How to Style a Toddler Boy’s Hair

When it comes to toddler boys’ hair, it’s best to stick to simple, low-maintenance styles and products. Tame and style your toddler’s hair with gentle children’s products to create spikes, defined curls, or a neat comb-over. Try to avoid common hair or toddler behaviour problems and remember that in the end, you don’t need to worry too much about the style itself, since it probably won’t last too long on an active toddler boy!


EditStyling with Product

  1. Use light-hold gel and a brush for a shower-fresh look. Pour a quarter-sized amount of gel onto your palm, then rub your palms together.[1] Use your hands to work the gel through short, slightly damp hair. You can either smooth down your toddler’s hair to make it lay flat, or create some messy spikes over the top of his head. Smooth down the sides of his hair with your palms.[2]
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    • Run a brush or comb through the gelled hair at the top to get a neat, flat look. Brush the hair in the direction that it’s been parted in.
    • Look for hair gel that’s specifically designed for kids.
  2. Create spikes with gelled hair for an edgy, fun style. Spread a little gel on a fine-toothed comb and work it through the top of your toddler’s hair. Use your fingers to fluff up the gelled hair and create small spikes. Pull the spiked hair slightly forward, then smooth the sides down.[3]
    Style a Toddler Boy's Hair Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Make sure not to use more than a quarter-sized amount of gel product, or the hair will look greasy and wet.
  3. Use clay products on wet hair for a neat, natural look. Use a comb to part wet-damp hair as you normally would. Take a dime-sized amount of clay product on your fingers and rub it over your palms. Work the product into your toddler’s hair with your fingers in the way his hair naturally sits with his part. Once you’ve established the direction, smooth your palms over his whole head. Let his hair air-dry for 10-15 minutes to get a dried, matte look.[4]
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    • This style is easy to freshen up after your toddler has been napping or playing. You don’t even need to add any more clay! Just smooth down his hair with just a little bit of water in a spray bottle or a wet paper towel.
    • You can find children’s clay hair products online or in the children’s hygiene section of most drugstores. Look for products labeled “gentle” and “natural.”
  4. Shape or style your toddler’s hair with a balm product. Rub a little swipe of balm between your hands and use it smooth down flyaways and direct his hair. Rub some of the balm on spots of hair that tend to pop up or stick out during the day.[5]
    Style a Toddler Boy's Hair Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • Balm helps hold hair in place without the slick effect of gel or the tackiness of clay products.
    • You can find children’s balm products online or in most drugstores with a section for children’s hygiene. Always look for a product with natural, gentle, and tear-free ingredients.
  5. Use child’s mousse to add extra definition to curly hair. Use your fingers to rub a dime-sized amount of mousse through your child’s hair. This will help give his curls some definition and prevent frizzing. For even more definition, wind individual curls around your finger after you’ve worked the mousse through.[6]
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    • Children’s mousse products are generally available online or in the kids’ hygiene section of drugstores. Look for mousses with natural, gentle ingredients, rather than adult mousses, which can make your toddler’s hair crunchy or stiff.
    • You can also use a curl-defining cream if you can’t find a mousse.

EditTaming Cowlicks and Detangling

  1. Wet down any stubborn areas or cowlicks. Spray a little warm water with a spray bottle directly onto his hair and pat it down until it lays flat. Let it dry for a few minutes, then continue styling. This technique works well for messy morning or post-nap hair.[7]
    Style a Toddler Boy's Hair Step 6 Version 2.jpg
  2. Blow-dry any cowlick sections down if water isn’t enough. While his hair is still damp, blow dry your toddler’s hair from the roots down, using a closely bristled brush to smooth his cowlicks down flat.[8] Keep the blow dryer at the gentlest cool or low-heat setting while you work through the hair. To protect your child’s hair from heat damage, apply a heat protectant to the hair and only blow-dry for a maximum of 5-10 minutes.
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  3. Use detangler spray to tame your toddler’s bedhead. Spray a natural child’s detangler product all over his head, adding a few extra sprays to any problem areas, such as pieces that stick out. Work the product in gently by running your fingers through the child’s hair.[9]
    Style a Toddler Boy's Hair Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Children with curly or kinky hair may need extra detangler or moisturizer before combing.
    • Detangler will also help prevent more knots from forming throughout the day.[10]
  4. Use a wide-tooth comb to remove any tangles. When combing out tangles, always work from the bottom up. Starting at the roots will only make the knot worse. Since toddlers’ delicate hair is also much more prone to tangles than thicker adult hair, you may need to spray in some detangler if the knots aren’t coming out easily.[11]
    Style a Toddler Boy's Hair Step 9 Version 2.jpg

