It's one thing when your daughter has rock-star-long locks. It's another altogether when it's your son: He might not be as motivated to maintain his mane. Some ways to help him keep long hair neat and tidy:
- Insist that he keep it clean with a shampoo that's formulated for his hair type. At this increasingly oily age, that could mean washing it a lot.
- Be salon selective: Bypass the barber shop and find a hair stylist who knows what to do with long tresses. It may cost a bit more per visit, but since you won't have to go as often for trims, you could come out even in the long run.
- Don't fight mother nature: Make sure the stylist respects your son's hair type. For instance, long layers work well for super-curly locks and serious cowlicks by weighing down the hair so it doesn't stick up, says Gary Croteau, director of education for Boston-based Salon Mario Russo. Fine, straight hair looks great with textured layers around the ears and longer side-swept bangs—think Zac Efron.
- Skip styling products: Give him a bottle of spray-on, leave-in conditioner instead. It'll smooth after-shampoo tangles and (unlike sticky, goopy gels) give your kid the "I care, but I don't" look that he's going for, says Croteau.