Ashley Graham lost her hair after having a baby: ‘my whole hairline fell out’

Ashley_Graham

This Ashley Graham interview came out a while ago, but I wanted to talk about it because I finally got my haircut for the first time in 10 months, and it made me think about what she said about hair. Ashley talked to Parents Magazine for the Mother’s Day Issue about her first year as a mother. Ashley and husband Justin Ervin welcomed their son, Isaac, in January 2020. Obviously, that was an extraordinary time to welcome a baby into this world because right about the time Ashley was due to return from maternity leave, the world shut down with the pandemic. For this Parents piece, she reflected on the things about motherhood that surprised her. She spoke before about weight gain during the pandemic and how the mythical breastfeeding weight purge eluded her. But she also brought up postpartum hair loss, which happens to most new moms and rarely gets mentioned. According to Ashley, hers was dramatic, sometimes with her hair falling out in clumps.

On postpartum surprises: Everybody told me if you breastfeed, the weight falls off. Well, that was BS. And I’m still working on like 20 pounds. When I say working on, I just kind of look at it every day like, “Hello, new body.” And that’s just kind of how I go on with it.

And I think it was like around four months, my whole hairline fell out. And that was more traumatic than even birth because I was like, “My hair’s falling out in clumps—what am I doing?” and then I realized it’s actually a thing. My skin got a bit irritated as well, and I had a little bit of rosacea that I had to combat.

On staying organized with Baby: For me, it’s all about scheduling and making sure that me, Justin, and my mom—because my mom is my caretaker—are all aligned on the calendar and that we have a routine. Sometimes that routine has some bumps or some changes, but we stay in a group text, we have a Google Calendar, and I think that it’s really been helpful for us.

On being so open on social media: I like to share every aspect of my life. I don’t want to hide how I’m taking care of my body, whether it’s mental health, stretching, movement. Even through pregnancy, I wanted other pregnant women to know it’s OK to move your body as long as you’ve been doing it before you were pregnant for safety reasons… For me moving my body is like a big form of self-care—and mental health has really been such a big conversation that people have been having, especially all through 2020. I just have found it incredibly important for everybody to talk about their journey and what they’ve been doing because it helps people who are struggling.

[From Parents]

As far as being organized, Ashley’s advice is good, but not all moms have that many people to help. I’d add to her advice that when the kids are babies, you do need to learn flexibility. Your plans or timelines will change more and learning to roll with the punches or having backup up plans in place is the best bet, I found. I gave people advance notice if I felt I might be late, which is my big peccadillo. Once I knew I’d given myself that cushion, I could relax. As for her social media, I appreciate people who can share that much. I want to share more, but I always end up deleting most of what I write. I’m either afraid no one will care or who might be reading it.

But the hair issue is very real. When I was a kid, I went to a Fourth of July parade (Larkspur-Corte Madre – shout out to my Bay Area Celebitches!). I overheard one of the women sitting behind us say that she used to have trouble looping a hairband twice over her ponytail but, “now, after kids, I can loop it around three times no problem.” I was at an age that all things adult scared me, and was convinced having babies sucked out your soul anyway, but I never forgot it. My post birth hair loss wasn’t as dramatic as Ashley’s. It didn’t fall out in clumps, but I can definitely loop a hairband several times, no problem, around my ponytail. And it started during pregnancy. I didn’t mind because after years of oh my hair being so think it straightening it out, all my natural curl finally came out. When I first read Ashley’s comment about it being, “more traumatic than even birth,” I thought it was a bit much. But then I thought of two things: 1) Ashley has gorgeous hair, I could see how losing any of it would be horrifying. And 2) I think it’s all the changes happening at once. Your body’s reshaping, your skin reacts, the hair stuff, hormones, no sleep. It’s like one of those wacky movies when the scientist takes the experimental potion, and the effects reveal themselves one crazy condition at a time. So yes, I’ll bet four months in, having her hair fall out was traumatizing for poor Ashley. But I swear, to all the new moms out there, it looks a lot better than you think it does. I promise. You’re doing great!


Photo credit: Instagram

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22 Responses to “Ashley Graham lost her hair after having a baby: ‘my whole hairline fell out’”

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  1. ReginaGeorge says:

    That happened to me a few months post-partum as well. And fun fact, it also happened to me after getting off of birth control, so fun! Ugh. I’m currently dealing with all the shedding and my bathroom floor is a mess with hair balls everywhere.

  2. Mle428 says:

    I gained 65lbs when I was pregnant and breastfeeding did not help me at all in the weight department. I had to go on a super strict low allergen diet because he wasn’t tolerating my breast milk, and then the weight fell off because I was essentially eating chicken, avocado, and lettuce for weeks. When I stopped breastfeeding because the diet didn’t help his GI issues the weight literally fell off. I think, looking back, my cortisol was probably super high because I just don’t do well with interrupted sleep and I made a TON of milk so I was up every 2 hours just from being engorged. Ugh. It was awful.

