What to Request From a Postpartum Haircut

Pregnancy brings a lot of physical changes—including to your hair. Find out what to request when you go for that first postpartum trip to the salon.

close up of hands cutting a person's hair

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I will never forget my first postpartum haircut. I marched into the salon, plunked down in my longtime stylist’s chair, and dramatically announced: “Cut it all off!”

I had grown my hair out throughout my pregnancy, but once my son was about 4 months old, the hair had to go—ASAP. An hour later, I emerged from the salon with a collarbone-length long bob and my spirits restored.

There’s no real definition for “postpartum hair” because it’s so different for everyone. Just as no two birth stories are the same, hair can change in all sorts of unexpected ways when you’re pregnant or caring for a newborn. Some people experience changes in texture, finding waves or curls where there once were none, while others notice more hair in the shower drain a few weeks or months after giving birth. 

The postpartum haircut, though, is an infamous rite of passage for many new parents; the “mom bob” is practically part of our beauty lexicon at this point. While my postpartum chop was born out of boredom, others visit the salon for a faster styling routine or a way to deal with thinning. 

How Does Having a Baby Change Your Hair?

When you’re pregnant, you may notice your hair feels thicker, looks more vibrant, and grows way faster than normal. This is thanks to those powerful pregnancy hormones running through your body, and if you’re taking prenatal vitamins, they’re probably helping too. 

If your hair looks less than lush while you’re expecting, pregnancy hormones could be at fault there too. They can make your hair feel drier, frizzier, or oilier than normal, depending on your hormone balance and your hair type. 

While the thicker, stronger, and shinier hair is a major perk of pregnancy, it likely won’t last forever. (Sad.) Many parents experience hair loss about three months after giving birth, or when they stop breastfeeding.

“Everyone's hair goes through a cycle where it grows for a certain amount of time, then falls out, then starts growing again,” explains Britt Dion, North American artistic director of hairstyling for Aveda. “The anagen phase is the growth phase, and the telogen phase is where the hair follicle is at rest and not growing. During pregnancy, the growth phase often lengthens, so the hair that would usually be shedding stays rooted and we often experience thicker, fuller hair.”

Once your baby has arrived, your hormones cause another shift. “Hair that should have fallen during pregnancy often sets into telogen, shedding all at once,” says Dion. “This can be alarming and looks like a lot of hair.” The American Academy of Dermatology Association calls this “excessive hair shedding” and ties it to falling estrogen levels after giving birth, but the loss isn’t permanent. Many new parents who experience shedding return to “normal” after about a year.

Popular Postpartum Haircuts

First and foremost, the best haircut for postpartum life is one that works for your lifestyle. If you don’t want to chop it all off, don’t! Work with a stylist you trust, share pictures of what you like, and remember that when it comes to hair, no detail is too small to share. Your stylist will want to know if you prefer to air dry or that you often wear your hair in a topknot; these are all important pieces of the puzzle to nail the perfect cut for you.

Choosing a cut that gets the most out of your natural hair texture will also make styling faster and easier when you’re rushing to get a shower while baby naps. 


There’s a reason moms chopped off their hair in the ‘80s and ‘90s—it’s convenient! If you really don’t want to deal with styling your hair, going super-short will make your life so much easier. However, don’t go full pixie if you really aren’t ready to see yourself with ultra-short hair; take baby steps with a slightly longer “bixie” (bob + pixie) first. 

Long Bob (AKA a "Lob")

If you’d like to lose some length (after all, having little fingers yanking on your hair hurts!) but still have the ability to get your hair out of your face, consider chopping off a few inches for a versatile long bob that allows for more styling options.

Blunt Cut

If you’re dealing with thin, limp hair, a blunt cut can give your hair the illusion of fullness. Too many layers can make hair look thinner, so opting for a one-length blunt cut is a great way to restore that thicker look. “Shorten your hair to balance the thickness,” recommends Dion.


If you’re really itching to make a change but don’t want to lose a lot of length, it may be time to get bangs. They’re also great at covering up patchy spots. “Consider adding bangs to hide the shorter hairs around your hairline,” says Dion. Style up those “wings” and make them part of your look! 

Curtain bangs are the perfect in-between, because they’re cut longer so you can pull them back to keep your hair out of your face when you’re at the playground, or up all night with a nursing babe. 

What to Tell Your Stylist 

It’s OK to be vulnerable. Welcoming a new baby is a big deal, and your stylist will understand if you’re feeling emotional about this chapter in life and not sure where to start. They’ve heard it all before, so don’t be afraid to share the nitty-gritty details. 

Some helpful questions to ask yourself before your appointment:

  • How much time do you currently have to spend on your hair? (Be honest!)
  • Do you usually wear your hair up or down?
  • Do you heat style?
  • Are you looking to make a dramatic transformation or a subtle refresh?
  • What do you love about your hair? What don’t you love?
  • Have you noticed any significant changes in your hair since having a baby? Think texture, oiliness, volume, thinning.

What to Know If You’re Dealing with Postpartum Hair Loss

If you’ve noticed thinning, Dion advises sharing exactly what you’re seeing day-to-day and how that differs from your “normal” hair. “Is it thicker at the scalp? Thin on the ends? Do you have a ton of baby hairs, especially around the hairline?” she elaborates. This is all essential info to helping find a solution. Hairstylists are magicians, but they’re not mind-readers! 

Once you’ve spilled the beans on your postpartum hair situation, work together to find a cut and style that makes you feel confident, but can also camouflage the thin patches or the “baby bangs” of breakage. “Ask for a lesson on how to wear your hair in stylish ways while going through the rough months,” Dion advises. 

Ways to Manage Postpartum Hair Loss at Home

It’s not fun to see clumps of hair in the drain or in the bristles of your favorite brush. Postpartum hair loss can take a toll on your confidence, but it’s important to remember that in most cases, it’s not permanent, and that many new parents deal with the exact same thing, even celebrities!

While you can’t make your hair grow back overnight, you can help encourage new growth with products and supplements, as well as lifestyle tweaks. Your stylist can help you find a routine that works for you, but remember to stick with it—consistency is key! Dion recommends Aveda’s three-step Invati line, which thickens and strengthens to help reduce hair loss. 

Be gentle with your hair, just as you should be gentle with yourself during this new (and often stressful) chapter. Don’t yank through tangles when brushing; Dion advises brushing daily during pregnancy and postpartum to promote shedding in a more balanced fashion, but do so with extra care.

Wearing your hair in super tight ponytails, buns, or braids can cause breakage, which leads to hair loss; swap tight ponytail bands for soft scrunchies, and sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to lavish your fragile hair with extra care.

Make scalp massages a regular part of your hair care routine; an in-shower scalp brush not only feels great, but can help invigorate the scalp to encourage new growth. “Give yourself a vigorous shampoo,” recommends Dion. “This will help remove dirt and oil from your cuticle while stimulating your follicles, remove any dead skin cells and promote a really healthy scalp. Healthy scalps produce more and quicker hair growth.”

A daily supplement like Nutrafol or OUAI’s Thick and Full Hair Supplement can help support thicker, healthier hair, but give your doctor a heads up before starting a supplement routine, especially if you’re nursing. If you haven’t stopped taking your prenatals, you may want to stay on them for several months to help support your hair.

While these at-home treatments can certainly help, if you’re losing a lot of hair over a consistent period of time, it may be a good idea to give a health care provider a call.

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  1. Hair Loss in New Moms. American Academy of Dermatology Association.

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