The beginning of your child’s life is filled with lots of firsts. Baby books prepare you for everything from the first time they walk to their first word, but none of them prepare you for your child’s first haircut. Whether your child was born with a head full of dark brown hair or they didn’t sprout peach fuzz until they were a toddler, taking them to the hair salon for the first time can be nerve-wracking.
We’ve teamed up with Stephanie Dillenseger, owner of Eclips Salon and Spa in Ashburn, Virginia, to help make your child’s first trip to the hair salon a breeze. From how to decide when to get your child’s first haircut to how to care for their hair at home, Dillenseger’s got you covered.
When should a child get their first haircut?
Much like the other milestones in your baby’s life, the perfect timing for a first haircut varies by child. Some children are born with so much hair they get their first haircut well before their first birthday, while others may not have hair long enough for a haircut until they reach toddlerhood. Your child is likely due for a cut when it seems like their mane could use some professional styling.
“Once you notice lots of uneven pieces, that is usually the best sign for a first haircut,” Dillenseger says.
If you’re still unsure, schedule an appointment for a consultation before you settle on a cut.
What is the best way to find a child-friendly salon?
If you’re unsure how to seek out a stylist that specializes in children’s haircuts, Dillenseger suggests beginning your search by asking other parents in the area. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few salons, take a look at the website or call the salon and see whether they offer services catered to children.
While many salons provide children’s services, not all salons cater specifically to a first haircut. For the absolute best first haircut experience, Dillenseger recommends finding a salon that specializes in first haircuts. Many of them offer fun perks like a certificate to remember the big day.
How should you prepare for your child’s first haircut?
The best way to prepare your child for their first haircut is to talk to them about it. A haircut isn’t something you want to spring on your child at the last minute. Whether your child needs weeks of preparation or just a few days, make the experience something they look forward to.
“We tell parents to be excited about the haircut when talking about it,” Dillenseger says.
The salon owner says her younger clients are sometimes afraid of all of the loud noises and are even more fearful of the scissors and clippers. Be sure the stylist takes a moment to explain all of the tools to your child and explain that while they may be loud, they won’t hurt.
“We will show the child on the back of their hand that the clippers will not cut them and won’t hurt,” Dillenseger explains. “We will let them hold them and also touch their skin to see for themselves.”
Many salons that cater to children and first haircuts come equipped with TVs, toys, and games to distract any anxious children. If you think your child could benefit from a distraction, Dillenseger says it’s never a bad idea to bring along a child’s favorite toy or security blanket.
As for the cut itself, Dillenseger says it’s good to have a few inspiration photos but suggests you rely on the expertise of the stylist.
“The stylist will give their recommendation on what style they think would be best for each child,” she explains. “Sometimes with girls cutting hair in a shorter bob is best. It’s easy to style and not a lot of fighting to brush.”
How can you make the haircut experience a breeze?
The day is finally here! You’ve found the right salon, spent weeks getting your child excited, saved tons of inspo photos, and packed your bags with all the right toys. As important as this milestone is, Dillenseger says it’s best to try and make the day seem as normal as any other.
“For a child’s first cut, we don’t recommend making a big scene until after,” she says. “Of course a picture is fine but not a big crowd of people it can make them more nervous.”
The best thing you can do to make the haircut as stress-free as possible is to remain calm. If your child has a meltdown (we’ve all been there), don’t force it. If they have a miserable first haircut, it’ll be much harder to get them back in the salon for a second. If the salon specializes in first haircuts, chances are good they’ve dealt with a meltdown or two and will be happy to reschedule and try again another time.
How should you care for your child’s hair after the haircut?
Just like your hair, your child’s hair will look its best if you maintain a proper hair care schedule and routine. Depending on the cut you decide on with your child’s stylist, prepare to return to the salon every four to 12 weeks for a trim.
Dillenseger also recommends investing in quality products formulated specifically for children.
“Just like adults, we always recommend professional products. Fairy Tales is a great kids line—smells good and offers a variety for different hair types.”
Now you know everything you need to handle this first like a champ!
Interested in scheduling your child’s first haircut? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.
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