Mom Hair. It Exists. What to Do About It.
Often the ‘mom bob’ starts as a solution to hair loss after pregnancy.
In fashion there are “mom jeans.” So, too, there is a counterpart in beauty: “mom hair.”
You’ve likely seen it at suburban malls: the longer-in-back, slightly–shorter-in-front bob that should read sleek but is inescapably frumpy.
And even the city-dwelling mom isn’t immune. Perhaps she has added her own twists like blunt bangs or extra layering, but the ’do still falls short of flattering.
“I see it all the time,” said Juan Carlos Maciques, a stylist at the Rita Hazan salon in Manhattan. “The first thing new moms want to do is cut their hair off. They’re feeling lousy about their bodies, and they just want to get some sense of self again. But, usually, to cut off your hair is a big mistake.”
It isn’t simply want of a new look that spurs many new mothers to the salon. Rather, they are experiencing real physical changes that can be terrifying. Often the mom bob starts as a convenient solution to hair loss after pregnancy.
“Anywhere from four to six months postpartum, women can start to experience shedding,” said Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in Manhattan, adding that it’s because of a change in hormone levels. “It can be really scary because it may feel like it’ll never stop. But for the most part, the situation will correct itself. You just have to stick with it.”
Indeed, Mr. Maciques recommends that new mothers wait about a year before they make any drastic changes. “By then, you’ll know what you’ve got,” he said. “It’s not just your hair that’s changing. Your body is, too. You might not be at the weight you really want to be yet. And the truth is, long hair can be a little bit of a distraction. When you go short, you are more exposed. There’s less, literally, to hide behind.”
That’s partly why Katie Hintz-Zambrano, a co-founder of the website mothermag.com based in San Francisco, maintained her long locks.
Despite a hairline that receded for an entire year after giving birth (“I looked like a vampire,” she said), she steered clear of the salon. “For me, it was also about maintaining my identity,” she said, adding that she has always had long hair and felt most comfortable with that style.
Ms. Hintz-Zambrano did pick up a few styling tricks to cope with those more-difficult hair months. Through fellow mom friends, she learned the benefits of dry shampoo. “It offers a little bit of plumping,” she said. (Mr. Maciques recommends Alterna Bamboo mousse as a volume-enhancing alternative.)
When fine new growth started to sprout, Ms. Hintz-Zambrano used a Bumble and bumble cream to tame the “stick-ups, so I wouldn’t look totally crazy.”
There is also the Kate Middleton path: Keep the overall length but cut bangs to help camouflage fuzzy hairline regrowth. (The Duchess of Cambridge debuted a flop of long bangs after Princess Charlotte turned four months old.) Dr. Fusco also encourages good nutrition, plenty of protein and a hair-nail-skin vitamin during the regrowth process.
Otherwise, “stick to your usual routine,” she said. “You may not want to shampoo as much because you’re seeing so much hair in the drain, but it’s going to come out anyway.”
Regardless of the method, Mr. Maciques stressed that strategies can be plotted well ahead. Here’s when a stylist or colorist who knows your hair well can help you through the speed bumps.
“Ideally, you’d start planning while you’re still pregnant,” he said. “For hair color, you’ll want to go more natural by the third trimester. An ombré is a really nice way to address the fact you’re going to be having fewer hair appointments.”
Moreover, not all mom bobs deserve a bad rap. The above-the-shoulder cut can be a chic solution for certain hair types.
Svenja Parotat, a jewelry designer and former model in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, experienced only mild shedding, but after giving birth to her now 2-year-old son, she was bored of her long pin-straight hair.
“I didn’t know what to do with it, and it kept falling in my face,” she said. “And I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep, and the long hair was making me look more drained because it was pulling my face down.” She graduated to a lob before finally going for a blunt bob that just scraped her earlobes. “I felt fresher, and it would literally take me only 10 minutes to blow-dry,” Ms. Parotat said.
Kenna, the founder of the Kennaland salon in Greenpoint, said that for Brooklyn moms it’s not so much about rejecting the bob as it is about changing the details. (Ms. Parotat’s crisp, shorter style had clean lines, which read modern rather than mumsy.) “There’s quite a lot you can do with the jaw-length bob,” he said. “We’re encouraging moms to embrace their natural texture and get that wild, youthful feeling back again.”
Another trick that has resonated with some of Kenna’s clientele is cutting the bangs slightly too short. “It gives off this teenage feeling of irresponsibility and youthfulness,” he said.
And don’t minimize the impact of color. Kenna recalled a regular client who had always been a blonde. “She had a baby 11 months ago and felt she was looking washed out,” he said. One “very vibrant copper” hue later and “she was wearing her red lips again and feeling good,” he said.
“It’s just about getting the mom the little kick she needs.”
Source: The New York Times. June 23, 2016.