9 Ways to Look Professional With Postpartum Hair

postpartum hair solutionsAs someone who just had baby #2, I’ve been reminded of a problem that I never saw coming the first time: postpartum hair changes, including postpartum wispies and postpartum hair loss. I’ve since seen a lot of stories on postpartum hair, but I’ve never seen one on how to look professional with all of these hair changes. So I figured we’d start a dialog. So, ladies: did you notice major changes to your hair after your babies were born? Was it was more difficult to make your regular styles look nice, neat, and professional? How did you cope?

For me, I didn’t suffer from loss so much as I did breakage/wispies in the crown — I could barely pull my hair back from weeks 8-20 without immediately having super-fine, short hairs falling into my face. This, I worried, contributed to the frazzled-sloppy-new-mom look. The go-to styles that I used when I needed/wanted to look put together included:postpartum wispies

  • A part ponytail on the top of my head (see picture at right, taken around the time my son was 13 weeks old). I liked that it was super easy to do — I also thought it looked good if it worn down OR if it was pulled back into a ponytail. Despite the fact that there are wispies in the picture (dang it!) I swear they mostly did manage to stay out of my face without a ton of hairspray.
    • Variation: a part braid on top of my head (particularly good if I was pulling my hair back into a ponytail for something aerobic). See the Corporette discussion on work-appropriate braids to find more ideas there.
  • A rolled ponytail type look. I tried to make a video to describe how to do this look and it failed because, well, YouTube superstar I am not — but I did my best to describe it in this post on ponytails at the office.
  • Fine, yes, headbands — these Sweaty Bands are amazing for workouts (and might be fine for your office as well). The velvet backing makes them very comfortable but secure.

A few other general hair tips that were helpful during this time period:

  • Hairspray! I tried to find a silicone-free hairspray so it wouldn’t gunk up my hair too much. You can even spray a toothbrush with hairspray and use it to tame flyaways.
  • Use mousse at your roots, and make sure to use your blowdryer to point the wispies away from your face.
  • If you’re constantly wearing your hair up, learn how to tease it properly for some volume on top (and to keep those fine hairs “together” a bit).

Finally, I never had too big of a problem with hair loss, but I might TRY this GLH spray (which I remember reading about in a magazine profile years ago). I know other bloggers have talked about bangs being a lifesaver.

One final tip, particularly for you homeowners — Drano can actually really screw up your pipes, so if your shower drain is clogged, do try a DIY snake type thing like the ZipIt.

Ladies, how did you deal with postpartum hair problems like wispies, hair breakage, and hair loss? Did you have any go-to looks for a comfortable but professional hair style? postpartum hair - professional looks

Social media picture credits: Shutterstock / By Ollyy.


There are lots of articles about changes in postpartum hair -- hair loss, hair breakage, etc. But I never saw any advice for how to look GOOD with postpartum hair and its special challenges -- so I rounded up my nine ways of looking good with all those wispies, and readers had a ton of other great advice for professional looking postpartum hair.


  1. Nonny says:

    Oh my goodness, this is so topical for me right now. I started losing my hair after about 6 months and have been shocked – shocked! – at the amount of hair on my brush every day. At just past 9 months, the hair loss seems to have slowed down but now I have wispies that are about 2 inches long. They were pretty funny when they were half an inch.

    I didn’t do anything special about my hair post-partum. I just pulled it back into a ponytail, and when I started going back to work, I wore it up just about every day, which is normal for me anyway. However, I got progressively more annoyed with my hair as it seemed to get limper and limper with all the hair loss. The fact that I hadn’t had it cut since last November didn’t help – it was dragging down my face and looking very sad. I finally got it cut earlier this week and my amazing hairdresser put in lots of layers to give it extra body. It’s now just past my shoulders and feels great.

    Luckily I haven’t experienced any changes in hair texture or such. Fingers crossed, at least.

  2. I lost so much hair, and I also have no time/energy to spend styling, so it mostly just looks terrible. My solution has been to stop caring.

    ETA: Sorry if that was excessively glum. It’s been a rough few weeks, sleep-wise.

    • Spirograph says:

      First, commiseration on the sleep thing. I’m in the same boat, and it sucks. I felt so unsafe being exhausted in rush hour traffic this morning!

