24 In beauty/ style

A Hair Journey

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Hair. If you asked my husband his least favorite topic that I talk about more often than I’d like to admit, it would be my hair. But since you are a dear reader of this blog, I trust that you probably think about your hair and will appreciate this post. Let me start by briefly walking you through my hair journey over the years…

For most of my life—and like most little girls, I think—I cycled through long hair and short hair. I’d grow my hair out, get sick of it, cut it, grow it out again, and the cycle went on and on. The last time I cut my hair super short was when I was in middle school. It was unfortunate, really, because not only did I also have braces and a completely unfeminine figure, I also ended up looking exactly like the boy I sat next to in science class. And since our seats were at the front of the room everyone would mix us up. Not a good time for me, friends. Not a good time. From that point on, I committed myself to long hair. It took what felt like forever to grow it out, but by the time I reached high school I had a good thing going.

When I got to college in Malibu, I felt the need to rebel and stand out against all the pretty blondes and dyed my hair black. Yep, black. My grandmother was horrified when I came home for Christmas, but I felt really proud of myself for taking a risk and weirdly liked it while it lasted. I eventually got sick of the black and let me tell you, that pigment does not come out easily. After what felt like eternity, I settled into a nice brunette color and enjoyed having very normal, long brown hair.

Then one day I went to a new hair stylist who only charged $10, and that beautiful brown hair of mine all ended up on the floor. She was pretty inexperienced, which I could’ve guessed by her rate. This time, I decided to just own the short hair and I even got it cut shorter to make it more of a chic choice and less of an accident. I had a little a-line bob and I loved it!

Unfortunately the end of that year was when I put on a ton of weight after my eating disorder. I got back up to a healthy normal weight for me, and then just kept on gaining as I tried to figure out what normal eating even was. A very normal part of the healing process, no doubt, but the short hair really wasn’t working for me at that point and I was stuck with it. I felt a lot like that middle school girl again. I committed to doing everything in my power to help my hair grow long and strong, and from that point on I stopped using heat on my hair. No blowdrying, no curling irons, nothing. My hair never looked all that great, but even when it was heat styled it didn’t look awesome either so I figured it was a worthy sacrifice. I wore my hair in a ponytail or bun almost every day and always brushed it with a boar bristle brush before bed to help distribute the oils and stimulate my scalp. In time, I also started to eat healthier and all of those things combined left me (finally) with that long mermaid hair I’d dreamed of.

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Which brings me to today.

Having a baby completely changed my hair and I’ve come to accept that it may never be the same. From hair falling out, to new growth, to hair that’s more prone to greasiness, to less natural wave, to very dry and thin ends, it’s sort of been a hair nightmare. I’ve learned to fake it, obviously, but the state my hair is in these days is just sad. And I’m going to do something about it just like I did all those years ago.

Here’s the game plan…

  • Heatless hair styling // No heat on my hair, all summer long. I’m moving my curling wands and blowdryer out of my bathroom to reduce the temptation and help me commit to getting my hair healthy and strong again. I’ve started using the Aquis long hair towel and turban after my shower and love how much it reduces the time it takes to air dry!
  • Shower filter // I started using a shower filter a while ago and never replaced it once it expired, so I’m adding a new one to my shower head to ensure that I’m washing my hair in healthier water.
  • More nutrients, less junk // I’m actively adding in more nutrient-packed foods to my diet, as well as being better about taking my vitamins every day. I love these gummy ones! Also I’ll be more mindful about the junk I eat, making sure when I do eat it it’s because I want it not because I’m bored or too lazy to make something better.
  • Hair extensions // To help me over the hump as I get my hair healthier—as well as make my heatless commitment easier to swallow—I’ll be wearing my Luxy hair extensions more often. I love how easy it is to do a braid with even just a few wefts clipped in—totally hides the fact that my hair hasn’t been heat styled! (Get $5 off your set with the code NATALIE5 if you’re in the market for some!)

Thanks for reading that novel of a hair history. Can anyone else related to these hair woes?! If not, tell us all your secrets to really healthy, long hair post-baby. We need your help!

(Photos by Morgan Ashley Photography, shot when I was 6 weeks pregnant with Jack, before my hair went crazy on me!!)

