Ugh. My hair is the main thing I would change about myself if I could (physically that is). Also see: my crooked nose. I would kill for a thick + luscious head of hair, and most importantly a kick-ass HAIRLINE. I have such hairline envy. I’ll never forget when I was 14, I took a picture of Kristin Cavallari (circa Laguna Beach) into my hair stylist and she told me, “this haircut won’t look the same on your face, because you HAVE A RECEDED HAIRLINE.” Not a cool thing to say to a pubescent teen in her most awkward phase of life. Cue the lifelong complex.

I have always had thin, super fine hair which is the reason I constantly wear it pulled back – which I am sure you’ve noticed. My hair is so fine that it just doesn’t work well when down, it’s so wispy and lightweight that it gets stringy immediately. Especially if there is ANY wind whatsoever. When the horrible reality that is postpartum hair loss was added to the mix, I was devastated. My main man Dennis Neva at Salon 9B in Lincoln Park (if you’re in Chicago, get in with him immediately: 773-910-5109) has been cutting + coloring my hair for years. Finally, he talked me into getting tape-in extensions for thickness – not length – about two years ago. My friend gets them for length though and they are just as fabulous. I don’t have them in all the time, I usually only do it if I have a vacation coming up, a wedding to go to, or another special occasion, or most recently: postpartum hair loss. But they have changed my life and totally changed the way I feel about my hair. And since losing a good amount of hair after James, I have developed a new appreciation for these bad boys.

Befoe & after tape-in hair extensions

Why does your hair fall out after giving birth?

About 3 months after giving birth to James, the lovely postpartum hair loss monster reared it’s ugly head. I was so upset. My hair was thin enough already! I could not afford to lose another strand. And I mean, it was coming out by the handful. Why does this happen? Hormones. Here is the scoop, your hair follicles are either in the “growing stage” or “resting stage”. The latter means your hair follicles lie dormant and do nothing, which results in the hair falling out. Usually, 85% of your hair is in the growing stage and the remaining 15% is in the resting stage. During pregnancy, high estrogen levels increase and prolong the “growing stage” which is why your hair becomes nice and thick while baby is cooking. After giving birth, your estrogen levels drop drastically which causes the majority of your follicles to enter that “resting stage”. This results in excessive shedding. Fun!

Will prenatal vitamins or biotin fix or prevent postpartum hair loss?

No. I hate to break this to you but it is a myth that prenatal vitamins make your hair grow. It is a common misconception, but my doctor informed me that it is 100% not true. The reason women experience hair growth during pregnancy has nothing to do with their prenatal vitamin and everything to do with the increase in hormones/estrogen during pregnancy. That being said, continuing to take your pre-natal vitamin post-baby is still a good idea, but it will not do anything for your hair loss. Biotin is great for hair health, but it will not prevent postpartum hair loss either. Sadly, there is absolutely nothing you can do! This is all about hormones, and vitamins have no impact on that. Ugh, as if pregnancy and childbirth weren’t strenuous enough on our poor bods. Let’s throw hair loss into the mix, sweet. The only thing you CAN do is find ways to make your hair look thicker through styling. Cue, tape-in extensions!

Does hair grow back after having a baby?

According to other moms I have talked to, the internet, and my doctor the answer is: yes. But please don’t hold me to that! Everyone is different but I was told that my hair will go back to normal around the 12 month mark post baby. I have already noticed little baby hairs sprouting around my hairline, cute!!! NOT. Also, Dennis told me he even saw the baby hairs on the top of my scalp! So it seems as though it’s starting to grow back. Phew.

**UPDATE** 12 months later and my hair has finally gone back to normal! So, I’m happy to report: YES, the possibility of your hair growing back is likely. I had thin hair to begin with, so I thought I would fall in the category of it not going back to normal – but I was wrong.

How long do tape-in extensions last?

About 6 weeks, but this depends on the rate at which your hair grows. Tape-in extensions don’t fall out, they just grow further away from your head. The extension is taped in right at the base of your root and for me, it takes about 6 weeks before I notice they’ve grown out and need to be moved up again. 

How much do they cost?

This is kind of a complicated answer and depends on a few things, but they are the cheapest/most affordable option next to do-it-yourself clip ins. I tried clip-ins once and it was a disaster, I could not get them in right. I don’t have the patience for those!

  1. First of all it depends on how much hair you want “installed”.  The hair is the main expense and the cost depends on the length + quantity that you want. Your stylist purchases it for you, this is not something you have to worry about ordering on your own. If you just want a few pieces, it will cost less. I spent $100 on the hair itself, but it is REUSABLE and will last you at least a year if not longer, depending on how often you wear the it.
  2. Next cost is maintenance/installation which if you’re going to Dennis this costs between $145-$225

Can you wash your hair?

Yep! Dennis recommends using a sulfate free, non oil based shampoo. However, don’t get conditioner or any hair product near the bond (bond = tape). The bond is up by your roots, so it’s not like you would be conditioning up there anyway. You really don’t have to change anything about your regular haircare routine!

Can I blow dry/straighten/curl them?

Yes! As much as you want. This is real hair by the way, so they air dry great too! 

Do they damage your hair?

Nope! These are totally safe for your hair. Trust me, I would never do anything that could cause damage to my already weak head of hair!

How do you get them out?

Your stylist sprays the base of the extension where the tape is with a solvent that removes the tape from your hair and it slides right out. Admittedly, I have been lazy in the past and peeled them out myself. The only part that kind of sucks about removing them yourself is the tape is kind of hard to get out of your hair without that special solvent. However, I have found that using coconut oil helps to remove the sticky tape!

Do they hurt?

No! The first time you get them, you might notice a little discomfort when you lay down to sleep the first night. By discomfort I just mean a little pinching/tightness near your root. However, you won’t notice it after the first couple of nights. Getting them removed involves a little light tugging while they are being slid out, so that can be a bit uncomfortable but it’s quick. You can handle it.

I think I covered everything? If there is something I missed or you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at hello@megmcmillin.com! 🙂 xx

Left: How I wear my hair without extensions in (always pulled back) / Right: When I finally wear my hair down after getting the tape-ins!

3 Comments

  1. I lost a significant amount of hair in the first trimester, it came back during the pregnancy and lost a lot of hair right after giving birth. It is scary as hell but I agree, good hair practice will help to disguise and will get you through recovery. A good hairdresser will never be more important than during this period. Thanks for the great information! It’s very helpful.

    • Megan Reply

      Hey Linda! Oh my gosh. Isn’t it the worst? So scary! As if gaining weight and crying all the time isn’t enough – throw some hair loss in the mix! My son just turned 1 and I’m finally starting to feel like my hair is getting back to it’s normal state! Thanks for checking out my blog, best to you and your little one! xx

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