What’s Big in Kids’ Hair Care for 2012

By Kate Silver

From natural shampoos and ‘Groovy Goo’ to hair tinsel, big barrettes and the ‘Big Time Rush’ look, kids will be on the cutting edge in 2012.

The hot words for hair and hair accessories in 2011 were “feathers,” “pink,” and “The Justin Bieber” (followed by “the haircut formerly known as the Justin Bieber”).

With 2012 just around the corner, we polled kids’ hair-care specialists across the country to find out what to look forward to in the coming year. In sum, expect to see their hair accessories big, their hawks “faux” and their products natural (and smelling like bananas).

This is what else we found:


For older girls, the face-framing long layers are in, says Theresa Lamb, manager of Pigtails & Crewcuts in Glenview, Illinois, and so are hair tinsels—shiny, metallic strands that are tied into the hair by a stylist. Those clamp-on feathers, seen on everyone from Steven Tyler (who’s credited with bringing the plumes to fame) to Jennifer Love Hewitt, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Hilary Duff are losing their allure with the tween crowd, but the trend isn’t over yet, according to Lamb. “I think the younger girls are starting to get more into the feathers now, because they’ve seen older siblings wearing them.”

Also popular for girls: The classic bob and braids, including waterfall and fishtail braids.

Boys spent the last year striving to be Justin Bieber—even long after Justin Bieber had moved on to a less mussed look. But now, the boys are asking to look like the guys on the Nickelodeon series, “Big Time Rush. “It’s actually similar to the Justin Bieber,” admits Lamb. In addition, faux hawks and skater-like mushroom cuts are popular. But most of all, Lamb says she focuses on doing whatever works best with the lad’s hair. “A lot of younger boys have cowlicks, so you have to work around that and give them a style that’s good for them,” says Lamb.

Hair Accessories

Big is better, when it comes to hair accessories—and just about every girl is will be accessorizing their hair in 2012. Kara Dahn, coowner of Queen Bee Barrette, based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, says that large barrettes, fluffy flowers and bold, classic bows are a way of making a feminine statement. “It’s girly, it’s like high fashion,” she says. Popular colors for the coming year include ivory, pink, orange, brown with polka dots, animal prints and anything metallic or glittery.

Annie Sayer, co-founder of No Slippy Hair Clippy, Inc., based in Vacaville, California, says that she’s seeing an increased interest in headbands in all age groups—from babies through adults. Sayer says she expects bright colors with fun and whimsical themes to be a big hit in hair accessories in 2012. “People really want to dress their kids bright and fun,” says Sayer. “Parents want to brighten things up, because things have been hard the last few years,” she says. By spending just $5 to $10, adds Sayer, hair accessories are a simple way take an outfit to the next level and make a statement without spending a fortune.

Hair Products

For years, parents expected kids to share their adult hair products, assuming that hair of all ages had the same needs. Now, kids have access to kid-centric lines, made with high-quality ingredients to keep their hair pure and free from chemical damage. Dick Hegener, president of Custom Formulations, a hair care manufacturing company based in Cologne, Minnesota, says that parents are really embracing more natural products aimed specifically at kids, including styling aids (i.e. hair-spiking balm), like Pigtails & Crewcuts’ Groovy Goo. He said that busy moms on the go gravitate towards Pigtails & Crewcuts’ No No Knots, a detangling spray that makes it easy (and painless) to make sense of bed head, without shampooing, and kids are also drawn to products for their inviting scents, like the strawberry-scented Pigtails & Crewcuts Berries and Bows conditioner and grape-like Goofy Grape shampoo.

Scott Knapp, account executive with Circle of Friends, which is based in Los Angeles, says that shampoo scents such as raspberry and pineapple have also developed a huge following, and he expects banana to be a popular scent in 2012. In addition, Circle of Friends, which specializes in gentle kids shampoo that is free of harsh chemicals, including sodium lauryl sulfates, will be coming out with a new product aimed at kids that’s similar to Moroccan oil, giving the hair a beautiful finishing shine. “This is something that’s grown tremendously in the adult category,” says Knapp. “Moroccan oil is everywhere.”

Knapp adds that the place that Circle of Friends is seeing the most growth is the lice prevention category. That’s right—prevention. “In the past, when you were dealing with lice, you were dealing with treatment,” says Knapp. “It’s been proven time and again that people are getting more sophisticated, as they realize there are ways of actually preventing lice from getting into the home.” Circle of Friends sells a line of products that combine tea tree oil, lavender and other oils that actually repel lice. “If there is a lice outbreak and the children are using our products, they will not get lice,” says Knapp.