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Kooky Things, Argh

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,
After having three children and experiencing various degrees of hair lushness then hair loss (nothing radical), it has come to this: tendrils. God!!!
I wear my longish hair up every single day in a kind of messy topknot, which probably contributed to the tendril outbreak. But: now I have these horrid things to deal with (chin length, right above ear, about 1 inch in width, VERY curly when humid) that make me feel like Miss Kitty from a Gunsmoke episode. How, how, how to smooth these evil things back into the side of my head for attractive (ish) updos? And (intake of breath here), will they ever GROW OUT???? And make my hair normal again? I do believe that they have grown these past 6 months, but am not sure whether they’ll stop in this wretched place they are now. I will crown you the Tendrilizer if you can help.
Thanks much,

Dude, seriously, what is WITH THAT? Ever since having a baby and the dreaded post-partum-hair-fall-outiness, I’ve got these kooky…things around my ears. Mine don’t curl, but they are very annoying and weird and…yes, kooky. Like an overgrown sideburn that won’t grow past my chin and prone to frizz and static electricity. Can’t blowdry them, can’t fully tame them, can only hope that you’re not walking around with a big chunk of hair randomly sticking out at a right angle. I also have one on the back of my head, right in the middle of my neck — it’s just a few inches long and let me tell you, it looks AWESOME whenever I try to put my hair up.
So I suppose, according to the highly scientific control group of You and Me, this must be a fairly common phenomenon. I don’t know if they’ll ever grow out. Anyone out there still following a word of what I’m saying? About the kooky things? Around your ears? No?
300.jpgAnyway, I’ve been dealing with mine a couple of different ways — to stop the weird fly-away bendiness, I use Bed Head After Party Smoothing Cream. Yes. I know. The packaging? Most unfortunate. This stuff is really light and soft, so it works well on the kooky things, which (for me, anyway) are really really fine. Mine are almost like baby hair, so thick goopy pomades and stuff aren’t an option. I don’t know if it’s got enough power to control the curl, but it might be enough to smooth them down for updos, especially if you use it before using hair spray.
450px-Ambrose_Everett_Burnside.jpg If your tendrils AREN’T super-fine like mine, then you might be able to use a stronger smoothing cream — a pomade or fiber– to keep them plastered to your head. I’ve used Bed Head Hard to Get on my cowlick, even though it’s supposed to be more of a “texturizing paste.” I just barely touch the stuff with my fingertips and then run them over the misbehaving chunk of hair. That’s usually enough to bend the hair into a stiff sort of submission, without weighing it down in a lot of product. (Which if you haven’t noticed, is my Priority One when dealing with hair right around my face.)
Other options that are springing to mind are Bumble & Bumble’s Styling creme or Grooming Creme, which contains silicone to protect from humidity. Although I’d recommend buying these products from a salon or store that will let you return them if they don’t work, since I’m probably basing my advice more on my hair type than yours, and without having you in front of me while I pull out dozens of hair products to see what works, I don’t know if any of these things are the perfect solution. () Next time you get a haircut, mention the kooky things to your stylist and see what he/she recommends — or just go to a salon when the curl is in full effect and ask if they’d mind letting you sample some of the stuff they sell to see how it does.

Published January 19, 2007. Last updated January 19, 2007.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • CallistaWolf

    January 19, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Yeah, I have these things too. Mine are more like that scary dude’s mustache up there. HATE. Curly, thick and out of control. I’ll try some of this next time I attempt an updo.
    And as someone who’s currently experiencing post-partum hair-fall-outedness, I’ll be amazed if there’s any hair left after all this due to the copious amount of hair I’ve found on my clothes lately. Yuck!

  • tasha

    January 19, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Seriously, never have I had to work so hard to leave a comment! Now you know how seriously I take the hating of the tendrils! My youngest is 5 and I am just now at a point that I don’t notice them anymore. Mine were on the front of my hairline, though, which was bad because I don’t do bangs. Anyway, yeah, they will eventually grow out, but in my case hairspray never helped, nor did any other product I used. I would be good for 20 min or so, and then I would get the little halo of hair around my face. It sucked.

  • Brandi

    January 19, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Ah, pregnancy and babies…aren’t they great! I am also part of the post-partum hair-fall-outedness club and have decided to embrace my random hairs. My hair literally fell out in chunks on the sides of my head in a male-pattern baldness sort of way. Now, in addition to the halo of hair at the top of my forehead, I have thick chunks of short hair at my temples. Hot, I know. I decided that for me, it looked worse to try and disguise them. So, I let them fly where they want…regardless of how scary they may be.

  • Deborah Svoboda

    January 19, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Can I get a yay-men? I lost so much hair post-partum that after my shower it looked like Cousin It had spat up a hairball in my drain. I had to wear my hair up all the time just to hide the thin spots. No matter how many times you remind yourself that the Velveteen Rabbit had bald spots, too, it sucks to lose your hair. I went out and got a really good haircut and then got the “Curls Rock” line of products that our fearless leader recommended. Awesome. That rosebud salve is really great for stray hairs, too, if you work it into your fingers first.

  • SprengBlingBling

    January 19, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Dude, I kid you not, I JUST had a conversation about this problem with my sister not five minutes ago.
    I have noticed the terrible babyhairs on the left side of my forehead and they look like shit when I straighten my hair. If I pull it up, which I do almost every day, they are not noticeable.
    It’s also happened to a bunch of moms in my online group, so must be a post-partum thing. Someone needs to warn other new moms about this!

  • mary ann

    January 21, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve had the earlock things for as long as I can remember. I still don’t have a decent way of dealing with them.

  • Gabrielle

    January 23, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    At 29, I still have a halo of curly tendrils around my face that ceased being cute when I hit double-digits (although my husband claims otherwise).
    My secret for fighting the flyways is Artec’s TextureLine TextureShine. I rub a very small amount of product between my palms and lightly run my hands over my hair once I have it up & Presto! No more halo of out-of-control curlie-Qs.
    CAUTION: Be careful to avoid using too much product. As they used to say in those 1950s tv commercials for men’s hair pommade, “a little dab will do ya.”
    Here’s a link if you’re interested:

  • Natalie

    May 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Yeah, I’m 22, never been pregnant, and have had the weird kooky sideburns as long as I can remember. They frequently like to go sideways. And never will grow longer than the bottom of my earlobe. What the heck? I’ve had most of them finally get long enough to blend in with the rest of my hair, but I still have stubborn sideburns. I…just kinda hope that they don’t look too terrible and somehow manage to make my hair look professional every day.