24 Comments

  • Reply
    Kara
    June 27, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Hi Natalie. Thank you for this post. It is nice to know someone can relate to what your experiencing. I’ve always had VERY thick hair and within the past year it has MAJORLY thinned. I’ve been feeling very disheartened about the state of it this weekend, after having a hair appointment on Friday. It was the second in a row where my stylist pointed out in surprised shock how thin my hair my is. I’m not sure if it is from baby related hormones, or just a product of getting a little older, but I’ve personally decided to just accept whatever hair God gives me with grace. Of course, I hope it is just hormonal and will thicken up again. Thank you Natalie! Your definitely not alone in hair changes!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      I’m with you—totally okay with accepting if this is my hair forever, but really hoping hormones will change again and work in my favor, haha.

  • Reply
    Meredith
    June 27, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Thank you for this post! 7 years after having my son, my hair has completely changed and become much thinner and harder to manage. It has been really depressing. I’m glad to hear i’m not alone!!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      It seems it’s totally normal!! Why did nobody tell us about this before we had kids?!

  • Reply
    Emlyn
    June 27, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Waaaait what is this shower filter thing. Tell me about it!! Makes a big difference?

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 27, 2016 at 8:42 am

      I found it at Home Depot!! It especially helps if you have hard water, like we do in San Diego. I’ve read about them on a bunch of hair/beauty blogs and I remember when I used to use one that it also helped with my eczema. Crazy!

  • Reply
    Karen
    June 27, 2016 at 8:03 am

    What a timely post! I have been struggling with my hair for the past 2 years since I had a hysterectomy. It has completely thinned out, grows longer in the back, and the sides just don’t seem to grow at the same pace. You can imagine the pretty “mullet-look” I have going:)-I’ve tried hair extensions, which only damaged and pulled out even more hair. Love hearing your reviews on Luxy Hair Extensions – I am going to give those a try. Btw, your hair always looks beautiful!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 27, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      So frustrating!! Let me know what you think of the Luxy extensions if you get them—I like that they’re easy to clip in and that I can customize how much/little hair I want to use for any style. For braids I sometimes only clip in 3 wefts just for a little more length.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    June 27, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I have had thin hair my whole life and after realizing that long, thin hair just doesn’t work, I’ve worn it shoulder length or shorter for years. And while it’s cute and everybody loves how I style it differently, I’d love long mermaid braid hair. I got my luxy extensions and although I don’t love how they look when they’re just hanging there (my hair is too short to blend into it that well), they look BOMB in a braid. Definitely glad I ordered them-thanks for the discount code!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 27, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Oh yes, the braid is my favorite because it requires no real styling!! As far as blending goes, I’m not sure if you’ve seen this video but it’s a girl with short hair blending her extensions and it’s pretty amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiLD8LWcfk8

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    June 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    What are you using for shampoo and conditioner? I am trying similar things as you, after my third baby my hair has gone completely hay wire! Always looking for good shampoo recommendations :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 28, 2016 at 8:06 am

      I just always look for sulfate-free products—right now I’m using some by L’Oreal I found at Target.

  • Reply
    Kate
    June 28, 2016 at 4:42 am

    Let me encourage you: your hair WILL get healthier again! I’ve had 2 babies in 14 months, and now that my youngest is 1, my hair is finally starting to feel normal again. It does take awhile, but it will find a new normal! I’m a bun-wearer 24/7. (No really, I leave it up ALL the time!) My problem is if I leave it down, it gets in my way as I do daily tasks, so up it goes. I’d love to hear some advice on wearing your hair down/loosely styled on a daily basis!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 28, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Oh man, I’m going on almost 2 years since Jack was born and I feel like it keeps getting worse :( Hoping you’re right!! Also, I’m the opposite of you with hair—wearing it up feels like too much work and I always have mine down! My son isn’t a hair-puller, though, so that helps. I think styling really all depends on what length your hair is, though. I used to use a curling wand, but obviously that’s not going to work this summer as I say no to heat styling!

