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How to Give Your Baby Their First Haircut

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD
Your baby's first haircut is a big milestone. Here are some tips to do it right.

Many parents see their child’s hair as the Holy Grail. Which means not just anyone can touch it! Those locks are like soft strands of gold.

However, there comes a time when your baby needs to take a step into the toddler world, and get a “grown-up” haircut.

You may be dreading that day, or looking forward to it. Whatever your situation, we’re here to guide you through it. Baby’s first haircut needs a little preparation, so we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

When Should Baby Have Their First Haircut?

There is no right or wrong time. Some babies have lots of hair that grows at an insane rate. They might be ready for a cut as early as eight months, or even sooner.

Other kids may not be ready until they are well into their toddler years. And that’s fine. In fact, it’s one thing less to think about for Mom!

It comes down to the parent’s preference as well. Some parents prefer “baby locks,” while others like a more trimmed look.

Just keep in mind that once the baby hair is gone, it most likely won’t grow out the same. After the first cut, fine hair could grow thicker. And those cute baby curls you just had cut off may not grow back.

Make Sure Your Child Is Ready

Your baby or toddler most likely won’t like a surprise cut.

Think about what actually goes into a haircut. Your little one has to sit still in a chair, wear a plastic cape, and have a stranger touching their hair. I personally recall feeling terrified, let alone my poor toddler!

Try to prepare your child as much as possible. With a toddler, talk with them about it and explain how and why we get our hair cut. An even better idea would be to bring your child to watch you get a haircut — be a role model!

You might want to avoid using the word “cut.” Toddlers may get scared by the meaning of it. Instead, you can use the words “snip” or “trim.”

Plan and Prepare

Keeping your child distracted and entertained might just make the first haircut a little easier. Bring along his or her favorite toy. Maybe even a coloring book would help.

Make sure your child is not hungry or tired. My little ones would be the worst case of “hangry” when they hadn’t eaten. And a tired child is more likely to throw a tantrum — that’s the last thing we need!

It’s best to plan a morning appointment. At this time of the day, your baby will be fresh from a full night’s rest.

It’s also a good idea to bring another person along to help. Either both parents can go or take a friend, someone your child feels safe with.

Be Ready

Depending on how your kiddie reacts to the haircut, you may have to sit in the chair with them in your lap.

Keep the Mood Light

If you are feeling a bit worried, your child is sure to be feeling your vibes. This can make them also feel scared and unsafe.

Stay positive! Get yourself and your child psyched for the haircut — keep talking to them, telling him or her how much fun it will be. And how nice they will look afterward!

Find the Right Place

If you choose a salon for your baby’s first haircut, it is crucial to find the right one. This could make or break the experience, and the future haircuts to come.

Make sure the salon is child-friendly (1). Your toddler may let out a scream or two, and you definitely don’t want any judgmental looks. Maybe talk to other moms in your area to find out which place is best.

Many child-friendly salons will have first-cut packages that include before and after photos. Some might even do the haircut for free. Other salons will have books and videos to entertain your child.

How to Cut Baby’s Hair

The first cut, or snip, doesn’t have to be that big of a deal. Emotionally it is, of course, but the cut itself doesn’t have to be all that fancy. Maybe your little one just needs a quick trim, or easy bangs, which you can do at home.

Before you cut your child’s hair, here are a few things you’ll need:

  • A chair, preferably high.
  • A comb and a brush.
  • Hair clips.
  • Spray bottle with water.
  • Two towels.
  • Barber shears, these are sharper and more precise for a quick cut.

how to cut baby hair

1. Set up the Salon

Find the best location for your at-home salon. Many parents prefer to do the cut in front of the TV, to keep their little one entertained (and hopefully as still as possible). Or give them a toy to keep their hands busy.

Put a towel or newspaper on the floor where you’ll be working. Use a high chair for your child — this will make it easier for you, and your back!

2. Get Your Tot Ready

Once your little one is in the chair, place a towel around their shoulders and use a hair clip to secure it. If your toddler sees the towel as a deal-breaker, put on an old T-shirt instead.

