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.
This is going to sound terrible but I’m almost excited to see how you manage this! The description of your thin lifeless, non-grippy, anti-styling hair is my normal hair! Has been my whole life. If I were a man I would have been bald by 22. Never had much to work with at all and then post pill, half of it fell out! YAY for hormones.
Anyway I’m pre baby years so interested to see what happens when I do decide to have children. I’m seriously hoping it goes the other way cause it really cannot get any more thin or lifeless than it is now!
Looking forward to hearing how you manage your new hair!
Try taking zinc supplements. I also had lanky straight hair, half of which fell out when I stopped taking the pill. Then someone put me on to zinc supplements, and HELLO VOLUME!!
Thanks for the tip! MSM powder works wonders as well! (It turned my moms limp curly hair back to her full-volume straight hair that she had pre-pregnancy).
I used to have thick, curly hair. I got on the pill about 4 years ago and about a year later started straightening my hair every couple of days. After about 2.5 years of this I decided it was time to give it a rest with the straightening because my curls and volume are GONE. I reckon I’ve lost half my hair in the past 3 years and now I have a lanky, frizzy mess on my head. However, I’m still on the pill and I’m starting to think maybe that had something to do with it (in combination with the straightening. I’ll readily admit that was a huge mistake). As you ladies have noticed some change when you stopped taking the pill, do you think it’s possible for your hair to change because of the pill while you’re still taking it?
The same thing happened to me when I stopped taking the pill. I had very thick, long hair and suddenly… POOF my hair has halved in thickness and I have such a thin pony tail. Might try taking zinc though… sounds like a good idea!
I didn’t really lose my curls but my once very thick hair is now seeming thinner and going GREY!! Ugh I spend way too much time plucking any new grey hairs out…. I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it!! Is it true if you pluck one you will get two back? or have I been listening to one too many old wives??
idk i’ve never heard that before but i started with 2 grey hairs which i kept plucking out every time i saw them and now in the same general area there are like 5 or 6 & this is over the course of a year after having my daughter. might be some truth to it.
Non-grippy slippy fine flat hair right here – as I remarked to a friend today, at least if my daughter inherits it, she will have the tools and technology and volumising dry shampoo to manage it, unlike the sketchy head I rocked 1978 – 2009.
Sketchy… ahahahaha i laughed out loud. I hear you. Kids these days. i have often remarked that my life would have been very different in high school if GHD and fake tan existed.
I had kinky/lank hair as a child and then at 12 my hair transformed in to this fabulous wild mop of curls.
Early 20s i wore it really long, so i assumed this was weighing down the curls. At 23 i just chopped it to my jawline and NOTHING. my curls are gone- turns out it was a puberty thing- so in my case its Gained Boobs, Lost my Curls.
(fingers crossed they will reappear one day when I’m With Child)
Feel a bit better knowing you’re going through the same thing! Definitely not easy re-learning all the idiosyncrisies of a whole new texture.
ps- what curling tong are you using?
I had straight hair all my life, until baby number 3 came along and Hello Curls!! Love them! She is now 9, had babe number 4 six years ago and my curls have stayed!!!
I had exactly the same thing happen – dead straight fine hair turned into curls after pregnancy no.1. My hairdresser couldn’t believe it when he found a RINGLET at the nape of my neck, followed by increased waves after my next pregnancy. My hair is still fine but I’m loving the wave and easy styling to maintain my “beachy” waves all year round.
Care to share what products you use? I have ultra long, thick (straight) hair but I’m still breastfeeding so god only knows what’s ahead. I’m considering the major chop too just because I don’t have the time to maintain such long hair – and I’m sick of having to vacuum the bathroom everyday!
