Mother and Baby

Postpartum hair loss: How to strengthen your hair after pregnancy

Section: Skin & Hair

If you’re noticing your hair is falling out after you’ve given birth, this is very normal. Most women experience hair loss around the third month after birth, yet others experience this a little later if they’ve been breastfeeding.

There’s not much you can do to stop this, but, with good haircare, some super products and tweaking your diet slightly, you can encourage and stimulate regrowth.

Firstly, it's important you don’t stress about it as this will only exacerbate things.

What causes hair loss after pregnancy? 

During pregnancy the body experiences soaring oestrogen and progesterone levels which encourages hair growth, creating more lustrous, thicker strands and helping towards the famous ‘pregnancy glow’.

Unfortunately, for most mums this thickness doesn’t last following birth as hormones begin to level out, often resulting in hair loss and thinness. This change may seem dramatic at first but fear not, as your body begins to settle back in to its usual rhythm so will your hair.

How long does postpartum hair loss last? 

The loss usually continues for 10-12 weeks but, after this, new hair should start to appear.

If it’s still falling out, there may be an underlying cause, such as diet, stress or hormonal balance, which needs addressing with a trichologist (hair and scalp specialist).

What should I eat to stop pregnancy hair loss?

Hair is made up of proteins therefore ensuring you have a balanced diet will help to encourage regrowth.

We caught up with expert Tina Farey, Editorial Director at national hairdressing group Rush, to get her advice on how to cope with the initial thinness and the best styling tips to disguise it during that ‘inbetween’ stage.

"Dark leafy greens, berries, protein-rich foods like red meat, fish, tofu and lentils are all reputed for their hair-strengthening properties," says Tina.

And brunch will take on a whole new meaning when you learn that those perfectly poached eggs are a fantastic source of protein and biotin too, which may promote growth. So get to know your nutrients and eat your way to feeling fabulous!

Now is also a good time to check you’re not depleted in any vitamins and minerals, however before taking any sort of supplement, it’s worth checking with your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Think about your daily haircare routine

We know it’s hard to settle into a routine with a newborn but if you can spare any time, Tina recommends regular head massages to optimise healthy hair growth.

"Get your partner or a friend to apply gentle pressure to the scalp with their fingers or hands, which will stimulate blood flow and help you relax. Alternatively, brushing the scalp every night can also help stimulate blood circulation, but make sure you’re using a soft natural bristle brush as it will help massage the scalp and reduce breakage." according to Tina.

Consider getting a new style

One way to get your hair groove back is a style refresh.

According to Tina, hair loss is often most visible at the front, with small, thin, weak strands growing along the hairline, so why not try out a new look by experimenting with a fringe?

"Whether it’s a blunt fringe or curtain ‘bangs’ they’re a great way to add volume and texture to your hair, helping it to appear fuller and thicker." Says Tina. 

"Alternatively, try a shorter ‘do as they often make fine hair appear fuller, and are easier to manage when it comes to small hands reaching and grabbing! Short styles don’t pull the hair downwards in the same way longer looks might, thus giving it more lift."

Hairstyles to disguise thinning hair 

Unsure you’ll find time to pop into a salon now that your schedule has been overhauled? If you’re struggling for time and want to feel confident between appointments, there are a number of easy to-do styles that will mask any thinness according to Tina.

"For a start, never underestimate the power of a good ponytail and with this simple upgrade you’ll fall back in love with your hair," Says Tina. 

"Start by gently backcombing your hair to create volume at the crown, disguising any thinness around the top of your head – now is a great opportunity to add dry shampoo or volumising powder. Next, comb back carefully but not neatly using a paddle brush, and secure at the top of the neck with a hairband to create the ponytail. Then take a few small strands from the ponytail and wrap around the band, securing in place using a hairpin. Pull at a few strands on either side at the front of the face so they delicately hang loose."

What products should I use?

Unfortunately, there is no wonder treatment that can make your hair grow in Rapunzel proportions. There are, however, a few products that seem to help. 

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1) Moroccanoil Dry Scalp Treatment, £27.05, Amazon

People often forget their scalp, but this is where your hair is “living”. Think of it like the skin on your face. If the pH levels are out of balance, or it’s too dry or oily, your hair won’t be healthy.

Massage is key to boost blood flow and feed the roots. Use a kneading motion on your scalp for two to three minutes every morning or night.

And introduce a nourishing treatment, such as the Dry Scalp Treatment from Moroccanoil, into your daily routine. The best news? They've also developed a treatment aimed at oily scalps, so you've covered either way! 
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2) Tangle teezer The Original Detangling Hairbrush, £6.80, Amazon

Be careful not to over brush or excessively blow-dry your hair. This can cause damage if it is more brittle than usual post-pregnancy.

A good-quality brush like the Tangle Teezer will ease out knots without pulling. Also avoid scraping your hair into tight buns or ponytails.
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3) Kérastase Nutritive Masquintense, £24.74, lookfantastic 

If your hair is very dry, switch to a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, and add a weekly deep conditioner. The Kerastase deep conditioner works to nourish your hair from root to tip, protecting your precious locks from oxidation and prolonging a nourished feeling.
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4) Aveda Purifying Scalp Cleanser, £24.50, lookfantastic

Of course, healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, especially after pregnancy.

The protective scalp treatment from the professionals at Aveda helps to maintain the purity of the scalp, penetrating the surface layer to nourish and help preserve the scalp’s natural protective barrier.

This might not stop your hair from falling out right away, but will help get your scalp healthier for new hair to grow.
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5) Nioxin Scalp Treatment System, £9.99, Amazon

Built for noticeably thinning, fine and chemically treated hair, this volumising leave-on treatment packed with antioxidants refreshes your scalp, protects it from the sun and promotes new hair growth.
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6) Man 'n Tail Deep Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner Set, £13.98, Amazon

Don’t be put off by the packaging, this horse to human shampoo is packed with proteins to promote gentle cleansing without stripping away the natural oils your pregnancy hair so desperately needs.

Although it might not stop your hair falling out, it will cleanse down to the scalp and promote new growth.
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7) DS Laboratories Revita Shampoo, £26.05, lookfantastic

Suitable for all hair types, DS Laboratories Revita Shampoo will treat your thinning hair. It also cleanses, fortifies and results in thicker, fuller-looking hair. 
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8) Biotin Vitamin Hair Growth Conditioner, £59.98, Amazon

Made using all natural ingredients with no harsh chemicals, this nourishing conditioner promotes circulation and stimulates hair follicles. 

Suitable for both men and women, this conditioner promises to help give you back your thicker and stonger hair. 
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9) Dabur Amla Hair Oil, £3.09, Amazon 

Perfect for mums with darker hair, the Dabur Amla Hair Oil combines the goodness of amla fruit (Indian gooseberry) with a blend of vegetable and mineral oils to promote long, healthy hair.

This oil works really well as a mask and get be left on for hours at a time or overnight to fit around your day before washing out. 
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10) OGX Nourishing Coconut Oil Mist, £15.05, Amazon

This hair spritz is brilliant for mums on-the-go and is a quick fix to getting healthy looking hair. 

Perfect if you want to liven up dull, brittle and dry looking locks, it can be applied to towel dried hair and also throughout the day to combat frizziness or dryness. 


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