This is definitely one of those posts that you will either totally relate to, or, just be like “huh?” Even if you are in the “huh?” category, it still might be a good heads up for you in case it happens to you someday, or, at the very least, just be an odd phenomenon that you can read about that happens to other people! So, there isn’t an official word that I’ve found for this side effect that can happen after you have a baby, but Postpartum Baby Bangs is what I call them, so we’ll just stick with that. I have found quite the community of other moms (and curious observers) when it comes to talking about my hair journey lately on my Instagram stories, so we thought it would be kind of fun to do a post about it too and talk about it all in one place!
Usually you have about 90% of your hair in the active growing phase while the other 10% is in a resting phase, but during pregnancy (1), the amount of “resting hair” rises (due to higher estrogen and progesterone levels). While that can give you an amazing preggo mane, those levels even out after pregnancy and somewhere between three and six months after the baby you start to shed the hair your head has been holding onto all that time (and maybe even more depending on the person). (2) Now, I was warned about the hair loss from friends, etc. but my mom was the only one to warn me about the set of extremely goofy looking baby bangs that grew around the perimeter of her hairline after each baby. Well, wouldn’t you know it that about five to six months postpartum I started losing what felt like allll my hair (I could get about a softball size clump after each shower/hair drying session) and if the thinning hair wasn’t bad enough, about a month later I started to notice some small mini fringe at the front of my hairline in between my part—and that was the start of the hair journey I’m still on 15 months later.
At first, it was so short that it just looked a little odd, but once it started to grow in, it looked like I had a small wispy mustache growing at the top of my forehead and I was horrified. Then it grew longer and looked like a small handlebar mustache curled downwards. At that point, I began to realize that this growth was happening across the front of my hairline (the bangs area) and also down the sides, and oh, also around the back. I had my very own 360° set of mini micro bangs. As someone who never appreciated the micro bang, even in it’s ’90s heyday, I certainly wasn’t suddenly into them now all the way around my head. Apparently, the hair loss thing happens to most all pregnant women in varying degrees, but the full set of mini bangs regrowth is less likely, yet still relatively common. So, depending on the length of baby bangs, you can imagine that a normal cute ponytail (or any type of topknot or updo) was totally out of the question. And, since I also had hair growing back in all around my head, and not just around the perimeter, I had little spiky hairs sticking straight up all along the top of my head since they weren’t long enough to fall over and lay down yet. So I also looked like I had rubbed a latex balloon across the top of my head at all times. Cool!
Do you want to hear a fun story? Great! So about eight months after my “bangs” starting growing, they were finally getting to a length where they were still way shorter than the rest of my hair, but starting to integrate into the whole head and behave a little more (and I finally wasn’t noticing them first thing every time I looked in a mirror). Guess what I realized had just started to happen? Round two! I stopped breastfeeding four months or so before that as my milk production had dried up and I think that’s what trigged a full second round of starting the entire thing over again. That was a pretty sad moment for me, to be honest. I had just started to feel a little better about my stupid hair and now I had to start from scratch again.
This is definitely one of those things where other people probably didn’t notice nearly as much as I did, and people like my husband tried to convince me it wasn’t a big deal, but it didn’t matter. Postpartum life is a rough time in so many ways (along with a lot of joy too, of course) and your body and sense-of-self can really take a hit during that period. It seems like that time is especially hard for a first-time-mom as you are making that huge leap into motherhood and dealing with an entirely new identity on top of everything else. Anyway, it may not sound like a huge deal to some, but for me it was (and still is) one of the more frustrating parts of my postpartum life. If you’ve ever come home with a bad haircut and had to wait for it to grow out, then you get the feeling. It’s felt like I had a bad haircut. Every day. For the past 15 months. Thankfully, my second crop of bangs is just getting to the length where I feel like I won’t think about them as much in another two to three months, so I can at least feel an end in sight there. But that thought also makes me laugh because if it happens to you, it will probably happen with each baby, so once they finally grow out, it’s probably about to happen again with the next kid soon!
I have had some moms tell me that their bangs stopped growing at weird lengths and just stayed there without growing out all the way to join the rest of the hair, so that is also a possibility for some women (and I guess could happen to me in the future too!). The weird thing for me was that my hair only grew on one side while I was pregnant (my hairstylist kept laughing at how lopsided it was each time I came in), but after I had Lola it started growing really fast (which was always a problem for me before having her. So I actually have the longest hair I’ve had since I was 16—it’s also the thinnest hair, but I feel like it’s trying to make up for it with length, ha ha.
