I’ve Googed it, and it’s a thing: you can lose your curls when you have a baby.
For a while I was in denial. I couldn’t believe that my curly hair had just racked off for ever. No more waves. No more bounce. No more texture. Just hair that was foreign to me: straight (but not the good straight – limp straight), thin, lank and completely unresponsive to the products and styling that used to boss it around so perfectly. Every morning it felt like I had used a super heavy conditioning treatment the night before.
My pre-baby hair.
Baffled, I began to idiotically point fingers at the Bhave keratin smoothing treatment I had just before I had Sonny, in May 2014. I emailed the lovely crew at Bhave in December, frustrated with the weird wig on my head.
Keep in mind that Bhave, like all keratin treatments, is temporary, and washes out in about three months, so I was really going out on a limp little limb of feasibility here:
“Ummm guys, the keratin seems to really love my hair… it is hanging about and making my hair flat and lank and heavy? I’m confused and wondering what you might advise? I keep cutting my hair shorter in the hope it will grow out…”
Also keep in mind I am a dingus and had no idea what was really going on and they were very polite despite the fact that what I was suggesting was impossible.
They sent me their prep shampoo which would strip the keratin out… but by then I had:
A) Waltzed into Edwards and Co and had a big snip because I thought that would definitely stop the problem, and,
B) Been educated on said trip to Edwards and Co about what pregnancy hormones do to hair texture.
In short: they really fuck with them.
The Big Snip. God it felt good. Like a re-birth after being in the baby fog for six months. Highly recommend it.
Oh yes, we all know about gaining hair as we grow the baby, and losing it once we stop breastfeeding it, but what of the texture change? WHAT OF THE TEXTURE CHANGE?
I’m not the first mum to notice a complete change of hair, nor are big hormonal hair changes a new phenomenon: I had a friend at school who had straight hair until 13 and then it went bonkers corkscrew curly. It was fantastic. She was impossibly beautiful. It all just worked. Ditto the boy who had the opposite: wild curls until high school and then just, nothing. Simple, straight, normal hair. I think he was relieved.
I understand now that hormones mess with the shape of the follicle, (shape determines curly or straight hair), and babies are completely worth it, but it is annoying. It’s as though I am starting again after decades of knowing and understanding my texture and unique hair idiosyncrasies. I am supposed to be an expert in beauty and hair and shit, but now have the styling skills of a salmon, and hair that is way too much work.
My post-baby straight, floppy hair. And the cute little culprit. (Maybe all my curls went into his mega curl.)
I have bought a new curling tong, and cleared out my entire styling kit, (especially all the curl boosting stuff, the heavy creams, the frizz fighting stuff, the oils, and the straightening balms), now relying on volume boosting mousse and texture sprays and volume powder to try and mimic the old natural texture and grip (oh man is grip something I took for granted: now nothing holds in my stupid slippery hair: not curls, not waves, not styles, not bobby pins, not nothing. I may as well have hair that is made of washing up detergent.) I don’t use conditioner, it’s way too heavy, (I use R+Co One Prep Spray instead which protects against heat styling and gives some grip and texture) and I have an unhealthy reliance on my poor hair stylist Lauren to product some texture, any texture, with highlights and crafty cutting. I am several postcodes from wash and go, in fact I am in the next country.
Perhaps it’s karma for complaining about my curls since I was a zygote.
For having it permanently straightened.
For using ghds daily for two years straight when I was 24.
Some say the curls will come back, that it can take up to 18 months. Some say my next pregnancy might swing me back the other way. And some* say curls are for dumdums anyway.
I say Sonny owes me some godamn curls and he’s not getting any pocket money til they’re back.
Here are some links on this topic: here’s an NPR one, an anecdotal one, and a forum one.
Here are some links not on this topic: frog spirit animals, a very funny film clip, and delicious peanut butter mug cake.