Like everything else about your body that changes when you’re expecting, you can expect some changes to your hair too. Here’s advice from the pros on common pre-baby hair-care woes.
I’m pregnant and suddenly my hair looks limp and lifeless. How can I give it some oomph?
Start by cleansing your hair with a thickening or volumizing shampoo, followed by a light conditioner. Begin by rubbing a dime-sized dollop of shampoo between your palms, then apply the product to the nape of your neck, moving upwards. Most people start at the crown, which leaves too much product on top,” says Domenic Iannuzzi, co-owner of Toronto’s Epoca salon. Rinse well (product buildup accounts for most of the problems with limp hair) before applying a small amount of conditioner to ends of hair only. To style, let hair air-dry or use your hands and a blow-dryer to remove most of the moisture before finishing it off with a round brush.
Since I became pregnant, my naturally wavy hair has gone frizzy! How can I tame it?
Say a big hello to silicone. This magical ingredient is found in a wide array of hair-care products, from shampoos to styling agents. When applied to wet hair, it helps trap moisture to fight the frizzies. It can also be used on dry hair to add shine and polish. When choosing hair care products, look for those promising to smooth or defrizz locks and avoid thickening or volumizing products, which will only make hair feel bigger.
My hair is oilier since I became pregnant. What should I do?
Oiliness begins at the scalp so it may need a daily wash. But shampooing so frequently can leave hair dry, so it’s important to condition the ends. You might also look into an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo, especially if your scalp is irritated. Contrary to common belief, the yeast that causes dandruff, inflammation and scaliness actually thrives on greasy scalps, according to Toronto dermatologist Charlene Linzon. Alternated with a regular shampoo, anti-dandruff products can be very effective. Check with your doctor or Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist before using as brands vary in ingredients and strengths.
I’d like to get some highlights to brighten up my look, or maybe a colour change, but is it safe?
Pregnancy shouldn’t be a punishment, says Dr. Gideon Koren, director of the Motherisk program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. So if colouring your hair makes you feel better about yourself, know that there is no indication it increases the risk of birth defects. “There isn’t any evidence the chemicals used in hair dyes are absorbed significantly into the skin,” explains Koren. That said, you may decide to wait until after the sensitive first trimester when all your baby’s organs develop. If you’d like to play it extra safe and limit your exposure to hair dyes that come into contact with your scalp, opt for highlights.
I’m thinking of getting my hair cut short, but will it really make things easier once the baby is born?
An easy-to-manage hairstyle is a great idea, but cutting it all off may not be your best option. If you’ve never worn short hair before, you may not realize that it’s often more difficult and time-consuming to style than long. You’ll also fall victim to dreaded bed-head, which you won’t be able to solve by quickly pulling your hair back into a clip or ponytail. Another thing to consider is whether a shorter style will suit your face shape, which has likely filled out during pregnancy. “Mid-length or longer styles are often preferable because they elongate a rounder face,” Iannuzzi explains. “Layers can also soften the cheek area.”
Is it true that my hair will fall out after I have my baby?
Most of us sport about 100,000 hairs on our heads and it’s normal to lose up to 100 of them a day. During a normal life cycle, hairs grow for several years, rest a few months, shed, then the cycle begins again. Normally at any one time, 90 percent of your hair is in the growing phase. During pregnancy, many women lose even less hair thanks to a lengthening of this growing phase. But about three months following birth, up to 50 percent of women experience “telogen effluvium,” a condition in which the hair is pushed prematurely into the resting phase, and then falls out. Shedding usually decreases to normal levels over six to eight months, but Linzon says there are a few women whose hair doesn’t return to its pre-pregnancy state. If this happens to you, see a doctor who can evaluate your condition. Possible causes may include a thyroid disorder, infection or even a genetic tendency towards hair loss.