Consider a different hair color: I’ve gone back and forth between darker and blonder over the years and I was trying the ombre grown out look when the bangs first appeared since it’s more low maintenance. For me, having the dark root line meant my baby bangs were also dark and so they showed up pretty prominently on my pale skin and also stood out from the majority of my lower hair that was a lighter shade. Once I went back to all blonde, that really helped the bangs not stand out as much on my pale skin—a big help! I could see that some people may not want to dye them, thinking it may weaken them, making the grow back time longer. But it was worth any extra time it may have added for me.
Use witch hazel spray to tame the bangs: When the baby bangs got to about 3/4″ long, they would stick up and out in the weirdest directions and I wasn’t sure what to do until someone on my stories suggested using a witch hazel spray to try and tame them—it worked! I would add witch hazel to distilled water in a small spray bottle in a 1:2 ratio (one part witch hazel to two parts water), wet the baby bangs with the spray, slick them down to my forehead in the direction I wanted them to go with a boar brush comb (for some reason that comb works better than a regular brush or comb for this), and let them dry while basically stuck to my forehead. Once they were dry, they actually stayed down without being crunchy or weird looking like if I had used gel or a hair spray—a huge help!
Use scarves or head wraps around the hairline (or hats!) for the more difficult growing seasons: Something like what I’m wearing in the photo above is great for cooler seasons like it is now to hide the fringy hairline (and it can work with your hair up as well), but a cute scarf or turban wrap would be perfect for warmer weather. Of course any kind of hat works too!
Try a different part or bangs: Depending on how your bangs are growing in, switching your part location between side and middle could help hide the new growth better. For some, cutting in actual long “regular” bangs could also help cover the new growth, but ask your hairstylist for their advice based on your hair loss/growth. I used to have long bangs and I thought about going back to them to cover the baby bangs. But my hair had gotten so thin in front I didn’t really have enough left to do bangs, so I had to just wait it out.
Make a hair-growth spray: I wanted to use something to help my bangs grow faster, and since taking biotin supplements never worked for me in the past, I made a hair-growing spray with distilled water, Solubol (it acts as the carrier for water-based sprays), and rosemary essential oil (great for promoting hair growth!). For a 4-ounce spray bottle, add about 16-20 drops of rosemary oil into an empty bottle with the Solubol, mix together and then fill with distilled water. Spray at the locations where you want growth and rub into the scalp gently with your fingertips. I usually do this at night or a few hours before I would wash my hair since it gives your hair a wet look even once it dries, but I’ve also used that to my advantage to slick back my hair if I want to do a ponytail now that the bangs are a little longer. I’ll spray it on the bangs, rub it in, and then brush it all back into a pony and let it dry—you don’t even notice the bangs at all with this method!
Focus on positive physical thoughts instead: With all the body changes that can happen after delivering a baby, this can be really hard at times, but try and divert your attention away from negative thoughts about your body towards positive ones. If you don’t have anything positive to say about your hair at the moment, that’s OK, and remember you still have your gorgeous eyes, or killer legs, or whatever else you’re feeling good about at the moment. I for one found it super helpful to get lash extensions about a year into postpartum life—they just made me feel a little better, even on an average Tuesday, so it was just a nice little lift of self-confidence in a season where it can be hard to find some.
I absolutely don’t want to make it seem like life is all about how you look and that the goal is getting back to not having “weird hair” or anything like that. I think it’s more about how all of a sudden after giving birth you have so, so, sooo many things that are new and uncomfortable and odd and unfamiliar within your own body. So when you also have a totally foreign hairstyle all of a sudden, it can be just another layer of not feeling like yourself anymore. There’s a layer of patience and acceptance that has to kick in, but it can be frustrating in such a whirlwind of a season already, that it may take longer for that to happen than it would in more normal circumstances. I do really think it also helps to have support on all the weird mom things that moms go through (body related or not!), and I know I did feel better about my hair woes when I shared my ridiculous bangs with others and saw that I was not the only one who dealt with them too! If you’re in that boat now or in the future, I hope this post made you feel a little less alone too! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Additional Sources: 1.) American Pregnancy Association. Available at ncy.org/pregnancy-health/hair-loss-during-pregnancy/. 2.) Today’s Parent. Available at https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/postpartum-care/why-postpartum-hair-loss-is-totally-normal-and-how-to-stop-it/.