When is it appropriate to let your children use hair straighteners?
In all seriousness, the idea of allowing your child to have a hair straightener causes dozens of debates amongst parents. Many fret over the safety risks, as well as the possibility that their child might be growing up too quickly.
Whatever the reason for concern, it can be difficult to say no to someone who can make having a certain hairstyle seem like the most important thing on the planet (I can relate).
If you have a child who is begging for the latest set of GHDs, or is craving a stunning set of curls, here are a few things to ponder.
How young is too young?
It just so happens to be that the ages in which a child might start to become self-conscious or want to express themselves more appearance-wise overlap with the ages in which they might not be able to use heat styling tools unsupervised.
Maturity, responsibility, and general heating styling savviness will vary from person to person; an in-the-know 15 year old may be much more likely to use a pair of hair straighteners safely than someone older than them – you just never know.
As a general rule, I would avoid leaving anybody under the age of 14 to use a heat styling tool unsupervised – regardless of their maturity level.
What if I do it myself?
You may think that simply styling your child’s hair yourself will solve any problems regarding being unsupervised, but you might want to reconsider.
If you’re styling someone else’s hair, you have no way of predicting if the person sat in front of you is about to move all of a sudden. As an adult, you’d be aware that you have to inform the person styling your hair that you’re about to move or shift – lest you be burnt.
A child or younger person may not think about this, and may fidget or jolt suddenly whilst you are styling their hair. This could result in burns to both them and you, the stylist.
If you are going to straighten or style a young person’s hair, make sure that you inform them of how hot the styling tool can get, and what will happen if they aren’t careful. Also make sure to tell them to inform you if they need to move for any reason.
How do I teach my child to use a hair straightener unsupervised?
Eventually, you are going to have to allow your child to learn to use a pair of hair straighteners by themselves.
As well as the actual styling process, it’s important to inform your child about hair straightener safety. You can find a blog post on hair straightener safety here, but it takes a lot more than that to ensure that your child is as safe as possible whilst styling.
If you use a hair straightener yourself, allow your child to watch you straighten your hair first so they get a general idea of what it is you have to do. If you normally rush through straightening your hair, now isn’t the time to do so. Go as slowly and as carefully as possible – you want your child to do the same when they eventually style their own hair, remember.
Perhaps style a section of your child’s hair, too, so they know what sort of feeling or sensation to expect.
After this, allow your child to try straightening a section of their own hair, with the straighteners off. This is more so they get an idea of the movement required, and how it can sometimes be tricky to do it whilst looking in a mirror. If required, use your own hands over the top of theirs to guide them.
Once you’re both confident that the straighteners can be handled without much of a problem, turn the heat on. Let your child attempt to style a section of their hair, and see how you go from there.
You should always supervise your child whilst they straighten their hair for a while, until you’re absolutely certain that they can be trusted to be left alone.
With a bit of guidance, patience, and care, your child will be straightening away in no time.
Remember – it’s as much about safety and having common sense about straighteners than being able to use them well.
Wait – I’m clueless about hair straightening myself!
If you don’t use a hair straightener yourself, or are opposed to them, it can be a trying time if your child wishes to start using one.
If the problem lies in the fact that you aren’t sure on how to use a straightener yourself, why not use it as an opportunity to learn together if you want to start? If not, take your child to a trusted hair stylist, who will most likely happily offer your child a straightening lesson or two.
As much as I personally love them, I understand that not everyone is a fan of heat styling tools. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent your child from ever using a hair straightener, so isn’t it best to teach them in a safe manner instead of having them possibly injure themselves?
Children’s hair is a lot more fragile
Regardless of who it is doing the straightening, you have to bear in mind that a young person’s hair is typically going to be much more delicate than a fully grown person’s. Add this to the sheer amount of damage that heat styling can inflict regardless, and you may find that your child ends up with frazzled locks a bit too early on in life.
If the occasion arises where your child absolutely must have their hair straightened, make sure to use a heat protectant spray, and that the hair is conditioned and in good condition before you get styling. Also, make sure that they are aware of the potential problems that can stem from hair straighteners. It’s always worth taking the time to keep them informed.
Please remember that I am not an experienced hair stylist, and that all of the advice above is my own. If in any doubts about hair straighteners and letting your child use one, contact a professional hair stylist.
Happy straightening everyone!