Calling all naturalistas: Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you’re in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums! Submit your questions by tweeting them to @EssenceMag with the hashtag #AskCurlyNikki.

Check out the newest installment in CurlyNikki’s reader Q&A series:

I’m a new mother and think I may be going through the postpartum shed. I’m experiencing severe hair loss but my edges are taking the brunt of it. Please give me advice on how to stop this before I go bald.

CURLYNIKKI’S RESPONSE: I’ve been there, girl and postpartum hair shedding can be a beast. Mine started at three months postpartum and lasted for four excruciating months. Although I didn’t notice any bald spots, I started collecting the fallen hair to make a wig to hide the Trump-esque combover I knew I’d be rocking by the end of it. Not really, but yeah, it was that serious.

Unfortunately, postpartum hair shed is an inevitable, untreatable, short-term phase that many new mothers must traverse. During pregnancy, hair literally gets stuck in the ‘grow’ phase and becomes thicker, longer, shinier, and all around healthier looking. After the birth of your beautiful babe, that newfound volume doesn’t stick around—leaving you with excessive hair fall while detangling, styling and even when you’re not touching it at all! Ahhh… the joys of motherhood.

I’d recommend taking it easy through this transition period:

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  • Wear protective styles that are friendly to your delicate edges (loose buns and twists as opposed to slick, tight buns and braids). This not only reduces manipulation but also will help to maintain your sanity.
  • Twist-out instead of Wash&Go…in my opinion, twist-outs appear fuller.
  • Focus on moisture and avoid harsh products such as gels and mousses.
  • Use castor oil. It’s known to promote hair growth and thicken up the hair line.
  • Massage your scalp once a day for one minute to stimulate growth. For an added bonus, lace those fingertips with castor oil!
  • Take your vitamins and supplements (I continued taking my prenatal vitamins for a year after delivery)
  • Keep baby’s (and Daddy’s) hands out of your curls!
  • Have lots and lots of patience!

That list also provides advice for what to do if you’re experiencing hair loss, breakage, or damage in general. Good luck and congrats!

Nikki “CurlyNikki” Walton is a successful psychotherapist and creator of one of the most credible online sources about natural haircare, maintenance, and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. Visit her at her blog CurlyNikki or follow her on Twitter @CurlyNikki.

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