Baby or toddler haircuts can be difficult at the best of times, but now that we're in lockdown 3.0 we're going to have to do it ourselves again for a while.
And if memories of a screaming child wriggling out of the salon chair and narrowly avoiding having their ear snipped off still haunt you, then you won't be looking forward to undertaking this momentous task yourself. But the good news is, cutting your toddler's hair at home can actually be a whole lot less hassle than going to the hairdressers.
And since you're not going to be sending your little one down any runways anytime soon, there's no pressure to pull off the most fashionable look, either. Ease is the name of the game with these top tips for cutting your toddlers hair at home - and most of the time it will be your toddler, since it's only babies with lustrious locks that will need a trim before the 2 year mark.
Use a small pair of clean household scissors if you don’t have hairdressing scissors. ‘Hold sections of hair between your fingers – this forms a barrier between the blades and your baby’s head,’ says Lisa Lemon, senior stylist at children’s hairdressers Trotters in Chelsea. To keep itchy hair at bay, place a towel around their neck. Do the cut after a bath, or use a water spray. Let them play with the spray first, so it doesn’t seem scary.
If your child’s under two, the highchair is a great place for a home cut, positioned in front of CBeebies. Equip them with a snack and a couple of toys. Before you start, make sure they're not hungry or tired. And remember to explain what you’re going to do and how great it’s going to look.
Start by trimming around the ears, which is the most difficult bit, as your baby will be less fidgety at the beginning. ‘Then do the fringe and around the nape. Offer them a book, as it’s easier to cut the back if they're looking down,’ says Lisa. When it’s done, give them praise and a small treat, so they’ll look forward to their next trim.
Cutting boys' hair
Follow these basic steps to an easy boy's hair cut.
Cutting girls' hair
With long hair, we recommend starting with a basic trim along the length of the hair, and if you're feeling brave, cut in some layers after you've got the main body of the hair at the length you want it.
Part the hair into wide sections using a tail comb, and check the lengths are even by gently pulling the hair away from the head with younr hands.
Cutting African American hair
We love how emotional this mum gets when cutting her tots hair for the first time! She also includes some helpful guidance and advice when it comes to cutting African American hair.
Cutting a fringe
Follow the simple tutorial below for cutting a fringe.
Cutting curly hair
Anyone whose child has been blessed with naturally curly hair will know the trauma of washing and brushing it bi-weekly. But that's no excuse to put off regular haircuts. Curly hair needs trimming just as regularly as straighter hair - in fact, because the ends are prone to drying out because of tangles, it actually needs trimming MORE. Keep on top of your toddler's curly hair by trimming little and often. And instead of brushing it, keep it in top tip condition with a wide tooth comb.
Tips for cutting toddler hair at home
Preparation is key! While we may find going to the hairdresser a wonderful and relaxing experience, your little one won’t see it like that at all, so prep all you can!
Being in a strange room, with a stranger coming at them with a pair of scissors will only end in tears if there’s been no preparation, so start introducing the idea of what getting a haircut is all about before they go to the salon. If you'd rather not head to the salon, you can always do it yourself at home or invite the mobile hairdresser round.
Let your little one see you have your hair cut. Look through some hairdressing story books together or play hairdressers (minus the scissors) at home. By introducing the concept - it’ll make the big day itself a little less daunting.
Tips for toddler haircuts at the stylists
enior stylist Steven Camsell from Francesco Group Weeping Cross, has had many good and bad experiences over the years and agrees that preparation really is key to a stress-free first haircut. Here Steven shares his top five tips for making your little ones haircut go beautifully.
Do your research - Choose a good salon with an experienced stylist. Ask other parents who they use to get an idea of good children’s hairdressers in your area.
Get the timing right - Time of day is very important for the first cut. If your child is over-tired or hungry, it’ll make the experience stressful for everyone involved. The best time is morning around 10am when your little one is at their best.
Make it a positive experience - It’s important that your little one will want to return for a haircut, so make it a fun experience. Bring in their favourite toy or comforter so they feel reassured. Toddlers may want to bring in a favourite toy or book to show the stylist - this will encourage them to open up and get to know the person about to cut their hair. The first experience is all It’s about getting your child used to the use salon environment. Even if it’s just a small trim, it’s the experience that is important rather than the haircut in the beginning.
Be realistic - If your child has a lot of energy and isn’t particularly good at sitting still for long, then a quirky baby celeb style isn’t going to happen. Instead opt for an easy to maintain style until they are older and better at sitting still for longer periods.
Routine is key - It’s important to try to stick to the same stylist as it will help them to build trust and rapport. By going for regular haircuts with the same stylist, your little one will eventually love the visit to the hairdressers as much as you do!
Remember to be patient with your little one. A haircut is a necessity and although there may be a few tears to being with, by following these tips and making it all as fun an experience as possible, your little will want to return to the salon over and over again!
Celebrate your baby's first haircut!
While a trip to the salon for a haircut can be a fun and relaxing bit of 'me-time' for us mums, getting your haircut for the first time can be a worrying experience for your tot, so it’s important to get that first cut right. Try to celebrate this milestone with them with a little treat, and celebrate how marvellous they look and they'll be excited as ever for next time.
When should my baby have their first haircut?
There’s never really a ‘right time’ to go for the first trim, it really depends on you and your little one, how much hair they have, or what style you are aiming for long term. If your baby has thick, luscious locks from birth, your baby could be ready for a haircut as early as 8 months old! For little ones with baldy-baby hair, the first haircut may not be needed until they are 2 years.
How can I make my baby’s haircut a good experience?
If you do need to give your baby a haircut before 12 months there are some top tips to help you through.
Gather everything you need - comb, salon scissors or nail scissors, highchair/seat for baby, cape for baby (a blanket tied with a bobble works well), spray bottle with water
Choose a time of day when baby is well fed and not tired
Make it fun - like we say, celebrate the moment!
Prepare for movement - some babies will be curious at the scissors, some might be frightened, so be cautious as you start out and be prepared for sharp movements throughout
Then spray baby's hair all over to soften the strands, and comb small sections at a time to cut. Hold the snippet away from their head between two fingers and snip, using your fingers as a buffer between their scalp and the scissors. Keep the snips short and angled, not straight across, and cut the same way all over in various directions for an even cut.
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Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!
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