I was taken on monthly errands as a kid to watch my parents get their hair colored.
My Dad a prominent psychiatrist with a clear distain for the gray creeping in, had his Sunday appointments set for the year.
My former beauty-pageant judging Mom; who piled on aging-preventative skincare, did a Jenny Garth work-out video every morning (yes the one from 90210), also disliked anything other than her sun-kissed brown locks.
She plucked any white hair that made its way into her vision, before frantically calling salon to set an emergency color-retouch appointment.
I have the utmost respect for those who age naturally.
However, I grew up watching adults do what they could to make themselves feel better about their appearance as they aged- and I've become an adult doing the same.
So, at 34 when a crop of white hairs sprouted up during my second pregnancy and into postpartum; I was not ok; and frankly needed to know what I could do safely while breastfeeding to eliminate the white hairs that were in stark contrast to my dark black hair.... without making my delicate postpartum hair worse!
Should You Color Your Postpartum Hair?
Here's the thing. I have two trains of thought on this.
1. We should be delicate on postpartum hair and eliminate styling and product that might weaken it.
2. Your mental well-being and stress seriously impacts your hair.
For me, the stress and anxiousness I feel from seeing my hair change color to reflect my aging wasn't great.
It's not great on a normal day, but especially while I'm already not feeling my best
Think: pregnancy weight gain, hormonal skin issues, hair thinning, less sleep, etc.
I am convinced that for me, seeing a crop of aging strands causes a lot more inflammation and damage to my body than any hair color would.
Since it's unlikely for hair dye or bleach to be absorbed through a healthy scalp, it is generally thought to be safe to color hair during pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding.
When pregnant, you for sure want to be in a well ventilated space when coloring your hair.
For postpartum & while breastfeeding; you want to be aware of the dye used -as some do have a smell to them- and you may find your baby is not into it.
In fact some babies won't latch if mom uses a certain perfume or lotion.
Just keep that in mind if you are doing a process that uses bleach and may have a lingering smell.
Will it weaken my postpartum hair?
Cutting to the chase. You need to use salon ammonia free hair dye so you don't weaken your hair if coloring it while postpartum.
I switched salons after my second son, to a stylist using ammonia-free and it made a world of difference as far as the quality of my hair texture after a color.
Ammonia-free dyes include emollient oils to prevent hair loss and the loss of proteins and moisture from the cuticle of your hair.
This is important postpartum. You do not want to lose moisture because you colored your hair.
You also want to ensure hair is healthy and able to move to the growth stage as fast as possible.
Will it worsen my postpartum hair loss?
I disagree with those who say to wait to color your hair because of postpartum hair loss, I really do.
Here's the thing. Postpartum hair loss is triggered by hormones.
That hormone drop is going to tell your hair to move to the shedding phase; which you experience as the utterly & annoying postpartum hair loss.
So, yes- will it annoy you to see newly paid for- colored hair falling out?
Sure, but it would likely annoy you either way.
Using a ammonia-free hair color with a trained stylist really shouldn't worsen your postpartum hair loss.
There are a few cases however, in which I would say wait.
#1 being bleaching or high-lift color near or on your scalp. This might actually irritate your scalp and cause you to scratch and itch the area.
#2 If you are experiencing scalp pain or an itchy scalp postpartum already.
This actually is a somewhat common symptom because of the changes to the hormones postpartum; so if a painful or itchy scalp is something you are already experiencing, getting your hair colored might actually heighten this discomfort for you.
Minimizing postpartum hair-loss while coloring hair:
I truly felt so much better after that first hair color and trim appointment after having my son.
Having that fresh glossy colored hair made me feel worlds better about my appearance.
To ensure my hair stayed its healthiest I considered both the exterior health of my hair; along with supporting it from the inside to minimize postpartum hair loss and help it look its best.
Supporting postpartum hair from the inside:
1. Vitamins - one of the most massively important things I did was add a postpartum hair vitamin on top of my postnatal.
I chose the baby blues postpartum hair vitamins with maximum strength biotin and an easily absorbed collagen.
For me it was important to choose a hair vitamin I could be consistent with, and one that wasn't 4 big pills I would be choking down.
The baby blues gummies are tropical lilikoi flavored and I literally look forward to taking them. I have NEVER missed a day taking them because I enjoy it so much.
My hair texture has softened since taking baby blues hair vitamins + my hair loss lessened months faster than after my first son, and its even helped my nails and lashes grow & feel stronger.
( using baby blues hair vitamins every single day, & with a fresh hair color-retouch <3 feeling like myself).
2. Iron & Protein
Making sure I was getting enough iron and protein helped ensure that my bodies ferritin levels were thriving and my body was able to support the creation of new hair follicles, and support the health of existing as well. This is important always, but especially when you losing strands.
Foods to add to support these levels:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Red Meat
- Dark Chocolate
- Dried Apricot
Oh the elusive postpartum sleep and its impact on postpartum hair.
Studies have shown six to eight hours are needed for a healthy head of hair, and unfortunately postpartum moms are no exception.
While hormones cause your hair to shed, hormones are also needed for it to grow.
When you sleep, the hormone melatonin is particularly important to regulate the sleep cycle and improve hair growth.
Poor sleep reduces the amount of melatonin you produce, potentially making hair loss worse.
If you have difficulty like I did, falling asleep right away because of momsomnia or mom-anxiety then adding a non-habit forming melatonin supplement; might be a lifesaver for your sleep and hair.
I only use the baby blues melatonin strawberry gummies because they don't add anything else to it- its just melatonin, so its natural and something your body already produces. I don't wake up groggy- just better rested with better hair.
Supporting postpartum hair from the outside:
While coloring your hair postpartum it's important to minimize breakage and keep hair as strong as possible. Sharing my best tips:
1. Deep conditioner 2-3 times a week depending on hair type: A little deep conditioner goes a long way to strengthen your strands. I'm usually short on time so I've started running deep conditioner on the bottom portion of my hair only while I go for a run or do a home-workout.
My favorites are Kerastase, Rene-Furterer, & Shu Uemura; but I'm always on the hunt for new ones.
2. Use silk scrunchies & a silk pillowcase: When considering ways to minimize breakage and hair-loss while coloring your hair and during postpartum- a gentle silk scrunchie is your best friend when pulling your hair back.
To avoid tangles and finding hair on your pillow when you wake up- a silk pillowcase is a game-changer!
3. Use heat protectant: This should be a no-brainer but it isn't so I will tell you in no uncertain terms, if you blow dry your hair, if you straighten your hair, if you curl, beach-wave, diffuse, whatever it is! If heat is going near your hair- use a heat protectant spray prior.
My favorite right now is the Rene Furterer thermal spray with vitamin B3 & B5.
So should you get your postpartum hair loss colored? IMO? Yes, why not? If it will make you feel refreshed and more like yourself absolutely do it.
If you can commit to doing the things alongside coloring; to keep it healthy and thriving then its an absolute yes (take your vitamins, use heat protection, add extra iron and protein, use a good haircare system and deep condition).
Please let me know in the comments if you colored your hair postpartum and your experience!