    • Reply
      Kelsey
      June 28, 2016 at 11:30 am

      ^^^ I feel ya girl! My son is about to turn 1 and likes to “play” with my hair when we snuggle and I live in hot and humid NC so I have had to wear mine up a lot. Plus I have all these crazy baby hairs coming in. Check out the blog called Twist Me Pretty. She is a mom of 4 (the youngest are twins) and she has got a lot of cute easy ways to put your hair up.
      Great post Natalie!

  • Reply
    Kelly D
    June 28, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this!! I have two questions…In striving for healthier hair, I’d love to know if you’ve found a great shampoo/conditioner that you’d recommend? Also, the extensions…what if I’m looking for more fullness than length? Can you trim them up? Or is there another product out there that would be better for that? Seems like a waste to cut the mermaid length extensions but I’ve recently changed up my hair to a long bob and would love more thickness. Thanks for your tips!!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 28, 2016 at 8:11 am

      I just always look for sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Right now I’m using one from Target by L’Oreal, but I change it up all the time. As far as the extensions, you absolutely can trim them! I think the Luxy ones are great for that, actually, since they are more affordable than a lot of other clip-ins on the market. Perhaps go with one of the 120g sets so at least you are paying for the least expensive option?

  • Reply
    Jackie
    June 28, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Although I haven’t had kids, I do have thinner hair but seems quite a bit of it. The best thing I have done is get a more blunt hair cut, granted mine is just past my shoulders now, but makes me feel like I have more hair :) I think your hair is beautiful Natalie! I also think taking supplements is important, the Pill seems to deplete most of the important ones for me…this has also made a big difference! I hope you see results!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 28, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Oh yes, getting the ends cut bluntly does help so much!!

  • Reply
    Reeve
    June 28, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I don’t have kids, but I’ve been in a hair journey for the last 2 years! After a similar hair experience to you (growing it out, chopping it short, repeat), I finally decided to REALLY grow my hair out and it’s now longer than I’ve ever had it – and I’m loving it. However, I have really fine, thin hair and struggle getting my hair to have volume. I’m getting the nice beachy waves that I’ve been wanting, but either I use product to create volume and end up with super greasy hair by the afternoon, or go product-less and have very flat hair. So frustrating! So, even though I don’t have postpartum hair, I’m struggling too :( Hard to find the right balance for your individual hair no matter what!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      June 30, 2016 at 7:55 am

      One thing I’m trying this week is headband waves—basically I start with dry hair, put a little bit of mouse through it, then wrap my hair around a soft headband until it’s all dry and set. I just use a cotton headband from the drugstore, but this is the technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGrUs-MZ5MM

  • Reply
    Ash
    June 29, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    My hair is around the same length as yours, but is a bit curlier. With my 1st baby my hair didn’t fall out, but after I had my 2nd baby I swear I lost half my hair. It was so frustrating, my long hair had always been “my thing”! I remember going to a new hairstylist when it started growing back in (the baby hairs were maybe 2 inches long), and she thought my hair had broken off because of the short pieces all over my head, not knowing that I just had a baby and it was hormonal. Not a pretty look. Like you, I got some clip-in extensions which made me feel like my hair looked normal again. Ultimately, the only thing I could do was wait for the new baby hairs to grow longer and start blending with the rest of my hair. It took about 1 year until the baby hairs were long enough to start blending, and I got some extra layers cut to help it blend in. After 2 years it was back to normal, which felt like an eternity. I also started taking the Hair, Skin and Nails supplements with extra biotin which seemed to help make it thicker. Good luck in your hair journey, I promise it does get better!

  • Reply
    alisha
    July 1, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Natalie, I feel like we’ve taken very similar hair journeys! My Malibu hair rebellion was to go a red Dr.Pepper color that I wore in a bob, and I also did the cut by an inexperienced stylist for about $10 (oops!), but that ended in a super unflattering pixie. My hair was is a mostly good place until I had Jack and it all started falling out. :( My friend recommended this herbal infusion for growing strong, healthy hair: http://thechalkboardmag.com/tea-infusion-stop-drinking-water

    I did my own version but just making a ton of Nettle tea and drinking it cold throughout the day and I do think it’s helped. I also bought some goji berries as my go-to snack.

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