Cutting baby hair can be pretty daunting. When you should cut baby’s hair for the first time will vary from baby to baby as some are born with lots of hair and will need a trim pretty soon, others are born with very little and may not need a haircut until they are toddlers. In this post we’ll explore how to decide when to cut your baby’s hair for the first time, how to cut baby’s hair and look at some of the baby hair superstitions you might have heard of.
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Is it OK to Cut Baby’s Hair?
While baby hair is a different texture from the hair they will have when they are older, it is still hair and it’s perfectly safe to cut it. The hair your baby is born with will quite often fall out during their first year so if that happen’s don’t worry, it’s not a result of your baby’s haircut.
When Should I Cut My baby’s Hair for the First Time?
Baby hair doesn’t need cutting until it is either in their face or long enough to get matted by them sleeping on it. You may however prefer to cut your baby’s hair before this stage to make them look a bit more tidy. Here’s a look at the different ages you might choose to cut baby’s hair for the first time.
Is there a Reason Why You Shouldn’t Cut Baby’s Hair Before they are 1 Year?
There’s no reason not to cut a baby’s hair before they are 1 year old but each different age provides different challenges.
There are no health reasons not to cut your baby’s hair before they are 1 Year Old
Cutting Newborn Hair
For the most part, there is no need to cut newborn hair. Very few baby’s are born with enough newborn hair for it to be a problem and as newborn movements can be unpredictable it’s usually best to delay baby’s first haircut until they are a bit older. if you do need to give newborn baby hair a trim, it’s best to do it when they are asleep, along with the dreaded finger nails.
Cutting Baby Hair Under 6 Month Old Hair
Cutting 6 month old baby hair might be necessary if your baby’s hair is particularly long or getting in their eyes. It’s also worth considering if you have a particularly sicky baby as it will save on hair washing. Babies who are under 6 months aren’t usually sitting independently and this can make a quick trim quite tricky. As long as you have help to hold the baby and stop them from grabbing for the scissors, it’s perfectly possible to cut a 3 – 5 month olds baby’s hair.
Cutting 6 Month Old Baby Hair
Once your baby is around 6 months they’ll start to be able to sit independently and this makes hair cutting much easier. While you’ll still need some help to keep them distracted from the hair cutting, they can usually sit in a highchair or a Bumbo. My son had long curly hair and we started trimming the front at around 9 months to keep it out of his eyes.
Waiting until your baby can sit unaided can make baby’s first haircut much easier to manage
Cutting a 1 Year Old Baby’s Hair
By the 1 year mark, quite a few baby’s will be ready for a haircut. By this age cutting baby hair is usually easier as they will be sitting independently and have an idea of what’s going on. You can prepare them by looking at books about first haircuts* and even letting them see you have a haircut.
Baby Hair Superstitions and Old Wives’ Tales
There are a number of superstitions about baby’s hair that you might hear about when deciding to cut baby hair.
When you cut baby hair, you are often left with less baby hair and more regular hair, this can make it appear different, but it hasn’t actually changed the hair at all.
Does Cutting Baby Hair Make it Grow Back Thicker?
No. Hair grows from beneath the scalp so cutting it, or even shaving it off outside the scalp will have no effect on the thickness. Baby hair is usually fine so removing it can make the rest of the hair seem thicker.
Does Cutting Baby Hair Change the Texture?
No, cutting baby hair won’t change the texture of the new hair that comes after but bear in mind, as baby’s hair grows it changes and becomes normal hair so after a haircut it might look a different texture as there is more normal hair than baby hair.
Will Cutting My baby’s Hair Make it Grow Quicker?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that baby’s hair will grow more quickly after a haircut. If you’re keen to encourage growth then a regular scalp massage is likely to be more effective.
If I Cut off My Baby’s Curls Will it Grow Back Straight?
It might…sort of. Often baby hair is curly but the normal hair is straight so when you cut off the baby curls they are gone, however, they would have gone in the end anyway as new hair replaced the baby hair, so it only speeds up the process.
Can Cutting Baby Hair Get Rid of Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap is a skin condition on the scalp so having less hair won’t effect it directly but shorter hair can make it easier to massage baby’s scalp or use a gentle scalp brush without creating tangles so it can have some benefits.
How to Cut Baby Hair at Home
While you can take your baby to the hairdressers for a trim, many parents decide it’s easier to do it themselves at home. Baby is in familiar surroundings so they are more relaxed and it can be done a little bit at a time if necessary. Luckily baby’s aren’t picky about their hairdo so won’t mind if you don’t do a professional job.
