Baby Hygiene

The 4-1-1 on Kids' Hair

Baby's First Real Haircut

  • When? There's no set time. "That first haircut doesn't have to be a scalping -- you could have a baldy who's growing wings and needs the fuzzy ends trimmed," says Friedman. "It's definitely time when the hair starts getting in their eyes."
  • How often? Boys with short hair need a cut about every 6 to 8 weeks. With girls, it depends whether they have long or short hair. It's important to keep trimming the dead ends so their hair stays healthy looking.
  • What to know when booking the cut? Call ahead and ask who's good with kids. If you just show up, you'll get whoever is available.
  • How to prepare? Let your child get used to the idea by watching other people getting their hair cut.
  • What to take? If you have a specific look in mind, be sure to take a picture with you. Tell the hairdresser, "When we're done, I want the bangs to look like this."
  • When will your baldy grow some hair? No way to know. Enjoy this hassle-free hair phase, and dress baby in a bonnet or cap to reveal the gender.

Tips for a Home Haircut

  • "Choose your setting and distraction. Let your child watch a video during the cut, or have another adult blow bubbles," says Friedman.
  • Avoid using the word "cut." "Lots of toddlers find that scary," notes Friedman. Instead say "trim" or "style."
  • Wet the hair. The easiest way to do this is to use a spray bottle and say, "Look, it's raining." Still, lots of kids don't like the sensation. If that's the case, just wet a wide-tooth comb and run it through your child's hair.
  • Have a game plan -- start in the front and work your way around to the sides and then the back.
  • Be careful of bangs -- people have a tendency to cut them too short. If hair is curly, it can shrink by up to an inch once it's dry.

Kids' Hair-Care Problems

Going Green

  • Problem: Your child's hair is like straw after a summer in chlorinated pools -- and/or it has a strange greenish tint.
  • Solution: Her hair needs a detox program with a special chlorine-removing shampoo.

Gummy Hair

  • Problem: Your child has put a wad of gum in her hair. You don't want to cut it out.
  • Solution: Work a gob of peanut butter through her hair. The oil in the peanut butter works out the gum's stickiness -- and is easier to remove than baby oil or Vaseline.

Bed Head

  • Problem: When your son wakes up, his hair is sticking up straight or flattened out.
  • Solution: The price of easy-to-care-for short hair is the bed-head look. Take a bit of alcohol-free styling gel and rub through your child's hair to flatten.

Tackling Tangles

  • Use a spray-in detangler for a bad case of tangles. Let the product sit a bit before brushing.
  • Gather the hair at the nape of the neck and hold upright. Use one hand to hold hair by the roots; use the other to gently comb out tangles, starting from the bottom.
  • Go up the hair about two inches at a time. The base of the head should be taking all the pressure to minimize pulling.
  • Buy the right brush. Look for one with padding at the base and bristles that have plastic-coated tips. A wide-tooth comb with pointy, not rounded, edges will also do the job.

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