DIY Baby + Toddler Haircut

Grooming is a self-educated endeavor that became out of necessity. It started out way back when my husband and I were dating in high school. He would go to the cheapo hair salon and get a terrible haircut every few months. I personally loved his hair on the longer side. It was wavy and oh so sexy, especially when he waved it around during his rock band performances. But, his parents liked it short and he was always a good son and got it cut.

As time progressed, he enjoyed it being short better, especially during the summer and for the sake of his career. Of course, I went along with it and learned to love it shorter. However, I didn’t like that he would still go to the cheapo hair salon and get a whack job every time. I kept thinking, this can’t be that hard. So, I bought my first pair of hair scissors, read up on how to cut a basic men’s haircut and went to town. Thankfully, my husband was trusting enough to let me touch his hair. However, if I didn’t do a good job it would grow back out in a matter of weeks.

Month after month, I would practice giving him the same haircut. He enjoyed not spending the extra money, getting more time to have meaningful conversations with his wife and not have to drive anywhere for a haircut. Just for kicks and giggles, I booked him an appointment with my hair stylist to observe how a professional cuts hair and to get her feedback on how I was doing. As it turns out, she said I was doing a great job!

Fast forward a few years and we had our first child. It seems like that first haircut always makes you cringe. It means your baby is growing up! Well, instead of traumatizing him by taking him to a hair salon, I decided I would tempt fate and do it myself.

I kept thinking that the only place I could get my toddler to sit still for any duration of time was in the bathtub. Why not cut it in there? So, that’s what I did and it worked great!

At one point, I cut his hair while he sat in his daddy’s lap outside and that was a huge challenge. We ended up having to put on a movie for him on our cellphone and I had a hard time reaching around my husband to cut it. It was back to the bathtub for haircuts ever since!

Fill up the tub and stand or sit in it with your child. Have all of your supplies at the ready.

You’ll need:

  • Hair scissors
  • Comb
  • Bath Toys
  • Shampoo
  • Drain hair catcher
  • Towel

Start by washing your child’s hair and part it where desired.

Then, make sure they have ample toys to play with. You’ll need as many distraction techniques in your playbook as possible. When in doubt try:

  • Asking your child to wash their favorite bath toy under the running water.
  • Singing a song.
  • Presenting a new bath toy.
  • Pretending like you are on a boat and you, “Look over there, an island!” pointing to the direction you need your child to look in to quickly cut the side.

Then, I always start in the back, combing the hair straight down the neck and cut across in an even line.

Once you cut the amount of hair off that you’re happy with, you’ll continue to cut the same length of hair off around the head. Remember that the hair will usually dry shorter than you cut, especially if your child has wavy or curly hair.

Migrate towards each side of the head toward the front, using your fingers to gauge out how much hair to cut off.

Basically, you’ll cut on the outside of your fingers to get an even length. Even if your child’s head moves while you’re holding the hair with your fingers, you fingers will just follow the head and get an even cut.

  • If you’re cutting a boy’s hair, bring your fingers out 90 degrees from vertical to cut an even length all around the head.
  • If you’re cutting a girl’s hair and want layers… bring your fingers out 45 degrees from the bottom and cut.
  • If you’re cutting a girl’s hair and want a straight haircut… just cut around the head like you did at the back.

Once you’ve cut around the sides, you’ll move to the front of the head.

Cut the bangs how you’d like them, especially to get the hair out of their eyes. Then finish by cutting the top of the head the same length that you cut the bangs. Do a quick feel through with your fingers to make sure there aren’t any straggling long pieces.

Then, you’ll want to fish out as much hair out of the bath tub to discard in the trash as possible (or drain the bath using a hair catcher that you’d typically use in a sink without a disposal).

Rinse the bathtub clean of hair and rinse you and your child off, as well.

Using your towel, dry off the hair, style with a comb and let it dry.

After it’s dried, you may see a few spots you need to fix. Simply use your fingers again to grab the hair and cut on the outside of your fingers, keeping the cut off hair in your fingers to easily discard without making a mess on your floor.

Here are some other grooming tips for you:

  • Fingernails – Use either nail clippers, nail file or electronic nail file (like the Zoli) to trim the nails. If your child is like my children, they detest getting their fingernails and toenails cut. I’ve always found that putting on a favorite television show while cutting the fingernails is helpful. Baby Einsteins has saved me for many years!
  • Teeth – Allow your child to choose a toothbrush he/she is excited about. First, show them how to brush their teeth and eventually they’ll want to do it on their own! Now that my toddler is Mr. Independent, he brushes his teeth and I go back and finish it up for him. He loves showing everyone how “shiny” his teeth are.
  • Hand Washing – A habit you should get your child into at an early age. I know my children love to wash their hands. I even let them wash their toys in the sink for a special treat.