EditGetting Your Toddler’s Hair Cut

  1. Have your child’s hair trimmed 2-3 times a year to keep it healthy. Regular trims are great for encouraging natural growth and keeping your toddler’s ends nice and neat. Keep in mind that you may end up adjusting the number of trims per year, depending on your toddler boy’s hairstyle and preferred length.[12]
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    • For example, short hair may need a trim every few weeks to a month, while long hair may only need a cut every 6 months.
  2. Keep your toddler’s hair short for more styling options. If you want to be able to spike or neatly comb over your toddler’s hair, a shorter cut is essential. Aim for a length that’s at least on the top in order to create a spiky look. Go for a slightly longer top length if you want to create a tidy, combed-over look.
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  3. Let your toddler’s hair stay long to limit trips to the salon. This option is perfect if your toddler likes his long hair and you prefer a cut that requires less styling and fewer trips to the salon. Keep in mind that longer hair gets tangled more easily, so you may need to spend extra time combing it out and detangling.
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  4. Choose a good stylist who has experience with cutting children’s hair. Look for someone who works at a kid-friendly salon, rather than a fancy, high-end place. Scope out the salon beforehand and choose a kind, patient stylist who has past experience with kid’s hair. Since kids tend to get wiggly, you should also look for someone who can finish a haircut in under 30-45 minutes![13]
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    • If the salon has movies and kid-sized chairs available, even better! It’s important to have fun distractions for your toddler while he’s getting his hair cut, especially if it’s his first time.
  5. Cut your toddler’s hair yourself to save money. It may take a little practice, but this is a great option if you’re on a budget. Gather some hair-cutting supplies and set up a movie to distract your toddler. Wet down your toddler’s hair, then work on the edges first in case your toddler can’t sit still for the whole haircut. Work in sections and cut at a 45-degree angle for the best results.
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    • If your toddler has long hair without any layers, you can cut it straight across.
    • For supplies, you’ll need professional shears, clippers for short hair, a fine-tooth comb, a towel, and a spray bottle.
    • Start with the bangs, above the ears, and behind the neck before moving on to the rest of your child’s hair.[14]
    • Watch some videos online on how to cut children’s hair before you get started.

EditAvoiding Common Hair and Behavior Problems

  1. Brush long hair with detangler for a naturally flat style. Longer hair tends to lay flat on its own because it weighs more than short hair. Avoid products that will add extra weight or greasiness, and instead just brush through your toddler’s hair with detangler or warm water and let it sit. This will help his hair stay untangled and keep it clean longer.
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  2. Finger comb curly hair and let it air-dry. Towels, brushes, combs, and heat tools can be too harsh on delicate curls and cause frizz. Instead, use an old T-shirt to gently squeeze out any excess water, then finger-comb through the strands and let them air-dry.[15]
    Style a Toddler Boy's Hair Step 16 Version 2.jpg
    • Thick, curly hair needs extra moisture, so you can also finger-comb in a bit of leave-in conditioner before letting the hair air-dry.
  3. Use only water for kids who can’t use hair product. Children who have asthma or fragrance allergies are often not able to use aerosol and fragranced products. For their safety, avoid all hair products and just use warm water and a brush or comb to style their hair.
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    • Go to the doctor to check and confirm your child’s sensitivity to fragrances or certain ingredients in hair products.
  4. Play a movie or a YouTube video to distract your toddler. While you focus on styling, play something to keep your toddler occupied and as still as possible. TV shows, children’s movies, or fun YouTube videos make for the perfect easy distraction.
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    • Games, books, or small toys can also work as distractions if your toddler tends to hold still enough for you to style while he plays![16]
  5. Let your toddler be involved in the styling process. If your toddler doesn’t enjoy having his hair done or fidgets around too much, try giving him a little job to do. Let him hold a bottle of product or ask him which style is his favorite before you begin. If he feels like he’s helping, he may enjoy the process more![17]
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  6. Wait to style toddler boys’ hair until they’re ready to head out the door. If you style your toddler’s hair too early on, it’s probably going to need touch-ups or even a full redo before you even leave the house! Wait until your toddler is dressed and ready to head out the door before doing a quick, easy style for the day.[18]
    Style a Toddler Boy's Hair Step 20 Version 2.jpg


  • Always use children’s products with natural, gentle ingredients on toddlers.[19] Adult products can be alcohol-based and contain ingredients that are too harsh for toddler hair.

EditSources and Citations

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