When Do Babies’ Hair Start to Curl? Understanding Baby Hair Texture and Genetics

Watching a baby’s hair change can be fascinating. One moment it’s silky straight, and the next, you notice a hint of a curl. Many parents wonder when these adorable curls will make their debut.

From my experience, the timeline for when a baby’s hair starts to curl varies greatly. Some babies may show signs of curly hair within the first few months, while others might take a bit longer. Genetics play a significant role in this process, but environmental factors can also influence hair texture. Understanding when and why these changes occur can help you appreciate and care for your little one’s evolving locks.

Key Takeaways

  • Hair Texture Evolution: Babies’ hair texture changes significantly in the first few years, moving from fine, silky infant hair to a more permanent texture, often showing signs of curls between six and twelve months.
  • Genetic Influence: Genetics play a crucial role in determining whether a baby’s hair will curl. Parents with curly hair are more likely to have curly-haired babies.
  • Environmental Impact: Environmental factors such as humidity and temperature can influence curl formation, with moisture enhancing curls and dry conditions leading to straighter hair.
  • Identifying Curl Development: Early signs of hair curling include soft waves around the temples and nape, progressing to ringlets, especially observable after a bath.
  • Curly Hair Care: Managing curly baby hair involves using gentle techniques like wide-tooth combs, moisturizing conditioners, and avoiding heat styling tools to keep curls defined and healthy.
  • Essential Hair Products: Use sulfate-free shampoos, hydrating conditioners, leave-in conditioners, detangling sprays, and soft towels to maintain and enhance curly hair in babies.

Understanding Baby Hair Texture Changes

How Infant Hair Texture Evolves With Age

Baby hair texture evolves significantly in the first few years. Initially, many newborns exhibit fine, silky hair. This “lanugo” sheds within weeks, giving way to a second phase of hair growth. By six to twelve months, hair texture often begins to change, showing signs of coarseness or curl development. Around two years old, children’s hair tends to settle into a more permanent pattern, although slight changes can continue as they age.

Factors Influencing Hair Texture in Babies

Several factors influence hair texture. Genetics play the most significant role. If parents have curly hair, there’s a higher likelihood their baby will develop curls too. Hormonal changes also impact hair texture. During infancy, fluctuating hormone levels can cause hair to change in thickness and texture. Environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, affect curl formation. Moist environments can enhance curliness, while dry conditions may lead to straighter hair.

By understanding these elements, caregivers can better manage and embrace their child’s evolving hair texture.

When Do Babies’ Hair Start to Curl?

Identifying the Signs of Curling

Parents can notice early signs of hair curling in their baby by observing subtle changes in hair texture. These changes often start with soft waves forming around the baby’s temples and nape. As the waves become more pronounced, you can see tiny ringlets beginning to shape, particularly after a bath when the hair is wet. Noticing increased definition and separation in hair strands is another indicator. Observing these signs helps parents anticipate curly hair development.

Typical Age Range for Hair Curl Development

Babies generally start to develop curls between six and twelve months old. By this age, the initial lanugo hair has shed, and the new texture begins to emerge. Genetics play a significant role in determining whether a baby’s hair will curl. Hormonal changes during this period can also influence hair texture. By the time children reach their second birthday, their hair pattern, including curls or waves, becomes more defined and permanent.

Caring for Curly Baby Hair

Essential Tips for Managing Curly Hair

Managing curly baby hair requires gentle techniques. Curly hair tends to be more delicate than straight hair. Using fingers or a wide-tooth comb to detangle minimizes breakage. Detangle the hair while it’s damp and use a moisturizing conditioner to reduce friction. For thick curls, section the hair to make detangling easier.

Leave-in conditioners keep curls hydrated and defined. Apply a small amount evenly throughout the hair to lock in moisture. Avoid using heat styling tools as they can damage the natural curl pattern. Instead, allow the hair to air dry after gently patting it with a soft towel.

Curly hair can tangle quickly. Maintain a regular hair care routine that includes gentle washing, conditioning, and detangling sessions. Limit washing to no more than twice a week to prevent the hair from drying out.

Recommended Products and Tools

Selecting the right products for curly baby hair is essential. Opt for products specifically designed for curly hair to enhance and maintain the curls. Here are some recommendations:

  • Shampoo: Choose sulfate-free shampoos, which are gentler on delicate hair. These shampoos keep natural oils intact, reducing dryness.
  • Conditioner: Use hydrating conditioners that contain natural oils like coconut or argan oil. They help in detangling and moisturizing.
  • Leave-in Conditioner: Look for products that provide long-lasting moisture and define curls. Ensure they are free from harsh chemicals.
  • Detangling Spray: Use a detangling spray to ease the combing process. Sprays with natural ingredients reduce the risk of irritation.
  • Wide-Tooth Comb: A wide-tooth comb or detangling brush is essential for minimizing breakage and making detangling sessions smoother.
  • Soft Towel: Use a soft, microfiber towel to gently pat the hair dry. This reduces frizz and maintains the curl pattern.

Incorporating these tools and products into the hair care routine helps maintain healthy, defined curls and keeps a baby’s scalp hydrated.

Genetics and Baby Hair Curling

The Role of Genetics in Hair Texture

Genetics significantly influence a baby’s hair texture, including whether it curls. Hair traits pass down from parents and can skip generations. If one or both parents have curly hair, the likelihood of the baby having curls increases. Genes dictate the shape of hair follicles, with oval or asymmetrical ones leading to curly hair and round ones resulting in straight hair. While genetic predispositions form the basis, environmental factors like climate and humidity also affect how hair behaves.

Can You Predict if Your Baby’s Hair Will Curl?

Predicting if a baby’s hair will curl isn’t straightforward, though clues exist. Family history offers the most reliable indicator. Observe close relatives with curly hair, including parents, grandparents, and siblings. Early signs might also appear in the form of soft waves or tiny ringlets, especially around the temples and nape. However, final hair texture often evolves over several months as initial lanugo hair sheds and more permanent strands grow in.


Understanding when a baby’s hair starts to curl can be a fascinating journey. While genetics play a crucial role in determining hair texture, environmental factors also have their say. Observing early signs and considering family history can give you some hints. By around two years old, you should see more defined and permanent curls if they’re in the cards. Remember to use gentle techniques and suitable products to keep those adorable curls healthy and hydrated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What determines if a baby’s hair will be curly?

Genetics primarily determine if a baby’s hair will be curly. Hair traits are inherited from the parents and can even skip generations.

Can a baby with straight-haired parents have curly hair?

Yes, it’s possible for a baby to have curly hair even if both parents have straight hair, as genetic traits can skip generations.

What are the early signs that a baby will have curly hair?

Early signs include soft waves and a change in hair texture as the baby grows. The hair may start to show more curl as it sheds the initial lanugo hair.

How does the shape of hair follicles affect hair texture?

The shape of hair follicles influences hair texture. Round follicles tend to produce straight hair, while oval or asymmetrical follicles produce curly hair.

Do environmental factors affect baby hair texture?

Yes, environmental factors like climate and humidity can impact how a baby’s hair behaves and its overall texture.

When do baby curls become more permanent?

Baby curls usually become more defined and permanent by around two years old.

How should I manage my baby’s curly hair?

Use gentle techniques and appropriate products to maintain healthy, hydrated curls and scalp. Avoid harsh chemicals and excessive heat.

Can I predict if my baby will have curly hair based on family history?

While not always accurate, observing family history can provide clues. If curly hair is prevalent in your family, your baby might inherit it.

Do babies’ hair textures change over time?

Yes, babies often shed their initial lanugo hair, and their hair texture can evolve, becoming more pronounced and defined around two years of age.