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Is it wrong to curl my son's hair?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I really need some advice please.

My 12 year old son has near shoulder length hair. The last couple of times he has had his hair trimmed, I've taken him to my stylist rather than the ol' barbershop that his Dad used to take him to before he started to grow it.

My stylist thinks longer hair really suits him (she loves long hair on guys anyway) but likes styled hair, not unkempt hair. She told me that she'd really like to see him grow it to mid-back length and then have a spiral perm when he starts college; she thinks that would be totally awesome. Anyway, my question....

His hair lacks body etc. My stylist is adjusting the cut, but she thinks it could do with some help and she's suggested a body perm, but maybe not just yet. She suggested I play around a little bit at home with his hair, using a curling iron, or some heated rollers, or even regular rollers after washing his hair sometime. She said she could do it in the salon, but that it may be better to try things at home first. My skills aren't that great, but I am willing to give it a try.

So.... I am shopping with my mom on Tuesday and since she has more experience than me with rollers, I ask her which ones she thinks would be best as we pass the hair care section. She asked me what I wanted to do with my hair and said she could do it for me, and then I explained it was for my son, Kelly. She then starts telling me how I can't go and curl his hair, how he is a boy etc, how I am a bad mom for being so stupid and so on and so on.

I didn't buy the rollers with her, but today, I thought to myself how stupid this was and I got myself all fired up went out and got both some velcro rollers and also some hot rollers (I have a curling iron already for my own hair). They are sitting in my closet in a plastic bag right now, unopened and I am doubting myself again.

Am I being silly? Am I really going to "corrupt" my son by curling his hair, putting a few waves/some extra body into it? If so, I guess I had better stop before I start, but I can't hardly believe it. Finally, if I am being silly and should just go ahead, any suggestions for introducing my son to something unusual, and I guess something he might consider more feminine related to his hair? I'd like him to enjoy this experience too and reassure him about this.


post #2 of 24
Have you or your stylist discussed this with your son? Does he like his hair long and how does he feel about how it looks now? If he's fine with it the way it is, then I'd just leave it. However, if he is open to the idea of curling it, then I don't see anything wrong with it. It's his hair, not yours and not your mom's. His opinion should really be the only one that matters.
post #3 of 24
why not just go with the unkempt look? its cute too. as a 12 yr old girl, i couldn't even stand "doing" my hair. what does he think of his hair, how does he like his hair to look? what are some of his friend's hair like? i say, ask him, since its his hair. jmo

oh! christa, we posted at the same time... so, what she ^ said

also, i still spend VERY little time on my hair... & it looks good (not ego) jsut that other people tell me that. i had to search hard for a good enough stylist who knows exactly what type of cut i need for the hair i have, straight & fine - & he does cut it so that right out of the shower i give it some hand-crimping as it air dries, i don't own a brush or comb... shake it a little, then some product when its dry. its kind of a pixie cut now, but he's cut it a little longer & it still has body. who knew, all of those years of being annoyed by my hairtype & all along it was just the cut! i use hairspray & wax at times, but never any dryer, roller, curler instruments at all.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the very quick response to both of you.

Kelly wants long hair, but is a bit frustrated by how long it takes to grow. He sees pictures of guys (and girls) and knows girls with long hair, and he wishes his was like theirs already. He is in one of the more awkward phases right, and we are in the should we keep shorter bangs or grow them out totally debate. I wouldn't say his hair is messy/unkempt, but my mom nags him a bit on it anyway. He does wear it in a ponytail, or a half tail sometimes.

My stylist wondered if he might feel a bit shy about it if she sprang this on him which is why she talked with me first. He is a bit shy. I've not really talked it over with him yet either. I was thinking of approaching and trying more or less at the same time; showing him how it could look and letting him make a decision on whether he liked it or not after that.

I do know what you mean number572. My mom "did" my hair every weekend. But I also have to admit that it was a nice bonding time between us. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that it would be totally awesome to even get close to sharing that kind of bonding quiet time with Kelly too. But that isn't the main driver for me, it's just an added bonus if he enjoys it too.

post #5 of 24
In that case, I think that I'd give it a try and see what he thinks unless he totally balks at the idea when you present it. If he doesn't like it or feels embarassed, just wash it out and don't do it again.
post #6 of 24
I don't think I would suggest curling the hair of a 12-year-old boy. Actually, I wouldn't suggest it for any boy or man, who matter what age. Now I realize that I have a "gender appropriateness" stereotype that I never knew I had before! Sorry, I guess I do! I'm getting an image of friends finding out, and it being a real laughing matter. No, my reaction is, there has to be someone that could cut it in a way that would be flattering for straight hair. I have very straight hair, and I have two teenage daughters, and we just try to get our hair styled in a way that works with the hair we have.
post #7 of 24
I've seen lots of boys who had gorgeous hair that must have been styled. This month's cover of (gag) Parent's magazine has such a boy. I think it should be up to him, and it sounds like maybe he might say yes, since he has already said he wants his hair to look nicer. I would approach it just as "I can work on your hair if you want" kind of thing, rather than a "Would you feel too girly if I curled your hair?" approach. His call.
post #8 of 24
Originally Posted by laohaire
I've seen lots of boys who had gorgeous hair that must have been styled. This month's cover of (gag) Parent's magazine has such a boy.
But that's a magazine cover. Isn't that different?

