Southern Charm's Cameran Eubanks on the One Aspect of Motherhood That Really "Kicks You While You're Down"
Splitting Hairs is our monthlong exploration of hair based on a survey of women across America. It’s like you brought a photo to the salon — we’re giving you exactly what you want.
Pregnancy was kind to Cameran Eubanks, the outspoken star of Bravo’s Southern Charm. Her hair grew thicker. Her skin developed a dewy finish. It was only after she gave birth to her daughter Palmer last fall that the 34-year-old felt as though her body was beginning to rebel against her. Her breasts swelled painfully. Her energy was sapped. And her hair fell out — in massive, maddening clumps.
Here, Eubanks, who is working with haircare company Keranique to regrow her hair and spread the word, opens up about losing her signature blond mane and why she’s troll-seducingly honest about the challenges of motherhood online.
As women, we're conditioned to believe that hair is our crown. It's the first thing you notice on someone. It’s no wonder hair care is a multi-billion dollar industry.
When I got pregnant with my daughter Palmer last year, I was taking prenatal vitamins, so my hair almost doubled in thickness. I had this beautiful, healthy, shiny head of hair, and I loved it. I was like Farrah Fawcett everyday. I look back at pictures, and I'm like, "Oh my god.” It was amazing — your hair, your boobs, your skin, everything.
But when all those hormones leave, that hair comes out. It happened to me once I stopped breastfeeding, when Palmer was three months. That's when I noticed my hair was not just thinning but shedding. At first, I would see it when I brushed my hair — there was a lot more hair in the brush. But the absolute worst was around four or five months postpartum. It got to the point where you could see bald spots, and I was embarrassed to pull my hair back or wear it in a ponytail because it would really show.
I knew that hair loss is common post-pregnancy, but I didn't know it would happen to that extent. It was shocking. Those first few months after having a baby, you don't feel or look your best — you’re breaking out, you're trying to lose weight, you already feel bad about your physical appearance. Hair loss? It kicks you while you’re down.
So naturally I told the whole Internet about it. When I got pregnant with Palmer, I made the decision that if I was going to share my pregnancy journey, and if I was going to do it on TV on Southern Charm, I wasn't going to sugarcoat it. I think often, women have a total misconception of what's supposed to happen to your body after you have a baby; they’re not prepared for the reality they’re about to face. I wanted to post about hair loss, and other issues I had after giving birth, so other postpartum women understood that these experiences were normal and so they would feel less alone. I got so many responses of women saying, “I went through the same thing. I wish I knew it was going to be this bad.”
At that point, I was so focused on the baby that I tried not to let it bother me too much. I said to myself that this is something I would have to go through. But I’m a big researcher, and that’s how I discovered Keranique. The first product I tried that I became obsessed with was their exfoliating mask for hair re-growth, which gets rid of all the gunk that we build up on our scalp. I added that to my routine. I also stopped putting my hair up so it wouldn’t break, and I definitely don’t wash my hair as often. Now, the hair has started growing back. It’s at a weird in-between stage, where I get these little baby hairs around my face, but I know it’s temporary.
On Instagram, it wasn’t just hair loss I opened up about. I tried to be as candid about everything else I went through postpartum too. Before birth, for example, I thought breastfeeding was going to be this easy and natural thing — and it was the hardest part. I was not prepared for that at all. I could barely leave the house, I felt like I’d been dragged through the mud, and it was messing with my mental health. We're told that if you can breastfeed, then you should because it’s the best thing — but while it's the best thing for the baby, it may not be for the mom. The truth is, if it’s making you go crazy, you have the choice to stop.
When I stopped breastfeeding after three months, though, I was worried to post about it. I even thought about making up a lie, claiming that my milk had dried up. Then I said "No, that's crazy.” I thought, there had to be other women who felt this way.
Of course, when I was honest, I had the trolls who were like, "You're doing your baby a disservice.” But any time you’re a public figure on Instagram, you get messages from trolls. I once had a guy ask if he could PayPal me for a pair of my underwear! (My stupid husband was like, “Ask him how much he wants to pay?”) I also had people say that I only had a baby because my husband wanted one, which obviously isn’t true. I don’t think you have to have a child to be fulfilled in life, and I stand by that — you’ll probably get a lot more sleep and look better too! — but I can’t imagine my life without Palmer.
In the end, the positive of my honestly on social media outweighed the negative. For all the criticism, I also had women telling me that they just needed to hear someone else say what they were thinking. I heard from women who said, "I'm miserable. I'm a slave to breastfeeding. Thank you!"
Whether about hair loss or breastfeeding or anything else, I wanted to let women know something it took me a while to figure out: If you're going through this, there is an entire army of women going through it too.