Skip to main content

Is your toddler’s hair growing slowly? Here are some tips to promote hair growth

Healthy hacks for toddler hair growing slow

Mom brushing small amount of hair on a toddler
Larysa Dubinska/Shutterstock

You’ve read the books and learned early on why it’s important to brush your baby’s hair regularly, as it has many benefits. As you draw near the 1-year-old mark, you realize your toddler’s hair is growing slowly, or not at all. Is there a range of what’s normal for baby and toddler hair growth? Yes! Some babies are born with a full head of hair while others come into the world with a bald head. This is because of a baby’s individual DNA. So, there’s no need to stress either way.

It’s completely normal for babies to have very little to no hair during their first year. After their first birthday comes and goes, you may wonder why there’s no active hair growth. Many factors determine how fast hair grows. If your baby is still sporting wispy strands by the time they are in the toddler stage, there’s probably no need to worry.

Toddler hair growing slow

It’s always easy to stress when you see other kiddos at the playground with luscious locks and your toddler’s hair doesn’t seem to be getting any longer. Most babies will grow their hair between 6 months old and their first birthday. Remember, though, there is a range with some taking 18 to 24 months to really start to grow their hair.

A baby’s hair follicles will mature at their own rate. Genetics plays a big part in a toddler’s hair growth. Red flags to be on the lookout for when it comes to a toddler’s hair growing slowly are circular areas of loss or if your child’s hair is falling out in patches. Fungal infections can cause issues with toddler hair loss and circular hair loss can be caused by an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata. Talk to your pediatrician right away if you’re noticing hair loss in your toddler.

Most toddler hair growing slowly is nothing to worry about, though. If you’re wondering if there’s anything to do to help your little one’s hair grow, we have some helpful tips for toddler hair growth.

Brushing baby's hair

Use gentle products that won’t irritate your toddler’s skin

No matter what products you decide to use, it’s vital to avoid unnecessary and harsh chemicals that can damage your toddler’s hair and scalp. Try finding shampoos and conditioners with natural ingredients but read the labels carefully. Just because a product says it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe for your baby’s delicate hair and skin.

Avoid ingredients like fragrance, phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde. Look for natural oils like coconut, avocado, and jojoba oils, which are all rich in oleic and linoleic acids that promote hair growth and prevent damage.

Baby in bathtub
Onjira Leibe/Shutterstock

Stick to a schedule but space hair washings apart by two or three days

While little ones may need daily baths after playing all day, it’s best to shampoo every two to three days. Natural oils called sebum produced by the scalp help promote growth and keep hair healthy. Babies often develop cradle cap from buildup. So, it’s important to continue to wash regularly. Make sure to massage with the tips of your fingers to remove dry skin that can prevent hair growth.

Brushing a toddler's hair
Mladen Mitrinovic/Shutterstock

Keep strands conditioned to maintain hair’s moisture

It’s important to never skip conditioner even though your baby may have minimal hair. Shampoo can strip away moisture while cleansing, which can lead to breakage. A good conditioner restores moisture to your baby’s hair, which, in turn, promotes growth. This is extra important for curly-haired kiddos whose hair is more prone to dryness and breakage.

Mom drying a toddler's hair

Choose gentle fabrics that won’t snag your toddler’s hair

The two materials that touch your baby’s head most often are towels and pillowcases. Rougher fabrics can cause breakage, so it helps to use soft, gentle ones. Gently pat dry with a soft towel and never rub the head when drying. A rough towel can damage the existing hair as well as those delicate baby hair follicles.

A silk pillowcase helps prevent tangles and keeps hair silky smooth no matter how much they toss and turn. This can also help with that telltale bald spot on the back of the head that often appears in early infancy from moving the head back and forth while lying down.

Parent brushing a baby's hair

Use a soft brush or comb to gently get tangles out

Choosing the right tools is crucial to helping your toddler’s hair grow longer. A wide-tooth comb or a soft bristle brush is all you need when the hair is fine and soft. You can gently run the comb over the scalp to stimulate hair growth, too. For tangles, start at the ends and work your way up.

Baby getting hair combed.
Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock

Add a scalp massage to stimulate follicles

Massage your toddler’s scalp with your fingers during shampooing or after bath time as a relaxing wind down before bed. Using light to medium pressure in a circular motion helps stimulate the hair follicles by bringing blood to the area. Add some coconut oil to boost the growth.

Baby with peanut butter on their face
Hafiez Razali/Shutterstock

Boost vitamin intake to encourage hair growth

You can help your baby’s hair grow from the inside out by adding hair-friendly foods. Healthy fats, protein, and vitamin E from nut butters (especially almond and peanut butter), chia seeds, eggs, salmon, and avocado all help strands grow.

