If Chrissy Teigen’s look is “mom hair,” sign us up. (Photo: Instagram/Jenatkinshair)
Twitter is in a tizzy over Tuesday’s accusatory New York Times feature, “Mom Hair: It Exists. Now What to Do About It.”
The story calls “mom hair” the counterpart to “mom jeans,” implying that new mothers either just give up on their looks or take ill-advised measures to “get some sense of self again,” as Juan Carlos Maciques, a New York City stylist interviewed by the Times, explained. Maciques says he sees it all the time. “The first thing new moms want to do is cut their hair off. They’re feeling lousy about their bodies.”
The story may have been attempting to help women understand “what to do” about their “inescapably frumpy” hairstyles, but lots of vocal readers knew just what to do about the story: criticize its message and question its intentions on social media.
— Thea (@Novemberbeetle)June 21, 2016
Girl things are silly. Lady things dumb. Mom things embarrassing. Old woman things v. bad. See a common thread here? https://t.co/gywg01FmWy— Heather Havrilesky (@hhavrilesky)June 21, 2016
Francesca Fusco, a Manhattan dermatologist, told the Times that for many new moms, the hormonal changes that occur postpartum and cause (mostly temporary) hair loss are often the impetus for the big chop. “It can be really scary because it may feel like it’ll never stop. But for the most part, the situation will correct itself.” Maciques said that the knee-jerk reaction to lop it all off is “a big mistake,” as it can emphasize the lack of volume.
But some women were quick to point out on Twitter that their hairdo was not exactly their primary concern after adding a new member to their families. Others expressed that they had better things to do that didn’t even involve their new additions and that it was condescending and judgmental to make such a big deal about, what is to many new moms, a nonissue.
To think I wasted time after my kids were born writing novels when I could’ve been rectifying my frumpy mom hair https://t.co/P8hbtbrx1g— Curtis Sittenfeld (@csittenfeld)June 21, 2016
But the Times did interview new moms who prioritized their hair and looks after baby, including Katie Hintz-Zambrano, a co-founder of the San Francisco-based website mothermag.com, who refused to chop off her long locks after giving birth, despite a receding hairline. “For me, it was also about maintaining my identity,” she explained.
The feature pointed out celebrities who sport stylish solutions to the new-mom hair conundrum — like Kate Middleton, who cut bangs a few months after giving birth to Princess Charlotte, possibly to hide the fuzzy regrowth that appears while bouncing back from postpartum hair loss. Yahoo Beauty reported last month about Chrissy Teigen’s chic, asymetrical new-mom cut, which she dubbed her “don’t cut the front” hairstyle.
Other celebrities (and no-doubt plenty of nonfamous moms) prove that “mom hair” is an outdated cliché that needs to go away. Some of the most glam include Beyoncé, who debuted a fun, flirty lob after giving birth to Blue Ivy, and Kim Kardashian, who went all “blond-hair-don’t-care” after having North West. As Cosmopolitan spun it, “Once the baby is born, experts say, many woman use drastically new hairstyles as one way to reclaim control over their bodies, lives, and womanhood.”
In fact, the publication interviewed mom Christina Hibbert, a psychologist who specializes in postpartum concerns. Hibbert explained, “many postpartum women want to reclaim their sexual identity back by any means necessary.”
It may also be simply unfair to categorize hair-chopping as a new-mom last-resort, as plenty of child-free celebs — including Taylor Swift, Emma Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, and Elizabeth Olsen — made headlines for the glamorous lobs and bobs they debuted this year simply to change up their look.
“Mom hair” on a woman who is not a mom. (Photo: Getty Images)
Perhaps the most offensive part of the Times feature — according to many women on Twitter, anyway — was the assertion that “Ideally, you’d start planning while you’re still pregnant.” As Twitter user @izzygrinspan quipped:
"Please inform your doula that ombré is now a part of your birthing plan.” https://t.co/uY1prxBH9d— Izzy Grinspan (@izzygrinspan)June 21, 2016
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