Don’t be surprised if your little one is less than impressed with a trip to the hairdresser, as with all new experiences,
she may be a little fearful of the unknown. Before you take your little one to the appointment, you can prepare her for a good experience.
Lauren de Swardt, founder of children’s hair salon Maddy Magoo, suggests trying to understand why your child may be afraid – is she worried it will be painful? Consider how your child will behave – does she struggle to sit still for a long period, or does she get bored easily – and try to incorporate preventive measures to combat any potential dramas at the salon. “Many children don’t like having their hair washed and combed, so we recommend getting your child used to having water falling on her face from early on. You can start by showering with her and making the
experience fun, which will assist with washing her hair in the future,” says Lauren.
At home, there are a number of great hair products that are gentle enough to not cause any pain if they get into your child’s eyes. Some kids hate having their hair brushed as detangling knots hurt. Lauren suggests always brushing from the bottom and using a wide comb to brush wet hair, as well as a child-friendly detangler.
Tips for the first trip to the hairdresser
- Half the battle is won if you take your little one to a child-friendly hairdresser, says Lauren. It’s also a good idea to make the appointment at a time when your child won’t feel tired.
- Take note of the stylist’s name, then tell your child about the magical place she will be visiting and the special stylist who will be doing her hair. Mbali suggests preparing your little one by showing her pictures of the salon set-up and explaining why she needs to go there.
- “Excite her and inform her of the entertainment that happens at a child-friendly salon, such as TVs, iPads, colouring-in books and toys. If you’re not going to a child-friendly salon, take along some entertainment,” says Lauren.
- Give your child options and the chance to choose from the various hairstyles.
- “If your little one hates having her hair washed, you can wash it at home before coming to the salon,” says Mbali. She also advises bringing extra clothes, because hair washing at the salon’s basins can be a messy experience.
- If your little one already has cornrows, Mbali recommends undoing them at home first. That way, she shouldn’t get too restless because she has to spend unnecessary time at the salon.
- Tell your child about a certificate she will receive after her first haircut, which is available at some child-friendly salons.
- Be patient. A first haircut can be a daunting experience.
Ethnic hair care
Mbali’s dos and don’ts for looking after your little one’s locks.
- Don’t relax your child’s hair if she is under the age of 12. Children’s scalps and hairlines are sensitive, so relaxers or harmful chemicals can damage their hair follicles and affect hair growth.
- Don’t blow-dry natural hair. Often, salons want to straighten a child’s hair with blow-dryers, which kids can hate the sound and feel of – rather let hair air dry.
- Don’t make any protective hairstyle too tight. It also shouldn’t stay in for too long, because the hair can become tangled, making it difficult for the hairdresser to undo the style and the process painful for the child.
- Cornrows should stay in for a maximum of three weeks and braids between six and eight weeks.
- Do moisturise hair daily. Ethnic hair has a lot of protein, but lacks moisture. Moms should use a moisturising treatment twice a day on their little one’s hair.
- Do wash natural hair at least once a week, because a daily moisturising product tends to build up.
- Do detangle wet hair by dividing it in sections, using a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush and working from the ends towards the root for a painless experience for your little one, advises Mbali.
“For little girls, the bob is back,” says Lauren. Stylists can add some texture and give it a bit of a messy look, but this style is ideal for school as it’s a manageable length, is easy to maintain and can dry quickly. If using a hairdryer, Lauren recommends using a heat-protection styling aid to protect your little one’s hair.
When it comes to ethnic girls’ hair, you can’t go wrong with braids and cornrows, shares owner of Kiddies Korner Hair, Mbali Mncwabe. Authenticity is also on trend at the moment, and there is nothing cuter than natural curls.
“For boys, the in look is an undercut with a hard-line side path, which is versatile, neat and bold,” explains Lauren. Boys can wear it with a tapered clipper cut and edging, designs or hard lines cut in.
Must-have kids products
Shampooheads Busy Bobs Crazy Gel, R60
This is a wet-look gel specially designed for busy little boys. It offers a strong hold, but is easy to wash out. It’s also dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic and paraben free.
The Perfect Kinky Coil Deep–Deep Conditioner, R200
This product uses marula and Kalahari melon seed oils to cleanse and decongest the scalp and hair. Free of parabens and sulphates, it has grapeseed oils to aid hair growth.
Tangle Teezer Magic Flower Pot, R290
This is an adorable detangling hairbrush and a container for clips and baubles. It will banish tears and tangles.
Super Duper Softening Conditioner Soft & Sassy, R100
We love Aunt Jackie’s Girls range for ethnic hair. The softening conditioner is great to help detangle and care for curls.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.