Before my first pregnancy, I had read about postpartum hair loss, that the lustrous mane you’re blessed with for nine months commonly sheds. And after the birth of each of my three kids, it certainly did. This last time around, it was particularly intense. For a few months, our shower drain was regularly covered in a nest of hair. The floor around my desk was littered with the day’s fallout. The rotating attachment on our vacuum cleaner got so entangled in a rope of lost strands that it actually came to a grinding halt.
My whole head of hair seemed to be shedding. But the most curious change was to my hairline. As a kid, it sat notably low (if a high forehead is a fivehead, I suppose that made mine a threehead). Up until middle school, it hid behind a curtain of blunt bangs. Today, though, my hairline has receded pretty significantly. And unevenly. The left side sits about half an inch higher than the right. Indents at my temples look like they’re marching toward the beginnings of a widow’s peak. And spotty, spiky regrowth occasionally sprouts up, which I tamp down with pomade each morning.
After I started talking about my hair loss on social media, I was surprised by how many women messaged me because they were dealing with something similar. Was I taking any supplements? What was I using? Any special shampoos? And did I have tips on how to cover sparse areas?
I had continued taking prenatal vitamins while I was nursing, but that didn’t seem to slow the hair loss. As much as possible, I tried not to tug with a brush or a tight elastic, so as to preserve every precious strand. To be as gentle as possible, I opted for sulfate-free shampoos. I attempted to fill in my patchy hairline using a number of different products: eyebrow pencil (very effective!), eye shadow (created a passable illusion from afar, but looked fake up close), and hairline sprays (convincing, but a little hard to control).
Even though I didn’t encounter any miracle solutions (unfortunately, so many products overpromise and under-deliver), I was happy to find a community of people who are going through the same thing. Hair loss, especially for women, is a topic that’s so complicated and rarely discussed — though you told us in our Readers’ Choice survey that it’s one of your biggest beauty concerns.
Ultimately, I’m trying to be more accepting of the fact that my hair will never return to what it once was. And yet those strands of connection I feel with other women keep growing stronger.
Read more stories about hair loss:
Now watch a day in the life of Dr. Pimple Popper: