Now that we know both Kate Middleton and the Royal Baby, George Alexander Louis are healthy and happy, we can finally consider the important question: How will giving birth affect the Duchess’ famous mane?
It’s likely that Kate will lose at least some of her hair, as about half of all new mothers do. Post-partum hair loss is “very common,” says Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist (trichology is the scientific study of the hair and scalp) at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York. Women will notice shedding “anywhere from eight to twelve weeks after delivery,” Phillips says. “You can notice an increase in shedding in the shower — it can be quite dramatic.” So does this mean that the Royal Blowout will fall flat as Kate adjusts to motherhood?
It might, and here’s why. Each of the 100,000 or so hairs on the human head is in one of three phases at any given time: the anagen or growth phase, the catogen or transitional phase, or the telogen or resting phase, in which the hair eventually falls out. Thanks to elevated estrogen levels, “some women in the second and third trimester will end up holding more hair in growth phase for longer than it technically should.” This means that many women will enjoy hair that’s thicker than normal during pregnancy — which may explain Kate’s lush, post-delivery hairstyle.
Once estrogen levels drop, the change triggers all those hairs that were previously luxuriating in growth phase to suddenly fall — and that can be a traumatic event. “If [new mothers] aren’t forewarned, it can be incredibly anxiety-producing,” Phillips says.
But there’s no need to panic. The hairs that fall after pregnancy are only the ones that were meant to shed before, but didn’t thanks to hormone spikes. And the shedding should only last for 10-12 weeks before hair goes back to its normal cycle.
That said, it’s important for new moms to take care of themselves, since stress, exhaustion, poor nutrition and even trying to lose baby weight too quickly can all make hair loss worse. “You want to make sure you’re eating well, and being as stress free as you can as the mom of a new baby,” Phillips says. We’re pretty sure Kate will have plenty of help — and we can get back to coveting her hair just like we used to.