Great and informative post, thank you! I had honed styling my long, soft pre-baby curls to perfection (for me) and now find myself with dried out, fly away limp straight-ish hair. Grr. Shorter and shorter I go…
I feel for you.. I really do… But FORGET about losing curls for a second whilst I lament about the creepy re-growth that has me currently sporting a mini fringe like the ’90’s.. But not in a cute, 901210 way.. More like a really weird, ridiculous bum fluff around my hairline… Which is kinda wavy to boot.. Which might be ok.. If I didn’t have dead straight hair every where else.. So growing my little dreamboat son gave me a sort of ‘halo’ of hell… How long will this shit last! Lord help me…!
Oh Zoe. I feel for you. I have had limp, soggy, lifeless, lacklustre, spineless hair since forever. It’s also the most forgetful shade of mouse ever.
Post baby I’m currently blow drying it in the garage so that I don’t have to sweep up the strands from the bathroom!
I read this with great interest, as I had the opposite thing happen: my formerly stick-straight hair grew wavy after childbirth and it has remained that way for 14 years so I think it’s permanent. I’m sorry you lost your curls and you have every right to be pissed about it, but for what it’s worth, I think your new hair looks really great! (And it might change back to its original texture after Baby #2, if that’s in your plans, so there’s hope!) 😀
A girl I went to law school with, Erin, had the most luscious head of curls you can imagine. The gorgeous, bouncy, perfectly formed curls that looked like they’d been professionally styled ALL. THE. TIME. I remember being distracted in lectures just looking at her hair and wishing I had just an ounce of that curly perfection. Anyway, later that year she developed a serious illness which sadly caused her to lose her hair. Thankfully, she recovered fully, and when she returned to uni the following year, her hair had started to grow back, but this time it was straight. Dead straight, and floppy. That was about eight years ago. I saw her recently and she had it cut in a cute pixie cut – with not a hint of a curl. She must miss her curls – but she’s still a total BABE.
Firstly, you have some very funny readers Zoe. You should be proud. I have laughed out loud on nearly all of the above comments. But i digress. I hear you Zoe. So loud. So clear. I am currently struggling to manage a limp, lank situation at the front of my head & tight ringlets in the crown, how is that even possible?! I’ve tried keratin, lightening it majorly and now i’ve done what all people with hair hell do. I cut a fringe. A FRINGE. Sigh…..
Not only did the texture of my hair change but it also lost its ability to rock blonde highlights without going brassy almost immediately! I feel your pain. My twins are now 5 and still my hair woes remain
ok, I have to join the “YAY, Zoe lost her awesome hair” club…
whenever I watched your hair videos, I’d sit there in confusion muttering “but… my hair doesn’t DO that! how is she making it do what it’s told?”
When you work out how to make your hair do anything that lasts longer than a couple of hours without dropping back to its flat straight self, let the rest of us know, would you?
THIS HAPPENED TO ME TOO! I’ve been on the pill for several years and only went off it about two months ago after FINALLY associating my hair’s 180 with the hormones that were messing with it under the scalp!
I LOVE that you’re experiencing this black hole of despair with your hair at the moment too because misery loves company! 😀
No, but seriously, I’m hoping that within the next 12 months my hair will return to its thick, texturey, wavyish goodness because as fun as it is to have effortless straight hair (no chem straightening or ghds!), it feels so sad and limp and without the texture it used to have, the natural shine I have actually now makes it look greasy and unwashed! YUCK.
Can’t wait to hear your progress and please share any tricks or treatments you find that work! Sonny may be worth it for you but I didn’t win me a consolation prize, so :(!
Same here! My youngest was 3 when my curls started to return. They will never be the same but at least they are there!
PS. Love the lipstick in your very glam photo! Do you remember what it was?
Hormones are a bitch. My hair went from straight to wavy to straight to curly to exactly how you’re describing your hair right now. Definitely no to conditioner, and dry shampoo is your new best friend. For best results put it in the night before. My fave is JOHN FRIEDA Luxurious Volume Refresher Dry Shampoo. And, I feel your pain (but also look forward to your product recommendations).
Hair and skin went to hell here! My hair is oily and wild straight, but not in a good way AT ALL. I longed for the post babe curls but – nada. My skin will not tolerate a single product, so I am not looking my best anymore. At least no grey hair though. Or sleep. I miss sleep too….