What You Need to Cut Baby’s Hair
- Scissors – I would recommend investing in a pair of hairdressing scissors*, these will give you better control than regular household scissors. If you’re really nervous you can also buy round ended hair scissors* to minimise the risk if your baby moves suddenly
- Clippers – You may prefer to cut baby’s hair with clippers, particularly if you want it quite short
- A Towel – To catch the hair and keep it off baby, cut hair could irritate their delicate skin
- Hair clips – If your baby has a lot of hair you might want to clip some out of the way
- Something for baby to sit in – If they are old enough to sit unaided you can put them in a highchair, Bumbo or similar
- A Helper – Someone to supervise baby and distract them while you cut will make the process much easier
Cutting Baby Hair When it’s Straight
I would recommend cutting your baby’s hair without wetting it as this helps avoid sudden surprises when it looks different after it’s dried. You’ll want to brush out any tangles before you start.
Start at the back where you won’t be working in baby’s face, if they have a lot of hair, clip some of it out of the way. Select a small amount of hair, hold it between two fingers and snip off the ends. Working in small sections means any errors will be less noticeable.
You may not be able to cut all of baby’s hair in one sitting. Remember that you want this to be a positive experience that sets them up for future haircuts, if they get bored or irritated, stop and do some more at another time.
After cutting baby’s hair, change their clothes and give them a quick bath to remove any cut hair that might irritate their skin.
Cutting Curly Baby Hair
You’ll definitely want to cut curly hair dry and I recommend cutting it curl by curl. If you cut it wet in straight lines then you can ruin the curl pattern.
As with straight hair, start at the back and clip other hair out of the way if needs be. Take each curl and individually snip off the end of it. It will take some time so it’s quite likely you’ll want to do it in more than one sitting. As the cutting is so focussed it’s also possible to just snip the ends off a few curls directly into your hand when baby is distracted rather than setting up for a proper haircut. We always trimmed our son’s curly hair on the spur of the moment when we noticed a few curls that were getting too long.
Curly hair is best cut dry, one curl at a time, this will preserve the curl pattern and lead to less frizz
Cutting Baby Boy’s Hair
A basic baby boy haircut has hair growing from the crown out towards the face and neck, without a parting. If the hair is straight it’s usually all cut to the same length. Start by deciding how long you want the front part, most people go somewhere around the middle of the forehead, and then cut that length all over.
Cutting Baby Girl’s Hair
For baby girl haircuts, it’s more common to have a parting. If you want to include one you’ll need to put the part in place before you start to cut. For many babies, hair naturally grows forward from the crown which can make establishing a parting difficult.
My daughter has very straight hair the grew forwards from the crown and resisted all attempts to establish a parting for all of her babyhood and much of her toddlerhood. Some people will add a fringe to try and deal with the problem. You need to be careful to only cut the very front part to create the fringe, you don’t want to end up with a fringe that starts at the crown.
A fringe will need regular trims to stop it getting in your baby’s eyes so bear this in mind when making your decision. As hair gets longer it will be easier to establish a parting.
Cutting Baby Hair with a Clippers
You may prefer to cut your baby’s hair with electric hair clippers. Cutting baby hair with clippers has the benefit of getting the hair the same length all over and also means there are no sharp scissors near your baby’s face.
The downsides of using a clipper to cut baby’s hair are that the noise may scare them and the results will probably look more grown up although that’s personal preference. Clippers will also create more small bits of hair that can irritate skin so make sure you cover baby well before you start and bathe them afterwards.
Before you start you’ll want to get your baby used to the sound of clippers. Having them around when they are being used or just running them in the same room will help. You can then move them closer until baby isn’t bothered by them.
To cut baby’s hair with clippers you’ll want to use a high level hair guard to make sure it doesn’t go to short and to protect your baby’s scalp. It’s better to start long and shorten it after. Once you’ve chosen your guard you just need to run the clippers all over baby’s head so that the hair is all the same length. You’ll want to go over it several times in all different directions.
You can then either leave the hair the same length all over or use a slightly shorter setting on the sides and then blend it in.
Never cut your baby’s hair with a razor, this will hurt their delicate scalp and you could cut them if they move unexpectedly, which babies often do.
Saving a Memento of Baby’s First haircut
When you cut your baby’s hair for the first time, don’t forget to save a lock of hair as a keepsake. You might want to use a small hairband, an elastic band or some sticky tape to hold the hair together. You can then just put it in an envelope with their name, the date and their age. Alternatively some baby books have a built in envelope for baby hair or you could stick your own envelope to the back page.
Taking Your Baby to the Hairdresser’s for their First Haircut
If you don’t want to cut your baby’s hair at home then it’s perfectly possible to take them to the hairdressers for their first haircut. You’ll need to find a hairdresser that cuts children’s hair, ideally who is experienced with babies. You’ll want to be very clear about what you’d like them to do, if you baby has a lot of hair then pictures of what you want can be useful. Take along a few of your baby’s toys to help distract them, you might want to have baby sit on your lap so don’t wear your best clothes.
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