Drizzle flax and avocado oil over veggies for an added omega boost. You can also add spinach, lentils, and blueberries, which are packed with folate and antioxidants. Lastly, think orange. carrots, sweet potatoes, citrus, cantaloupe, and mangos, which are filled with vitamins A and C that stimulate sebum production to help keep hair silky.

toddler eating vegetables
New Africa/Shutterstock

Try a probiotic for nutrition absorption and optimal results

Again, working from the inside out can be beneficial when your toddler’s hair is growing slowly. An imbalance of gut flora can occur for many reasons, ranging from the type of birth your baby had to whether your baby is taking prescribed antibiotics.

The body has difficulty absorbing nutrients when there is too much bad bacteria and too little good bacteria. Those healthy foods listed above are only as effective as your toddler’s ability to absorb them. Ask your pediatrician for a recommendation for a good probiotic to get your baby’s gut health on track.

Toddler drinking water

Hydrate to avoid breakage and dry hair

Little ones can be so busy during the day that they may not reach their optimal water intake. Make sure your baby is drinking plenty of water. The recommendation is four to six glasses a day, but of course, check with your healthcare provider for your particular child’s needs. Hydrated hair is happy hair!

Lastly, patience! Hair generally grows half an inch to an inch per month, which means results definitely won’t appear overnight. With diligence and following the tips above, you can help maximize that monthly growth. When in doubt, ask your pediatrician if you think your toddler’s hair is growing slowly or if you notice any red flags like hair falling out in patches.

Editors' Recommendations

Natalie Ehrlich
Former Digital Trends Contributor
If you love Disney, these are the motivational quotes to complete your nursery decor
Decorating the nursery or redoing a bedroom? These motivational quotes for kids will fit right in
A crib with nursery decor hanging above it

Decorating a nursery for the first time, redoing a kid's room with a new theme, or wanting art added to your child's bedroom? Motivational quotes are always the way to go. If you're stuck with where to pull inspiration from, how about your kiddo's favorite Disney characters? Disney-loving families will find the perfect motivational quotes for kids to help keep their focus on the positive side of things while leaning on them as room decor.
To remind your child it's all about their attitude
A child is never too young to learn how to work out a problem on their own, and it's never too early to help them have a positive attitude when working through an issue. These Disney characters have the right attitude.
"The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem." -- Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)
"The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work." -- Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)
"You control your destiny -- you don’t need magic to do it. And there are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems." -- Merida (Brave)
To remind your kid they are the only one of them out there
We all think our child is the most precious creature alive. And while we are all correct, hang one of these quotes in their nursery or bedroom to remind them daily.
"Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it." -- Elastigirl (The Incredibles)
"I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." -- Alice (Alice in Wonderland)

To remind them that taking a risk is always worth it
From the first step to the first day of school to the first activity they want to sign up for, every risk your child takes is worth it. Most children love risk-taking anyway, so foster that fearlessness by hanging these quotes up around their room.

Read more
10 treats for your toddler’s Easter eggs that aren’t candy
Fill your child's Easter eggs with these alternatives to sweets
A boy and girl having fun during an Easter egg hunt

Before you know it, the Easter Bunny will be hopping down the bunny trail, much to the excitement of toddlers far and near. That means it's time to get those Easter baskets and plastic eggs ready because it’s egg hunt time. Whether the egg hunt is in the backyard, park, or at school, little kids love participating in the fun activity. Parents, however, could do without the sugar rush that comes with all those chocolaty treats.

The good news is that Easter egg fillers for toddlers don’t always have to be chocolate and candy. There are a lot of fun alternatives to those sweet treats that make great surprises for your kids. Here are 10 treats for your toddler's Easter eggs that aren’t candy.

Read more
RSV, the flu, or COVID? What to know about the tripledemic to keep your kids safe
There are still weeks left of this winter, so know about the tripledemic in case your child gets one
Mother comforting a crying baby

Nicknamed the "tripledemic," the flu, RSV, and COVID all made a comeback among children in the last few months. What's more frustrating for parents -- other than having a sick child -- is the overlap between these three that makes it difficult to know which is which, so you know how to treat it.
Though numbers are starting to decline, there are still weeks of winter to go where your child could catch any of these viruses. Parents need to keep an eye on possible cases at home, and we're here to help by giving you all the information you need to know to keep your children healthy, with a little help from our expert, Board-Certified Pediatrician Dr. David Berger, founder of private practice Wholistic Pediatrics & Family Care.

What each virus is
The first step to dodging the tripledemic is to know what each virus is by itself.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a pretty common virus that almost every single child will catch by the time they turn 2 years old.

Read more