Kate Middleton may be famous for her royal title, but it’s impossible to talk about her without mentioning her hair. She’s known for her flawless, lucious locks. Even as she left the hospital soon after giving birth, it still had its bounce and shiny glow that we all know and envy. But recently, it’s been noted that her crowning glory has looked a little lackluster. Kate even has a few grays—gasp!—poking out of her seemingly less voluminous mane. Before you jump on the speculation bandwagon and try to figure out if her hairstylist has up and quit on the royal family, here’s some important info on what pregnancy can do to your hair—including changing its texture and making it fall out.
Thick, shiny, healthy-looking hair is one of the gorgeous perks of pregnancy. You can thank estrogen, the master pregnancy hormone, which extends the growing phase of the hair-growth cycle so fewer hairs fall out than normal. Estrogen also helps produce shine-enhancing sebum, the natural oil that comes from your hair follicles.
Usually we lose about 100 hairs a day, which shed naturally after they’ve finished their normal growth cycle. In pregnancy, with the extended growth phase, hair becomes fuller. But once you give birth and your estrogen level drops again, hair returns to its normal cycle and starts to drop, too. After birth, you should expect to clean a ton of hair from your drain—which might just explain Kate’s thinner, less lush mane.
You may be wondering whether it’s safe to dye your hair during pregnancy. About half of all moms-to-be do. Hair color is not recognized as a danger during pregnancy. The research linking cancer to hair dyes remains fairly weak. Some chemicals in hair dye can be absorbed through the skin via the scalp.
Streaking or highlighting involves less direct contact with the scalp. Temporary dyes applied at home are less toxic than permanent. Make sure you wear gloves and use them in a well-ventilated area to avoid breathing in fumes.Another option is to use pure henna. This is a semi-permanent dye that’s been used over thousands of years. It has to be left on for four to eight hours. It also gets messy, but it’s safe and will leave an orange-red hue. The other shades of henna may contain potentially risky metallic compounds.
While the hair on your head grows thicker, your body hair will follow suit. This is probably due to an increase in androgens, or male hormones (yes, your body also produces these!). This comes in the form of stray hairs on your breasts, belly and back.
You also may notice more facial hair. Most hairs will be gone three to six months after giving birth. In the meantime, feel free to tweeze, shave or wax as you wish.Permanent hair removal treatments are probably safe, but don’t you have enough discomfort to deal with already? It’s also a waste of money, since this hair will fall out on its own.