Your baby's first haircut doesn't have to be as scary as you think.
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How To Tell If Your Baby Is Ready For A Haircut

Is it time to check off another milestone?

Your baby’s first haircut might seem like a simple task, but it’s actually kind of a big deal. For one thing, it can be stressful to get a squirming toddler to sit still long enough to snip the hair off their head without any kind of accident or mistake (even for professionals). And then there’s the nostalgia element: suddenly, your once teeny, tiny baby doesn’t seem so small anymore. They’re sitting in a hairstylist’s chair, looking like a fully grown child, and you’re finding yourself holding back tears. So, to make sure this big moment happens at the right time, let’s figure out when your baby’s ready for their first haircut.

While parenting comes with a lot of “rules,” you’ll be happy to know that there’s no rule about first haircuts. There’s no set age as to when you need to grab a pair of scissors and start cutting. The answer really depends on when your baby is ready. For little ones who were born with lots of hair, this could be as early as 8 months old. For those who sported bald heads for a while, their first haircut might not come until after their second birthday.

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Ready For Their First Haircut

Even if you’re not emotionally ready to say goodbye to some of those little baby hairs, or even if they don’t have flowing locks that can only be contained with a ponytail, your tot might be ready for a trim. Deborah Coppola, master stylist and colorist at Keratin Xpress in Delray Beach, tells Romper, “Look at your baby’s hair when he/she wakes. Is it super messy? In his/her eyes? Does it tangle easily? Uneven? It’s time!”

  • There’s uneven growth. If you’ve noticed that your baby has recently started sporting a mullet or that all of their hair is in their eyes, but not much is growing on the sides, it could be time for a small trim just to even things out.
  • Their hair is always in their face or tangled. A little bedhead is cute, but if it’s impossible to control and the hair is all over, you might need a little extra help maintaining it.
  • It’s bothering them. Would you be cool with constantly brushing hair out of your eyes just to see? Probably not. If your little one is getting frustrated with their messy locks, a haircut could help them out.

How To Prepare Baby For Their First Haircut

Once you’ve decided that it’s time for baby’s first haircut, you’ll need to prepare them a bit. Your best bet is probably taking them to a professional — unless you have experience cutting a little one’s hair, it might be difficult (and messy) for both of you. Here’s how to make it as painless as possible.

  • Bring them to your next hair appointment. Toddlers love to mimic what their parents do, so letting them tag along to your next trim could be a great way to get them comfortable with their own. While you’re there, explain to them what’s happening so they understand.
  • Be strategic. Make sure to set the appointment at the right time, when your child is least likely to be cranky. For some parents, that might be shortly after nap time, when they’re rested and happy. For others, it could be earlier in the morning. Coppola also recommends making sure your baby is fed and has a fresh diaper right before you head to the appointment.
  • Bring reinforcements. Don’t go to the salon unprepared! “Definitely bring along your baby’s favorite stuffy, pacifier, a cookie, or favorite yogurt. Think distraction,” Coppola says.
  • Make the environment as baby-friendly as possible. Definitely look for a salon that is kid-friendly, and opt for a stylist who has plenty of experience cutting a baby’s hair. Coppola also says that you should be aware that a salon often involves a lot of other people, noise, and music. “If your baby is sensitive to all/any of these things, don’t be shy to ask them to turn down the volume or for a private area of the salon,” she adds. “We all want baby’s first haircut to go well!”
  • Act excited. You might be a little nervous or apprehensive yourself, but if you are, your little one will pick up on it and mimic that energy. Instead, act positive, happy, and excited, and keep repeating how exciting the experience is so they get it.
  • Practice at home. Get your little one used to the idea of getting a haircut by having a test run at home. “Imitate what it’s going to be like,” Coppola says. “You hold the baby in your lap and have your partner or friend/family member pretend to fuss around the baby’s head and hair.” She says it’s also a good idea to do this in front of a mirror so they can see what’s going on.
  • Keep baby close. Coppola says that you should probably expect some tears — whether that’s from you or the baby! “You should hold the baby on your lap when their hair is getting cut. Get comfy and have the stuffy and favorite blanket close by,” she says.

To ensure your babe will want to go through this experience again, it’s not a bad idea to celebrate afterwards with a small gift or a fun surprise, like getting ice cream together. You should also make sure to shower them with praise about how great they look with their new haircut. It could make future appointments slightly easier for everyone.