Zoe your entire argument is undermined by the fact that your new hair looks glorious. Blame Edwards and Co for making it look better than it is if you must. However I do sympathise- I too adore curls and may turn to surragacy when baby-having is on the cards, in order to maintain my current hairy state of affairs, in not-at-all an overreaction to a single blog post.
This is true, Hamish is responsible for zoe’s hair and also her baby. Hamish could hardly believe his luck in scoring a decent looking girl, and has spent most of his free time with his penis inside her, spurting warm, salty semen up her vagina. This resulted in a baby, plus good skin tone. So well done Hame.
After 3 kids I now have much less hair than I used to. Which is a problem because I didn’t have a whole lotta hair to begin with!
How i long for the days of glorious pregnancy hair- alas I can’t keep on having a baby a year for the good skin and hair!
My pre-baby hair was straight, lifeless and fairly boring but I knew how to handle it. My friends call it “duck hair” – all the work goes on underneath while the top was sleek (sort of), glamourous (definite over exaggeration) and semi-respectable. Post-baby my hair is still lank and dead-looking on top but it took it upon itself to become a powder puff kink around my neck. This would be most useful if I lived in Scandinavia and required additional neck warmth. Instead it’s just blah, urgh, g-ross. So no idea what to do with it really.
Erm, you still look fabbo! Lanky McQueen here too. I checked out that R+Co site but they only send in the US, are there any stockists in Australia? Need to know NOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW 🙂
Yes! would love to know where to buy these R+CO products in OZ too 🙂
I have the same problem as you but have FINALLY got a way to have lovely hair again. I too went down the road of growing layers out & getting the chop as well as Underlights and permanent hair dye! (Colour REALLY Helps)
I have now let my hair grow long (below shoulder length). I have found the following the best way to get thick, textured hair
** The night Before**
1) Wash with thickening shampoo & conditioner. I use L’Oreal Fibrology. They also have a preconditioner serum/treatment that gives heaps of texture. As always, condition the ends only.
2) Towel dry and blow dry hair upside down to remove a bit of moisture.
3) Spray Sea Salt spray through mid lengths and ends and John Freida Root booster on roots.
4) “Wrap Dry” hair to 90% dry, making sure roots are dry
5) Tie in loose bun on top of head. GO TO BED WITH SAID BUN (very important)
6) Next morning, a touch more salt spray/root booster.
7) Blow dry. I use A VS sassoon big hair styler – makes this HEAPS easier. Your hair should actually have some grip at this stage
8) Finishing cream as necessary.
Lasts 2-3 days without going oily.
Zoe! I MUST KNOW what lipstick are you wearing in your third picture? Such a gorgeous berry colour has to find its way into my makeup draw! x
so, I’m researching sunscreen for my face and discover your article, when “Gained a baby, lost my curls” beckons to me at the top of the page. I gained a baby and GAINED curls…. well.. some kind of weird wavy curly combination. Now i’m 33 with a whole new version of hair that i have no idea how to cut, product, wash-and-wear-without-looking-like-a-mop-head… sigh. it didn’t happen with my first baby but my curly haired boy turned me into a curly haired mum. Weird! I’m glad to know this has happened to others. I said to my hairdresser the other day I’m just waiting for my old hair to come back. she laughed…
I never had curls, but they seemed to develop after menopause; if you wait long enough, they may come back… 😉
Great article thank you for sharing 🙂 , my mum has had the same problem after going through menopause… I was wondering where can you by the R+CO products in Aus? Any stocklist or do you buy online? Thanks for the insight! xx
There is a solution to this! Bleach.
I have dark, straight hair and exactly the same problem. Lightening it damages it just enough that I get nice texture, movement, grip and grittiness. I guarantee t would help and give you some more of that lived in feel you are craving xx
Could you tell me what lipstick you’re wearing in the third photo?
