My son decided in first grade that he wanted to grow his hair long (like Max, who has gorgeous hair, but whose hair is completely different from Liam's. Ah, well, live and learn.) We went through some growing pains but I have to say it's really sweet that he likes his hair long. And truthfully, I have to start teaching him about girls because I swear that gorgeous head of hair is just drawing the little harlots like flies to honey.
What should you consider or plan for when your son tells you he wants to grow his hair long? Here's what we found:
1. Accept bedhead as a regular part of your day.
Bedhead is so much more charming when served up with a dose of tongue-sticking-out.
You need to decide whether you care about this or plan to do anything about it. Preferably BEFORE you meet your curly-haired-bedhead-monster at 7:49 with three minutes to go before the bus arrives and a two minute walk to the bus stop. I prefer to tackle bedhead straight on.
I use a V05 leave-in conditioner spray, but a bottle of water would work, too. It’s hard to find the stupid spray so I buy several bottles at once (Meier carries it, but I don’t like to shop there very often.) The leave-in conditioner gives it enough dampness and weight to take the crazy out of the bedhead.
2. It is just hair.
Please, take my advice and pick a different battleground, a different place to make a stand. We’ve gone through plenty of awkward hair moments on the road to being a long-haired boy, but it’s just hair. Honestly he was making faces in half those photos anyway, I wouldn't have wanted to keep them.
An interesting side result has been that my son has developed an appreciation for how he looks, a satisfaction in it. He’s got certain curls he likes, a certain way it falls that he prefers. He’s not old enough to be preening yet, it’s just the beginning of his personal style peeking out and I have to say I really like it. The girl who cuts his hair thinks he’s hilarious because he comes in with more opinions and thoughts on what parts of his hair need work than most of her grown men clients (and some of the ladies!)
3. Prepare to be involved in the shampooing AND conditioning of the long hair, or provide explicit instructions if your long-haired boy is older.
Mine started growing his hair at age 6. I still (almost 9 yrs old) help with rinsing, including regular tutorials about leaning allll the way back in the shower so the conditioner can rinse down the crown and all the way down the back of the hair. Short-haired people just don’t have this worry, but it’s really gross when you comb out poorly-rinsed hair and get a comb full of conditioner goop. Plus that condition-heavy hair seems to attract dirt more than better-rinsed hair. It’s gross.
4. Yes, I said conditioner.
I’m sorry. Two steps. Wash the shampoo out, then apply conditioner, then wash the conditioner out. I don’t recommend breaking out your extra-expensive luxury salon shampoos and conditioners on the boy, though. A simple shampoo does the trick for my boy’s tresses. He has the benefit of youth and slightly thicker/fuller hair than either of his parents. It’s actually quite difficult for his hair to look bad (aforementioned bedhead notwithstanding.) Regular old V05 or Suave works just fine. But don’t omit the conditioner.
I would gladly murder bunnies for just one small chance at that luscious and perfect hair. Those curls. The fullness. The bounce. The shine. Alas, instead I'll invest in smelling salts to revive all the girls that will be swooning.
5. Enjoy this dawning of your son’s independence and development of personal pride in his appearance, and realize it could be so much worse.
He could be asking to pierce something.
I write on Suburban (In)sanity. I have two kids, two cats, a dog, a husband and a minivan. I live in the suburbs now and try to stay sane. Some days, I succeed.
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