38 answers

Curly Hair - San Ramon,CA

Hello mamas...

You have all been so wonderful with your advice with previous questions, so hopefully I will have luck with this one.

My little princess has the curliest hair... I mean ringlets galore! :) Any hoo, we are looking for a good conditioner to keep her hair healthy. We use a Johnson & Johnson leave in at night after her bath and Johnson & Johnson detangler in the morning because she looks like a big ol' lion when she gets up. Her hair is beautiful but it appears to look a little dry. We need to wash her hair every day because her and my 3 yr old look like garbage pail kids by the end of the day from all the playing outside & rough housing....some days we could make a whole new sand box from all the sand in her hair. :) Any suggestions?

Thank you!

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Hi J., As a cosmetologist, I can tell you that Johnson & Johnson products, even for children, have very high ph levels, and leaving on overnight is not a good idea, as that's what's causing her hair to dry out. Go to a beauty supply store and ask for a low ph shampoo and conditioner suitable for children. Hope this advice helps, Sincerely, CJ

I use garnier fructise leave in conditioner on top of my conditioner because I have dry and fine hair. It could help.

Jojoba oil works really good for me. Plus, a little goes a long way and it is cheap! Also, leaves my hair shiny like Bio-silk.

More Answers

Please don't cut her hair! People pay good money for that hair. My daughter's hair is ringlet city too - even now that it's down to her butt - she will be getting it cut, but only to mid back. Anyway, when she was this age I stopped using kid products. They just didn't do the job. I know that's hard with not having a product that doesn't say "no more tears", but I pretty much trained her how to keep the soap out of her face while we washed it.

Sometimes the specialty stuff is just too expensive for constant use - we go through it so fast - my daughter not only has curly hair but it's super thick. My suggestions of drugstore brands: Garnier, Pantene, and Herbal Essenses for curly hair or moisture are good - shampoo and conditioner separately. I can't use any "bargain" brands on her like Suave, Dove or anything - doesn't work. My hairdresser had my using Infussium leave in a few years ago as well. Most other leave ins were not helpful. We also sometimes just take regular conditioner and work it through her hair and leave it there. Works just fine. My mother in law gives my daughter a few tubes at a time of conditioner from her hair coloring kits that are left over and those work really well, but they are a limited supply, so we don't count on those.

I also recommend only combing when it's wet. Use your fingers otherwise. I also braid her hair at night after the shower - when it's still damp so that the next morning when I take them out, I can style it and there aren't so many tangles (not so much in winter, but definitely in the warmer times of year). I was also once told that Satin pillow cases help tangles. Not sure how much I believe it - my daughter has satin sheets - but you can Google it and see what you think. I figured that it couldn't hurt to try it since she needed new sheets anyway.

I also only have her wash her hair every other day. It's getting tough now though because she's in 4th grade, and developing, playing sports and sometimes her hair is just stinky and sweaty and she has to wash her hair on back to back days. Good luck and enjoy the hair and compliments she gets.

Hi J.,

I am a hairstylist. Johnson and Johnson is not a good product. It is drying your babies hair. Look for natural products to use.

Wet her hair when you need to but do not use shampoo everyday. Too drying.

N. Marie

I use Garnier Fructis leave-in conditioner for curly hair in my son's hair to keep him from looking like Cramer on Seinfeld. It smells nice and doesn't seem to make his hair gloppy. Also I wash his hair 3X a week to keep it from frizzing and getting dry. For stuck in arts & crafts or a little blob of yogurt etc. I wipe his hair with a wet washcloth at bathtime to tide him over. Daily shampooing makes his scalp itchy and dry and really makes me tired!

You might want to consider cutting her hair short while she is in the "garbage pail kid" phase. You may love her pretty long curls, but she would most likely be happier with a short haircut, at least until she is a pre-teen. A short haircut would allow you to get the sand out (and whatever else is in there), by brushing her hair vigorously with a relatively stiff brush. Brushing will also carry her natural scalp oils out to the ends of her hair, and help with any tendency toward dryness. Washing her hair every day is just too drying for most conditioners or moisturizers to deal with, especially when her hair is long.

If you can't bring yourself to cut her hair, try some Black hair moisturizers. Many Black hair products have lots of oils and heavy duty moisturizers in them.

Or you might consider putting her hair in a ponytail or braids and covering it with a bandana while she is playing, although she may rip the bandana off and get dirty anyway. Good luck!

