How your hair changes during and after pregnancy

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Have you always wished you could switch your naturally straight or curly hair for the opposite texture? Well, if you’re planning on having a baby, your wish could potentially come true. Because pregnancy can change your locks up in a big way – and not just in terms of texture – pregnancy can completely overhaul your hair.

RELATED: Hair hacks for new mums

RELATED: The ‘other’ side effects of pregnancy

So along with acne and oral health, you can add hair to the list of big beauty changes that go down during and after pregnancy. So what can you expect? We’ve gathered up everything you need to know, below…

Thick and glossy locks

Some lucky women score this bloody beauty of a pregnancy perk (especially in the late second and third trimesters). Why? As the Owner and Director of Sloans Salons, Scott Sloan, explains, it’s your extra pregnancy hormones that help your hair out. “The big increase in oestrogen and progesterone during early pregnancy can encourage hair growth while also limiting shedding, making hair feel the thickest and longest it has ever been,” says Scott. Um, score!

Oily and lank strands

Unfortunately, some other pregnant women draw the short (and flat and limp) straw. “If this is the case be sure to look at adding a nourishing mask to your routine,” Scott explains.

beautyheaven loves the Klorane Mask with Mango Butter, Dove Intensive Repair Mask and Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Coconut Oil Deep Conditioning Protein Pack.

“But also be sure to take your recommended pregnancy vitamins and eat healthy fresh food as much as possible to ensure you are not vitamin or nutrient deficient, as hair can be a direct reflection of that,” Scott says.

beautyheaven loves Blackmores Pregnancy & Breast-Feeding Gold and SwisseUltinatal Pre-Conception & Pregnancy Multivitamin ($32.95 at swisse.com) for nutritional support.

The colouring conundrum

Can you actually colour your hair while pregnant? “There is no definitive correct answer to this so my advice is always, if in doubt, please speak with your doctor. At Sloans we suggest avoiding hair colour during the first trimester and after that, we recommend L’Oreal Professionnel INOA colour which is ammonia free. If you are still feeling cautious consider opting for highlights or balayage instead as the colour will then be contained to the hair follicle – a safe option for those who love a bit of colour.”

Trading in your texture

So back to switching your natural hair for the elusive texture on the other end of the spectrum. It is possible – especially if you have curly or coarse hair. “Women with curly hair may notice they can lose a lot of structure if the hair follicle shape changes, and even those with straight hair might see added frizz or curl develop. Often it might not be the texture itself changing so much as the increased oiliness or dryness making it feel quite different” says Scott. “For women who experience hair thinning, they may find that when it grows back post-partum that the texture may be quite different, and it can take years for hair to get completely back to pre-pregnancy hair.”

If you’re experiencing some extra frizz, try using the Lilysilk 19 Momme Terse Silk Pillowcase. Unlike cotton pillowcases, a silk one like this won’t strip the oils from your hair so your locks will still look (and feel) nourished instead of dry and frizzy in the morning. Or if, on the contrary, you’ve lost all your body and texture, beautyheaven loves O&M Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray ($27.45 at adorebeauty.com.au), John Frieda Luxurious Volume Core Restore Volumizer and ghd root lift spray.

Postpartum hair loss

All hair lives in cycles of growth, rest and fall, according to Dr Dominic Burg, évolis® Hair Biologist and Trichologist. Pregnancy hormones keep hair in the growth phase, which is why it’s so glossy and thick, but it’s also why a lot of women can experience hair shedding after giving birth – it’s like the locks are catching up on their rest and fall phases. “The sudden hormonal changes cause large numbers of hairs to shift into the resting and falling phase. This results in a phenomenon known as telogen effluvium where a large number of hairs shed at once, occurring about 2-3 months after the birth. This is a temporary loss, but as it is happening in large numbers, it has quite a noticeable effect that can be devastating for many women,” says Dr Burg.

“Added challenges after the birth can also include depression, emotional stress, and nutrient stress from breastfeeding,” Dr Burg explains. “These can also impact hair in negative ways, as the body can shut down hair growth to preserve energy for other functions such as maintaining optimal organ function, repair of the body following birth, and producing nutrient-rich breast milk for the baby.”

If you’ve been experiencing hair shedding or fall, the évolis® professional REVERSE 3 step system which is made up of a shampoo, conditioner and activator, works to boost hair volume through a strengthening keratin formula that helps to fortify hair structure and increase density. beautyheaven also loves Hair Rituel by Sisley Revitalizing Fortifying Serum ($240 at www.sisley-paris.com.au) to help tackle hair loss.

You can find out more about Scott Sloan and his salons, Sloans of Lane Cove and Sloans of North Sydney, here.

Did your hair change a lot during pregnancy? Did you experience postpartum hair loss?

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