How Postpartum Hair Loss Helped me Embrace my Naturally Curly Hair

I’ve had naturally wavy/curly hair my whole life.  However I never felt it had enough spring to be considered truly curly, so I pretended it was straight.

I resorted to straightening my hair almost daily from the time I was in middle school.  Oh, how I remember that smell and the steam coming from my hair as I fried it daily with a straightener (insert cringe face).  Thankfully, straighteners improved over the years so they were not so damaging. I started using a heat protectant and grew my hair long so that eventually I was able to go a whole week between hair washes. This at least reduced the frequency of blow dryer/straightener damage. I had a great, fairly low-maintenance routine!

And then I had my second child.

I remember the postpartum hair loss/regrowth cycle with my first, but it definitely seemed worse with my second.  I didn’t realize that the bald patches on the sides were so noticeable until we got my son’s 6-month photos back (eek!).  Thankfully this was around the same time that Gen Z decided to let all of us millennials know that the side part was out.  Being “trendy” with my middle part also hid the postpartum bald patches… Win!!! (Dear Gen Z, while I can embrace the middle part, I will never let my skinny jeans die)

A few months later, those patches started growing back… right as humid summer kicked in.  No matter the amount of straightening, those baby hairs became lovely fluffy horns frizzing out from the sides of my forehead. I wore hats almost every day to hide/flatten them. Almost every night I found myself on Amazon shopping for products to tame the frizz.

One day, I tried drying my hair curly with products I’d probably had for 10 years. I decided that if I couldn’t tame the hairs that wanted to wave, I would try to let the rest of my hair be wavy too!  This first attempt didn’t go very well. After years of training my hair straight, it resisted.

Determined to keep trying, I asked my social media friends with waves/curls for recommendations.

I got recommendations for products and to look into the Curly Girl (CG) method.  This method involves eliminating products with certain ingredients, with recommendations not to brush or use heat on your hair.

I also started following some curlies/wavies on Instagram. I learned that it’s important to understand your hair type/texture and find products with ingredients that your hair “likes”.  All this time I thought I had thick hair, but mine is actually fine and medium-density!  I started trying out different products and styling techniques. I only brushed my hair in the shower when it was soaking wet.

In the first few months, I had a lot of failed wash days. 

It has been a process to figure out what works for my hair, and I’ve had to change my routine as the dry weather and cooler months set in. Now don’t get me wrong– I still curse the frizz regularly but am trying to accept it’s a normal annoyance for waves and curls. I feel like I’m finally figuring out how to care for my curly hair.  Now that I’m a mom of a little girl, I feel that it is important to show her it’s important to love yourself as you are.

I’m learning to be proud of the hair that I was born with and embrace that it makes me unique!

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Elise has lived in the Cedar Rapids area since she was 6. She lives in Marion with her husband, Chris, and two kids, Avery and Maddux. An engineer from Iowa State by education, she currently works from home in logistics for General Mills, and she loves not having to commute which leads to more time with her family! She stays active by running daily (which allows for her daily audiobook/podcast fix!) and she teaches taproom yoga weekly at a local brewery. She loves coffee, wine, leggings, gardening, decorating/crafting/diy projects, Target, cooking, and is an avid bargain hunter!

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