Use the spray bottle to wet or dampen your child’s hair. You could also wash and shampoo their hair before, but I think it’s better to bathe them afterward. Then it’s even easier to get all the loose hair off their body.

3. Start with Small Snips

Comb the hair and focus on small sections at a time, smoothing down the hair first, so it is straight.

Use two fingers to hold on to the hair you’re going to cut, similar to a hairdresser. Slide your fingers through the hair, moving it away from baby’s head. When you reach the desired length, carefully cut right underneath, always keeping your fingers between the scissors and your baby.

Keep going — take small sections and trim. Take care to note how much hair you’re cutting off, so it ends up all the same length.

4. Be Prepared for Another Round

It might not be a one-time thing. I had to do a few touches the next day when I first cut my daughter’s hair. And that’s totally fine — we’re moms, not stylists (2).

Take Care

Be mindful of the scissors you use, especially if they are barber shears, as these are extremely sharp. If your child is old enough to understand, keep reminding them to sit still, and tell them where you’re going to cut next.

When you’re not holding the scissors, place them in a safe location, out of your child’s reach.

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First Hair Cut Ideas

Now that we know what we need to prepare our child for the first cut, we need some inspiration. What style should you choose? It’s a hard question to answer.

Let’s take a look at some trendy toddler haircuts:

1. Classic Bob

A bob is always a popular choice for any toddler princess. They are easy to deal with and stay put throughout the day.

You can do this yourself, but it might be a good idea to get help from a professional. Take a look at this stylish bob:

2. Fairy Pixie

Another very popular choice for little girls is a pixie cut. Pixie cuts are very short and pretty, and something unique for a little one.

It can be styled in many cute ways, with bows and clips. The style is easy to work with and doesn’t require much attention, other than a quick comb. No more fighting the tangles!

Another plus is that your daughter won’t be aggravated by her hair constantly getting in her eyes.

Check out this fairy:

3. Rocking the Bangs

I’m sure every mom has considered cutting bangs on her daughter at some point. And why not? They are super stylish and always on trend.

Bangs are also very easy to do at home. Just take a look at this sweetie:

4. Long and Layered

If you, like me, love your girl’s long locks, you might be resistant to cutting it. But long, unkempt hair can start to look thin and dull.

A way to give new life to your daughter’s hair, without cutting too much, is layers. Layers will provide new depth and dimension to the hair. Subtle changes can make a huge difference!

5. Sleek and Handsome

An excellent place to start for any boy’s hair is something short and sleek. You can’t go wrong with this.

It doesn’t require much maintenance, and your little guy is sure to look preschool-ready. Just check out this little man:

6. Clean Edges

Let your little man’s personality shine. Keep the edges clean and let the top stay as rowdy as he is.

This adorable little guy has a to-die-for cut:

7. Long Locks

It’s not only girls who can rock long hair! If your boy can, leave it!

You can always cut a little side bang to keep the hair out of his eyes. Like this handsome man:

8. Side Swept Sleek

This might be a significant change. But shaving off almost all the hair at the bottom, leaving the top long and swept to one side can transform a little guy.

A style like this requires some help, depending on your boy’s hair type. It might need a little styling gel for special occasions. Take a look at this rock star:

The Final Cut

The first haircut is a milestone in your child’s life. Whether it happens at eight months or three years, it’s a moment to remember.

Choose a haircut that suits your fun-loving toddler’s personality. Don’t limit yourself to what everyone else is doing. Look around and take inspiration.

And whatever you do — don’t forget to keep a lock of that precious baby hair. You can put it in a scrapbook, a trinket box, or a locket. That’s a keepsake moms always treasure.

A little mom-to-mom advice? Start with small snips. Then you can cut more if you like.

Headshot of Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD

Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett is a veteran board-certified pediatrician with three decades of experience, including 19 years of direct patient clinical care. She currently serves as a medical consultant, where she works with multiple projects and clients in the area of pediatrics, with an emphasis on children and adolescents with special needs.