Wondering how often to wash baby's hair? Read our guide on how to wash baby's hair, what baby shampoo to use and how many times you need to do a baby hair wash.
Is it ok to wash baby’s hair every day?
Lots of parents wonder if it’s ok to wash their baby’s hair every day, and we say it really is up to you. However, most babies really won’t need to have their hair washed every single day, and most families find they don’t want to do it daily either!
When it comes to baby hair care, the NHS recommends that new parents should use just plain water for their baby’s bath during the first 4-6 weeks (see our post for more information on using soap in baby’s bath)- and the same goes for shampoo too.
There’s no harm in gently rinsing and wiping your baby’s hair during bathtime, but when they’re really small you don’t need to do it every day.
As your baby gets older, daily hair washes aren’t necessary, but it certainly shouldn’t hurt if you’re using just water or a very mild shampoo.
Bathing your baby everyday
Lots of families like to do bath time very singe day as it helps them to get into a routine at the end of the day. Very young babies don’t need a bath every day, as their delicate skin could get irritated easily.
Once your baby is a little older, it’s a really great way to end the day and can be an essential part of your bedtime routine. Read our post for more information on; how often you should bath your baby.
Understanding your baby’s hair
Just a quick word on your baby’s hair: it’s not like your own, so it needs a little extra special attention. Without going too far into the science of it all, each strand of adult hair is made up of a structure in three parts: the medulla at the centre, the cuticle on the outer, protective layer and the cortex, which is the main part of the hair.
In baby hair strands, there is no medulla (and this is where you find natural oils), so the hair is thinner, finer and less coarse than adult hair. As your baby grows, the medulla begins to develop and their hair will grow thicker and coarser- but because for now it’s fine and soft, it needs to be washed a lot less often than our own hair.
It’s also worth knowing that your baby has less sebaceous gland production on the scalp too, which means less build up of sebum in that area. Sebum works to maintain the health of the scalp, but it builds up every 2-3 days, so daily washing is often recommended for adults. For babies though, the build up is lower, meaning daily washes just aren’t needed.
When should I start washing my baby’s hair?
As with soap, the NHS recommends to wait for around 4-6 weeks before you wash their hair with any baby shampoo. You should use a very small amount only and take care when rinsing.
What shampoo should I use for baby’s hair?
Always use a shampoo that has been designed specially for babies and never use products that are perfumed or that contain potentially harmful chemicals. Read our post for more information on the ingredients to look out for when; using soap in baby’s bath.
How do I treat cradle cap?
Cradle cap is a very common scalp condition that causes patchy scales to form on baby’s scalp and although it might look alarming, it’s very easily treated. Most babies will experience this up to the age of around months and it usually disappears by 6 months. Speak to your health visitor or GP if it persists.
While daily shampooing might help by removing dead skin cells from the scalp, there are other things you can do to ease the symptoms of cradle cap. Your doctor might recommend checking the milk your baby drinks, as some types are thought to make cradle cap worse.
You can also try gently massaging coconut or avocado oil into your baby’s scalp and allowing it to soak in before gently applying a small amount of baby shampoo. You can then very gently use a baby hair brush to loosen skin flakes before rinsing the hair. Repeat every few days.
How do I wash my baby's hair?
Don’t be afraid to wash your baby’s hair when you’re happy the time is right. As with everything, let your baby guide you and, be gentle and take your time.
Washing newborn baby’s hair
Start off with just water, using a soft bamboo washcloth to gently clean your baby’s head. Take care not to press too hard and avoid shampoo until your baby is at least 4-6 weeks old. Rinse with the washcloth, or with a small bowl of water, making sure to keep your movements slow and steady.
As your baby gets a little older, you only need a tiny amount of baby shampoo. Massage it gently into the hair and rinse slowly. No need for conditioner!
Drying baby’s hair
You don’t need to do much to dry baby’s hair, as it tends to be fine and thin enough to dry quickly. Besides, not many babies are going to enjoy a hair dryer being blasted right next to their ears!
If you use a hooded baby bath towel, pop the hood over your baby’s head straight out of the bath and cuddle them dry as normal. Older babies with longer hair can use a Cuddletwist to absorb most of the water and to keep clothes dry after the bath.