Hispanic Traditions Shaving Your Baby’s Head

My Sister Shaving Ian's Head (1 Month Old)

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 Sister Shaving Ian's Head (1 Month Old)

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.

Ian's hair in 2009...Very different from his baby hair

Ian’s hair in 2009…Very different from his baby hair

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.

Comments

  1. My baby is Going to be 3 months on the seventh of October…
    I really don’t mind shaving her head, but my father really wants me to since it is a tradition.

    Few things I worry about:

    • her soft spot; with the clippers, would it hurt her?

    • will her hair grow back fast? Bu her first yr?

    • Marcela Hede says:

      Hi Danitza-
      Your questions are vary valid. I can tell you my experience, my son’s soft spot didn’t suffer any changes or was hurt at all when my sister clipped his hair for the first time. His hair after that grew fast and beautiful! I think that was the best of all. It became strong and the color changed to an auburn tone. They say it may become darker. One thing is for sure, the fine thin hair vanished giving way to a very high quality hair.

      • Maria Herrera says:

        Hi Marcela,

        I too worry about the soft spot. I asked my pediatrician about the practice and she claimed trimming would not bother the soft spot. But she also said that the hair babies are born with falls out on its own around 4/5 months and the hair that grows in is often a different texture/color. I shaved my first two children and not my last two. I’d have to say there was no noticeable difference besides it grew in evenly on the two older kids. Being a cosmetologist, I’d have to disagree with your opinion that “thick” textured hair is “higher quality” than soft fine textured hair. It’s like comparing spaghetti pasta to angel hair pasta. Many adults that have fine textured hair often have thick hair. Thick vs thin is the amount of hair and fine vs coarse is the texture of hair.

        I love reading your posts! Keep up the great writing!

      • Marcela Hede says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience, it surely is valuable.

  2. Barbara Trujillo says:

    I had wanted to do the same with my child, but my husband said not to cut his hair till a year old. then called all over mexico for his relatives to tell me the same. they all told me it was bad luck. I called my relatives telling him that I needed to do it. In the end he won. If we have another child I will get to do it. I told him he loss his curls and has fine hair because he made me wait a year.

  3. My baby is 5 months old. Her hair is so thin. Everyone on her fathers side are bald with super thin hair. Today I am going to shave her. Everyone tells me not to or to wait for her first birthday….

    • Marcela Hede says:

      Hi Belinda– I would love to hear your experience after you go ahead and shave him. Let me know and I can publish it here. Have a wonderful new year’s celebration!

  4. We cut my son’s hair when he was 6 months. It grew back, but it’s very straight and it looks like fresh cut grass. Hahaha! Both my husband and I have wavy hair. Will it eventually change or should we try cutting it again?

  5. The tradition is Muslim..it’s a must to shave off baby’s hair when born in all Muslim countries…. that hair we believe is unclean hair….

    • Marcela Hede says:

      Hi Hira, this is very interesting. i believe the tradition could have passed from the moors that invaded Spain and remained there until 711 and then when the Spaniards came to South America they brought that tradition. That is only conjecture as I have not done any research.

  6. When babies are born whether you shave their head or not they will loose that baby hair and grow their real hair in. It could be lighter darker curlier. Very common tradition for Muslim and Hispanic but really won’t make any difference. My daughter is three and I have never cut her hair and it’s long thick black and curly.

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