I’ve always had fine hair. I was thrilled when, during my second trimester, I noticed that my wispy tresses actually started to fall nicely. My normally tangled ends tickled my shoulders in straight sweeps, and brushing and styling breakage seemed to be something of the past. I was in alt.
Now, I’d read about the various effects of pregnancy hormones on hair growth and I was anticipating the worst. It didn’t come. Apparently, the levels of hormones during pregnancy can keep a woman’s hair in the ‘telegen’ or resting stage which is why some women experience the fullness that they do. After delivery, the sudden drop of progesterone and estrogen can cause all those previously resting hair follicles to fall out. There are tons of articles out there that say this hair loss usually happens between three and six months, and still others that say that it takes a whole year for hair to get back to normal. After six months passed by I thought I was home-free. I was still pleased with the relative thickness and body my hair seemed to be hanging on to. I’d finished nursing a couple months before, I had shed a significant amount of my baby-weight, and had even been put on thyroid medication..my hair still had bounce.
Then, randomly, it started coming out by the handful. It broke. My natural wave? Buh-bye. Even the colour at the roots seemed more drab. My pony-tails became little clusters of what felt like 20 hairs. Elastics that used to wrap around them twice, were being twisted four and five times to get a grip. I felt like I’d been shorn. ‘How much worse can it get’, I thought. I couldn’t believe that it was taking me the better part of an hour to do my hair just so I didn’t get the dreaded ‘see-through’. Yuck.
Then, the coconut hair started up. You new moms know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the crazy new growth that, despite industrial strength fixatives and styling aids sticks straight up, or looks like teeny feathered bangs stemming from various forehead cowlicks. Arg.
With the impending ‘return to the office’ from maternity leave, and a hankering to revamp myself for the occasion, I decided that action was necessary.
First stop? The Scalp.
Hairdressers, doctors, and beauty mags all proclaim that no matter what you do, that ‘freshly out of the telegen phase’ hair is coming out. Whether you brush or don’t, it will shed. So the best course of action is to make sure that your scalp and the hair that you do hang on to stays healthy.Brushing your hair with a boar-bristle brush stimulates the scalp, and helps distribute natural oils from root to tip. Brush in the morning and in the evening before you go to sleep to remove shed hairs, and encourage circulation to the scalp. There is something so ‘brush 100 times’ about this ritual, but I genuinely enjoy it. As a mom, how many times do we just rush through things so we can get to the next?
The second ‘scalp’ tool I’ve found is Rene Furterer’s ‘Complex 5’ that I picked up from Sephora. It’s a natural complex of oils like orange and lavender that is meant to stimulate the scalp and create a healthy environment for follicle growth. Massaging these oils into the scalp is also supposed to assist in breaking-up sebum (the oil secreted and discharged by the sebaceous glands) that often blocks follicles. Complex 5 is applied to the scalp in sections and left on for about 5-10 minutes, twice weekly. Some people report ‘burning’ but I just feel that it’s invigorating.
Between the Complex 5 and the frequent brushing, I have no doubt that I am at least giving myself a fair shot at growing a healthy head of hair, but the patience that is required to see results is not easy to cultivate. So what to do in the mean time?
Conquering the Coconuts
I have no idea where I got this but I love it. It’s been rebranded since, and you can see the new packaging and look up retail distributors on-line here.
If you apply this magic root-booster in sections to freshly-washed, damp hair, you will be able to disguise your toughest new growth. I use some extra sprays in areas like the front and sides of my hair – the parts that really took a post-partum beating. Then I comb through, and use a round styling brush and hairdryer to style. The hold that this stuff has is phenomenal: if you style your hair off your face, those little new-growth wisps will add beautiful volume; if you want to blow it out and smooth it down, I’ve had success using a wide flat brush and drying against the direction of growth for awesome oomph.
This doesn’t take those problematic little hairs away, but it does help you get through that first grueling phase of getting your hair back.
Moroccan oil smells good and it smoothes and nourishes my ‘loyalist’ hairs very nicely. Now, if you have fine, thirsty hair, test a tiny (less-than-a-dime-sized) smudge on damp hair, and then style as usual. If you apply it for the first time to dry, fine hair, you may end up with a bit of a greasy mess. Eventually you’ll be familiar enough with the product to know how much to use to smooth out strays and give dry ends weight after blow-drying.
I used to hate looking for hair fixes on YouTube or in magazines and finding the inevitable ‘cut your thinning hair short’ articles. “NEVER!” I would protest, throwing the offending publication at the wall. (Hair brings out the drama queen in me.) It’s just that I’ve worked too hard to grow my hair to this precarious over-the-shoulder length.
That being said, I do understand the value of a ‘reset button’. And boy do I need one. After a twenty minute consultation with my awesome stylist Ashleigh, I have decided to go closer to my natural brunette colour. We’ll be adding some lovely toffee highlights for dimension, cropping an inch off to create a big more of a shoulder-graze look, and maybe even introducing a hint of fringe. Very sophisticated and saucy.
I have to say, that even though a part of me hungers for my signature blonde locks, I can’t wait to try on a bit of a different look as my hair gets back to itself.
I’m in a new phase of my life. I’m a mom, I’m a business woman, and I’m starting a new chapter with my enterprises and going back to my office team. As Ashleigh has pointed out, ‘it’s time’. And in time even that new-growth will just be another layer hanging in my eyes, of which I’ll have forgotten the significance.