Rihanna sheds new light on her newest look as she reveals postpartum hair loss

After her cropped hairdo stirred debate as she launched Fenty Hair, Rihanna relatably disclosed her experience with postpartum hair loss.

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Rihanna attends the Rihanna x Fenty Hair Los Angeles Launch Party at Nya Studios on June 10, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

For those questioning why Rihanna chose to debut her new haircare line, Fenty Hair, wearing what appeared to be a pixie-cut wig followed by a more recently revealed closely cropped natural, the megastar just gave more insight into her hair journey: postpartum hair loss.

While speaking with Refinery29 during the Fenty Hair launch party in Los Angeles on Monday, the mother of two shared that she had begun losing hair following the births of sons Rza, aged 2, and Riot Rose, 10 months, as reported by People magazine.

“I didn’t expect it to happen in waves. I thought it would just happen and grow back,” she said, joking that hair loss was “not on the pamphlet” for postpartum symptoms. 

In fact, hair loss is a common and unpreventable post-delivery occurrence for new mothers caused by the dramatic fluctuation in hormones during and after pregnancy. The American Academy of Dermatology Association posits that “This is normal — and it is not true hair loss,” adding, “The good news is that this excessive shedding is temporary, and you do not have to do anything to remedy it.” It says most women will see normal fullness return within the first year after delivery, as new strands begin regrowing as soon as old ones are shed. However, as the National Institutes of Health also explain, this “diffuse alopecia” typically begins about two to four months post-delivery and can last from six months to a year.

As Rihanna-watchers know, the “Work” singer announced her second pregnancy almost nine months to the day after giving birth to Rza. It is not known whether or not quickly successive pregnancies may have further contributed to Rihanna “losing her hair in patches,” as People reported, but as she told Refinery29, “At that point, you’re just like ‘alright, enough is enough.’” 

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Adding to her long legacy of chameleon-like hair changes, the beauty mogul disguised her hair loss by getting “more creative and clever” with her styling before giving fans a rare glimpse at her naturally textured, honey-blonde curly crop. Dermatologists suggest that new moms dealing with shedding try volumizing shampoos and lightweight conditioners designed for fine hair while avoiding any heavy or deep conditioners, conditioning shampoos, or conditioning beyond the mid-shaft to the ends of the hair until normal fullness has returned, to prevent weighing hair down. Women who do not regain fullness after the first year are advised to see a dermatologist for further diagnosis and treatment.

As for Rihanna’s own at-home treatments, one might presume they include the new formulations by Fenty Hair. Released Thursday, the brand has marketed itself as both strengthening and repairing through its proprietary complex, Replenicore-5, “which contains amino acids, proteins and antioxidants like Barbados gooseberry, upcycled jackfruit extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and green tea extract,” reports Women’s Wear Daily

“Considering all hair types, considering all of the brands that I’ve been in love with my entire life, I’m thinking, ‘If it’s not better than this one, it can’t work,’” Rihanna told the crowd at her launch. Explaining the four-year process of creating her latest brand, she also referred to the infinite creativity hairstyles have afforded her over the course of her career.

“Evolving as a woman and even as an artist, hair has been such a huge part of that and a reflection of whatever I’m feeling,” she shared. “So, it changes a lot, and my hair goes through a lot. Making this brand, I had to consider all of those things. I want to look fly, but I want my hair to be healthy. How do I do that? All of my products need to strengthen and repair while I’m out just being fabulous.”