Hi ZFB, mother of cutest child on Instagram, and all round top gal,
I was chatting to a friend this morning and as we’re about to turn 30 but have no major problems with our skin (a little pigmentation around the hairline and a few t-zone blackheads), we wondered what skincare prods we should lean towards to combat wrinkles and convince people that we’re so glowing we could either be pregnant or 22. I know you’re not doing as much beauty blog posting but in case you’re looking for inspo, my skin would be happy to provide it (and receive your feedback!).
Happy New Year and virtual hugs for the GREAT news about The Wrong Girl!
I gained a baby and lost my beautiful pre-baby/motherhood expensive shoe collection/addition!!!
I grew a whole shoe size. Not I can squeeze in the .5 but a whole bloody size!!
Like many who have commented I’m the lank straight haired type, BUT after having my boy 3 months ago I no longer have to wash my hair daily or load up on dry shampoo – I can go 3 days now without washing. Which is living the dream because we have rubbish hot water pressure at home. The down side of this is whenever I do wash my hair it looks like someone has been grooming a Lhasa apso in the shower with the amount of hair I lose. Fingers crossed the curls come along with baby number 2 x
Funny enough this happened with me after number 1 (boy) but after number 2 (girl) my curls have returned!! Go figure…
Yeah… add that to the list of reasons why I’m never having a baby.
This was such a cute read. I had my 323rd 9 months ago and though my girl hair changed after each kid this time around it sounds just like yours. I chopped it short and added layers to help it along and now I have layed hair that doesn’t work for my hair type. Just last month I started noticing baby hairs growing in my part and next to my ears. So weird and funcky that I have to be extra creative with styling it so I don’t look a hot mess. Love my babies but this mama loves and misses my crazy curly hair.
This is my life.
I’m 23 weeks pregnant and my lovely wavy curl is GONE. And now I have to actually put effort in in the mornings when I do my hair. This does not bode well for when my little curl-stealing angel arrives and distracts me from simple tasks like personal hygiene.
I have to completely re-learn how to style my hair (the grip thing is real – barely holds a styled sprayed curl at all), and on top of that it’s not even doing that super growth thing I was lied to about so that my shaggy bob can be a messy up-knot. Le sigh.
But I shall persevere, good hair shall be mine again!!
Ugh! I’m experiencing the same problem! I had super corkscrew botticelli curl before both of my children. I noticed a little bit of curl loosening after my daughter but stayed in denial. Now, I’m 2.5 years out after having my second, a boy. My hair is a disaster. Nearly all of my curl is gone, and it seems to be loosing even more, as I have zero volume and root curl. The lazy waves start from the ear down, and my reliably corkscrew curls in the front have turned into weird s waves that stick out in opposite direction from where they should. Bear in mind, I have ZERO styling skills. I have never learned to use a curling iron and I’m 36. I have literally cried over this. I think it’s time for me to put on my big girl pants and start learning some tricks of the trade so I look somewhat normal again. But first: a trip to the salon for a haircut! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one experiencing this. Your little curl thief is gorgeous! 🙂
I’m about 30 weeks pregnant and my hair has been driving me nuts! I’ve had very curly hair my whole life, and usually it’s tight curls. I also have had my hair short for a bunch of my 20-30s but have grown it out the past few years. While being pregnant, I’ve noticed the right curls disappearing and it’s super frustrating to figure out. I have a haircut and colour Thursday and have been toying with getting it cut to how it was in summer 2014, but I’m now nervous that my hair won’t even look the same short because the curls are gone! I’m now thinking I need to wait for a massive cut until the spring, just to wait and see what happens in post partum. Curly hair has defined who I am for so long, that potentially losing the curls I’ve grown to love it scary!
Any update? Did the curls come back?
Pregnant with number three who has taken every last curl from me. The other two just made it slightly more straight. All girls so it wasn’t that this time around.
I am deeply grieving my curls and looking for hope!