  3. Emm says:

    After all of my kids, three months exactly it all starts falling out. I am almost 2 years pp with my last and the baby hair/short hair situation in my hairline is so obnoxious.

    Also, I nursed my last for the longest of all my children and the weight didn’t budge. Mine might also have to do with age though but it didn’t just melt away that’s for sure.

  4. Krista says:

    Post partum now and I gained a total of 50 lbs and with breastfeeding it isn’t coming off. Unfortunately the medication I was taking to help milk production can cause weight gain because it increase appetite- except no one told me that.
    I also think hormones after pregnancy can be a mess- lack of sleep, producing milk, everything.
    Overall it’s a bit disheartening and with the gyms being closed it’s a real bummer.

  5. JS says:

    yeah, my hair still falling out, 11 months PP. when i take it out of a ponytail or bun, clumps. when i shower, clumps. i did lose weight but i’m honestly not sure it’s breastfeeding related vs pandemic crazy (and i didn’t lose weight after my first). i just don’t find i’m snacking so much during the days because i’m either working or running after kids and then i fall asleep. there’s no down time anymore.

  6. kgeo says:

    I moved right before giving birth, so I had a new salon shortly after the baby was born. The woman cutting my hair noted how it must be so thin because I was post-partum and how it happens to all new moms. Nope, it’s always been thin and crappy. I didn’t get extra growth or any falling afterwards. I guess it could have been worse and just all fallen out anyway.

  7. readingissexy says:

    I moved to SoCal five years ago for work, but BAY AREA celebitch here!!! Lived in Easy bay for 20 years and went to UC Santa Cruz for my MA. I do miss the Bay.

    Also, I had hair loss as well, but the worst for me were issues with my scalp and skin. I had a large patch of dry, flaky skin on my hairline that took MONTHS to go away, and nothing would really make it better! The obvious flakes of skin were not cute. I was embarrassed to even go to my hairstylist! (When I first became pregnant, my hands broke out in dry, flaky patches all over. Then, at the end of the pregnancy, I had the scalp patch.)

    • nicegirl says:

      Sonoma Valley Hospital through Sonoma Valley High here, though I left whilst living in San Anselmo in 2004 and moved to Portland, Oregon. I miss our City by the Bay, y’all. Left my heart in San Francisco and everything! We have got to do a post pandemic USA tour for Celebitches guided by Celebitches. I love reading all of the comments and learning about our regional similarities and differences. I also love reading the authors’ experiences regionally, and globally. I cannot get enough of it!

      My pregnancy hair was amazing. Glossy, long, thick, it was gorgeous. I’ve also experienced the loss of hair post pregnancies. Youngest is 14 and I guess it’s time to accept it’s not coming back.

  8. Jess says:

    I gained almost fifty pounds w both kids and the weight didn’t really start to fall off until I’d been nursing for over a year. But at about 13 months I started dropping lots of weight and could eat whatever I wanted for the next few months bc they were still nursing so much. At about a year and a half that gravy train stopped bc while I nursed until they were both three (so I nursed for over six years straight) the nursing at that point was more for comfort than food.

  9. margie says:

    I lost so much hair post partum, the woman who cuts my hair was like, yikes this is a lot- that made me feel so helpless/hopeless. it was falling out in clumps, I’d wake up to a pillow full of shed hair. It all grew back but it was traumatic at the time.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    I have suffered chemo related alopecia and stress related alopecia. The first thing my primary care & dermatologist ruled out on the latter was it being due to childbirth because I hadn’t had a baby but they had to check it off the list.

    Defending a lawsuit now in which the Plaintiff was claiming that her hair loss, occurring 2 years, 5 years, & 7 years after 1 sexually inappropriate comment at work (guy was promptly transferred, fired, & never contacted her again) was due to PTSD from the comment. She then tried to deny access to her medical records in discovery. Her on/gyn, dermatologist, & primary care all say her hair loss is related to the births of her 3 kids. Her lawyer is withdrawing that part of her claim now.

  11. Missy says:

    My hair fell out in clumps around 3mpp and I definitely cried. I had bald spots and used root cover-up spray to hide them… It happened again when I weaned but not as badly. But NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THIS WOULD HAPPEN, it was one of those things where I’d share after the fact and other women would tell me it happened to them too. But like, a heads up from my midwife or mother or someone would have been nice lol!

  12. Turtledove says:

    I thought the hair loss was temporary?? It was for me. (I guess I should count myself as lucky) I thought it was a hormone thing and that during pregnancy, one of the hormones keeps you from shedding your normal amount of hair, like, akll that hair that would normally shed, stats. Then, PP, that hormone is gone, so you do ALL your shedding at once, but that it then evens out? I guess I just made up that info? LOL

    I did notice that during the earlier half of the pandemic I was both dieting AND super stressed. I shed a LOT. Then, whem I went to my stylist for the first time in a year, I was lamenting all the “broken hair” on my head. I thought that my constant “pandemic pony tail ” had caused a lot of breakage. She was like “your hair is super strong, that is not breakage, that is re-growth” Normally we don’t notice the regrowth but since so much shed at once, a ton was growing back at the same time.

