Why did my hair type change after pregnancy?


Straight to suddenly curly? Formerly the queen of curls and now left with a limp wave?  Hair texture change can happen during or after pregnancy - and tbh no one is really talking about it so, what gives?

For all of my life I had straight hair. I embraced it, I loved it actually.  When pin straight locks hit the runways when I was in high school I felt right on trend.

Sure I still owned a straightener, and if it rained I would get a slight wave going -but by all accounts my hair was straight.  

Fast forward to my first pregnancy, and my hair thickened.  I was on the pregnancy "good hair ride".  Thick + shiny hair, and I was loving it.  

Then, towards the end - maybe month 8 I noticed my hair was becoming harder to manage. 

Soon after delivery my hair became increasingly dry with a distinct wave to it. I thought it was weird, but honestly didn't give it too much thought as it wasn't too drastic a difference.

When my sister called me this past year asking if straight hair to curly after pregnancy was a thing (not asking for a friend), I started to wonder... was it a thing?

 

Why does hair change from straight to curly?

An interesting piece of information about curly hair, is that the gene for straight hair is recessive- but curly hair isn't completely dominant.

 Meaning: you could have the curly gene, but until its activated your waves and curls would be dormant too. 

Ok.. so my sister could have been living with a curly hair gene and it just hadn't activated for 30+ years... so what activated it?

The most likely reasons why hair changes and a gene suddenly stops being dormant:  Hormones.  Along with hormones: stress and aging are culprits of texture and quality change. 

Hormones can affect not only the strands, but muscles- that includes the scalp (the occipitofrontalis muscle moves up the scalp and eyebrows).

As muscle tone changes it can affect the shape of your hair follicles and their direction of growth. Wild, I know!  Straight hair follicles grow straight out but curly hair follicles have a hook shape.

With hormones as the culprit hair changes often occur in women at several points in their life: puberty, pregnancy/post pregnancy, and menopause. 

 

My hair type changed, so now what?  

So is the change permanent? Yes, possibly.  You may find yourself embracing a new hair type long term. Should you switch out your smoothing shampoo for curl control?  You may want to have a chat with your stylist. 

That said, many of the texture changes that occur postpartum are temporary. 

Oily scalp? Ultra dry, breaking, and thin locks? Those are more likely from nutritional deficiencies, stress,  and sudden drop of estrogen/hormones. 

In fact many moms who reported their curls had relaxed and hair had dried out were able to restore their strands significantly with ensuring they were getting the right vitamins for hair and restoring hydration. 

 

Give it some time:

Postpartum hair loss along with texture changes and new growth can take some time to resolve.

When moms continue taking their baby blues vitamins and make healthy lifestyle choices that reflect maintaining/increasing iron levels in foods and limiting stress as much as possible; many moms experience the regrowth phenomenon where lots of hair grows back at the same time.

In fact with so many hairs sticking up, your hair may appear frizzy. 

As you support your hair growth, this typically resolves itself by a year postpartum; but for plenty of women it can take longer.

If your new hair texture be it curly, wavy, or straight persists beyond a year postpartum, its likely here to stay and embracing the result of dormant genes would be the way to go to keep it at its healthiest. 

We would love to hear in the comments if any hair texture change has occurred with you! 

 


3 comments


  • Kelly Gerber

    I had my first baby in August 2020 at 40 years old. I have pretty straight hair except for new hair that has grown at my temples, near my ears and at the nape of my neck – this new hair is extremely curly and can’t be tamed! I used to often wear slicked back ponytails but I haven’t found a gel strong enough for this new hair 😂 I am now pregnant with my second child and curious to see what hair changes, if any, may happen similar to the changes the other ladies described above.


  • Alicia Anderson

    My hair started going wavy during my college years, then after this third baby (over 10 years later!) my hair is now going straight again 😶😶. I was just loving a new haircut with my waves when it started looking blahhhh. Now it’s back to the drawing board 😑


  • Christina Thompson

    I’ve had 2 pregnancies m. Before hand I had wavy, frizzy hair. After my 1st it straightened and I could get away with wash and let air dry and not even flat irion 🙌🏻 After my 2nd my hair has returned back to Its wavy frizzy state 😬


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