I love this one! One of my readers wrote asking me: “A Venezuelan mother gave me advice about my daughter’s hair. Would you be able to confirm its accuracy? My daughter is a 3 month old, Hispanic with lots of jet black straight hair. The woman said it is tradition to shave the baby’s hair so it will grow in more thickly and evenly. What do you think?”
The Hispanic tradition of shaving the baby’s hair is true and old. Many call it: pelar, rapar, rasurar or afeitar al bebé. It is a tradition widely spread throughout many Hispanic countries. I know for sure in Venezuela, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Spain, Ecuador, and Mexico it is a common practice.
Why do we shave the baby’s hair? According to tradition, the new hair will grow thicker, more evenly, and beautiful. I personally did it! Yes, my son Ian was a month old and my sister “rapó” my baby while he was asleep.
My husband thought it was a strange tradition (he is a gringo), but he didn’t pose any objections. I have to say my son had a good amount of hair before shaving him. The hair grew back stronger, fuller and curlier. If you look at Ian’s pictures today, you can see his hair is completly different. It is straight, abundant and has a reddish tone to it.
Experts today explain that shaving your baby’s hair will not make it thicker or change its texture. Baby’s hair changes depend on the normal development of the child, and his genetic make-up.
When researching the answer for this question, I couldn’t find any studies supporting the results of thicker and more abundant hair after shaving the baby’s head.
There is no information explaining where we picked up this tradition from. I do know that indians in many zones of Central and South America still shave their baby’s head at birth.
We should not be surprised about this tradition since we are not the only culture that has it. Shaving the baby’s head in the seventh day is a common practice amongst some Sunnah Islamic followers. They consider recommendable to shave the baby’s head and give its weight in silver or gold to charity. Let’s not forget our traditions come from Spain which was occupied by Muslims many moons ago. Maybe that is the origin of the tradition…
How to Shave Your Baby’s Head
- Clean your baby’s head/hair normally as you do everyday.
- You can use a manual razor blade but I prefer an electric shaver, also called an electric head clipper. Use it without the plastic guard to cut the hair as short as possible.
- Make sure the room is warm and your baby has no clothing so the hair doesn’t stay in the garments and causes itching.
- I found it easiest to shave from the hair line to the back, in small sections.
- Make sure the shaver is well oiled to avoid hair getting stuck causing the clipper to “chew” your baby’s hair.
- Give your baby a bath after shaving him to sooth him and clean any hair that reached his body.
Head Shaving Equipment
Here are the three hair clippers I recommend because of its strength and versatility. They are very precise AND one of them in cordless, which means no getting entangled with little ones that move a lot!
I would love to hear from anybody who knows the origins of this Hispanic tradition from a reliable source. Still until today, many Hispanics keep shaving their baby’s head.