Congratulations! There’s a bun in the oven and we couldn’t be more thrilled for you. Once every distant relation has been informed and everyone’s health is confirmed, it might surprise you to find out that even the most mundane of tasks are suddenly quite different—including, of course, doing your hair.
Pregnancy hair is often described as both the best mane you’ll ever have and the most challenging. Many women find that their strands flourish while incubating a new baby, but post-birth means quite a few hairs left in the shower drain.
To help you sort through the ups and downs of the next nine months, we’ve tapped Autumn Queen. The L’Oréal Professionnel brand ambassador and stylist not only counsels women on their pregnancy hair, she’s been there herself. Armed with her tips, you’ll be prepared for the roller coaster that is haircare during (and after) pregnancy.
Start with a consultation.
In the world of hair, everything begins with the initial appointment. To plan for your pregnancy ‘do, let your stylist in on the news! Queen says she’s often the first person to know her clients are expecting after the partner and family get told.
Because growing a baby dramatically changes the way your hormones work, your mane may undergo some drastic changes too. Hair that’s been oily since day one could start tofeel dry and vice versa. You may even feel additional fullness as your body prolongs the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle.
The most important thing you can do is plan for a more low maintenance hair routine. If you’re a color addict, a subtle balayage will last you longer between appointments. Long layers can take the place of a blunt bob, which means fewer appointments.
There are also the physical changes that come along with pregnancy to contend with. Like many stylists, Queen tries to approach the subject tactfully.
“I do politely mention that sometimes weight gain can cause their face to change and we want to take that into consideration when deciding on a look,” she explains.
No matter what combination of changes you experience, pregnancy can make many women feel as if they’re losing touch with their identity. Work with your stylist to find a length and color that makes you feel like yourself, beautiful throughout all nine months. This is the moment to lean on your professional’s artistic eye and expertise.
See a doctor.
All of this brings us to a topic that’s been hotly debated for some time: Should pregnant women color their hair? Should they leave the salon and not come back until their babies have been safely delivered? The short answer is this: There is no short answer. Each woman should consult her own doctor to make an educated decision about hair color during the gestational period.
“Many women ask their stylist, but we are not your doctor so it’s not appropriate for us to give medical advice,” Queen says. “Most doctors will recommend waiting until after your first trimester. It’s important you do what you’re comfortable with.”
Even if you’re not a color fanatic, fluctuations in the feel and look of your hair can also leave you wondering what’s happening to your body. While a stylist can help you deal with the reality of the situation, a doctor should be talking you through it.
If you should decide not to color your hair while pregnant, don’t feel like you have to eschew the salon altogether. After all, a little pampering does a soul good. Queen invites you to think of your local hair salon as well-earned treat.
“It’s important for women to continue taking time for themselves as they need to be pampered,” she says.
Be prepared for a wild ride.
One of the most common pregnancy issues Queen encounters with clients is the desire to make a sudden (and drastic hair decision). She chalks it up to the hormones flooding your body.
“Many women have a story of some idea they had for their hair that once they had it, they hated it, and blamed it on the hormones,” she says. “Whatever idea you think you’d like to try with your hair, I would encourage you to think about it for a week or so. If you still want it, do it!”
To ensure you’re not getting bangs you’ll hate in four weeks, make sure you loop your stylist into your thought process. If he or she has worked with you for some time, get a second opinion. Alternatively, you can use the Style My Hair app powered by L’Oreal Professionnel to get an idea of what a color or cut might look like with your face.
Know that hair shedding often comes after pregnancy.
As a new mom, you’re sure to hear plenty of horror stories from friends and family about the postpartum hair shedding they experienced. Before curling up in a ball and crying, know that every woman’s pregnancy journey is a little different. However, the American Academy of Dermatology does advise that many women see “excessive hair shedding” during the months following birth due to falling levels of estrogen. It often peaks around four months after labor.
Excessive hair shedding can be emotionally challenging, especially as you navigate your new lifestyle as a mother. To make this period a little easier, let your stylist help you figure out a cut, product routine, and maintenance schedule that makes hair look fuller.
“I always warn my guests on their last appointment before they deliver that this will happen,” Queen says, adding that clients often need to find a new shampoo and conditioner system to match their needs. “After you go through the shedding phase, many women say their hair comes back with a different texture. For some it’s permanent and others it’s temporary.”
With the help of your trusted pro, pregnancy (and post-pregnancy)hair doesn’t have to be a big deal. Lean on someone who does this for a living and you’ll be happy you did.