      On topic, though, my hair spent a lot of time in a ponytail or otherwise up when it all started falling out. Same as Nonny, it also hadn’t been cut since I was about 5 months pregnant, because who has time for that?! When I finally went to the salon, I vented to the stylist about how my baby ruined my hair (which used to be thick and gorgeous if I do say so, myself), and she worked some kind of magic on it so that I could go to sleep with it wet and still look presentable in the morning with only a good brushing. I wish I’d done that a lot sooner. Moral of the story: stop-gaps are great, but let the pros handle it ASAP.

  3. Trouble TTC says:

    Hi All –

    I am hoping for some advice on dealing with jealousy and the general difficulty of trying to get pregnant without success. It seems like all of the other boards out there are pretty silly with women wishing for successful “baby dancing” so I thought I’d turn here in the hopes some professional women who may have had trouble getting pregnant can offer me some advice. My husband and I are at the one year mark, we’ve both had full workups and the diagnosis so far has been unexplained infertility. We decided to take a break from trying this month because I wanted to take a break from clomid for a month (three months of unsuccessfully trying on clomid w/ ovulation induction). Generally, I love my job and am career focused but it seems like everyone is pregnant around me. It doesn’t help that my two best friends are pregnant/have a one year old. Taking a break has been good for me mentally and has allowed me to refocus a bit, but I am feeling a bit hormonal today about the whole situation. Any advice on how to stay focused on work and the positive aspects of life generally when going through this situation would be appreciated.

    • So I can’t relate to the trying-without-success part of your post (because we aren’t there yet), but I can totally relate to the feeling of everyone else around you having babies and you wanting them, too. I’m not sure that this is helpful, and I’m certain that it isn’t kind, but when I’m feeling blue due to comparing what I have (or don’t have) with others around me, it makes me feel better to focus on the things that I DO have (and they don’t) that I consider to be superior. Example: my job/salary. My figure. The fact that my SO is a feminist. My 401K balance. Etc. It’s not the best solution in the world, but it helps in the moment.

    • ((hugs)) I too can’t stand the ‘baby dust’ and ‘baby dancing’ boards. I went on them for about five minutes and was horrified at the practice of what appears to be full grown women photoshopping things they have peed on. I’m hoping this site becomes more of a place where we can talk about TTC, since it’s definitely frowned upon on the main site.

      That said, like anon above we aren’t there yet, but I do spend a fair amount of time worrying about my fertility these days. I think taking a break is a good idea – especially if you’ve been charting etc it can be pretty time-consuming/thought-consuming.

      Venting to a friend or my mom always helps me. Even if they haven’t been through it, if they’re a woman, they’ve thought about their biological clock (I hate that term, but you know what I mean). Just knowing you’re not alone is so nice sometimes. Even people you don’t think can relate may be able to – it’s not like people tell you how long they tried and what they went through before succeeding (my SIL was in the middle of her workup when they got pregnant; they’d been trying for a year. An MRI found a mass on her brain stem that turned out to be benign, but there were concerns it could have been messing up with her pituitary, etc – she never told anyone about all the drama/scares until baby was happily onboard).

    • I’m sorry you’re going through that. We went through something similar – it took over a year to finally get pregnant and then I miscarried at 12 weeks (after we saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound). At the time, it seemed like every person I knew was pregnant and I was so jealous and bitter.

      Would it help if you explained to your closest friends that you needed to pull back a little bit, recognizing that your emotions aren’t subject to reason? I know if one of my friends told me that, I would completely understand.

      We eventually did have two successful pregnancies (the second being an unplanned surprise). And I have two sets of family members that had unexplained infertility, ultimately successfully went through in vitro, and then naturally had second children. Don’t lose hope – but also don’t feel wrong for doing what is right for you and for your family.

      • Nonny says:

        Can I please ask that if you need to pull back from your friends (understandably), that you not abandon them completely, or pull back without explaining why? I ask this as the sister of someone who did this and was actually quite mean about it. It would have helped a lot if she had just explained to me what she was going through and what her needs were. All I want to be is supportive of her, and yet I find myself second-guessing whether I can even contact her these days. Please don’t be like that – your friends love you and I’m sure want to support you in whatever way you need.

        • Oh, agreed. If someone came to me and said “It’s just too difficult right now for me, we’re dealing with infertility issues,” I would totally understand.

