Updated: Mar 6
It is most likely not something you would think of when choosing a haircut for your child, however, this is something we feel more parents need to be considering.
Here at New York Barbers, our goal is to ensure our customers get what they are looking for but at the same time we are here to give you valuable information about your hair, what will suit it best – and if there are better options, suggest those to you.
Hands down, the most popular men’s haircut over the past few years has become the fade, in particular, a Skin or Zero fade. This is where the hair on sides is cut very short (to the skin or stubble length) and gradually fades into the hair on top.
Google ‘Men’s Haircuts’ and 90% of the hairstyles it shows are fades. However, that does not mean that haircut suits everybody and their hair. Even for adults!
As of late, we have seen the age group for these haircuts get younger and younger - and that's what we are here to talk about today.
As we introduce the 2nd season of #BarberTalk by New York Barbers where you get professional advice from barbers about all things to do with men’s hair, we thought we would address this important topic that we think more parents need to be aware of when choosing a haircut for your son/s.
So, should kids get Skin or Zero fades?
The answer is, from our professional experience: No. However, not for all types of fades. That answer is based on a Skin or Zero Fade. We feel that a Skin or Zero fade is not the right haircut for kids. Here at New York Barbers we will no longer be doing Skin Fades on kids under 10 due to the reasons we are explaining to you today.
This is not to say all fades will not suit kids, as there are some that do.
Keep reading as we explain why kids should not be getting skin fades and what hairstyles suit them best!
1. Their Skin is Still Quite Soft and Sensitive.
Compared to an adult’s scalp, a child’s scalp is much softer and more sensitive. When doing a fade haircut, especially a Skin or Zero fade where a shaver is used and the clippers are used without a guard (open blade) it can be very uncomfortable on a child’s skin. A fade haircut requires a lot of blending of various lengths to achieve the final result, so this means there is a lot of rubbing the clippers against the scalp in order to blend in a fade. This can cause redness and rash to the skin and can actually be extremely irritating and painful for the child. If the child suffers from dry skin, or things like psoriasis on their scalp – this will inflame and cause even more discomfort.
The discomfort the haircut causes makes it very irritating for your child and hard for them to sit still. This also means it’s extremely difficult for the barber to do such a detailed haircut at the same time.
A simple fix we have found is: If we do a #1 or #2 length on the side, which is still nice and short if that’s what you are looking for - there will be a guard on the clipper to protect their scalp which will also be much more comfortable for them!
2. Their Hair is Not Fully Developed.
Similar to how their scalp is still quite soft and sensitive, the same goes for the hair itself on a child. A child’s hair is still quite fine and not fully developed, which makes fading their hair much more difficult compared to an adult. Not only is it more difficult, but the result is not as clean compared to an adult either. The different lengths of the fade are much more difficult to fade in on fine hair. Just remember what you see online unfortunately, most of the time is heavily edited and/or took the person who cut it 1 or 2 hours to do it. Quite frankly, you as a customer do not have 2 hours for your son to get a haircut!
As the Skin or Zero fade is such a detailed haircut as we mentioned before, naturally it will take longer for a barber to do compared to any other haircut.
3. Does Not Grow Out Well.
Skin fades usually don’t grow out that well unfortunately. Especially on kid's hair. Because you are cutting the hair right down to the skin or stubble, the hair grows back very quickly and within a week or so the hair reaches it’s ‘grown out’ stage already. They may look fresh when they are first cut but the reality is that it really doesn’t last that long. The more hair left on the head, the longer it lasts. For example, if you even got a #1 which is still very short, it would last much longer. This is because the hair has now been cut further away from the scalp, resulting in a much longer time until the hair reaches it’s grown out phase. The same goes for getting a #2 or #3, which will last your son even longer! This is saving you money too. You don’t need or want to be having to come into the barbershop every week and a half or two weeks for a haircut when you can extend that to 4-6 weeks by simply opting for a #1, #2 or #3 on the sides instead of a skin or zero fade. If you want to go super short, a 0.5 is the absolute shortest we would recommend but it depends on their hair type.
Another thing to consider is that along with needing to get a haircut every two weeks, this means over time the hair will just get shorter and shorter in areas that you don’t want to be shorter – the longer parts of the hairstyle and the top. Why? Because these parts of your haircut are not necessarily ready to be cut and are still too short to cut them. It is only the fade part on the sides that is grown out already. However, your barber still needs to cut into that hair in order to make it all blend in! The result is a shorter haircut each time.
As you can see by the picture above, the haircut looks fresh when it's cut - however it won't look like this in 1 week!
4. It Takes An Unfair Toll On The Barber.
Surprisingly, something as simple as the style of a haircut on a child can actually take a harsh toll on your barber, hence why we will no longer offer Skin Fades for children 10 and under. Not only is it not the right haircut for kids and we have much better options available, but it is also starting to take an unfair toll our team. What do we mean by this? Last week one of our barbers did a Skin Fade on a young boy. As barbers we know and understand sometimes that when cutting a child’s hair we may need to be bent over and crouched if we can’t bring the chair up any higher. This is usually not a problem - however, as this haircut was a Skin Fade (on a child) it took double the amount of time due to the above reasons (soft, sensitive scalp fine hair) and being such a detailed haircut to do while the child was getting irritated from the haircut proved to not be an easy task. By the end of the haircut, this barbers back had knotted up and he could barely move, putting him out of action for the rest of the week. As we are sure you can understand, we cannot have this happen again.
We try and make the haircut experience for kids as comfortable as possible, but it is unfair for the kids to have a hairstyle that is much more uncomfortable and irritating for them to receive compared to a standard haircut. We want the kids to be excited for their haircut, not scared because it hurts. Hence why we will no longer be able to offer Skin Fades on children under 10 years old. Please do not be deterred, as we have plenty of options for kids who still want a very short faded haircut. We offer a #0.5 fade or a #1 fade which will give the same effect and be very short, but these lengths use a guard on the clipper which protects your child’s scalp and is much more comfortable for them – not to mention it is a much more suitable haircut!
By all means, if you insist on your son getting a Skin Fade that is entirely and rightfully your choice. However, it is no longer something we will be offering to kids under 10 years old at our shop.
What Haircuts Will Suit My Son?
As you can see, we do not recommend skin or zero fades on kids for the above reasons. To work around this, we have found a #1, #2, or #3 length on the sides work a lot better. Like these pictures below:
You can also check out the videos below from our YouTube Video Series, and you will see a few different styles we have done on our young clients.
Thanks for reading! We hope this edition of #BarberTalk was of value to you and made you more educated when it comes to choosing the right haircut for your son!
Make sure to Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos showcasing the boys & men’s haircuts, beard trims and shaves we do here at New York Barbers on a daily basis.