  13. The Voice says:

    My hair loss was not temporary. My youngest is 2.5 and I’ve lost so much on the top and along my part. My dermatologist recommended using minoxidil 5% and she put me on a high blood pressure medication that is prescribed for adult acne. The combo of the topical and oral treatments should help keep the oil glands in hair follicles at bay so hair grows and stays put (aka doesn’t fall out prematurely). It’ll take 4 months to see an improvement and the topical will need to be for life. I’ll stick with it until I get to the point where I no longer care.

    I wish I didn’t feel the need to do all this to preserve my hair. American society puts so much emphasis on appearances, especially for women. We all age, motherf*ckers. I wish people accepted aging gracefully. Like embrace our wrinkles, thinning hair, and weight gain.

    It’s funny that I’m doing all this for appearances even though I largely feel invisible. I’m 45 with 2 young kids. No one even notices me anyway.

    • CuriousCole says:

      @Voice, you matter and you see yourself. It’s important to do self-care, it helps us feel better about ourselves.

      I’ve never had a baby but have been losing hair due to stress. I couldn’t stay on minoxidil, it was so drying and the terror of potential unwanted forehead hair wasn’t worth it for me. I’m currently trying Vegamour’s Gro+ Serum and shampoo, as well as prescription Ketaconazole shampoo. I also have some rosemary oil from Allpa Botanicals, their products come in carrier oils already, safe to use from the bottle. Progress is slow going but my hair is not breaking off anymore. I hope you’re able to achieve some peace, you deserve it.

  14. paranormalgirl says:

    My hair definitely thinned somewhat post partum. I have ridiculous hair to begin with so it was fine for a bit. But then it grew in thicker and even curlier.

  15. Meg says:

    ‘ I was at an age that all things adult scared me, and was convinced having babies sucked out your soul anyway, but I never forgot it’
    Wow i feel that

  16. Imara219 says:

    My hair was great until right at 11 months postpartum. My hair was coming out in clumps. I remember watching Wrestlemania 2018, raking my fingers through my natural kinky coils, and clumps would come out. I just thought it was extra tight from all of the buns I was wearing. Well, the shedding had started and didn’t stop until just shy of my son’s 1 year birthday. My hair had thinned out so bad. All of 2018-2020, I kept trying to figure out what I could do to get my hair back, but nothing was working, and by 2020 Quarantine my hair looked so bad. I caved and started wearing wigs by the end of 2020. I love my son, but yes, my hair is thinned, skin quality has changed a little, my shoe size got bigger, and I never lost the postpartum weight. After you have a baby, you have to be reintroduced to your new body and new self, but I felt like I was on a rollercoaster.

  17. Dillesca says:

    I have had two children and dealt with more-than-average postpartum hair loss both times. With my first child, I had a lot of serious health complications and was acutely anemic, so it was much worse than with my second. I literally looked like I had male pattern baldness, and I had to put makeup on my scalp to (try to) hide it. I do identify with AG saying it was traumatic– I could do anything– even just run my fingers once through my hair– and a huge clump would fall out. It’s difficult: you’re a new mom, your body is changing so rapidly, and you know some level of hair loss is expected (but don’t know what amount of hair loss is TOO much– and like most women’s health issues the response to what amount should you be worried about is a “*shrug* it varies”)– PLUS there really is a sense that we don’t do enough in terms of postpartum care.

    … It’s also hard for me to separate trauma from a difficult pregnancy, difficult childbirth, and difficult postpartum. And we are all different. So in any case, it’s totally valid that hair loss was more traumatic for Ashley Graham than the birth itself.

  18. JanetDR says:

    I don’t recall any major hair issues with my pregnancies, but then I have very fine hair. I experienced some major thinning at the crown after the stress of the last year of my mom’s life (working full time and had her living with me and going downhill). I didn’t really notice until several months after she was gone. We went to a resort with excellent bathroom lighting and I burst into tears when I saw how much scalp was showing. I knew it was different but I didn’t realize how bad it was. It’s better now – I’ve been doing a lot with essential oils and eating a very clean diet. But my major point is that it was so traumatizing! I really feel for anyone going through it from whatever cause.

  19. Anni says:

    I gained 20 kgs during pregnancy and lost it all 2 weeks after giving birth. It was all water and baby. Oh, the night sweats…it was biblical, boats were built. The wait again started a few months pp, though. The stress, no schedule, long nights, no sleep…I just ate and ate and ate and now I’m up 7 kgs already and can’t seem to stop.

    The hair loss was extreme, as Ashley describes. Clumps of hair at every shower. I was afraid to even brush. It stopped now and the baby hairs are growing nicely…it looks RIDICULOUS, but I’m glad.