    • oil in houston says:

      I am currently pregnant, so hopefully can help with the aspect of things to be grateful for you right now in your life.
      For us, it took about 9 months to get ‘sustainably’ pregnant (ironic, I know), with a miscarriage in the middle, which was heartbreaking. But I had been hoping to TTC for a whole year before that and I definitely relate to the jealousy in that timeframe. A good friend got pregnant with twins as I miscarried, all my friends were on their second baby, it seemed like babies were everywhere apart from with me.
      The way I dealt with it was to travel, we went to a LOT of weeekend aways like New York, Vegas, LA, places that you don’t want to go to with a child, lots of restaurants, I had wine and cocktails every night (apart from after I ovulated when we were actively trying), went on hot air balloons and activities otherwise forbidden to pregnant women. Frankly, we had the time of our life! Now, I have no regrets not being to do those things, but am so happy I did!
      I really hope you get pregnant soon, and don’t feel bad about feeling jealous, it’s a perfectly normal, human feeling, your friends will understand.
      When I started talking to people about my miscarriage, I realised how many people had issues. My friend with twins for instance had tried for 2 years until they decided to go for IVF. And I realised pretty much everyone I knew had had a miscarriage or had to do a fertility treatment at one point or another, so people do understand.
      Good luck to you.

      • Thank you all for your kind responses and well wishes. Your comments reminded me all of the good things in my life. I really appreciate the advice that it is ok to take a step back from friends right now. I’ve hesitated to do that because I’m a little unsure about how to do it without hurting feelings and losing friendships but you all are right- I’d understand if someone told me that too. And oil in Houston- you’re right- more people have issues getting pregnant than they let on. I wish there was more awareness around the issue- it can be so isolating. best wishes for an easy delivery and healthy baby.

        Again, I’m very appreciative of all the advice and wishes. Y’all definitely made me feel better.

        • Taking Charge of Your Fertility really helped me…and being honest with my friends. 3 years after the first miscarriage I had a healthy little boy.

          • I just ordered it on Amazon! Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the suggestion.

        • Burgher says:

          When I had fertility issues, I even declined baby shower invites. Surprisingly (to me at the time anyhow), people understand that you don’t want to go to a shower 3 weeks after you’ve had a miscarriage when you’ve been trying for a baby unsuccessfully for a year. After my m/c, I made an effort to stop obsessing over “trying”, and just focused on getting myself to a better place mentally and physically. We got pregnant with our first shortly after. I think focusing on my health contributed (certainly exercise, clean eating, and no alcohol cannot hurt), though I would never tell anyone “just stop trying and it will happen!” since that’s BS.

  4. Burgher says:

    It seemed like half of my hair fell out 6 months post-partum. It just looked awful, especially after getting used to the thick pregnancy hair. There was not much else to do but chop it all off, sadly. No technique or amount of product can mask that much hair loss. The shorter length definitely helped what I had left not be weighed down and it looked so much healthier.

  5. 6 months postpartum here – I just did the pixie chop. My hair was just past shoulder length, but I was only wearing it down maybe twice a week to work. The minute I left to go get the kiddo from day care, it was back in a pony so as not to get pulled. Between the elastic and postpartum breakage, it looked so unhealthy in the back, even freshly styled. I opted to just get rid of it. The short length is so easy to manage, dries fast, and I love how fun and sassy it is. Plus it feels so much healthier now! I am also experiencing a lot of hair loss, but no big chunks are missing so the pixie still made sense for me. I echo the advice above to get thee to a pro as early as possible when the loss/breakage/wispies hit – they can help you manage!

  6. balletgirl1980 says:

    Ok, so I didn’t realize that the hormonal changes would mess with my hair. Although, hindsight, I really should have! I am 5 years postpartum with twins and I am finally starting to see my hair return to a more normal state. I wear a lot of buns because my hair is very frizzy and my “messy” bun just looks more professional than my long hair.

  7. Meranda says:

    I ended up with large bald spots at my temples post partum and a texture change that refused to hold curl or do anything but frizz. After 9 months, I’m dealing with 2 inch regrowth in front and am grateful that it’s covering my bare scalp! I’m headed for a haircut soon and will likely end up with a shoulder length A-Line bob to make everything look more polished.