(I can feel myself being really -- what's the word? Un-PC? - on this one. I just can't see a boy curling his hair.)
post #9 of 24
I agree with the pps who recomended asking your son what he thinks and who suggestested finding someone who can really work with your son's hair type. I have staight, fine hair and won't go to anyone who tells me a product, perm or more that five minutes primping time on my hair. It's in dreads now (yeah for me now I don't even have to brush it!), but I kept it long and nice looking for years without a lot of fuss with the help of good hair cuts.
If your son wants to add body but not curl it, put it in a bun at the base of his neck slightly damp before he goes to bed. Lovely waves in the morning.
post #10 of 24
I would try and find an easy style for him. I dont like the idea of boys or girls spending so much time primping - when they coudl use that time playing basketball or reading or whatever. And i have to say it sucks but i think if a middle school age boys peers found out about the hair curling/perming he would be teased : My little brother has hair down to his mid back it is all one length- he wears it in a ponytail most days. It looks great on him up or down. the hardest part was the growing out the bangs phase which he did over summer so he could start school with semi manageable hair.He is 25 now and has had it long for about 20 years!

I would say do what feels most cmfortable for him
post #11 of 24
I would only do it if my son specifically requested it. I wouldn't even suggest it. I think curling his hair is a good way to get him teased, unfortunately. Why does his hair need body?

Also, care to introduce yourself? Noticed you're new here.
post #12 of 24
It's completely up to your son. Your mom needs to mind her own business. (Curling his hair is NOT going to turn him gay if that's what your afraid of)
post #13 of 24
My husband got a perm for body (I want to say it was a wavy - not curly - perm) when he was a senior in high school. I'm pretty sure, having seen pictures and talking to him about it, that he would have preferred to have mom or someone try curlers or curling irons at home first to see what it would have really looked like than getting stuck with the perm for awhile. Thankfully, he has very fine, straight hair and it didn't hold well for long.

I'd run it past your son - letting him know that curlers/iron or whatever could be done on a Friday night that he's home (no school the next morning if he's not homeschooled), and if he doesn't like the way it looks, it can be washed out the next morning before he goes outside and anyone sees it. If he likes it, then it's time to try it a few more times and consider a perm. Just remember that a spiral perm won't necessarily mean perfect spiral curls out of the shower (*my* senior picture is proof of that ) - perms can still take a lot of work and up-keep to get that perfect hair day look.
post #14 of 24
I used to cut my son's hair and even though I prefer longer hair on both genders, I do miss the closeness of haircut day.

Since Kelly is trying to grow his hair waist-length or longer, I kind of cringe at the thought of using heat or perms to curl it, though. Curling irons, hot rollers, chemicals etc. are very damaging to the hair, which isn't such a big deal if you wear it short, since the part of the hair that receives the heat/chemical is going to be cut off in a few months anyway.

I'd always considered my own hair and my son's to be straight as string and my dd's to be more "messy" than "curly" until she started using some of the natural hair care methods in Lorraine Massey's Curly Girl book:


and The Long Hair Community forums:


such as finger combing, oiling, and conditioner washes. dd now has the most gorgeous waist-length curls, I have definite waves, and ds is sporting a "great big white boy afro".

If the natural waves just aren't there, you might want to try braiding his hair at night (I did lots and lots of little braids when I was 13 and it would have allowed plenty of mother-kid bonding time) or using rag curlers, which are easier to sleep on than rollers.

I wouldn't worry too much about the negative comments from your mother; more than likely, she's like my parents and very set in her preferences. The more you talk about it, the nastier the conversations will become and it's best to just say something dispassionate along the lines of,

"So am I understanding correctly that you prefer short hair on boys, Mom?"

"Yes, I do, and I can't stand they way you....."

"Well, Kelly prefers to wear his hair long right now and I think it looks quite nice. But enough about hair. Do you want to stop for a bite to eat or just go straight to the beach?"

There's a long, long thread here about boys with long hair I'm going to see if I can't find and bump for you, Kristin.
post #15 of 24
I say ask him what he wants. Its his hair and even with a perm it is a lot of work to keep it looking nice (I was appauled at how much work my perm was. With that kind of work I could have coxed my natrual curl out : ) I would be hesitant to go to that much trouble for a boy or girl honestly. I'm kinda a learn to love what you got sort of person.

but one way or another it is none of your moms business. it also isn't so much tyour job to decide. either ask him about it or wait until he asks you. trust me guys talk about this sort of thing, they are aware that they can get a perm and if he wants it he will ask you. I personally would never suggest any sort of complicated hair style for anyof my children regardles of length or how cute it would look. I am sure my ds would look great with curley permed hair but I have no inclination to pay for or mess with it. or do anything that harsh to thier heads.
post #16 of 24
I just think it's weird, but do what you want.
post #17 of 24
Originally Posted by Artisan
I would only do it if my son specifically requested it. I wouldn't even suggest it. I think curling his hair is a good way to get him teased, unfortunately.
My opinion also.
post #18 of 24
Perms seem to be all the rage for teen and college age guys now. The curly/messy/frat-boy-who-just-rolled-out-of-bed look is really in. One of the hottest guys I knew in high school had naturally messy/curly hair and he came to school with it still wet every day. Man it was hard not to tackle him!

If he got a perm he/you wouldn't have to curl it, but you'd also have to have it straightened or wait for it to grow out if he doesn't like it. Maybe give him a water perm and see how he likes it? You just use the perm rods on damp hair but don't use any perm solution and it lasts until you wash it.
post #19 of 24
I don't see anything in this post about your son's feelings on the matter.

Seems to me you shouldn't plan to do something that outrageous without consulting him. At the least, if this got out, he would horribly teased by his peer group.
post #20 of 24
I think a 12yo is old enough to decide for himself how he'd like his hair.
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