From the minute your baby girl arrives, you’ll probably be keen to start experimenting with her hair and adorn it with all sorts of accessories. While this is normal (and incredibly hard to resist!), it's important to make sure that you’re aware of the extra-special care that your baby’s hair requires before you start playing with it.
Time and time again, you’ve heard the saying “less is more”, and when it comes to your baby’s hair, especially naturally curly hair, this is the golden rule! You may be used to fussing and fighting with your own locks on a daily basis but your little one’s hair requires a very minimal amount of manipulation in order to keep it healthy.
Simply remember these three steps: cleaning, moisturising and caring.
At the most, your baby’s hair only needs to be washed once a week. This is because naturally curly hair is quite dry and excessive amounts of soap will strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it brittle and frizzy. However, washing your baby’s hair once a week doesn’t mean that you should steer clear of water the rest of the time – the point is to avoid drying soaps and shampoos. When giving your child their bath, it's perfectly fine to wipe their hair down with a wet washcloth.
Wash the hair by using your hand or a soft washcloth to gently apply a mild baby shampoo to the hair. Rinse this off with lukewarm water and follow with a conditioner that is suitable for your baby’s hair.
While the hair is still slick with conditioner, use a wide-toothed comb to work out any tangles. Make sure that you're gentle throughout this process, and never attempt to detangle dry hair as this often results in breakage.
Moisturising is key to keeping hair soft, manageable and healthy. After your weekly wash and condition, use the tips of your fingers to gently apply a little bit of moisturiser into your child’s hair and scalp.
Now that your baby’s hair is clean and moisturised, you’ll want to start putting it up in a number of cute styles. But hold on before you grab your combs and ribbons; at this stage of life your baby’s hair will benefit more from minimal styling.
When you do decide to tie it up or use accessories, remember that aggressive pulling and tightening can damage your child’s fragile hair and sensitive scalp. Take care to only try loose styles and avoid hair clips and ribbons that may break hair, such as bare elastic and metal pins and clips.
Styles that are too tight may lead to traction alopecia, a condition that causes the hair to fall out and can result in permanent damage to the scalp. Look out for hair that’s falling out and small bumps showing up around your child’s hairline and scalp. If you notice it early enough, the condition can usually be reversed.
Just as you're tempted to style your child’s hair all the time, you might also be contemplating relaxing it. Relaxers are incredibly harsh and can cause serious damage to the hair and scalp. You should only relax a child’s hair when they're much older, when their hair is stronger and they're able to communicate the effect that the relaxer has on their scalp.
Choosing a suitable product
With regards to choosing products for your baby’s hair care, remember that little ones are very sensitive and may react to some ingredients so only use products that are as gentle as possible.
Remember that taking care of your baby’s hair should be fun for both of you. By starting early with healthy and manageable routines, you will be teaching your child how to enjoy and care for her own hair later on.
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