Postpartum Hair Loss and How I’m Dealing With It
(This post is sponsored by Paul Mitchell)
Well folks, the postpartum hair loss has officially started. Hey, isn’t pregnancy just TONS o’fun?
So, to be totally honest, the hair loss started a few weeks ago: the only reason you haven’t heard me whining incessantly about it yet is because, so far, it hasn’t actually been quite as bad as I’d anticipated. I mean, when I was pregnant, I was so worried about this that I literally (LITERALLY) had nightmares about my hair falling out in chunks in the shower – it was like Psycho, only much, MUCH scarier.
Well, luckily for me, it hasn’t been QUITE that bad. Like, I still have hair, so that’s the main thing, right? I also, however, have a white wood floor in the bedroom, which means I get to see EXACTLY how much hair I’m losing every time I blow dry it. Throughout my 3rd trimester, that floor was SPOTLESS. Seriously, there was barely a single strand of hair on it, even after a lengthy blow-drying session. Now, though? Now I go and get out the hoover before I get into the shower every morning because there’s SO MUCH HAIR after each blow-dry that you’d think you’d walked into a salon in which someone had just had their head shaved or something. GOD.
Er, after saying it wasn’t that bad, I actually DID make it sound pretty bad there, didn’t I?
It really isn’t, though, honestly. I mean, sure, my floor is a MESS. My hair, on the other hand… well, it doesn’t really LOOK all that different. (SO FAR. Yes, I am aware that if the rest falls out, I’ll be looking like a hardboiled egg in no time…) I can tell there’s a difference in the size of my ponytail when I tie my hair back, but I don’t have any bald spots or a receding hairline or anything, so I’m hoping it really IS just the hair I didn’t lose in the 3rd trimester finally starting to shed, but… well, I guess we’ll see.
(I also guess that a whole bunch of people are primed to type “JUST YOU WAIT!” in the comments of this post, so, you know, PLEASE DON’T. Thanks.)
My hair might not look all that different to the casual observer, though, but that doesn’t mean it’s living its best life right now, either. No, I talked a few weeks ago about how the texture of my hair totally changed after I had Max – and how very, very annoying that was for me, because I’d JUST figured out a hair care regime that worked for me, and suddenly those products weren’t cutting it any more, because my hair felt so different. (And also because if my hair HAD to change, why couldn’t it have gone curly, or even wavy, rather than frizzy? WHY?) Also – and I know this is a very bad plan on my part, and probably destined to do more harm than good – I’ve been reluctant to get it trimmed since the postpartum hair loss started, because, even although I know it would be better for my hair in the long run, I just can’t help but be a bit like, “Wait: my hair is falling out as it is – might as well desperately cling onto every last bit of it, then, rather than lose any more!”
Yeah. I’m… not always smart about these things.
The upshot is that my ends are straggly, my roots are still slightly greasy, and my hair is just a whole lot more fragile than it used to be. (Oh, and my floor is covered in hair. Awesome!) This situation isn’t helped by the fact that while I’ve totally given up on curling it, due to sheer lack of time, I still blow-dry it every day, and it takes approximately 100 years each time, so my hair is exposed to a lot of heat. To cut a long, straggly story short, if my hair could talk, it would probably be calling its lawyer and asking to be legally emancipated from me right now. And I wouldn’t blame it.
This is where Paul Mitchell comes in.
The brand recently sent me a little care package designed to help me look after my poor, fragile tresses, and hopefully get through this period of postpartum hair loss with the minimum of trauma. First up, I’ve been using a selection of products from their Neuro Liquid collection, which is designed to help protect your hair against the damage caused by heat styling.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
“Formulated with exclusive HeatCTRL™ technology and a seductive floriental fragrance, this scientifically proven and vegan-friendly regime allows for guilt-free styling forming the perfect partnership with Neuro® intelligent styling tools. HeatCTRL™ technology is a scientifically proven blend that activates with heat to help protect against damage caused by daily styling, blow-drying and smoothing. Prevents thermal damage up to 86%“
It’s that last bit that particularly appeals to me: I’ve always been pretty hard on my hair in terms of exposing it to heat styling, but right now I worry that it’s just not healthy enough to stand up to that. In a bid to try to protect it, then, I’ve been using four of the products in the shower and afterwards:
First up, can I get a hallelujah for the fact that this comes with a push-top dispenser, so my super-clumsy self doesn’t have to fumble around in the shower, trying to take the cap off her shampoo and then replace it? Love. It. It’s also a colour-safe formula, which is safe for all hair types, and its formulated to remove dirty and grease – yes, even that little stubborn patch on the back of my head – without stripping your hair of moisture and goodness. My hair thanks it profusely.
Once the hair is clean, this product adds thermal protection, so that when the inevitable onslaught of heat hits it, the HeatCTRL™ technology will reduce the rate of heat transfer. Which is a fancy way of saying, “Your excessive use of heat styling won’t totally wreck your hair now, Amber.”
My favourite of the bunch, this is basically an intensive conditioner, which can be left on for 3-5 minutes for a “regular” treatment, or 10 – 15 minutes for a more intensive blast of conditioning goodness. So far I’ve only been going for the shorter option, because, as much as I hate to be That person, I just don’t have the time for extra pampering right now, so if it can’t be done in the shower, it’s probably not going to be done AT ALL. Even just leaving this on for 5 minutes or so, though, really makes a difference to my hair, and it’s the kind of difference you can feel before you even start drying and styling it: even when I’m rinsing it out, I can feel that my hair is smoother and less tangled than it would normally be, so HASHTAGTHUMBSUPEMOJI from me.
Finally, before blow-drying, I’ve been applying a dollop of this:
As the name suggests, this is basically a primer for your hair: you just work a small amount of the product to damp hair before blow-drying, and it’ll protect your prechus strands from heat damage, while also helping to tame them a little, and add a touch of shine. I’m always a little wary of products like this, purely because my hair has a tendency towards greasiness, and even a small amount of product can leave it looking limp and sticky (I never use styling products for this very reason…), but I use this mostly on the ends and length, while keeping it away from my roots, and it helps me look a bit less like a haystack on legs, so that’s nice. As I mentioned, although I still have that good ol’ greasiness at the roots, the rest of my hair has been quite coarse and frizzy since I had Max (Yeah, I got all the hair-related luck, apparently….), and I find this has a nice smoothing effect, which is helping with that, too.
In addition to the products themselves, I’ve also been looking at the WAY I blow-dry my hair, and have been using this guy for the past couple of weeks:
This is the Neuro Dry High Performance Dryer, and it uses tourmaline ions to dry the hair quickly, and with the minimum of damage. Now, blow-drying my hair is one of my least-favourite activities EVER: honestly, it’s right up there with emptying the dishwasher as one of those chores I’d happily walk over hot coals to avoid.* (*Not really.) So, the fact that this dryer has a 1875-watt motor, which allows it to dry my hair quickly is a huge benefit to me, especially right now, when there always seems to be a million other things I have to do of a morning. This has four heat settings, and the highest one is really pretty hot (So it’s a good idea to use the Primer first, obviously), so it just makes the whole drying process that bit quicker and easier – which then gives me plenty of time to sweep up all of the strands of red hair that end up on my white floor afterwards: sob!
On that subject, I should probably make it clear that, as good as these products are in terms of protecting my fragile hair from heat damage, and giving it a little bit of TLC, they won’t, obviously, stop the postpartum hair loss, which I’m just going to have to live with until my hair finally stops shedding. I mean, it can’t go on like this forever … can it?