Why the New York Times Made a Big Misstep With 'Mom Hair'

June 22nd 2016

Almie Rose

The New York Times is getting slammed over its recent article "Mom Hair: It Exists. Now What to Do About It." — and Twitter users weren't shy about letting The Times know about the blunder.

The article threw around generalizations about new moms:

In fashion there are “mom jeans.” So, too, there is a counterpart in beauty: “mom hair.”

You’ve likely seen it at suburban malls: the longer-in-back, slightly–shorter-in-front bob that should read sleek but is inescapably frumpy.

And even the city-dwelling mom isn’t immune. Perhaps she has added her own twists like blunt bangs or extra layering, but the ’do still falls short of flattering.

And suggested that their supposed haircut of choice is a serious issue:

“I see it all the time,” said Juan Carlos Maciques, a stylist at the Rita Hazan salon in Manhattan. “The first thing new moms want to do is cut their hair off. They’re feeling lousy about their bodies, and they just want to get some sense of self again. But, usually, to cut off your hair is a big mistake.”

[...] Often the mom bob starts as a convenient solution to hair loss after pregnancy.

“Anywhere from four to six months postpartum, women can start to experience shedding,” said Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in Manhattan, adding that it’s because of a change in hormone levels. “It can be really scary because it may feel like it’ll never stop. But for the most part, the situation will correct itself. You just have to stick with it.”

In short, the article struck a tone of presumption for some readers, with the writer shaming new moms for their oh-so-dreaded "mom hair" while suggesting ways to not offend the fashion police: 

“Ideally, you’d start planning while you’re still pregnant,” [Juan Carlos Maciques] said. “For hair color, you’ll want to go more natural by the third trimester. An ombré is a really nice way to address the fact you’re going to be having fewer hair appointments.”

Twitter users had a strong reaction.

One Twitter user thought the article ignored a lot of mothers entirely.

While another argued these types of articles enforce unrealistic beauty standards not only for moms, but for all women.

Motherhood comes with its own set of challenges without worrying about "mom hair." Though the article proclaims that the "mom bob" starts "as a convenient solution to hair loss after pregnancy," it's hard to imagine anything described in that sentence is convenient. It's that example of tone-deafness that readers took issue with (especially considering the bulk of the advice came from a male hair stylist).

It seems like women are constantly put down by magazines for not having the right bodies. They don't need to hear their hair isn't right, either, especially when they have a newborn to worry about.