Just stumbled upon this and it’s so nice to read some similar experiences. I had beautiful curls and after my son I have fine, limp curls. Everyone and everything I read assured me they’d come back. I also got “the big chop” hoping all that dead weight would take the pressure off my curls and stop “pulling them down” (I was so naive) and nothing worked. Just now beginning to accept and relearn my hair, it’s definitely a journey 😘
I had thick curly hair with lots of volume before having baby Oscar (my first, and probably only child).
After stopping breast feeding at 6 weeks post partum, it went limp, and looked so depressingly flat (and fell of course).
I have chopped it in a super short pixie cut with a lighter colour. It is acceptable …but I am having to readjust to this new image in the mirror…grrr
Thank you for this post though, very comforting to see I am not alone to miss my old self.
This is EXACTLY that happened to me… 🙁 Just when I’d finally made my peace.
Wow!! So I’m not the only one?!?! It sucks but it is nice to know I’m not alone.
Up until now, most of the people Ive told about my hair had never heard of such a thing happening. So glad I came across all of you here cuz I was starting to wonder if I was just part of some crazy phenomenon !!🤔😳
I was born with THICK straight hair (it had a big wave or 2, max).. One day out of nowhere when I was 13 I went swimming and I let my self dry out in the sun before I went home. When I got home and went to the bathroom I about died ..My reflection was not quite the way I remembered 🤣 I suddenly had this thick spiral curly hair!
And I mean it coulda been the picture in the dictionary next to Curl.. it was UNBELIEVABLE 😍
wasn’t easy getting used to but I learned to love it.
Almost a decade later I had my first son 💘. After a while I realized it wasn’t just a phase 😫 it was like it was stripped.. of everything! sticking out in the wrong ways, thick at the roots thin everywhere else. I had gone from long thick textured curls galore to this limp TINY sad sorry excuse for a ponytail \ mess! NOT OK..But what do you do?? Had to toss the mousse and straighten it every time.
About 3 1/2 years later my second son came along. After he was born I noticed that my curl may have come back!!
Boy was I wrong. It did gain a couple curls but nothing worth counting.
Andddd here I am 11 years later with the same thin wimpy hair… I wish things woulda worked out between us… I really miss my curls!.. if only there were a way to reverse it.
Funny thing is when I had the curly hair I would dream of having slick flat flowy straight hair! 😳😑 Be careful what you wish for!!
SAME! Same exact thing happened to me. My child now has all of my corkscrew curls and I have limp, straight hair – a fraction of what I had before the pregnancy. It’s sad and there’s nothing to do but accept and adjust.
I have the exact same problem, my hair was so awesome I loved it. Now I am 2 kids in and my hair is still straight and just not fun anymore. Please let me know if you have figured out how to get them back please!!!!
Hello, I was turning 21 when I was pregnant with my first and my curls were still there that I remember… it was when my mom cut my hair 16 months later when I was pregnant with my second daughter that i washed it and it was straight lol
Like just straight and we had cut it for curls… so we evened out the two or three layers and I’m wondering if we used the wrong scissors too but it just stayed straight. Before it wasnt as curly either but that was mostly due to weight as it was long from the hormones making it grow and I only was cutting my hair and am cutting it like once a year.
So I’m really late to this party, but I recently went through a pregnancy and the ONLY part of my hair that went wavy is the back…and it literally looks like I took a crimping iron to it and gave up half way. I come here with some hopeful news though! My mom had awful straight limpy hair after her pregnancy with my brother and I, (twins)…and she’s took the supplement MSM for a while and it returned back to its normal luster. While I haven’t started taking this supplement, I can attest that the shampoo and conditioner was my life saver when all of my hair was falling out in clumps after my pregnancy. My hair is back to its full thickness, (and then some). I figure someone else has got to be reading this comments years after the original post… so if you haven’t tried it yet, order some MSM on google! It often comes in a powder and its horribly bitter so you’ll either want to mix it with some juice or buy some extra capsules to put it in. I would imagine they sell some inside capsules as well but my mom hadn’t stumbled upon any while she was taking it. Best of luck!