Simon Willetts of Combers, Taunton talks about children's hair

Children have just started the summer term, this means cricket and rounders and long warm evenings for some, shadowed by exams for others.

School days are said to be some of the happiest we will ever have. Not so for everyone it seems. I know a lady who hates having her hair cut – and she blames it on her first day at senior school. Until then, her hair was long and she’d keep it in place with a hair band. She had quite a collection.

However, when she started at secondary school, her mum insisted she have a practical cut which meant a fringe one inch above her eyes, a middle shed and pencil straight sides. Her mum insisted school was a time to learn and get on, not to worry about unimportant matters such as hairstyles.

Every two months, my friend would be marched down to her local salon and have the exact same haircut. It was all over in 30 months but the memories have lasted a lifetime.

For most children, the phrase Back to School doesn’t just mean those periods after the Easter, Christmas or summer holidays. It means every Monday morning.

We’ve come a long way since the pudding-bowl cut that most children, boys and girls, suffered in readiness for school.

There are so many influences – good and bad – that affect young people today, not least with regards to fashion.

Parents worry about buying new school shoes, shirts or blouses and trousers. But what about your child’s hair? Often, the school prom is the first time many parents even consider their child’s hair.

I’d like to suggest a few points to ponder when it comes to school hair. If parents brush up on their homework, they can avoid those hectic morning tussles with hairdryers and tongs in front of the mirror that are so common in many homes.

Some things to look out for

Oily hair

  •   As children grow, their hair goes through a series of changes. Oily hair may appear strong and is easily styled but it will soon become dull and difficult to manage. Children with oily hair are also more likely to develop dandruff – and no kid wants THAT showing up on their school uniform.
  •  Take time to brush your child’s hair. You can do this while they are reading to you or watching their favourite TV show. Regular brushing massages the scalp promoting hair nutrients to circulate.
  •  Use a suitable shampoo and conditioner. Don’t just grab a bottle in the supermarket because it has a cartoon image on the front. Ask your stylist to recommend a type suitable for your youngster or, better still, bring them into the salon for a consultation. Most salons are child friendly today so a glass of orange and an iPad will help distract them.

Split ends

  •  Regular trims are one of the best ways to combat split ends and stop them in their tracks. It only takes a good stylist a few minutes and saves lots of problems building up.
  •  Be careful how you comb your child’s hair when it is still wet after washing. Wait until it dries and you'll prevent damaging the hair. Try using a tangle teaser if combing wet hair and only after conditioning. These are on sale at all good hairdressers 
  • Use a natural bristle brush and check brushes and combs regularly to make sure they are still up to the job 
  • Again, use correctly PH balanced shampoo and conditioner and always use a clarifying shampoo after swimming will make so much difference, remember to come in our shop for advice.

Dry hair

  •   Every week, children are rushing from warm classrooms to cold playground to dry sports halls and all this takes its toll on their hair. Add on sun damage, regular showering and chlorine on the weekly swimming lesson, and it’s a wonder youngsters don’t have more problems with dry hair.
  •  A hair masque left in overnight once a week will bring life back to brittle, dry hair, especially if it has a low chemical content. You don’t want to strip the scalp of all its natural nutrients so check the bathroom cabinet before the next bout of showers!
  •  Make sure your child doesn’t over-do styling and blow-drying. Done properly, these techniques will make hair look great, but if done in that 30 minute panic period before the morning rush-hour, it’s easy to burn or singe hair with curling or straightening tongs that have been left on for too long.

If you start early to guide your children about managing their hair properly, you can take the fear and worry about visiting a salon away. As they get older, they will be more confident and knowledgeable and realise that visit to a stylist will be something they look forward to, and not as awful as a double period of algebra.