Www.kinky-curly.com. Enjoy

Wash as seldom as possible (in my house that is avg. every other night) And use leave-in conditioner afte. We brush and braid it before bed every night, this saves a good 1/2 hour of carefully brushing while she moans and cries in the morning. And I always use the squirt bottle to make the curls pretty!

Dear J.,
My daughter, Angel, also has been blessed with beautiful curly hair. She's an adult now and straightens it every day which just kills me. Women pay a lot of money to get that kind of hair. I let her hair grow very long and at night after her bath I combed her hair out and put it in a braid. That way, in the morning, all I had to do was take the braid out and run my fingers through her hair or use a "pick". ZERO TANGLES! You might think that the braid would make her hair frizzy, but it didn't and of course she had all kinds of hair pretties. It was a super easy solution, especially for during the week when she had to get ready for school in the mornings. For special occasions, I'd let her hair air dry so she could have her beautiful ringlets down to her fanny, but for day to day the braid at night was a lifesaver.
You didn't mention how long your daughters hair is and at 2, I'm guessing it's probably not all that long, but longer hair can actually be easier when it's curly. When my daughter was really little before her hair got long, I'd run a pick through it in the morning then use a squirt bottle to dampen her hair and arrange her curls.
I tried kid products but eventually just used adult conditioners. They worked better for her.

I wish you luck and I would let her hair grow. That way you can put it in ponytails or braids when she's playing and keep it more manageable.

Hi J.,

Coconut oil can be used, take a teaspoon full and rub into/around your palms then lightly incorporate it into towel dry damp hair- focusing on ends and not scalp (or the scalp will look greasy).
I use Coconul oil on my skin when I get out of the shower because I read that it restores the acid ph balance to the skin that soap strips off.
You can use a bigger amount of coconut oil once a week on hair for deep conditioning, going even to the scalp, letting it sit for a few hours, and then washing out.

The nice thing about raw virgin coconut oil is that is doesnt have any PARABENS in it which can give estrogen to the body. And a lot of hair products have isopropyl alcohol,
which one doctor claimed accumulates in the liver.

Paul Mitchell makes the best baby hair care products and will help keep your daughters hair healty. I loved the Paul Mitchell baby dont cry shampoo and contitioner, my daughters hair was healthy and shinny...not dry looking at all. This shampoo is a little spendy but WELL worth it and you only have to use a very small amount to get the beautiful results!!


check it out...i initially purchased the product for my biracial daughter but i tried it for my curls (i am not biracial) and loved it!


J & J is drying because they use a formaldehyde releaser in it! Look for products without any quaterium with a number or without or even polyquaternium. This is a cheap preservative that releases formaldehyde. YUK!!!

I have super curly hair too, and I use Melaleuca Herbal Shampoo (made with botanical extracts) and Envia Salon shampoo and conditioners. I also use their leave-in conditioner and curl defining foam. These are the first products I've ever tried that truly eliminate the frizz. Both the Herbal and Original shampoos help fight/eliminate lice too.

If you'd like more information on how to purchase Melaleuca products, contact me and I will show you how to buy direct from the company.

Don't have a lot to add to the replies below, but a hairdresser told me that the Johnson & Johnson kids products are very drying and not to use them on my daughter's curly hair. You may want to switch to another brand of product.

Jojoba oil works really good for me. Plus, a little goes a long way and it is cheap! Also, leaves my hair shiny like Bio-silk.

OMG, DO NOT LISTEN- Do NOT cut her hair- it sounds awesome- and is just different for you and these other people- please don't take away what is naturally hers. I have frizzy curly dry hair- my mom used to cut/butcher it- and I was devastated when I was a little girl. All you have to do is NOT brush it!!!! She needs a lot of (grown up or kid) conditioner. Are you sure she needs to wash it every night? Usually dry curly hair is much shinier/less dry/more manageable if you wash it more like 1 or 2x/wk. That Suave green detangler is great (they also have a great detangling CONDITIONER!!!) When wet, just after using detangling conditioner, use a very wide tooth comb or pick and START FROM the bottom!!! If you run into "problems" then spray more and more detangler- brushing it is harsh- unless it's after you've detangled and combed it through from the bottom- and you have a great expensive brush made for curly hair- still start at the bottom! That is key! Enjoy it- she is lucky!

How about not using shampoo more than a couple of times per week? Just give her a bath and get the hair wet and rinsed and combed and let it go? My daughter's hair is really curly, and I only do the shampoo twice a week at most - maybe once a week. I brush it after the bath to get the tangles out and then in the morning. I would definitely avoid making it into a big long and expensive ritual since they're not attending formal affairs at this age!


