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Hair Tips

Reader Q&A: Should I Cut My Toddler’s Hair?

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We just received a question from one of our concerned parents wanting to know if she should cut her child’s 4a natural hair. While we can provide answers that we hope will help, there is power and strength in numbers. We will pose reader questions to our @naturalhairkids Instagram family and post a summary and answers in these Q&A posts. Feel free to also add your thoughts in the comments!


My 21 month old daughter has the most amazing natural 4a coils ever! However she pulls it constantly and it’s breaking around her nape, front and sides. I have been using thr shea moisture kids line. It works well for her hair.
We DC, protein & hot oil treat. It’s growing but only at the crown. She has a few wisps of hair on the side and at the back. I want to cut it to make it grow evenly while she is younger.

I’m not worried about thickness. It’s just aesthetically unpleasant. Older kids have already started being mean about her spotty hair growth. She isn’t old enough to understand yet their nastiness yet. Soon she will be. I just don’t want her to start out hating her hair because of other’s comments.
My husband totally is against it. Looking for feedback cut or not….


natural hair kids,


Quick Tips:

To summarize, our Instagram family suggested that our reader:

  • Cut off the longer strands to even out the length of the hair all over her head or leave it be. She’s young enough where she won’t remember nor care about the length of her hair. It will grow back.
  • Moisturize her hair daily. Massage oil into the scalp every 2 – 3 days.
  • Use low manipulation or protective styles while the hair is growing out. Two strand twists or plaits are great hairstyles to use when growing out your child’s hair.
  • Do not use rubberbands or hair ties to style the hair as these can cause breakage and increase hair loss.
  • Make sure to protect her hair at night with a satin pillowcase or a satin bonnet.
  • If someone is rude or makes insulting comments about your child, use this as an opportunity to educate the person and/or tell them to mind their own business.
  • Consider taking the baby to your pediatrician to see if she is displaying signs of Trichotillomania.


Instagram Community Responses

the_ebonyqueen – Just cut it for her mama she’s young enough were it won’t look weird

jessbstill – Satin pillow. Moisturize edges daily.

queenie9511 – It fills in on its own. No need to cut it, just wait and see. 🙂

oh.lolaaaaa – Cut it all off to an even length and let it grow out. Most people are afraid to cut their hair out of fear that it won’t grow back. I cut my daughter’s hair all off when she turned on and I trim it every 6 months. It’s hair it’ll grow back

daisha_vuuuu – Same thing happened to my daughter… I didn’t cut it but I did keep a satin bonnet on her head very early lol and I used miss Jessie’s baby buttercreme and within 2 weeks it started to fill in.. Massaging those areas with coconut oil is good too…

ohjessebel – I would cut it so it grows back in evenly. It will grow back. Try finger coils as it grows in.

queenb3607 – Many infants and toddlers hair grown in this pattern, especially Africa American kids. Both my girls had it and they both ended up with a head full of healthy long hair. No need to cut it. It will even out on it’s own.

queenb3607 – …you do not need treat her hair with hot oil etc. She still had her “baby texture” and you must use as less products as possible. Even natural products can be damaging to a babies tender hair and scalp. Also babies may develop allergies to certain ingredients by being exposed to young. Just plait the sides and style the top however you like with her bows. Hope this helps.

kenkigal – What @queenb3607 said. Less is better. Water and coconut oil. It will give and keep the slip in her hair. And for those little ones with the mouths, use those moments of rudeness as teaching moments for MANNERS and education about NATUAL HAIR.

ebaye30 – I agree less is better! Both of my girls age 7 and 11 mo. had hair grow in at different lengths. You can cut if you want but it will even out naturally.

totally_tiki – I concur…as a stylist and mom of a little girl…just leave it be. My daughter was born with stick straight hair, around 5 months it completely fell out (bald) at 8 months it grew in at about 3c-4a and she had a cute little fro…but I didn’t manipulate it in any way aside from one barrette or a headband…now her hair is perfectly fine #mayamadison and any children teasing a 21 month baby should probably not be in her presence…manners can be taught pretty early on so there’s no excuse

naturallymaree – Probably shouldn’t do protein treatment it’s probably stressing the hair out focus on moisture

krystalbhart – Same thing happened to my daughter. Black Jamaican Castor oil on the edges about three times per week and a satin bonnet to bed every night. I did little ponytails with rubber bands and eventually it all caught up.

emmygoss – Have her evaluated by an occupational therapist. My daughter did that and she ended up having a sensory disorder.

sweetbabijay – My pregnant heart can’t deal! I just cried a little because I don’t like the thought of this baby being picked on! My niece didn’t grow much hair at a very young age and her hair looked like that. Now she has a beautiful little fro at age 4. No rubber bands or hair ties! I know when it starts growing you will want to do that but just let it be. Be patient. Also, reward her for not pulling at her hair.

kellygreent – I would skip to protein and DC. Both of my girls have 4c curls. Neither do well with protein and both their hair is prone to breakage. It looks short but if you stretch it – middle of their back. Here is our routine. Wash once per week with a moisturizing sulfate free shampoo like Shea Moisture Raw Shea Moisture Shampoo. Use a cheap conditioner with lots of slip like Herbal Essence Hello Hydration. Rinse but don’t dry. Add a fan of olive oil to your hands and run it over hair. Blot with t shirt until it’s dry (much gentler than a towel). Next add a little kinky curly knot today conditioner and use your fingers to gently detangle. If you see a tiny little fairy not – snip, don’t pull. Comb with a wide tooth comb or tangle teezer brush in sections. Seal with a heavy cream or whipped butter. We like Bee Mine’s Luscious Balanced Moisture Cream and Jane Carter’s Nourish and Shine. Twists or puffs are probably the most gentle style for a little bunny. Every day spritz with water, add a little dab of kinky curly knot today and then a dab more of cream. At night, spritz and seal again. If she won’t sleep in a silk bonnet, try a silk pillow case or silk crib sheets.

