Long Hair With Baby May Be Easier

Many women believe that their long hair is their "crowning glory." It makes them feel feminine and sexy and allows them to create a variety of styles. Many new moms or moms-to-be, however, often take scissors to their ha
Jennifer Bahney

Many women believe that their long hair is their "crowning glory." It makes them feel feminine and sexy and allows them to create a variety of styles. Many new moms or moms-to-be, however, often take scissors to their hair in an attempt to make their lives easier, so they'll have more time to spend with their precious bundles. What they don't know is that they could be making more work for themselves in the long run. Could long hair actually be easier for moms to take care of than a short 'do? The hair experts and new moms we spoke to say, "absolutely." Chop, chop
Charli Schauffler, new mom to a baby boy, had always worn her hair at least half-way down her back until she got pregnant. That's when she decided to "get serious" and cut her hair to between chin and shoulder-length. Her first misgivings came when she started to think about wanting her hair out of her way during labor and delivery.

"What the heck was I going to do with my hair during labor?" she says. "It wouldn't really stay in a clip, it was way too short for a scrunchie, and plastic claw clips didn't work when I was lying down. I found myself thinking, 'Gee, if it were long again, I could braid it.' But with only a month left in my pregnancy, what could I do? I spent a lot of time in labor with my hair in my mouth!"

Lance Melin, co-owner of Enchantress, The Long Hair Salon, near Cleveland, Ohio, and his partner Jody Nisula counsel women against making a major cut solely due to a recent or expected baby.

"It can be really poor timing for the mom, who already has a host of changes to deal with and might be surprised by an unexpected sense of loss," Melin says. "The conventional wisdom that short hair will be 'easier' is just plain nonsense. In the vast majority of cases, women will be left with a much higher maintenance style that can be unflattering when there's not enough time to fix it. They also lose many of the quick-style or 'out-of-the-way' options that long hair offers.

"Even if a woman is very sure about a desire to 'cut back,' we would advise her to choose a one-length style, which would be much easier to grow out if she chooses. This is the formula we have followed with our clients and all have thanked us for suggesting this approach."

World-renowned long hair expert Dr George Michael agrees short hair is definitely not easier for pregnant women to maintain.

"Many people don't understand that long hair doesn't have to be washed as often and doesn't require the time it takes to style short hair," he says.

That's because proper brushing will distribute natural oils that are essential for hair health from the scalp down to the ends. This even distribution leaves the scalp clean, while the ends stay supple. Short hair, on the other hand, needs to be washed more often because the oils aren't able to travel down a long hair shaft. They remain near the scalp, causing hair to look dirtier faster.

Schauffler says 'the greasies' were a big problem with her shorter hair. Because she didn't have the free time to wash her hair as often as she would have liked, "I just spent a lot of time with greasy hair that looked awful!" she says.

Rebecca Robinson, mom of 15-month old, thought about bobbing her hair when she had her baby, but is glad she didn't precisely because she had little time to wash and style her hair.

"I didn't even get to wash it very often, especially in those first days. If it had been short I would have needed to wash more frequently, but since it was long, I could sort of 'hide' it in a French braid or twist. What a lifesaver when you have a colicky baby," she says.

Losing hair
But what about women who suddenly start to shed after the baby is born and want to cut their hair short in an attempt to regain thickness? In his book, "George Michael's Secrets for Beautiful Hair," Michael addresses the hormonal changes that causes pregnant women to grow incredibly lush hair, only to lose the new growth some two months after delivery.

According to Michael, the hair seems thicker and healthier because pregnant women stop the normal shedding cycle during pregnancy. That shedding resumes, however, about two months after delivery. This is the time when many women start to panic and cut their hair in an attempt to make it look thicker, a drastic step that's unnecessary, he says.

"This post-pregnancy shedding lasts two to four months, then stops as the woman's hormones balance out again," he says.

So, even though the post-pregnancy hair loss is worrisome, you can rest assured that you'll be left with the same amount of hair that you had before you became pregnant.

Lisa, a woman with waist-length hair who's about to become a new mom for the first time, isn't falling into the shorter-is-easier trap.

"I have no plans to cut my hair when the baby comes," she says. "My hair is so easy to take care of right now because it takes me about two minutes to brush and braid it. When it was shorter, it was always in the way because it was either in my eyes or too short to do anything with. Plus, I think my hair is my best feature and I don't think I would be happy if I cut it all off."

Schauffler says long hair can also make a new mom feel sexier.

"Being able to put hair up and look good without washing makes Mom feel better. Not to mention that long hair makes one feel sexier and more feminine -- something that every woman needs if her shape doesn't 'come right back' after having a baby!"

And let's not overlook the other benefits of long hair. One woman told the story of how her father learned to walk by holding onto his mother's long braids, while Schauffler says her newly-long again hair makes an excellent toy.

"My son just loves being tickled with my hair! He makes me lean over him when he's lying on his back so that my hair falls on either side of his head to 'make a house,' which he thinks is just swell!"

Easy long hair looks
Long hair can go from daytime ease to nighttime glamour in no time at all.

  • A high or low ponytail gives you an "instant facelift." For a more polished look, wrap a piece of your own hair around the elastic band and secure underneath the pony with a bobby pin.
  • A simple braid can be turned into an intricate-looking bun just by twisting and securing with well-placed bobby pins or dramatic hair sticks.
  • A French twist is a sophisticated style that's easy to create. Simply gather your hair and twist it above your head, then continue to twist hair downward while securing hair against your head with bobby pins.
  • A half-up, half down style is a great way to show off your length while keeping hair out of your way. Simply gather the sides of your hair and secure on top of your head with a barrette while allowing the rest of your hair to hang freely.PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: hair

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