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Hair cut advice


Registered User
Aug 13, 2010
I saw Sherlock1066's question about hair washing and it's reminded me that on our next visit to M, I will have the task of trying to persuade her to have her hair cut. I hope Sherlock doesn't mind me tagging on to this theme.

Pre-dementia my M always had her hair cut at chin length. Now, due to a passing comment about how nice her hair looked after she'd had a bath - M is now refusing to have her hair cut.

I know for all of you this is probably the least of your worries with the person you are caring for but I was just wondering if people had experienced the same or have any tips.

It has become so long now, it generally looks untidy - this is no reflection on M's carers - but it has become unmanageable.

When family members have gently suggested she go to the hairdresser to have a 'little trim' she gets cross and upset. It's a shame as she took pride in her appearance and now looks unkempt and I feel loosing her dignity.

Giving a photo of how her hair it used to be didn't trigger her to want to change it - it was silly of me to think she would make that connection now.:(
She cried when she tried on some clothes she was given when she looked in the mirror a few months ago - and she tried to express that everything looked horrible - it was the clothes (she has put on a lot of weight) but also I don't think she sees 'herself' in the mirror anymore - would a haircut help? and should there be a full length mirror in her room?

The carers have the approach that if someone doesn't want to do something they don't have to and I'm not suggesting Mum is forced. However she appeared to enjoy having her hair dried by me last time I visited. I have no hair cutting skills whatsoever, but am seriously considering asking the carers if I could cut a few inches off, if M will let me - would it then show her - that it's 'OK' then she could go to the care home's hairdresser to have it neatened up?
Cutting a few inches wouldn't even be close to how she used to have it - that's how bad it's got:(

Would there be an issue bringing in scissors?

Thanks for listening


Registered User
Jan 20, 2014
I don't see why you shouldn't trim it a bit, if you comb/brush it and tell her you are just tidying the ends, then maybe do the same thing each week, until it is a manageable length? i guess trying to cut it dramatically might make her feel insecure. My mum's hair got to going over her eyes and I ended up taking scissors to it, I had no idea what I was doing but it had to be cut, couldn't get her to the hairdressers. I don't see why you should feel you need to ask the carers, tbh.

I wouldn't ask about taking in scissors, I'd just do it, as if you ask they might say no. But keep your eyes on them at all times and put them back in your bag as soon as you are done as it isn't just your mum who is at risk, someone else might get hold of them.


Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
South Staffordshire
Nothing is easy when dealing with dementia and small things become big things.

If she is getting upset when it is mentioned to her maybe have a word with the care home and book her in with the hairdresser. Say nothing to her and ask a carer to take her. She may just sit down and accept a hair cut if no fuss is made and there is only a carer there.

My husband is far more compliant with his carers than he is with me.



Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
Nothing is easy when dealing with dementia and small things become big things.

If she is getting upset when it is mentioned to her maybe have a word with the care home and book her in with the hairdresser. Say nothing to her and ask a carer to take her. She may just sit down and accept a hair cut if no fuss is made and there is only a carer there.

My husband is far more compliant with his carers than he is with me.


Helpful advice jaymor :)

But really I'm posting to say I love your strapline: "I keep hitting the escape key but I'm still here". Wow, that touches a nerve with me :D


Registered User
Oct 28, 2013
Hi meercat l have cut my husbands hair for 50 yrs but for the last year he will not allow me to cut it saying he has always cut his own hair, it looks a mess all one length he snips bits off the bottom looks awful but thats AD gets very cross if l suggest cutting it l give up the wind blows it all over the place which makes him cross l say get your hair cut then it wont blow no good doesn't listen hope this makes you laugh pamann

Sent from my GT-P5210 using Talking Point mobile app


Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
If the hair cutting upsets her I personally wouldn't do it, I might try seeing if she'd have it plaited, put in a bun, a French plait will last a couple of days. Perhaps how it is arranged rather then loose might be a compromise? Hair combs are a simple way of quickly tidying up hair, I use them myself. Just trying to think of alternatives.


Registered User
Mar 4, 2014
Hi. I used to have this with my Dad who had alzheimers. In the end I bought a pair of hair scissors from Boots and it became routine that I trimmed his hair every few weeks - which he seemed to accept, although trimming his moustache was a bit more tricky! I guess the question is why she needs to have a hairdresser haircut. Is it because it's how you want her to look? Or because the style is more complicated than a simple trim?

Sorry if that seems a bit rude, but with my Mum and her dementia I'm having to shift my thought process about how I want her to look and behave and what makes her content.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2011
book an appt with hairdresser for her and a carer to take her and say no more, make sure the hairdresser or carer knows what you want done.......if that doesn't work get some sharp scissors and trim ( inches not cm's.. be brave may be your only chance for a while) it yourself....


