I’m sure at some point, you’ve visited your parents at their house and they’ve pulled out the old, dusty childhood photo albums that you’ve been hoping would stay neatly tucked away for centuries. When you start going through them, have you ever noticed the difference in your kid curls verses the curls you have now? If you spend a little more time and look a little closer, you’ll notice that your curls have actually had an evolution of their own over the years. Your baby, too, will have this crazy rollercoaster of a curl experience.
What causes hair to curl?
Naturally curly hair is determined genetically. The gene for curly hair is said to have incomplete dominance over that for straight, so an individual inheriting one straight and one curly gene may have a mix of the two, resulting in wavy hair.
As a child grows, the size of the hair, by diameter, changes and grows as well. Therefore, babies may start off with fine, straight hair, or even thick, lush locks, and after just a few months or a year, their “inherited” curls may begin to pop up! Just like adults, changes in growth cause changes in our baby’s skin and hair as well. However, babies grow at such an extremely rapid rate, physical changes happen daily. By the time kids grow to be adolescents, major growth changes slow down, resulting in an “evening out” of physical attributes. The hair's curl pattern will continue to change as we age, along with the changes in hormones that all men and women undergo.
Can you tell if a baby's hair will be curly?
It is impossible to tell which genes your baby will inherit. You've probably heard the old wives' tale that says that heartburn during pregnancy signifies a thick head of potentially curly hair. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions actually surveyed a group of mothers and found that 82 percent of those who had moderate to severe heartburn during pregnancy gave birth to a baby with an average or above-average crop of hair, while most of the women who didn't have heartburn had a baby with little to no hair.
This heartburn theory may explain whether or not your baby will be born with thick curls, but this will not necessarily be his or her hair in their teen years and adulthood.
If you have a little kiddo with curls, it’s hard to step away from the cute clips and headbands. After all, they’re just so adorable and your very best friends gave them to you at your baby shower! However, it’s best to wait until your little prince or princess is a bit older, with stronger hair. Pulling hair into braids and ponytails can result in major damage to your baby’s strands, as well as irritated skin and scalp.
Your little one may have lots of little cowlicks or funky natural mohawks. This is usually due to the fact that the chemical bonds, creating the hair texture, are still being formed. Therefore, let your wild child - aka, baby - wear their hair au natural. Try to avoid putting products or clips into your baby’s hair to guide it into submission. But don’t worry; by year one, your child’s hair will mostly likely be more self-contained.
Enjoy the many stages of baby and toddler hair. Just remember that as your child grows and changes, so does his or her hair. Embrace these moments and remember to take lots of photos! After all, you know it will be fun to pull out the albums in 30 years just as your parents did for you.