Wondering what was more dry than my postpartum hair?
Well, the Mohave Desert in summer possibly, the gharial crocodile my 7 year old is obsessed with at the Waikiki zoo... maybe, my Uncle Robs joke about trying to grab fog... "but he mist"? Yes.
Ok but seriously, what is up with postpartum dry hair? How does one go from normal well hydrated strands to dry straw overnight? More importantly what can I do to remedy it... fast.
How pregnancy affected your strands:
Backtracking to pregnancy/pre-pregnancy just a bit: Ok so before you even conceived, your hair was on its natural three month cycle of growing, then resting, and then it's gradual shedding (likely noticed only when washing or brushing your hair).
Typically I could have checked in on your strands and about 90% of them would be growing and then 10% ish would be resting which would eventually lead to shedding.
When you became pregnant your hormones basically just said let's rest longer, and give this mama-to-be zero shedding (for now).
She's going to look like she has a fuller head of hair (insert beautiful, thick pregnancy locks).
During pregnancy, some hair gets oilier (increased sebum- thanks to hormones).
Some hair starts getting dry while pregnant-and this dryness can linger into postpartum. If your hair became dry these next paragraphs are for you.
If your hair got drier:
Even in pregnancy there is no rule that you get the best hair of your life. Dry, coarse, and straw-like hair could be due to the fact that your body just isn't stimulating the skin's sebaceous glands like it used to.
The substance sebum that regulates oil could be off.
Dry hair is more prone to break and split and straw- this hair can truly feel impossible to moisturize.
You may find the products you were using, are no longer the right fit for your hair in light of these changes.
What to do for postpartum dry hair:
1. Get a trim: If your hair has been dry for some time now this is especially important.
As mentioned above, dry hair tends to break and split more rapidly.
There is no miracle fix for this other than getting those split ends cut. Even if you don't want to lose much length, this will instantly make hair look healthier and less thin at the ends.
2. Ease off of the shampoo: When you shampoo, you remove natural oils from your hair, and given your dry strands - it's likely you aren't getting enough.
If you are used to a luxurious lather - forget that. Lessen the amount of product.
3. Give yourself a scalp massage/invest in a scalp brush: On the days you are shampooing, it would be ideal to perform a scalp massage (or invest in one of the stimulating scalp brushes that are currently trending.
A scalp massage redistributes excess oil, which keeps the rest of the hair follicles moisturized and prevents the scalp from drying out and causing itching (a hair loss culprit).
4. Limit Heat: You know what's the easiest way to break or fry dry hair? Apply heat to it.
If your hair is looking and feeling dry, it would be best to steer clear of heating hair products, (straighteners/curling irons - even the hair dryer, as these tend to break already brittle hair.
5. Do a hot oil treatment: When it comes to protecting and nourishing dry, brittle hair, hot oil treatments are a popular option.
Made from plant-based oils, like olive, almond, and coconut, hot oil treatments work by sealing the hair cuticle. This can help to strengthen and protect your hair.
There are several options for getting a hot oil treatment. You can choose to go to a salon. Or, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can try a do-it-yourself (DIY) hot oil treatment at home. You can also buy a ready-made hot oil product.
Typically done once a week, this may be a good option for you to jump start your healthy hair goals.
6. Add these foods to your diet right now: Looking to help dry hair and scalp? The key ingredients for healthy hair and scalp are protein, iron, vitamin a, and vitamin d. Adding some of the below options can give your body a boost in supporting hair health.
- Salmon: Great source of protein, Vitamin D, + Omega 3 fatty acids+ supports hair shine.
- Prunes: rich in iron works to prevent hair loss and dull hair.
- Carrots: Carrots not only help to sharpen your vision but also to maintain the health of your hair due to the presence of vitamin A. Existence of vitamin A helps in formation of sebum oil in the scalp. Sebum is a very important element which helps to keep the scalp and hair very well moisturized. A moisturized scalp means healthy hair.
- Eggs: Eggs are rich in biotin and vitamin B. These two nutrients are very important for the health and maintenance of your hair. Biotin is a star element, which helps to keep your hair shiny and lustrous. Biotin is also present in many shampoos and conditioners, + supplements and is one of the important elements needed for hair health.
- Dark/Green Leafy Vegetables: Include lots of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and lettuces in your diet. All these dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin A and Vitamin C. Both these vitamins help in the formation of sebum, which is a natural hair conditioner and hence moisturizes your skin and scalp.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are one of the best nuts for your hair nourishment and maintenance. As they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, vitamin E and copper they protect your hair against damage from the sun by being a shield when you venture out; they also prevent hair loss and help keep your hair lustrous and rich in color.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which when consumed gets converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents dull scalp and hair and promotes growth and proper circulation of oxygen to the hair follicle.
- Blueberries: This super fruit is loaded with vitamin C, which helps in oxygen circulation to the scalp and hair follicles, and prevents hair breakage.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a perfect hair rejuvenating snack. They're good for overall health, as they are loaded with protein, omega-6 fatty acids, zinc and iron.
- Avocados: Avocados are delicious, nutritious and a great source of healthy fats. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, which may promote hair growth and overall health. Vitamin E also protects areas of the skin, like the scalp, from oxidative stress and damage. Damaged skin on the scalp can result in poor hair quality and fewer hair follicles.
7. Consider adding a hair supplement: Dry or lackluster hair can be an indicator that you need to start taking a supplement.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that supplementing with biotin/collagen not only leads to stronger, more resilient locks, but also to increased speed of hair growth and improved thickness and shine. One of the most likely times you may be deficient in biotin is postpartum.
Some of the biggest tell tale signs being: brittle, thinning, or splitting hair and nails.
If this sounds like you it may be in your hair's best interest to start a hair vitamin. The baby blues postpartum hair vitamins are the only hair vitamin to combine biotin and marine collagen (one of the best absorbing collagens) delivering better results faster.
While I can't escape my Uncle Rob's dry humor ... hoping these tips help you escape months of battling dry splitting hair, and get those strands more moisturized, shiny, supported, and healthy faster.