Naya Rivera on Post-Pregnancy Hair Loss: 'Nobody Talks About It Because Women Are So Embarrassed'
By Jennifer Drysdale
Naya Rivera is getting real.
In a new interview with Elle, the 30-year-old actress and latest spokesmodel for Nioxin opens up about the hair loss she experienced after pregnancy, and why women are so embarrassed to discuss the issue.
"It happened to a lot of my friends, too! There's a real post-partum hair-thinning issue, and nobody talks about it because women are so embarrassed to admit they're losing their hair," shares Rivera, who gave birth to son Josey in 2015. "But it's a real problem."
"The good news is, it has a really easy solution," she adds. "You just have to know about it."
Rivera says she's much more candid about her problems after realizing that "some moms don't have that network" to discuss what they're going through.
"Pregnancy hair is different for everyone! It's a wide spectrum," she notes. "I didn't get crazy thick amazing hair at any point during my pregnancy. I was expecting it, and waiting for it, and it never happened. I was like, 'Where is my awesome part of the pregnancy bargain?' I didn't grow some amazing mane."
"On top of that, with the dramatic drop in hormones that comes with breastfeeding, and then not breastfeeding, and the whole birth process, the parts around my scalp were thinning and breaking, and nothing seemed to repair them. I heard about Nioxin from my friends who'd had babies before me, and whose hair stylists had told them to use it. They told me to use it," she explains. "And now I feel like I need to tell everyone, because some moms don't have that network."
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Rivera also experienced hair loss years earlier, as her hair was pulled into a tight ponytail for nearly every scene on Glee.
"I would be working 16 hour days, which is normal for TV, and my hair would be in a tight ponytail that whole time. They kept spraying it with hairspray, and when I got home, it looked and felt like dried lasagna," she reveals. "Above my ears, it looked like it had been burned off with a hair iron or something. And my scalp was so dry from heat styling."
"I tried everything. Tea tree oil, grapeseed oil -- all the oils. I could never find a shampoo that wouldn't break and dry it out. Finally, I got to the point where, if I knew I was doing a ponytail day, I would basically coat my hair in coconut oil the night before. And to this day, I'll do that before a ponytail day," she says. "Seriously. It requires a lot of prep."
After nearly three decades of acting, these days, Rivera is focusing more on "the writing and producing space."
"When I was 13, my mom asked me, 'Naya, are you ready for fame? Are you OK with this?' She was a model and an actress. I'd been doing commercials since I was a baby, and TV since I was a very little kid. And I said, 'Bring it!'" she recalls. "And now I would be like, 'No, don't bring it so much! Like, be a little cautious. It's not that awesome. Tone it down a few notches.'"
"I want to move into more of the writing and producing space. I think creatively that's really fulfilling for me. I want to tell stories that haven't been told yet, and I have a lot left to say," she confesses. "I've been really lucky to learn from some of the best people to ever [write TV and movies]. And I think it's my turn soon."