Reader question: I’m pregnant and my hair is suddenly greasy and hard to style. What can I do?

Alexander Wang - Spring 2012 wet look hair

See this model here? She doesn’t look happy. And that’s probably because someone backstage had the brilliant idea to deliberately make her hair look like she hasn’t washed it in 12 days… and call it a “trend.” I’d be pissed too.

But what if Mother Nature herself was effing with you this way? That’s what’s going on with reader Alana… although I trust the situation is nowhere near this dire. She writes:

I am about seven weeks pregnant, which is awesome, except it is already doing a bunch of not-so-awesome things to my body. Namely, my hair!  I have super thick, super fast growing, wavy hair. I do not love it, but I’ve mostly learned to manage it after 26 years of life.

I got it cut by a new stylist right at the very beginning of my pregnancy, and after a few weeks it started not falling right and being hard to style, so I thought maybe it was a bad cut. But then! On top of it not looking right no matter what, it has become SUPER greasy and gross.

I am a loyal Pantene user (I love love love their new-ish formulation for thick hair—lifesaver!), but I come out of the shower and it’s almost like I forgot to wash out the conditioner or something (ick). I tried being more diligent with the rinsing, tried rinsing in different temperatures, and I also tried using a clarifying shampoo instead of my regular Pantene in case it was a buildup issue. But! Still gross. I absolutely must wash it daily (due to my aforementioned hair thickness, I used to wash only every few days to prevent dryness), and even then my hair is constantly greasy, limp and very sad looking. I get that this is probably yet another unwelcome hormonal side effect, but seriously… I am one big, greasy, bloated emotional mess. All I want is a good hair day!

(Additional question on the side:  I was planning on going in for another cut in a few weeks, and going shorter.  Now I’m afraid to do anything to this crazy mop in case it makes it worse.  Any thoughts?)

I would LOVE to hear your suggestions on this one.  Since I’m only seven measly weeks, the thought of 33 potential more weeks of bad hair is kind of horrifying. Thanks!

Oh my! I’ve never been pregnant but if this is what awaits, I’m terrified. (Especially because I’m not starting out like Alana was with naturally thick, wash-it-every-few-days hair. My hair is already fine and limp… so I really WILL look like the Alexander Wang model.)

But first things first! I’m no doctor (I just play one on the internet) but I definitely think this is a hormonal thing. My friend J. had exactly the same experience during her first trimester—she became a total greaseball and not just hair, acne too. Fun times!

So let’s talk shampoo. I love me some Pantene, but the regular line is simply too moisturizing for this type of hair crisis. If you don’t want to switch brands, I’d go for their new weightless line, called Aqua Light:

Pantene Aqua Light line Reader question: Im pregnant and my hair is suddenly greasy and hard to style. What can I do?

I think you’ll notice a huge difference, since it doesn’t have the silicones and rinses much cleaner than most formulas. Buy the shampoo from for $6.99 with free shipping in Canada with no minimum order. But I would skip the conditioner if at all possible—instead you can use their leave-in spray only on the ends to detangle.

So that’s one option… but the LEAST conditioning shampoo I’ve ever tried has to be TRESemmé 24 Hour Body:

TRESEmme 24 Hour Body Shampoo Reader question: Im pregnant and my hair is suddenly greasy and hard to style. What can I do?

I don’t use it as often anymore, since maintaining my colour is a higher priority… but this stuff volumizes like you wouldn’t believe. Buy it from for $7.29 with free shipping in Canada and no minimum order. Again, give the conditioner a pass and either do a spray-in detangler like the Pantene one above, or… you could try an apple cider vinegar rinse!

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Reader question: Im pregnant and my hair is suddenly greasy and hard to style. What can I do?

That’s right. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) acts as both a conditioner AND a clarifier for the scalp, so you kind of kill two birds with one stone here. You can make your own rinse by mixing equal parts ACV and water, and just pouring it over your hair at the end of the shower, or you can use a commercial brand like René Furturer‘s Clarify and Shine Rinse. I actually always request this when I’m at the hair salon instead of conditioner, and I find it lets me go up to three days without washing after my hair’s been styled.