Registered User
Jan 17, 2014
My mum went through a phase about not having her cut. She's always had short hair then got it in her head about growing it long. She never combs it so don't know what it would have been like if was long. Just made the appointment at the hair dressers as usual and picked her up and went. It soon passed the phase of long hair thank goodness. Maybe just book the hair dresser and hope for the best. Good luck. lindaxx


Registered User
Feb 3, 2014
My MIL has gone for a wash & set every week since I've known her (30yrs). Recently it has got very long & I kept suggesting she had it cut. No cos it will need perming then, she said. Till in the end I rang the hairdresser and asked her to do it. I didn't tell MIL anything about it at all. When I took her last Friday I told the hairdresser that if she really objected, not to bother. I now have a neat & tidy MIL again.
I would book her in & see what happens?????


Registered User
Oct 18, 2010
North East England
There is a "salon" at Mum's CH....co-incidentally the hairdresser there is one she went to once or twice with her friends.
If/when Mum has a shower,the girls try to get her hair washed too, but she sometimes goes upstairs to have a shampoo and set and even a trim once in a while......IF she is awake when the hairdresser comes for her!!:rolleyes: She cooperates better for them than she does for me about that.
Make an appointment and start a week in advance saying " Hairdresser on Monday. Have YOU booked a cut and blow dry or a cut and set?" Then keep on mentioning it, praising her for having the good idea to use the CH hairdressers. If you can be there to go with her, it might be a good idea...then you can take a picture with you. After all it might be a while before it happens again.:rolleyes::D


Registered User
Jan 20, 2011
My mum became fearful of having her hair cut. The words CUT or TRIM scared her. It involves something sharp, it might hurt, and something is being taken away from your body. We just called it TIDYING, which can be done as part of a general grooming session. Start with a gentle smoothing with brush or comb, whichever is tolerated, then say "I'm just going to tidy this bit" and give it a snip with your scissors. Whisk the cut-off hair into a bin placed out of her eyeline. Don't go on beyond what she can easily tolerate. If small sections are trimmed over a few days the job gets done eventually.

We forget that having someone messing around with your head (externally :D ) is an invasion of personal space and doesn't feel pleasurable if you think it is a 'procedure' imposed on you rather than a pleasant tactile experience.


Registered User
Aug 13, 2010
I've done the deadly deed ;-)

A big, big thank you to everyone for their comments.

I decided to post the outcome as this may be useful to others who have same issue.

The reason behind having M's hair cut was because it had got very, very long - she has never had it this long previously and it was not a 'style' decision on her part.
It was difficult to manage for the carers, especially if M has to be bathed from big accidents, it actually annoyed my M when she went out as it blows everywhere and was making it difficult when getting dressed - caught in back of clothes and zips.

I liked the suggestion of hair slides, combs, or a gentle plait or bun, but this was not an option - M has always had a straight bob - no dying, no decoration, no hairdryer and refusal to pay high-street prices would go to the local training college and pay a fiver for a cut.

As soon as I arrived at the CH - 2 carers pleaded with me to try - they have been trying the tactic of booking into CH hairdresser but M would refuse - not sure at what point - but not being there I can't over question the lovely carers methods.

We had a tactical discussion - bringing scissors was not an issue or my inability to cut beautifully. they assured me any upset would be short-lived and felt the benefits would outweigh any upset.

So this morning I tried the 'It's Easter soon and it would be lovely to have a hair tidy, it would be cooler for the summer' etc etc
I had tears, frustrated hand bag throwing and cries of 'I don't know what to do'.

One tip - don't mention 'split ends' - goodness knows why I did after the tips not to mention the words 'cut' or trim' but one gets desperate for ideas!!

It certainly seemed to be an issue of fear of what was going to happen, her loss of control and 'it's my hair' - which stupidly I suggested she could keep it and not to worry it would grow back - all ridiculous things to say to someone with Alzheimer's.

M then kept on about having a hairdresser she never used - he died some years back so that took some explaining.

Somehow I managed to reassure her that it was 'me' doing it, and it wouldn't take long.
Tip2: I hid the bin behind the chair and made sure she didn't sees the cut off bits.

There was always the risk she may have become frightened once I started cutting but once I had gently combed and kept chatting - she was fine.

As for my hairdressing skills - I definitely won't be giving up my day job and may have to snip a few bits after her next bath this week.
Final say from my M
'I don't like it'

She then bloomed when the carers saw her and I know this will continue when different carers come on duty and her friends pop in.

I remain bad cop and bossy daughter :(