Hi J.,

My daughter also has really curly hair and we use the Enjoy Conditioning Spray to tame it and help us brush through it. It is not cheap, but I will not cut her hair - it's too beautiful. We buy it from Penninsula Beauty.


My son has very curly hair. Conditioner by Mixed Chicks works well - we use the leave-in conditioner only. It's not just for mixed chicks:-) It's pricey but it doesn't take very much. www.mixedchicks.net I have a friend who loves the kids products at www.curls.biz for her son and daughter. Her 6 yr old daughter has long ringlets down to her waist. Johnson & Johnson curly hair made his hair dry even at 2x washing per week.

ouidad.com. She has a line for kids and they made quite a difference when we started using them. Try just rinsing the dirt from her hair and then conditioning it. Washing curly hair every day is very drying. You should wash it once a week only.

I know he feeling about the curls and I would he curious how you manage the main of hair in the am my daughter is always rockin the unkempt wild do which is beautiful but I can't brush it in the daytime or it frizzes. My new secret is to just keep a spray bottle of water and I spray her curls to rejuvenate them in the am then wash and brush in the pm. It's been helping tame he wildness and less product might keep her hair from drying out. Good luck

My daughter has stick-straight but very thick hair, but my niece has hair like your daughter. When the girls were about two, i asked my sister-in-law what she used, because i couldn't get a comb through my daughter's hair and couldn't imagine dealing with the curls. she uses Paul Mitchell leave-in conditioner. I bought it and have had great luck. I've even used it on my son, who has very coarse hair and two nasty colics. Good luck!

You have some great advice here already, but I just wanted to encourage you to come up with a hair routine for your daughter. I did this with my girls and it made life sooo much easier. My girls also ended most days looking like Pig Pen and needed a good wash. Try to skip the hair washing whenever possible. Each night after the bath, I would put on a 30 min video and my daughter would sit on a foot stool in front of the couch and watch Veggie Tales while I combed through her hair (wide tooth comb, small sections, starting at the bottom) and put it braids. Thirty mins was plenty of time to be able to work out any tangles carefully without pulling and the braids fixed the wake up with lion hair issue. Usually the braids look pretty decent in the morning so we just left them in for the day. They also help keep some of the debris out of her hair so it required less washing. Braids are a wonderful hairstyle for little girls!

The last tip I have is to skip the kid products. Both of my girls are blonde (teens now, but still tangle-prone hair) and just love the John Freida Blonde products. (they also have Brunette and Red) The shampoo alone leaves very few tangles and the conditioner makes short work of the rest.

I hope this helps. Good luck on your adventure!

My sister has always had super curly hair which meant FRIZZZ and she hated it! A few years ago (in her 30's) she finally went to a hairdresser who is a curly hair expert and learned a few things that have completely changed the way her hair looks and behaves (and she actually likes it now!) Here is what she learned:
-only wash it every three days or so.
-just use a pick or your fingers to brush it out.
-read the book "Curly Girl" it is all about managing curly hair!
And most importantly - buy only shampoos and conditioners that do NOT have any type of Sodium Laural Sulfate, or sodium laural anything!!!! This one makes the biggest difference!!!! That ingredient (which is really bad for us anyway) is terrible for making hair frizzy! It helps the shampoo foam up nicely, but all it really does is damage the hair and dry it out. You may have to use adult products and just be super careful - or have your daughter hold a wash cloth over her eyes while you wash and rinse - I do this anyway, so that I can use good products on my daughter's super long and tangly hair.

Good luck! Read that book - it will really help you out! And just remember: when they get dirt and sand it their hair it is always at the scalp, so the length wont matter ;)


I would also love some advice. We just cut my daughters hair shoulder length because she hates to have it combed and washed because its curly. She is also a happy dirty girl when she comes home from preschool. It's gorgeous long but gets so ratty/knotty easily.

OMG i know EXCTLY what you're talking about/going through,lol! i have a now 7 year old daughter.

you should try products by "curly girl" called "curly q" for kids (http://www.curls.biz/curly-hair-products/curly-hair-produ.... it's all natural and has totally tamed my childs wild curls/tight ringlets!

i wasn't sure which products to order, so i ordered them all, and now i know what's what. you can PM me if you want some guidance, that way you won't have to do what i did and order everything! my dd has very tight curly hair to the point that it tangles in knots-literally (!!) if i don't comb it out. it's also thick, but very soft. it looks like alot of hair, but once its all combed, it's not as volume-ey (is that a word??).

it's made me love my girls hair! i'm not affiliated at all with this products, just think it's great! hopes this helps.

angela :p

ps.... no build up either! oh yeah- DON'T WASH her hair daily, i wash ladybugs hair weekly, and use a deep conditioner (pantene and infusium-yes!). i comb her hair out while it's still wet, preferably while the conditioner is in, rinse then section it off, braid/twist each section, then work the product in as i'm twisting/combing.

