You’ve heard me talk a lot about the impact of stress on our bodies. We’ve discussed supplements to take, tools to investigate, and daily habits that can improve our overall health. But many of you were reaching out for tips on one thing in particular: hair growth. Whether you’re experiencing post-partum hair loss or the general stress of the ‘vid, there are many things you can do. Not only can you grow your hair back, but you can get in front of it by having a healthier pregnancy. We’re going to cover the vitamins and supplements I personally use for postpartum hair loss.
Understanding Anatomy before Talking Vitamins for Postpartum Hair Loss
First, let’s review our hair’s anatomy. This will help us gain a better understanding of what it’s made of and how it functions. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. The hair is attached to your head via the follicle and at the base of the follicle is the hair bulb. The bulb is where your hair “starts”. Blood vessels in the hair bulb provide the hormones and nutrients your hair requires to grow. Or not grow.
That’s the kicker. Hair has different phases of growth, one of which is not “growth” at all. The first phase is the Anagen Phase, this phase occurs over several years and your hair is actively growing during that period. Following the Anagen Phase is the Catagen Phase. This is when hair growth slows, and the hair follicle begins to shrink; this occurs over the course of a few weeks. The final phase is the dreaded Telogen Phase. Over several months hair growth stops completely and the hair falls out. In a healthy human, a new hair will push the old hair out and the cycle begins again. However, factors like age, stress, hormones, and diet play a part in whether a new hair comes in.
On any given day, it is normal for a person to lose, on average, 50-100 hairs from your head. Hair shedding in excess of this amount is worth talking about with your doctor or dermatologist but there are some well-known solutions you can try first, including vitamins for the dreaded postpartum hair loss.
Hair Growth Shampoo Regimens
In this section I’m referring to over the counter supplements that you can take orally that help address the factors that cause hair loss. There are only two products that are clinically proven to improve hair growth. I emphasize the word clinically because, while many products may claim to improve hair health, only the following nutraceuticals have been studied and shown to produce significant results.
The two supplements are Nutrafol and Viviscal and you can find them online or at your local beauty store. Both drugs are considered “nutraceuticals” which is a fancy way to say that their patented formulas are derived from food. Read that again: FOOD. If I haven’t already impressed upon you the importance of diet in your overall health, maybe this will do it!
Nutrafol works by addressing 5 root causes of hair thinning: hormones, stress, environment, metabolism, and nutrition. Among other things their formula focuses on blocking DHT (a hormone that causes thinning), resisting stress found in our environments, and filling gaps in our nutrition by providing the essential amino acids required to build keratin. Their regimen includes four pills taken orally every day and they offer a subscription service so that a new bottle arrives at your door every month for about $80.
Viviscal has a wider range of products including their nutraceutical, a hair elixir, shampoo, and conditioner. Their oral supplements are taken twice daily and tout their propriety AminoMar marine complex which was developed to model a diet rich in fish and protein. They’ve shown results in clinical trials for over 25 years and their monthly subscription costs about $34. Though it’s a much more approachable price point, many users may be turned off from Viviscal due to the use of shark in their product. (Nutrafol’s marine collagen is sustainably sourced cod).
Vitamins to Increase Growth by Improving Health
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body when you’re young, but it is rapidly depleted after age 25. But here’s the thing. The collagen you choose matters. Let me tell you why. My mom went to our hair dresser and she told her “wow, your hair is so soft and full!” This isn’t normal for my mom as she has thinner hair. She told our hair dresser, Stacey, that she had been taking liquid collagen. Stacey said “WOW! I’m so impressed because most people who come to me and say they’re taking collagen for their hair, their hair is brittle and dry. It may be longer or thicker, but the hair quality isn’t good.” THIS is what liquid collagen can do for you.
Instead of just using any collagen powder, you need to choose a high quality collagen to ingest. And you want it to be Type II collagen. Why? Because that’s the type that best mimics what our body naturally produces and therefore allows your body to actually use the collagen you’re giving it. That’s the last thing we want is to be spending money on something and just be peeing it out or even worse, damaging our hair in the process.
The Collagen I Recommend: Best Vitamins for Postpartum Hair Loss
I recommend this liquid collagen because its formula also includes hyaluronic acid and other things that make it highly absorbable (more than 50% more absorbable than powdered collagen). It is also paired with vitamin C, which your body actually needs in order to fully absorb the collagen. Without it, you are likely expelling that expensive collagen through your pee and not even absorbing it! Not what we want! (See other supplements I recommend for daily intake here.)
Beef Liver Supplement
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for re-growth of hair. Beef liver gives you over 100% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A right there in pill form. It also has TONS of other benefits like naturally and safely detoxing, giving you lots of your B vitamins (think feel good vitamins) and filling nutritional gaps. Because I don’t think most of us are eating beef liver…just sayin 😉 Beef liver also contains biotin and copper, which can reverse premature graying of hair. Can I get an amen!?
Best Foods to Curb Postpartum Hair Loss
As we learned above, Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for re-growth of hair, so let’s talk about foods that are rich in Vit A.
- Sweet Potato
- Cod Liver Oil
- Raw Milk
- Red Bell Peppers
Add these things to your diet regularly and watch your hair grow long and strong! It’s one thing to have your hair grow in, but it’s another to take care of that hair once it’s here!
How to Care for New Hair Growth
- Keep your scalp moisturized with good products. You can try a scalp mask or hair mask to keep things moisturized.
- Don’t use toxic hair care products. This will cause build up and can damage the hair follicle. (I use this)
- Be gentle with those baby hairs!
- Try a low braid or a headband instead of a ponytail. Ponytail ties can damage hair so easily.
- Don’t brush your hair when it’s wet.
- Use a tangle teezer brush that helps you get tangles out without ripping hairs out.
- Try lavender oil on your hair if you tend to have lots of difficult tangles like me. I rub 4-5 drops of lavender into the palm of my hand after it’s dry and then rub through the bottom half of my hair.