Common Sense Tips For Kids' Hair (2)

Kids with easy maintenance hair
Photo: Shutterstock
Previous page
Gender Concepts and Kids’ Hair:
With infants, the visibility of the hair is often a perennial concern. Even with little boy babies, the parents are most pleased when the child has a lush head of hair. And when a little girl baby is born, it’s not long before the parents are desperate for enough hair growth to be able to put in some adornment to signify that the child is, in fact, a girl.
The situation doesn’t change as the child gets older, either. From birth through toddling age, many parents want their little boys to look like “little men” and their little girls to be “girly”. Even among the most liberal-minded people I know, these gender concepts prevail.
When gender concepts come into play, they often result in low-maintenance, easy-to-style looks for boys (if any styling at all is needed), but girls are often kept with hair as long as it will grow, which requires much more care, and needs a lot of attention to keep healthy. This seems great with little boys, and bad with little girls, but not all little boys should have a super-short cut, and not all little girls are suited to long hair. This doesn’t even consider the needs of children with coarse or very curly hair or those with whorls, hair streams and cowlicks. Children of different ethnicities will have their own, specific hair needs, too.
Let’s talk about the kids’ hair types, their common difficulties, and some potential solutions:
FINE hair is not uncommon among small children, especially those who were born with primarily vellus hair on the scalp. Fine hair, in and of its self, presents no real problems with hair care for kids. (At really young ages, the shampoo and bath used is extremely gentle anyway.) Cutting the hair, though can present issues, particularly combined with other features of the hair.
FINE & STRAIGHT hair needs to be cut in more blunt styles. Not only will layering the hair make it look thin and wispy, but it will make it easier to become frizzy and unkempt during normal toddler activity. Kids with FINE & STRAIGHT hair generally rely on clips and barrettes for holding the hair rather than ponytail bands, since these often slide right out. Use accessories with rubberized grips to get more secure hold. For little boys, FINE & STRAIGHT hair means that the bowl-cut styles or styles with minimal tapering are well-suited.
FINE & CURLY hair may need some layering to prevent bushy, triangle-head looks, but keep the layering shallow. Furthermore, make sure you use a light-formula detangling spray after shampooing or whenever you need to comb through the hair. FINE & CURLY hair is sometimes prone to tangle – especially if the child is very active – and the curled areas of the hair strand can be weak points which will break more easily. (Just remember to use something light enough that it won’t weigh the hair down too much.) Don’t use a bristled brush, but rather a wide-tined vent brush to separate the curls or a wide-tooth comb to remove snags. For little boys, the FINE & CURLY hair often means a bowl cut or short circle cut to keep the volume of the hair to a minimum.
FINE & THIN hair presents issues when attempting to go with shorter lengths, especially with the super-short cuts often given to little boys. So, try to gauge the length according to the density of the hair. FINE & THICK hair often calls for some layering and many looks need a combination of FINE & THICK hair. Many spiky looks work well with FINE & THICK hair.
MEDIUM textured hair generally follows the basic rules of hair cutting and style selection. The only difficulties come in when the hair is thinner than normal in density.
MEDIUM & THIN hair, regardless of CURL or STRAIGHTNESS, needs to be restricted to shallow layering when layering is needed. Steep layering or cutting the hair too short, can mean that the hair looks even thinner on the scalp.
MEDIUM & THICK hair is often the most wished-for hair type combination. This hair can take layering (especially when MEDIUM & CURLY) and blunt styles (for MEDIUM & STRAIGHT), and usually has a lot of body. Just remember that kids with very THICK hair can often be uncomfortable with long hair because of the heat that is retained by the hair. If you feel that long hair is a must for your child with MEDIUM & THICK hair, consider styles that can be pulled back off the neck and out of the face.
COARSE hair usually develops as kids grow older. A child whose hair is silky & fine at age one, can have COARSE hair by the time they are 5 or 6. COARSE hair textures are common among some ethnic backgrounds as well, and the combinations of COARSE hair with other traits can present special problems.
COARSE & THICK hair can be a nightmare to deal with. If the hair is COARSE & THICK & CURLY you definitely want to keep in mind the fact that the hair will be very prone to tangles and breakage. You should always use a good conditioning spray when combing the hair (and use conditioner after every shampoo). With smaller kids, ideal hairstyles will be those that keep the hair confined and out of danger of being tangled and mussed overmuch during normal activities. Braided and twisted styles are perfect for keeping COARSE & THICK & CURLY styles under control.
COARSE & THICK & STRAIGHT hair is just as needful of conditioning and care, but often responds to layering fairly well, though, styles that are beveled or stacked (such as certain bob styles) are ideal. Be aware that COARSE & THICK & STRAIGHT hair can be just as problematic to keep neat, and that you want to make sure that you use accessories that will be able to hold the hair you’re trying to confine.
See also:
Hairstyles for small boys
Hairstyles for small girls
Kids and hair decisions
Hairstyle advice for teenagers