So you’re thinking it’s about time for your little one to get their first haircut?
You may have a few questions or worries about how it will all go down. Or maybe you haven’t thought that far ahead. I’m compiling some tips and suggestions that may help you through the process, as well as touching on some frequently asked questions.
There’s no “magic age” when you should get your child’s first haircut.
Each child grows hair at different rate, and it greatly depends on the parents’ preference. Seven to 8 months is on the younger edge of the range, and 4-5 years is on the upward end. If your kiddo is out of this range, and in need of a first haircut, that’s fine too! I find parents are usually curious about when other kids get their first cut, and those are just the youngest and oldest that I’ve personally experienced. Between ages 1 and 2 is the most common time.
I’m not going to judge you.
I’m not phased if your little one has dried up oatmeal in their hair, if they have crazy tangles at the nape of their neck, or if even have lice. It happens (although legally I can’t continue the haircut if there is lice, I’m certainly not grossed out or thinking you or your child is dirty). I’m also not going to judge you if you give them a sucker or distract them with your phone or iPad or promise to buy them a new toy when we’re done. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, and whatever helps to keep the child calm and still works for me!
Let me know if you want me to stop and give your child a break.
It’s fairly common for kids to cry and sometimes get very worked up during a haircut. Sometimes this puts me in an awkward position, because I’m never sure if you’re expecting me to power on through and get it done as quickly as possible, or take it slow and let them try to collect themselves. So don’t feel like you’re being bossy if you tell me to back off for a minute, I’m usually hoping you’ll give me a little direction!
Expect that your little guy or gal may cry or be upset.
(This goes along with the last point, too.) If they don’t, wonderful, but it’s good to be prepared. Ways to help prepare your kiddo may be to bring them by the shop if they’ve never been in and let them meet me and play for a minute before you bring them back for an actual haircut. When you’re home, talk to them about their visit and tell them about how I’m going to cut their hair soon. Let them know that it won’t hurt at all and how fun and exciting it’s going to be.
Have realistic expectations.
I have 2 basic goals when cutting children’s hair. Give them an awesome haircut is one of them, but my # 1 goal is their safety. It may not be the most realistic plan to get your 14 month old a bald fade if they are moving around a lot. It’s hard to be put in the position where I’m either putting your child at risk (nipping the ear, scratching delicate skin) or disappointing you. As much as I want to exceed your expectations, I won’t do something if I don’t think I can do it safely.
I also may not want to do a lining on the neck or use trimmers around the ears if the child is flailing about, because the risk of shaving a bald spot in the middle of the head is very real. Having a few stray hairs at the neckline is typically better than potentially having a chunk shaved out. Usually between the parents and myself, we’re able to keep the child still enough to at least clean up the neck, but it’s not a guarantee.
Be specific about what you want if you have a picture of how it’s going to look in your mind.
Vague wording like “just a little” or “pretty short” doesn’t give me much to go on. In the world of hairstyling, “just a little” often means only taking off around 1/4 inch just to freshen the ends. It’s more helpful to say something like “take an inch off all-over,” “however much is grown over the ears, take off all over,” or “do a number 3 on the sides and scissor cut the top to finger length.” This helps avoid having to go through and recut if it’s not short enough, and gets the cut done faster so your kiddo doesn’t have to sit in the chair forever. If you need advice about a style, or aren’t sure what you want, I’d be happy to help you come up with a gameplan, but it’s nice to have at least somewhat of an idea of what you want or don’t want before coming in.
You don’t need to apologize.
Don’t feel bad if your child is crying and/or moving around a lot. I’ve been doing this for awhile and have pretty much seen it all! I’m pretty used to it and always prepare myself for a moving target!
Capture the memories.
Feel free to take as many pictures as you want, keep hair clippings (I automatically start setting good pieces aside during first haircuts), and get teary eyed. It’s a special occasion! Also, know that at AmberSky, we love doing first haircuts, and that for little ones under 3 first haircuts are on us. You’ll get a certificate to put in the baby book and everything! It’s an exciting milestone, and if you have any questions I haven’t addressed here, please feel free to call AmberSky or send us a message and we’ll answer any questions you have!
See the full list of Kelsey’s services here.