For some kids, getting their hair cut is no big deal. For others, it is a major deal. When my younger son went for his first few haircuts at Cartoon Cuts, he screamed and flailed as I held him. I remember being so thankful that I was in a comfortable environment, and I knew I was with hair stylists who’d seen this outburst before. I’ve been to the Rockville location of Cartoon Cuts several times over the past seven years. On a recent visit, my three-year-old and I had a pleasant, relaxed experience (and we’re past the screaming stage!)
The Rockville outpost of Cartoon Cuts was renovated in June 2012, maintaining its primary color scheme while giving it a refreshed, open feel. With a prime location in Congressional Plaza, it’s between Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins. The strip mall also includes buybuy BABY, The Children’s Place, Child’s Play, Noodles & Company, Baja Fresh, Lebanese Taverna Cafe, and a bunch of other shops and eateries.
I’ve always done walk-in appointments, and the longest wait I can remember was 30 minutes. The waiting area is stocked with products and a few toys for sale, which can be tough to keep little ones from playing with. A TV with video games, a basket of books and toys, and a table with magnetic pieces are all meant to be played with.
My boys don’t get their hair shampooed for cuts, but my son asked me about the focal point of the store: a giant green elephant head, with a hose and sprayer for a trunk. It’s used for washing hair, and if requested, any customer can get shampooed.
Debbye was our stylist on our recent visit, and she got things off to a good start by asking my son which TV show he wanted to tune into while he climbed into a padded booster seat. (The store has four DVD players, and each of the 12 stylist stations has a TV that can be tuned to any of the four DVDs.) Debbye was great at explaining to my son what she was going to do next, letting him feel the clippers before using them on him — though honestly he was in such a TV coma I don’t think he paid much attention.
At the end of our appointment, the stylist whispered to me if it was okay to give my son a lollipop (answer: yes!)
For parents seeking an environment where they’ll avoid glares if their child freaks out at getting a haircut, this is the place to go. The TVs can be a welcome distraction for kids who are entranced by screen time.
The Cartoon Cuts Rockville location is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 8pm; Saturday from 9am to 8pm; and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Saturday and Sunday are walk-in only. Monday to Friday is walk-in or by appointment. Call to book appointments in the evening and on weekends (the only time a receptionist is available). A basic cut and blow dry is $16.99. Nail polish application, ear piercing, updos, and several other services are also offered.
- Your best bet to avoid a wait for a walk-in appointment is when Montgomery County Public Schools are in session. And in general, lunchtime tends to not be as crowded as other times.
- If you sign up online for the Cartoon Cuts newsletter, you will get a $2 off coupon. I’ve also seen coupons in local parenting magazines, though not lately.
- With a Cartoon Cuts bonus card, you get a free haircut after your 11th one.
- Kids getting their first haircut get a keepsake: The stylist will snip a long dry lock and give it to you with a certificate marking the occasion.
- There is a bathroom in Cartoon Cuts, but it’s filled with supplies; the changing table rests perilously on a stand so use caution. Update: after reading the review, Cartoon Cuts maintenance is working on making sure the changing table is safe! Talk about speedy action!
- Congressional Plaza holds monthly Mommy & Me events from April through October, with kids’ activities in front of stores. Cartoon Cuts usually offers free kids manicures as part of the events.
- Cartoon Cuts participates in the Locks of Love program. Free haircuts are offered Tuesday to Thursday if you are donating your hair to Locks of Love!
- Birthday parties take place in the back half of the store (a temporary separator is put up) and include Princess, Rockin’ Rock Star, and Tropical Luau themes.