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How to Give Your Baby Their First Haircut

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

Many parents treat their children’s hair like the Holy Grail, which means not just anyone can touch it! We’re moms too, so we get it! Those precious locks are like soft strands of solid gold to us.

However, there comes a time when your baby needs to take a step into the toddler world and get a haircut, and we’re here to help you prepare for the big moment.

We’ve spoken with our favorite stylists to get the best advice and to answer all your questions about your baby’s first haircut — whether you plan on taking them to a salon or cutting their hair at home.


When Should Your Baby Have Their First Haircut?

There is no right or wrong time. Some babies have lots of hair that grows super fast. 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 less thing for you to think about.

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

Remember that once the baby hair is gone, it most likely won’t grow out the same. After the first cut, fine hair often grows thicker. And those cute baby curls you 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 goes into the process of a haircut. Your little one has to sit still in a chair, wear a plastic cape, and have a stranger touch their hair.

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 is to bring your child to watch you get a haircut.

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

Plan and Prepare

Keeping your child distracted and entertained can make the first haircut easier. Bring along their favorite toy or book — or let them watch a show on your phone during the process.

Make sure your child is not hungry or tired. A “hangry” or tired child is more likely to throw a tantrum, which is the last thing you need during a haircut.

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.

Be Ready

Depending on how your child 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 worried, your child is sure to feel your vibes. This can make them feel scared and unsafe.

Get yourself and your child psyched for the haircut. Keep talking to your little one, telling them 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 future haircuts to come.

Make sure the salon is child-friendly. Your toddler may let out a scream or two, and you don’t want any judgmental looks. Ask other moms in your area for recommendations.

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 have books and videos to entertain your child.

How to Cut Your Baby’s Hair

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

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

  • A chair, preferably one that sits 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 dampen your child’s hair. You could also wash and shampoo their hair before the trim, but I find it easier to bathe them afterward. Then it’s 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 to make it 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 your baby’s head. When you reach the desired length, carefully cut right underneath, always keeping your fingers between the scissors and your baby.

Continue to take small sections and trim. Note how much hair you cut off so it ends up all the same length.

4. Be Prepared for Another Round

The first haircut 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 (1).

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 Haircut 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? This can be a tricky 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. Pixie Cut

Another popular choice for little girls is a pixie cut. Pixie cuts are super short. They are cute, spunky, and trendy and look especially unique on little ones.

You can use bows and clips to style a pixie cut in many cute ways. 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 cute look:

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 love your girl’s long locks as much as I love my daughter’s, you might be resistant to cutting them. But long, unkempt hair can start to look thin and dull.

Adding layers is a way to give new life to your daughter’s hair without cutting too much off. 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 your baby boy’s first haircut is with something short and sleek.

A short haircut doesn’t require much maintenance, and your little guy is sure to look preschool-ready. Check out this simple and stylish look:

6. Clean Edges

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

We love the shaved sides and volume of this adorable little guy’s cut:

7. Long Locks

It’s not only girls who can rock long hair. If your boy can manage it, 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 sweet, soft hair is a keepsake moms always treasure.

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Headshot of Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD

Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett is a veteran licensed 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.