A Family (Hair) Affair

Most parents have – at some point – experienced the frustration of trying to wash or untangle a child’s hair.

Some can even tell horror stories about blood curdling screams raising a salon’s roof while a stylist was trying to cut junior’s locks. Then there are the tales of teens taking matters into their own hands with a bottle of peroxide. We laugh about them years later, but they’re very unfunny at the time. Of course, the best foundation for good hair care is laid when a child is still young and impressionable – no matter the challenges. So I’ve collected some helpful hints to help with that worthy mission.

Cherub Curls and Pigtails

Always use a gentle baby shampoo on young children’s hair. Adult shampoos can not only sting their eyes, but also tend to be drying. Weekly conditioning will benefit very curly or dry hair, but should generally only be used for older children with longer hair. Some hate having their hair washed, in which case it’s a good idea to involve them: let your toddler squeeze out the shampoo or make funny “hair styles” with lathered hair and laugh about it together.

Until the age of two, kids only need the occasional fringe trim. This is an ideal opportunity to introduce them to a salon environment in small doses (perhaps even sitting on mum’s lap). It’s important to find a stylist who is experienced and comfortable with children. Make sure your toddler is rested and has a favourite book or toy. For more extensive cuts, the stylist should start with the edges in case she’s unable to finish – sitting quietly for any length of time is a challenge for most little ones.

Mohawks and Make-up

The hormonal changes of adolescence can wreak havoc on hair and teens often battle with bone dry or excessively oily hair. Dry hair will benefit from fewer washes and avoiding severe chemicals and styling. It also needs more protection from harsh weather and chlorinated water. Oily hair needs thorough cleansing and sparing use of conditioner.  In both cases, my best recommendation is to get customised, expert advice from a salon professional. Being a teenager is tough enough without having to endure bad hair days caused by the outrageous claims of mainstream hair care products.

During adolescence, identity becomes very important. This can lead to some wild hair experiments and conflict with authority figures. Be careful not to discredit your teen’s desire for personal expression. Rather than reject their ideas outright, allow a good stylist to offer alternatives like semi-permanent colour, hair glaze or removable hair extensions like the Halo. A true professional will not have an agenda or try to force the latest fad. Instead, he will work with the teen’s wishes and develop a hair design that really suits her. Not only will this prevent shocking hair disasters, but it will lay a foundation for good hair care that will last a lifetime.

Hair irons and dryers are as popular with teens as they are with grown-ups, but they do damage hair. Encourage your teenager to avoid excessive heat to keep their hair healthier. A good hair stylist will help your teen to make the most of his/her hair’s natural state instead of fighting it with chemicals and styling tools. Your teenager will also probably trust a hairdresser’s opinion more than yours when it comes to styling. To be fair, the stylist has the advantage of being a neutral outsider who genuinely wants to use her expertise to bring out the best in your young person. The best salons will offer a student discount to encourage a good hair care foundation that won’t break the bank.

  • Tangles affect young children and teens with long hair equally. Brushing regularly and limiting the use of chemicals can help prevent them. If the problem already exists, these tips will help:
  • Be patient.
  • Always work on dry hair.
  • If the tangles are very bad, start with a detangling spray.
  • Use a wide-tooth comb and start at the nape of the neck.
  • Begin at the ends and slowly work your way up the hair shaft.
  • To prevent painful pulling, hold the hair at the scalp so that the tension is on the hair and not on the root.


 For advise or to receive my personal newsletter and special offers contact Simon at Combers on 01823-334331, info@combers-old  or visit www.combers.co.uk, or join us on www.facebook/combershairsalon or twitter @combershair