It was inevitable, I know this to be true. I knew I wasn’t going to be one of those very lucky women who just magically bypasses all the horrible pregnancy after effects. Now granted I had a pretty by the book pregnancy and pretty much no complications, with the exception of having to have a c-section, I would consider myself a winner, but like many women post pregnancy can be a drag; all the ups and downs, the emotions, the hair loss, the apron belly that just won’t go away, sleep deprivation, leaky tits, stretch marks and so on and so on. The list can seem endless and it sometimes feels like you’ll never bounce back. It’s been a tough 5 months postpartum, but I have taken time each weekend to participate in self care. I owe it to myself to do this for my own well being and for my family. For me self care means exercise, and sticking to a very strict hair routine to combat postpartum hair shed and thinning.
Postpartum hair shed has been one of the more undesirable things about postpartum, so part of my self care has been switching up my hair care routine to accommodate my hair shed and thinning edges. I think you can definitely use this routine as a way to nurse your hair back to health from most damage as well and tbh, I probably should’ve been doing this before pregnancy, but whateves, we here now, LOL. So here are 5 things I’m doing to combat postpartum hair shed and thinning edges.
HOT OIL TREATMENTS/OIL RINSING
Applying hot oil and coating the hair in a rich emollient oil on dry or damp hair does wonders or at least it did for me. Most of the time you can slow down thinning edges by keeping them moisturized and sealing in the moisture with a good hot oil treatment or oil rinsing. Oil seals in moisture and if your hair is anything like mine, dryness is the number one issue. Keeping a good eye on the moisture/protein balance always works for my hair. Check out this quick tutorial from one of my favorite Natural Hair YouTubers on oil rinsing. I have very dry, kinky, coily, curly hair, so I need a lot of moisture. Thick oils work best for my hair. I use avocado oil regularly in my hair routine and it doubles as a great skincare product as well.
DEEP CONDITIONING TREATMENT
I’ve went back to deep conditioning my hair weekly. Pre pregnancy I just use to do it every other week but since the hair shed was so extreme at 3 months postpartum I took desperate measures to slow things down an really double down on the care of my hair. I think skipping this step would have really shocked my hair and I think the hair loss would have been more extreme than it actually was. FYI, when I say deep conditioning, I mean sitting under a hooded dryer with the conditioner on my hair and a plastic cap for a minimum of 30 minutes. I think anything less won’t really be that effective if you ask me.
Pro Tip: I add a bit of avocado oil to my deep conditioner for a big moisture boost.
As discussed above, a good moisture/protein balance is key with dry natural hair. When your hair is dry its weak and breaks off, this includes edges. Hair also gets weak and breaks off if it lacks protein as well. I don’t need a lot of protein because of my hair type, but protein is a very important ingredient in my hair routine and is included in the deep conditioner and co-wash conditioner I use regularly. It’s a little bit in both and gives me just enough protein to keep a good protein balance in my hair. With the right amount protein you can reduce the amount of breakage at the nape of your hair.
LOW MANIPULATION STYLES
Thinning edges means I’ve resorted to styles that require less pulling and tugging at the hair. My edges have certainly thinned out since having baby girl, but I’m managing pretty well with just rocking some chunky twists or a big fro. You don’t see me laying the edges down with gel these days or rocking a wash n go (which for a while was my go-to style) now I just do a few chunky twist, let them loose when they’ve dried and wear a semi curly/semi frizzy fro. It’s less work, it saves time and it saves my edges, or what’s left of them at least, LOL.
After having Charlee, I started a postnatal vitamin, they worked pretty well for me. It was a 90 day supply that I feel provided everything I needed to get me through the first 3 months of postpartum, restoring nutrients etc etc… I actually think it really prepared and fortified my hair for the shed that came at 3 1/2 months postpartum, so it wasn’t so bad. Once my supply ran out, I immediately started a prenatal vitamin and have been taking those ever since. I’m 5 1/2 months postpartum now and I’m back to a normal shedding rate. At the time the shedding was really bad, I would say I was being a bit dramatic, but looking back at it, I’ve seen some women go through worse, I mean bald spots etc… and I don’t think my shedding was as extreme. I’m not saying pre or postnatal vitamins are a cure all, but I do feel they helped me prepare my hair for the transition and have been a great preventative effort towards strengthening my hair and sustaining the hair I do have. I’m no expert and I believe everyone should do what’s best for them, but for me, the pre and postnatal vitamins worked well. For those wondering, I was on a regular one a day women’s multivitamin prior to pregnancy, so that may or may not have something to do with how my hair has reacted to postpartum as well.
All that being said, I feel I’ve maintained fullness and volume in my hair. In fact, I will go as so far as to say that my hair seems fuller and more voluminous postpartum than it ever did and while my edges have thinned out, it’s not as bad as I think it would have been had I not taken and continue to take the measures above. Again, I’m no expert, these are just the things that I have done and continue to do that are working for my hair and my lifestyle. I think everyone should do what’s best for their hair, but I’m sure a few of the above tips won’t hurt in your postpartum hair journey.
I hope these tips have been helpful.
Till next time.