Just before Christmas I was asked by a new mother if cutting her baby’s hair would make it grow thicker and stronger?
The answer is ‘No it will not’, but it may appear to.
The reason hair cannot be strengthened by cutting is because, unlike shrubs in the garden which grow stronger when we ‘cut them back’, cutting hair will not affect what is happening within the hair follicles in the skin, and that’s where hair’s strength, diameter, rate of growth, or the quantity of hairs, is determined.
When hair is cut it often appears thicker, there are two reasons for this. Firstly, in a group of uncut hairs, hairs will be of different lengths, some short, some mid length and some long (even though during the first year or so of the baby’s life the hairs on the scalp grow at a similar rate) so when we look at those hairs we tend to see mainly the longer hairs which might be only a third of the total. If you cut those hairs quite short they will all end at the same length and so the overall effect will be that the hair appears thicker.
The other reason the baby’s hair will seem more abundant when cut is because new (virgin) hairs grow with a fine point to them giving them a more downy appearance and texture. But once these hairs are cut the ends will be blunt and the difference in appearance between tens of thousands of fine, tapering hair ends or blunt hair ends can be very significant.
Many mothers worry that their baby’s hair is too fine and ‘weak’, they should not. It may take a little time, but their baby’s hair will usually grow beautifully.