blow-drying) during those 10 precious months and my strands became thicker, longer and shinier. The grey streak of hair I so badly wanted even appeared to grow exactly how I imagined.
I’m sure taking prenatal vitamins and drinking water played a huge part, but I was reveling in how voluminous my strands were.
But nearly four months after giving birth, my edges started thinning out like I’d never experienced before. I’d been warned about postpartum hair loss, but I truly wasn’t prepared to see it when looking into my bathroom mirror or iPhone’s front-facing camera.
Hormonal changes after pregnancy, including a decline in estrogen levels, can result in excessive shedding. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association reports that 40 to 50 percent of women experience this condition that medical experts refer to as telogen effluvium. So it’s completely normal. However, I experienced a devastating blow to my confidence as I clasped clumps of hair in my palms and cried over my once flourishing hairline.
I hated the way I looked whenever I had my natural hair braided back into two cornrows, or I’d two-strand twist my locks and unravel them only to not have the fullness I yearned for.
So to cover up my thinning hairline, I almost exclusively worn The Wrap Life and Fanm Djanm head wraps, massaged my edges with Kaleidoscope Miracle Drops and literally prayed for a miracle. Even though my kinky curls gradually began to fill in along my edges, there are four things that have helped me deal with postpartum hair loss.
Getting regular trims. The very moment I landed back in my stylist Rimmy Sparkles‘ salon chair and explained what I was going through, she recommended trimming my ends for a healthy reset. Rimmy was right! I noticed a change within weeks. Then, when I had the pleasure of visiting Ursula Stephen The Salon in Brooklyn and the celebrity/editorial hairstylist assessed where I was on my regrowth journey, she had one of her key stylists give me a follow-up trim. And just as Ursula promised, my braidout/twistouts were better than before. Like many naturalistas, I often prolong getting regular trims. But I’ve committed to doing this simple step every 3 months.
Experimenting with natural hair clip-ins and extensions. To achieve the fullness I desired, Rad Swan (formerly known as Big Hair No Care) natural hair clip-ins were my secret. I’d shampoo and condition my hair per usual, two-strand twist with a styling cream like SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, untwist after a few days and then add in a few extensions for a halo-like Afro. I also had lots of fun wearing different wigs!
Drinking lots of water and #eatpretty. Everyone will tell you this. And even though I was drinking myself into a lake just to keep hydrated to produce enough breastmilk, I continued downing water. Eventually it paid off. Plus, eating a mostly plant-based diet full of vibrant fruits and veggies provided me with the nutrients I needed to stimulate hair growth.
Being kind to my edges… and myself. Stressing over my thinning edges did absolutely nothing but heighten my anxiety over postpartum hair loss. I gave myself permission to go through the emotions. But I was able to acknowledge the blessing of pregnancy, strength in giving birth to a healthy baby and reflect on how one day I’ll regain my edges. And I’m getting there!
Hey Beauties: Have you or someone you know struggled with postpartum hair loss? Tell me more in the comments section!