Erica Rae is a well-known hair stylist in Austin and recently opened her own salon, Third Space Salon, in downtown Austin. I’ve known Erica for years having worked on set with her and cuts and colors throughout and was so excited to find out we are due a few days apart. With her background and knowledge, I knew she’d be the perfect person to ask about pre and postpartum hair care, especially now that she’d be living it! Erica dropped by to share a little about the science behind that dreaded hair loss, what supplement she swears by, and the few small lifestyle changes she guarantees will make an impact on our hair, pregnant or not, today on Love Child. Photography by Alysha Rainwaters 
Pregnancy hormones have a way of bringing out the best in your hair. You get used to the look and feel of your new thick and luxurious hair and then you give birth and realize it was a tease!  Your body undergo’s so much thanks to those lovely pregnancy hormones and as it turns out, your hair is affected in a big way! Pregnant with my first baby in August and experiencing this lush preggo hair myself, I decided to do a little research to find out why this happens and what I can expect for postpartum hair. Or at least assume I can expect. As a hairstyle for years, I noticed that not everyone has the same experience or same symptoms. I would see some lose a ton of hair while others not as much. I would see hair texture change and believe it or not, hair color change! Despite not knowing exactly where we’ll end up on this spectrum with each pregnancy (because they are each so different), I put together a few tips that we can all benefit from while we await our fate.

What’s the science behind our hair growth and then loss during pregnancy?

Hair growth and loss comes in phases. The “Anagen” phase of hair growth is one of the two phases of that our hair cycles through. Anagen is the growing stage. It is more pronounced during pregnancy.  The “Telogen” phase of hair growth is the resting stage. The stage slows down during pregnancy. This is why your hair seems thicker during pregnancy, because your hair is growing and growing.After pregnancy the Telogen phase will increase and this is why you experience thinning. Plummeting estrogen levels are also to blame for hair loss after pregnancy. Thinning hair happens after giving birth and up to 5 months after giving birth, or until 6-12 weeks after you have stopped breastfeeding. The good news is that it does come back although some may never reach the thickness they had before and some may still experience additional hair loss. Different strokes (of hair) for different folks.

What can we do to help boost healthy hair growth after hair loss? Any supplements you like?

While some may wish for a cure all for hair loss, sadly, there’s just no way around it. There are ways to help boost healthy hair growth though. One supplement I have always been a believer in is Biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin that has important benefits for hair, nails, and skin.

Is it safe to color our hair during pregnancy?

This is one question I get on repeat. I tell people that it’s kind of like the rule of avoiding certain foods during pregnancy. Some doctors will tell you to avoid certain heavy metals, ammonia, and peroxide. If your doctor recommends avoiding these then you could always look into a color line that is free of these harsh chemicals.  I have also heard of doctors that will give you the okay to get color done and say that it’s perfectly fine and that there isn’t enough research to prove that it is harmful. I have heard and read that it is best to at least wait until the second trimester if you do decide to do any chemical services but always check with your doctor first.

Does my hair routine need to change for pregnancy and post pregnancy?

Nope. Treat your post pregnancy hair the same way you treated your pregnancy hair. Pamper your hair with great products and try to avoid any harsh chemicals. That healthy balanced diet, high volumes of water, and good vitamins during pregnancy were also so beneficial to your pregnancy locks. So if the health of your scalp and hair postpartum are a concern, don’t stop doing the good stuff that helped during pregnancy. I personally haven’t felt this healthy in a long time. I’ve not only noticed amazing hair but my skin has never looked so good from the healthy habits I have discovered during pregnancy. I wasn’t always great at saying no to P Terrys or the occasional craving of something sweet but I did cut back and did my best to feed my body with the best nutrients. Omega 3’s and veggies along with tons of water is probably the best thing for amazing hair and skin! Working from the inside out is the best, that expensive shampoo and conditioner will help but if you combine that with a healthy lifestyle then you might beat the odds of losing a ton of hair after giving birth!

Any final hair tips for mamas?

Don’t stress about hair loss if you are experiencing it. Stress does so much more damage than anything else. Exercise, meditate, do whatever you do to get your mind in the right state. Your hair will grow back!
About Erica Rae 

Third Space Salon is the brainchild of established stylist Erica Rae, who envisioned a convenient, fun space that combines the luxury of a fashion-forward salon with the comfort and community of a neighborhood beauty shop.

Convenient to Tarrytown and downtown Austin, this modern salon in the historic Clarksville neighborhood is designed to be your “third space” – where you can go to relax, unwind and connect. Luxurious accommodations and a variety of customized beauty services await, including haircuts, hair styling and makeup application.