Use Fructis by Garnier. Someone else recommended it and it's great. My niece loves is because it smells great and comes in a chartreuse container. It's very emollient without being greasy. BTW, don't wash her hair everyday--just rinse and use conditioner. It's ok to leave some in--it will make it easier to comb and keep it moisturized. Also DO NOT brush her hair when it's dry! Curly-haired people cannot do that!!!

Hi J., As a cosmetologist, I can tell you that Johnson & Johnson products, even for children, have very high ph levels, and leaving on overnight is not a good idea, as that's what's causing her hair to dry out. Go to a beauty supply store and ask for a low ph shampoo and conditioner suitable for children. Hope this advice helps, Sincerely, CJ

Your daughter's hair is dry because you are washing it too much. Curly hair should be washed every 3 days to once a week depending on the tightness of her curls. You should go to a beauty supply store; one for white hair and one for black hair. Make sure you bring your daughter with you and explain your situation to the store clerks.You should consider changing the brand of hair products because Johnson's dries the hair out a lot. You should comb out her hair while you are washing it, because curly hair is easiest to comb when it is wet.
Good Luck

Our 3 year old daughter also has a head full of ringlets. She takes a bath every night as well, and we use Johnson & Johnson shampoo + conditioner combined for curly hair in the green bottle. That's it for nighttime. Then in the AM, I use a spray bottle of water to wet her hair and put in the Johnson & Johnson leave-in conditioner for curly hair in the green tube (like a cream/gel). It detangles as well as conditions more, and leaves her hair looking more hydrated and defintely neater and more manageable. At first her hair was still seeming dry & "fly-away"-ish, but I realized I wasn't spraying enough water on it -- the wetter I get it in the AM before putting on the green tube conditioner, the better it looks once it air dries. Also, when the ends are looking rough, I'd recommend a little trim. Having curly hair myself, a tiny bit off the ends can make a big difference. Hope that helps!

Hi J.!
My daughter also has super curly hair and I don't wash it everyday due to the dryness it causes. Instead I condition it with kids conditioner and once a week I'll put my own conditioner (Paul Mitchell or biolage) to deep condition her hair. I only wash it maybe once a week.... As for her hair product I used Paul mitchells "the conditioner" it's a leave in type that makes her hair lovley!!!! Perfect curls and no knots. They also have a kids line but to cut costs I just used my products on her ( I too have curly hair). Another thing I do is after her bath I comb out het hair and place it in two loose braids to keep it contained... In the morning I take the braids out, wet it alittle, and style it for the day. I also like to put a serum type of oil in her hair... They sell it at walmart, walgreens... I think it's called ION.... It's a clear bottle with a hot pink top... They have different solutions, I like the one with olive oil in it. it makes her hair shiny and soft... I don't put both products in at once.... I put on either or... Depending on the dryness of her hair... Another place I like to go for products is sallys beauty because they have good products that are inexpensive and the staff is pretty helpful with suggestions in case u don't know what product to pick. Hope this helps... Happy curly days!!!!!!

Hi J.,

I also have curly hair and my daughter (only 1) is beginning the stages to a curly head of hair like mine and her dads. POOR GIRL IS DOOMED. I know the struggles with curly hair because I myself have struggled my whole life. What I have found is Johnson & Johnson tend to be very drying on hair. I do use for myself a product at the beauty store Brand Name "ENJOY" spray leave in conditioner. I LOVE IT! It smells good and works really well. I know you probably want to stay clear of adult products but at least it's lightweight and easy to apply. Curly hair definitely dries out faster than straight hair. I used L'anza rebalance leave in conditioner my entire life. I am not sure I helped but I hope this guides you to a little more info.

Read Curly Girl. It's an excellent book on caring for curly hair. My life would have been sooooooo different if my mother had had that book!!!

