Do's and don'ts for your toddler's hair

Do's and don'ts for your toddler's hair

Baby Steps

Monday, August 03, 2020

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TRYING to figure out what to do with your baby girl's transitioning hair can be frustrating — one minute you're brushing a full head of hair with a soft baby brush, and the next, you're trying to figure out how to tame the shedding, transitioning mane when there's no more hair at the sides of baby's head.

And not only do you have to figure out how to get the hair into a barrette while she's squirming, you have to make sure it's not too tight, that you're not pulling the hair too much, and that overall you're taking care not to damage the hair.

So many parents get frustrated at the stage between six months or so and age two, when the hair texture and growth pattern change. It's that period when afros are the norm, cornrows are rare because the baby just won't sit still, and they're left searching for products to moisturise and enrich baby's hair.

Here are some do's and don'ts for navigating this period, and ensuring that both baby, and you, come out happy.


1. As your baby grows you may notice a variety of changes to your baby's mane — for example, her beautiful head of hair may start to thin and fall out, and there may be loss of patches of hair. This is normal, and during this period, leave the hair loose as much as possible to prevent damage

2. Shampoo your baby's hair a couple times per week to remove dust, dirt and grease from the hair and the scalp. You don't need to do this every day, but at least once per week is ideal. Use a shampoo specially formulated for baby's delicate hair.

3. Apply conditioner to the hair, even if your shampoo claims to be a combined shampoo and conditioner. Especially for babies with coarser or drier textures, a baby conditioner will help add moisture and keep her scalp and hair soft and smooth. Moisturising is also beneficial when detangling the hair; it makes the process of combing through more manageable.

4. Use products designed for babies. Never use adult shampoo or conditioner in your baby's hair, as many of these, especially the ones for chemically treated hair, contain harsh chemicals that could be harmful to babies. Baby products made from gentle, plant-based ingredients are ideal for the baby's scalp and skin. You can even make your own — a mixture of natural elements such as coconut oil, castor oil, or a flaxseed solution is also a viable option.

5. Comb the baby's hair when she is asleep. Getting the hair combed is most times one of a baby's least favourite things to have done. It can be quite stressful for both the parent and the baby when the little one gets fussy and tries to pull herself away. Combing your child's hair while she is awake may cause unwanted trauma and damage to the hair follicles. If you must groom the child's hair when awake, give her a few toys to play with. This may distract her so you can get the job done.


1. Sure, we know that you want to adorn your baby's hair, but if you choose hair ties, clips and headbands that are too tight, this can also stress hair follicles, cause hair loss, and may cause discomforting small bumps to develop that may itch the baby. The best gift to give your child's hair if you want it to grow and thrive is to choose loose hairstyles, as these give the hair follicles room to breathe.

2. Don't add heat, gels or chemicals to try to tame the hair. It may be frustrating trying to manage your baby's transitioning hair, but don't get desperate enough to try to add heat or chemicals, even in their mildest forms, to try to soften or straighten the baby's hair. The same goes for harsh gels, which can exacerbate some skin conditions.

3. Don't use combs and brushes made for adults. A general rule to follow is to choose a brush with soft bristles and a comb with wide enough teeth that will go through the baby's hair, regardless of its texture, without causing the baby too much discomfort.

4. Don't add synthetic hair to baby's hair, or cornrow the baby's hair too tight, even if you want it to last. Synthetic hair comes with dyes and other chemicals added which can irritate baby's skin and scalp, and if that wasn't terrible enough, pulling the hair, as becomes necessary when braiding, can damage the baby's fine hair.

5. Don't use elastics. When you're styling your baby's hair and you need to use hair ties, use smooth bands or covered elastic bands. Rubber bands will cause the hair to break. Also, avoid styles that pull the hair too tightly, as these can cause the hair to fall out.

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