Rene Furterer Fioravanti Vinaigre Reader question: Im pregnant and my hair is suddenly greasy and hard to style. What can I do?After you pour it on work it into your scalp and from the roots to the ends, and leave it in for about five minutes. It’s up to you if you want to leave it in or rinse out—if you leave it in, you’ll get more astringent benefits.

Your last resort? Dish soap.

Palmolive dish soap Reader question: Im pregnant and my hair is suddenly greasy and hard to style. What can I do?Anyone who has ever used it to strip a hair-colour-gone-wrong knows that this is serious bidness when it comes to de-greasing. If you dye your hair though, you’re going to have to make a trade-off, because this won’t be good for the colour obvi.

Now. Once you’ve figured out your washing and (minimal) conditioning routine, it’s time to invest in probably my favourite product of 2012 so far…

Dove Dry Shampoo Reader question: Im pregnant and my hair is suddenly greasy and hard to style. What can I do?

I know that’s a bold statement, but ’tis true. The Dove Dry Shampoo has changed my life. Now, sure, there are other dry shampoos—but this one is the best I’ve found for adding major volume, getting rid of oiliness, not leaving a white residue… and being crazy cheap! Buy it here from for $7.99 with free shipping in Canada and no minimum order—woo hoo!

If you missed this post where I raved about it, hop over and have a read. While I used to only use my dry shampoo on second-day hair to absorb oil at the roots, it rocked my world when I started using it on clean, dry hair AS WELL. Not only does it add body and act like a kick-ass texturizer, it also prevents the oil from becoming a problem. Yay!

So I think of all of these things combined should help anyone deal with a case of the greasies—pregnancy or not. And that, in turn, will make it easier to style (and hold a style).

As for whether you should get a trim, Alana, the only man I trust (if you’re in Toronto) is Bill Angst (see: His whole thing is to give cuts that work with your natural texture instead of something you need 99 hair tools and products in order for it to look decent. He’s pricey ($170) but SO worth it. He gave me my Life Cut, after all!

So let’s chat…

Ever had a situation (pregnancy-related or not) where your hair acted up like this?
How did you manage to keep the greasies at bay?
Got any other pregnancy-related hair tips? Please share!


Thursday, August 2/2012 at 3:44 pm

My hair was also greasy-gross when i was pregnant. Plus I was EXHAUSTED in my first trimester, so I didn’t even have the energy to wash and style my hair every day. Dry shampoo was definitely my saviour, although 3 years ago they only had Klorane on the market which is ‘meh’ and around $15. Still, not knowing there could be anything better, I was very grateful for it’s existence. Since then, my hair has gone back to it’s normal self, but I’m still tired and lack time for hair styling, because the by-product of being pregnant was having a baby (!) and crazy busy life :-) My love for dry-shampoo continues as a blow-out can last an extra day, and also gives great grip and hold for ponies and up-do’s on day 3 (and sometimes 4 – yikes, I know) I have tried most of the drug store brands and have to agree that Dove is by far the best, and at an awesome price-point.


Thursday, August 2/2012 at 7:06 pm

Ah! Thank you, Michelle!

I tried switching my beloved Pantene Thick Hair Solutions to the silicone-free Ice Shine line (which says it’s supposed to cut the dirt and buildup that leads to yucky hair), but there wasn’t much of a difference. In truth, the idea of paying actual money for a bottle of Tresemme freaks me out, given all the years I’ve spent trying to deep condition my thick, dry hair, but I suppose it is a different ball game now!!! Also just picked up a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar, which I absolutely try – great idea!!!

(I was originally going to say that I would consider investing in a Bill Angst cut, except I actually found out today that there are actually two little ones growing up in here, meaning I don’t think I will ever be able to responsibly spring for a $200 haircut again until these babies grow up and move out!)

Any chance your friend J was able to get her acne under control, by the way? I’m also starting to worry a bit about the pubescent state of my face, and have no idea what I’m supposed to do!


Thursday, August 2/2012 at 7:09 pm

PS – No need to worry – I hear the girls like you with fine pre-pregnancy hair are the lucky ones who get luscious, shiny, full beautiful hair when they’re knocked up! The thick-haired girls like me just end up looking greasy and in perpetual need of a trim, since your hair doesn’t fall out as much as usual while you’re pregs!


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