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Stylin' tips for baby's first haircut

Filed Under: kids, miscellaneous

My baby was overdue for her first haircut. She was getting an unenviable grizzly-old-man look thanks to all those straggly hairs falling over her ears and down her neck. Oh, and when dry winter air meets fleece baby clothes you get static electricity...making it stick up and out. Not good. But I was reluctant to pay for a salon cut when just a trim was all that was required. On the other hand, I'll confess I was very afraid I'd screw up and baby would end up looking like Lloyd, Jim Carrey's unforgettable buck-toothed character with a bowl-cut in Dumb and Dumber. So I did a little Web-exploration, seeking advice, then had a go. Here are some tips from me, inspired by other pointers courtesy of EHow. Check out my gallery at the end of this post to see how it went.

1: Location, location, location. Secure your kiddo in his or her high chair so he or she can't wriggle out of your grasp. Only problem: this makes it hard to access the back of the neck. Alternative 1: if your child is laid-back, you can try having someone else hold him or her on their knee. Alternative 2: if your child is a deep sleeper, you can try snipping while they're snoozing. Alternative 3: if your child is a tad strong-willed like mine, take him or her to a friend's house. Most little ones are more likely to hold still when they're in an unfamiliar location.

2: Attitude is Everything. Your job as the parent is to be prepared for every eventuality and stay calm and upbeat no matter what happens. Play some fun music in the background to help you both relax. Another idea: play a dvd.

3: What about Mementos? If the first haircut is a ceremonial occasion in your family, make sure to have someone there to take some video footage or at least snap some cute "Before" and "After" shots. Also, remember to keep a little hair sample for posterity, too.

4: Tools of the Trade. Lay out your hair-trimming tools. You will need: a sharp pair of scissors and (if your baby has thicker hair) a towel to place around the shoulders to collect the clippings. If your child's hair is long or thick, a spray bottle filled with water might come in handy for smoothing things out. If your baby has very thick hair, you will need clippers. Reality check: some babies and toddlers will freak out if you clip a towel around their shoulders. If you think that might be the case with your little one, skip it or use an art smock or rain coat instead.

5: Essential Props. Now, here is the important part: the two essential items (apart from scissors) are snacks and little items that are normally forbidden to baby. These will provide a necessary distraction while you perform your task. For snacks, I gave my child her favorites: cheese cubes and teddy graham cookies. As for tantalizing forbidden items, I let her play with my jewelry, a lighter, and a large alligator clip. No, I wasn't worried about her safety, because my husband was playing "tot-wrangler" (handing out said items) while I focused on the hair. Of course, we would never normally let her play with these choking-hazards/fire-starters and we would never leave her alone with any of them even for a moment. And that is precisely why they worked well at distracting her!

6: Scissor Strategies.
Tip 1: Always trim the bangs first because that's the most important part. That way, if baby has a total meltdown and you decide to quit, at least the front will look neat.
Tip 2: Speed is of the essence. If your child is like mine, you have approximately one minute in which to complete your task. Then the screaming will begin. Now is the time to remind yourself of my previous advice -- to stay relaxed and positive.
Tip 3: Less is more. You can always trim more another day if you find you were too conservative. For example, you can see in the "After" photo in my gallery there is a little strand of hair at the back that's a tad longer than it should be. But, hey, so what. I knew my little one had had enough for one session.
Tip 4: Time to snip! Grasp hair in sections, gently pulling it taut between your forefinger and index finger, and use your fingers as a guide for where to cut. Comb bangs straight forward, using a spritz of water if necessary, then quickly snip straight across. Next, trim around the ears, bending the top of the ear down if necessary to ensure you don't accidentally snip skin. Ouch! Finally, do the back.
Tip 5: Aim for straight but natural-looking lines. With both the bangs and the back of the neck, trim straight across, then finish up with a little subtle shaping at each side. You should end up with a natural-looking "wide smile" shape.

For more detailed advice, I also found this WikiHow article useful.

Wimp out? No problem. Take baby to the salon instead, and follow these helpful tips for making it a happy experience for your little one. Oh, and check out these good baby/toddler hair-styling tips, too.

I may just continue to give my girl home haircuts. Talk about budget-friendly. One thing I know I'll never be bold enough to do, however, is to cut my own hair!

Baby's First Haircut(click thumbnails to view gallery)

BeforeTools of the TradeEssential ToolsSnippety-snip!After - back view


  • Rhea

    I'm so glad that attempted to cut your child's hair all by yourself. Unfortunately you did it all wrong. You section hair into four sections, pull down 1/2 in partings and cut from there.
    What kind of a look were you going for? Because that will effect how far you pull the hair out.
    Second of all may a recommend a cutting sheers over a scissors? They are harder to hold, but easier to use. Look up how to properly hold it.
    Also NEVER cut hair when baby is sleeping you could cut them very bad.

    Hope this helps,

    Regency Beauty Institute Student

  • Julz

    Uggghhh. Get over yourself "Institute Student". It's just a trim, not rocket science.

  • mL

    I agree with Julz. However, I've never been to beauty school to have my head filled with procedures. I appreciated the article (especially the one minute time limit- you are so right about that). It especially hit home with the Dumb and Dumber comment- I turned my kid from Harry to Lloyd, and had to do some reshaping the next time Blue's Clues came on. She looks cute now, though, and for free!

  • babyangel

    I dare not attempt myself. I got this lady to help do my baby first haircut.
    My baby did not cry and surprisingly fall asleep. So blessed. :)

  • 4 Comments / 1 Pages

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