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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Baby Haircut Myth

Someone asked if it was true that you could shave a baby's head in order to encourage the hair to grow back thicker.

After much research where I found accounts of many people claiming that this really does work I established that this is just an old wives tale. When the head, or anywhere else for that matter, is shaved it does not cause extra hair to grow to replace the hair that has fallen out. Unlike the case if the hair were plucked, follicle root and all, the existing hair merely continues to grow from the existing hair folicles. Hair is dead tissue and removing the dead tissue will not effect the living hair follicle.

This does not mean that other hair follicles may not also also "sprout" new hair, however, these would have "sprouted" anyway even if the other hair had not been shaven. Consequently, when the hair grows back to the length which it was before the shaving took place it may indeed appear to be thicker and, if new hair follicles "sprouted" new hair, it may actually be thicker. However, the thickness is due to the natural additional active hair producing follicles and has nothing to do with the shaving process.

To see this in perspective it is useful to think in terms of a timeline. Lets say that a baby reaches their 1st birthday, has their head shaved, and then, 6 months later, they appear to have a thicker head of hair than they did at 12 months of age. For the sake of this example let us imagine that this baby's hair grows at 6 inches per year. Had the baby not had their head shaved at 12 months but rather maintained monthly haircuts which kept the hair at a length of 3 inches, i.e. 6 months worth of growth, then at 18 months the unshaven baby and the shaven baby would have identically full/thick hair.

Unfortunately this myth, or old wives tale, will continue to persist since the only definitive proof against it would be to experiment on a baby such that one side of their head would be shaved and the other merely cut to a constant length. The problem is that those who believe the myth would be worried that their child would grow up to have asymetrical hair growth. Consequently, the believers would probably not wish to submit their child as a test subject. Those who do not believe in the myth would probably not want their child to look ridiculous for 6 months simply to prove a point and so without test subject the experiment would not take place.

Something which may lead to increased hair growth in a baby's hair is increased blood flow to the hair follicles, by massaging the scalp for example, and also ensuring that the baby is eating a nourishing balanced diet with adequate supply of B vitamins and Omega 3 oil. There are all sorts of interesting books about hair available from amazon here. You'll find a number of hair related myths on here:

If you would like to try shaving your baby's head to promote thicker more vibrant hair please be my guest, I doubt that it would do any harm, if you have any comments please let me know and if you have any other questions which you'd like me to answer for free please send them to Ben Dash at


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