brownbabystyles – Honestly, she just needs time, patience and tlc. From the looks of it, she’s going to have some long thick hair. A lot of babies have the exact same issues with hair pulling and hair loss. She’ll grow out of it. As for the kids, by the time she understands, her hair will be long and thick. Don’t cut her hair because YOU don’t like it.

icryclouds – Yeah, like another said, take her to a therapist. She might have trichotillomania or something. If not, have her wear big headbands or beanies/other hats so she can’t get to her hair. Hopefully she’ll eventually not care to pull it out anymore

damibalo – Quite new to this…but would love to share my experience! DD is 5months and also had very itching scalp, which I knew will turn to her pulling her hair out if it wasn’t managed. She was born with hair, but eventually it fell out around 3months I think is normal for my children! So to stop the itching I used Forever Living Aloe Propolis Creme (fairly expensive) that worked very quickly for her. It a water based creme so I also used coconut oil. I then heard that shea butter was very good at sealing in moisture (Pure shea butter from Nigeria that was still in chunks).

damibalo – I then realised I was actually using the L.O.C method so every day after her bath day and night never used any shampoo just water (she practically has no hair to s’poo). I would mix a little Propolis creme, natural coconut oil and shea butter in my palms and apply it on her hair (even on her face) in a week I noticed her hair growing back and no more itching! #hopethishelps L: Leave in (water based creme) O: Oil and C: Creme. Keeps the moisture in, which is what we mostly need in our hair. Just a little of the products, daily or morning and night goes a long way. Wishing you all the best for your DD. God bless.

shanauncensored – @j.nikki I started using Shea butter this week. We LOC with the Shea moisture products & coconut oil. A lady from Cameroon says she uses Shea butter for all 6 her daughters. I already use it in my hair but I thought it may have been heavy for a 1 yo.

shanauncensored – Thanks ladies, We’ve taken her to a therapist. She said, since she does it only when she is having tantrums it’s not trichotillomania. She knows we do not like for her to pull her hair, so she will do it to get her way. Ignore her and the tantrums. It will stop. Giving her attention negatively enforces the behavior to allow it to continue. @brownbabystyles where in the post does it say I MYSELF do not like it? I love everything about my rainbow baby! She was born with short, fine thin hair. Cutting it would make her reminiscent of her baby stage! My daughter goes to a predominately white preschool where remarks ARE made. And soon she will understand! She is almost 2 years old and very intelligent! I was teased until I was 5 because I had little hair. By 7 my hair was mid back. I know what it’s like to be teased for something so trivial & out of your control. I don’t want her to be that girl! I want her to love her hair!

brownbabystyles – Ok maybe not you but definitely not for them, that’s a lesson in itself. White people can’t make us uncomfortable for us simply being us. My hair was exactly like that. I didn’t mean to come off negative. You wanna teach her to love her hair and I’m sure you’re doing just that @shanauncensored

shanauncensored – @imperfectscorpio I saw the conditioning shampoo & creme in the beauty supply. I’ll try once we’re out of Shea moisture. Thanks to all of you who commented! Also many thanks to @naturalhairkids for being a beacon for moms of coily, kinky, curly haired little girls to turn to. Because their aren’t a lot of resources for hair care for OUR girls specific needs!

shanauncensored – Not “maybe not me” there is no maybe…I’m teaching her and showing her we are one in the same, her and I. I currently am rocking a fade. I cut all my hair off again to show her you are beautiful no matter WHAT! I don’t expect white ppl to apologize for their lack of understanding my blackness and I don’t want them to expect an apology for my blackness! Check out from @fromfadetofro

j.nikki – Yes African lady told me to use Shea butter on my daughters hair and skin because it works wonders. But my only reservation is…is it to thick. Hmmm…

shanauncensored – I’ve been applying a dime size for her entire head.

totally_tiki – @j.nikki …so my question is what is your goal with the Shea butter? Remember babies and young children skin, production of sebum, and cell turnover is the best it will ever be…for a baby that young I’d only recommend jojoba oil…it’s the oil that is most like our natural sebum…with the youngsters we’re discussing…hydration should be the goal…actually maintaining it…please take into account that they are producing everything they need at a much faster rate than we do as adults…I would say the Shea butter is too heavy…L.O.C. liquid, oil, cream….liquid(water) is a catalyst(opens the shaft) for the oil (moisture), and cream is a way to seal it in …so with the Shea butter if for any reason the hair isn’t hydrated you’re creating a barrier where the oil cannot penetrate ….I personally do not care to put tons of product in young children’s hair…I like to what the natural texture will do first…for example my sister and I have daughters the same age…she found it necessary to constantly comb and manipulate her daughter’s hair and the curl pattern or lack thereof is changed…she believes that my daughter just has curly hair but so did her daughter prior to her need to manipulating it …so unless it’s overly dry and brittle I say for the most part just leave it be.

j.nikki – My hair regimen for my daughter has been to apply a leave-in cream conditioner then spray leave-in conditioner/detangler in her hair daily (The Honest Brand its certified organic)

totally_tiki – @j.nikki I would never call anyone’s hair “bad” as a stylist, but yes your steps sound like a good plan