It’s good advice to get children used to haircare from a young age – and to avoid making it a dreaded chore for you and your child, says Shelby (one of our fab hairdressers). But first, let’s take a quick look at babies’ hair and scalp care.
Washing baby’s hair will usually be done as part of their bathing routine. Remember that you should use only plain warm water on newborns, says Shelby.
After about four to six weeks, you can start to use unperfumed baby bath products, but use them very sparingly to avoid damaging the baby’s skin. If your baby has lots of hair (some grow their hair much later than others, so don’t worry if none has appeared yet), you can use a small drop of very mild shampoo such as Babo Botanicals Baby Wash.
She adds, “Never rub your baby’s head with a towel or use a hairdryer as the skin is very delicate. Their hair is very fine and will dry quickly if left.”
Coping with cradle cap
Your baby may have ‘cradle cap’. Don’t worry; it’s a harmless and prevalent condition in babies. Look out for white or yellow scales on the scalp that may be greasy. The scalp may look pink with white or grey scales on darker-coloured skin.
- Gently rub baby oil into the scalp to loosen the scales, then rinse it off with warm water and pat dry.
- Use a soft brush to brush your baby’s scalp gently, and then wash it with baby shampoo.
Hair may come away with the scales, but don’t panic, as it will soon grow back.
However, says Shelby, if your baby’s scalp looks red or might be infected or the cradle cap spreads to the face or body, always speak to your doctor or other healthcare professional.
Child haircare at home: getting the basics right
Tangled hair and eye-stinging shampoo are two of the main reasons why children don’t like having their hair washed. But there are ways to prevent hair washing from becoming a dreaded chore.
Here are a few of Shelby’s top tips:
- Make hair washing a fun one-to-one time with your child.
- Ensure pain-free detangling is a priority. Before washing, use a wide-toothed comb starting at the bottom of the hair and gradually working up towards the roots to get rid of any tangles.
- Use baby shampoo for children aged up to three. Apply a small amount to wet hair and gently massage it into the scalp, working from the forehead to the back of the neck.
- Don’t pile longer hair on the head, as this can cause tangles again.
- Squeeze the hair with a towel after rinsing – but don’t rub, as this can break the hair and cause those dreaded tangles.
- Comb the hair, starting at the tips and working towards the roots. A comb is gentler than a brush for children’s hair.
- Leave it to dry naturally (young skin is sensitive to heat, so avoid hairdryers).
Soothing first-time salon nerves
“There are no hard and fast rules about when your child should have their first salon appointment”, explains Shelby. “Children’s hair grows at very different speeds.”
However, she suggests you start getting them used to the salon environment by bringing them in for a visit before their first appointment and introducing them to the stylist who will cut their hair. You could also arrange to be there at the same time as another child is having their hair cut so they can see there is nothing to fear.
- Bring a fun storybook about a child having their hair cut for the first time.
- Avoid the word ‘cut’. A little one may associate this word with pain.
- Take your child’s favourite toy with you on the day.
- Arrange a special post-haircut treat so your child associates appointments with a lovely day out.
Do ask us about children’s haircuts, the best products to use and how to make your child’s first appointment as stress-free as possible. We’re here to help make haircare a pleasurable experience for you and your child.
Children’s haircuts at the salon are available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am, with the last appointment at 3:45 pm.