My daughter does not have curly hair, but we needed a leave in conditioner because her hair would get knots almost to the point of becoming dread locks in one day. She also had major problems with static electricity...any strands not bound into knots would stick straight up. We consulted a beauty supply shop and they said that most of the "baby" products were not good enough to help. They suggested we use Kenra, which is a leave in conditioner/detangler and
deionizer (to control static). It is $17 per bottle, but it lasts 3-4 months as long as our 4yo doesn't get ahold of it and use it on herself and her dolls, ponies, etc.

It may be that you need a professional product for your daughter.


I recommend Just For Me children's hair care products. They have a leave in condition that when applied to my daughter's hair, leaves her hair moiturized thoughout the day. Also, you may wnat to try Carole's Daughter products. They are natural and free of harmful products.
- T.

We have the same issue with our daughter's curls ... and agree with everyone (stop washing it daily, use deep conditioners, do not comb dry, etc.). I also use a spray bottle to wet my daughter's hair each morning, put in a leave-in conditioner and comb out any tangles. That way she has shiny curls every day.

Here are two other brands that are fabulous - Carol's Daughter (http://www.carolsdaughter.com/) and Ouidad (www.ouidad.com).

We switched our daughter to products from Carol's Daughter (available at Sephora). They are all natural and very curl-friendly. They have a leave-in "honey" and "milk" that are great - along with a shampoo and intensive conditioner.

Another fabulous curls line is Ouidad (though not natural). They also have a great website with lots of great information and tips on curly hair (including information on assessing curl care based on type of curls). They have a kids line as well. Sephora just started selling Ouidad - though not the kids line.

They are more expensive that the drug store brands, but definitely make a huge difference.

Good luck!

Hi there,
My mom is a hair stylist and my 2 kids (1 and 3) are biracial with a head full of very curly curls. We wash their hair every night with Paul Mitchell kids line gentle shampoo and follow it up with a light conditioner (which we rinse out). We towel-dry their hair and spray in a bit of detangler and then comb their hair out. We love this Paul Mitchell kids line! It is available at beauty supply stores. We also trim their hair regularly to keep it healthy.

I use garnier fructise leave in conditioner on top of my conditioner because I have dry and fine hair. It could help.

Hi J.,

This is kind of late, but I just wanted to reiterate the important points about curly hair. I am 41 and have had super curly hair my whole life. Now I am blessed with a 7-year-old daughter who also has curly hair. The very most important thing with curly hair is to never comb or brush it dry and also DO NOT wash it every day. We wash our hair only once a week with shampoo, but I "wash" it with a conditioner during the week if needed. So if your daughter is a total mess and you feel she needs her hair washed, please do not use shampoo every day but wash it using only the conditioner. That alone will make a world of difference. Then always use a leave-in conditioner and only comb it with a wide-toothed comb when it's wet and let it dry. Never, ever comb it dry as it will separate the curls and cause a frizzy bush.

Thanks so much for asking this question. You just saved your daughter a life of crazy hair. My mother didn't know what to do with my hair, so she kept it cut short like a boy's until I got old enough to do it myself. Then it took me years before I learned how to work with it. Enjoy your daughter's hair!

Do not cut her hair! Every single female in my family, including me, has curly hair. Cuuting it just makes you look like a distressed poodle. My mom did that to me when I was in grade school and my nickname became Q-tip. First,you should only comb her hair when it is wet. Combing dry will turn her into a frizz ball. Personally, I never brush my hair at all, I only comb with a wide tooth comb. Most (depending on the texture) curly hair does best with a one length hair cut straight accross the bottom. You must find someone who really knows how to cut it, and it's not the most expensive places. I go to a place that charges me $12.00 and I'm always happy. I only get my hair cut once or twice a year. The longer it grows at one length the better it will lay and thus you can avoid pyrimid shaped hair. I sleep in 2 braids to avoid the "lion" look. I take a shower every morning and let my hair get slightly wet apply a little finishing cream and I'm good to go. I only comb when necessary. Curly hair should only be washed once or twice a week at most. However, if you must wash it more often, just wash it with grown up conditioner minus the shampoo. There are other curlies who never use shampoo and only wash in conditioner. I use Redkin all soft, but use something your like. I also use a leave in and product like hair gel. I use a finishing cream last. Best to use something that will kind of weigh hair down. Don't bother with the kids stuff at all. You never mentioned the texture of her hair and that does make some differences in care. Both of my children have different textured curly hair. They are teenagers now so they take care of their own hair. Main thing, they only wash once a week and do not brush or comb dry. I've lived with curly hair for 50 years and have tried everything. The best method for caring for it seems to be the easiest. The less you mess with it, the better it looks.

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