12 answers

Hair Care for 8 Year Old

My 8-year-old daughter has fairly thick hair and is prone to having a "smelly head." She washes her hair about 3 times a week with a gentle baby shampoo. Lately, she has also been having some dandruff. Does anyone know of any particular products that are gentle enough for kids, but that would really do the job for her particular issues? I'd prefer something fairly natural...certainly don't want to add to our list of problems by introducing unwanted toxins/hormones/chemicals. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Head and Shoulders every day and this will clean it up in no time flat. You and also use No more tangles for combing after the shampoo. Baby shampoo is not ok for her any longer, some babies cannot use it either, they also need a dandruff shampoo if they have cradle cap, so it is not a harsh shampoo.

More Answers


As an 8 year old she should be able to use adult shampoo because her hair is thicker than when she was a baby. Tea Tree Oil shampoos work great for dry scalp. I use Arbonne Intelligence Tea Tree Oil shampoo and it works like a charm without all those harmful ingredients. You order Arbonne on-line. Good luck!

C. B Palmer

Dandruff can be the result of different factors or a combination of different factors, so you may need to assess and rule out which one is relevant for your 8 yo.

I've read that dandruff is simply an overenthusiastic turnover of skin cells
on the scalp. Everybody's scalp sheds, but if a child has dandruff, the skin
sheds too quickly and too much. They say it's not common in kids until they hit puberty, but it sounds like your daughter may be starting early and may need to start using adult shampoos that will actually wash off the shedding skin cells better than the baby shampoos.

Also, if your child is like mine and washes her own hair, she may be using too much shampoo and not rinsing well enough. (The dried shampoo can come off in flakes that look like dandruff). Show her how to use only enough shampoo to clean her hair, and tell her to spend twice as much time rinsing it out as she does lathering it in, especially working it out of her scalp. Since her hair is thick, she probably needs to spend even more time trying to get the shampoo off of her scalp than usual. I've found this to be my daughter's problem.

My own experience with dandruff is different, so I'll share this with you, in case it's relevant. I have found that I'm allergic to citric acid, and used to have an awful case of dandruff until I took that ingredient out of my shampoos and conditioner. I still had a milder case of it every now and then after that, so I started using Pantene Pro-V Anti-Dandruff which worked really well and is gentle enough to use daily...until they added citric acid, so I had to look for something else... I found T-Sal (no citric acid), not T-Gel (b/c it has coal tar, which is found to possibly be linked to cancer). The directions say to use it 2x/week, so I used it 2x for the first week, which worked wonders on the 2nd application. And now, I just use it whenever I feel that slight tingling in my scalp that signals a bout of dandruff may be coming on, which may be 1x/month. It works that well. It is a bit expensive, so I only use it on my scalp and use my regular shampoo on the rest of my hair. But the cost is well worth it. It also does lather quite a bit, so you don't need to use too much, and need to rinse well. I know quite a few people who use it, and have recommended it to a lot of friends who now swear by it.

If home treatments don't work, you might need to consult a physician to rule out other conditions like eczema, psoriasis or ringworm.

Good luck!

We love Melaleuca's Herbal Shampoo with botanical extracts. It is gently enough to use daily, and strong enough that I only wash my thick, curly hair every 7-10 days. There are no toxins or harsh chemicals in any of Melaleuca's over 300 products. If you want more info, check out www.SwitchingStores.info and I would be happy to help.

Dear J.,
At 8 years old, the baby shampoo is too gentle for her hair and not getting it really clean. She's old enough for adult shampoos and conditioners. The older they get, the sweatier and smellier they get so washing every night might need to be a new routine. My daughter had very long, thick hair, so I washed it each night and brushed it out and braided it before she went to bed. It completely cut down on tangles.
As another mom mentioned, make sure she is actually really scrubbing her head.
My friend's son would take a 20 minute shower, swear he washed his hair and the front of his head wouldn't even be wet. He'd get marched right back in. She started letting him use the same stuff my son was using, Old Spice bath products. He loved using the "big boy" stuff and actually WANTED to get clean and wash his hair. And it does smell so good. It's not harsh on the hair or skin at all.
I would try letting your daughter use what you use and washing more often.
They also make great dandruff shampoos that are gentle on the hair but help condition the scalp.

I'm sure you'll find what works.

I wash my girls hair every other day and we use conditioner....the conditioner may help with the dandruff.....but if it doesn't....talk to either your doctor or hairdresser....

Whatever shampoo you use for your hair--try it for her too. My kids are 6 and 8 now and haven't been able to use baby shampoo in a long time. The baby shampoo worked well when had thinner, wispy baby hair and didn't get that dirty, but not any more. Their hair is thick and full and sure can get sweaty and grungy with all the playing they do. Now they use the same shampoo/conditioner my husband and I use, and it does the job great.

It is time to graduate to adult shampoo. I have found fructise shampoo and conditioner is really good for smelly heads. I have a daughter with the same issue and that is what I use. If you don't want to do that, get an adult shampoo at a health food store that is for dandruff. I have heard that a rinse with apple cider vinegar can help with the dandruff issue. Also, check to see how well she is actually scrubbing her head. My son had that problem until I actually showed him (in the shower) how to really massage his head with his fingers to get all of the dirt and oils out.

Head and Shoulders every day and this will clean it up in no time flat. You and also use No more tangles for combing after the shampoo. Baby shampoo is not ok for her any longer, some babies cannot use it either, they also need a dandruff shampoo if they have cradle cap, so it is not a harsh shampoo.

Does she wash her own hair? She may not be getting the shampoo through her hair to the scalp. The flaking is probably due to the shampoo not being rinsed out completely. You might want to shampoo for her to see if that makes a difference. Baby shampoo is actually a very harsh shampoo designed for babies only. They can handle it because they are born with the mother's immunities. I'm not sure what chemicals you are worried about, so I don't know how to direct you for specific shampoos. Most of the shampoos in the supermarkets are made by the same companies that make dishwashing liquid and floor cleaners. They are detergent experts. Professional shampoos are made by companies who specialize in hair care. There are reasonably priced brands out there. Paul Mitchell comes to mind. Be sure to use conditioner, it aids in the thourough rinsing of the shampoo. Dandruff is different than a flakey scalp. Using a dandruff shampoo can cause the scalp to over produce oil to compensate for the cleansing of the dandruff shampoo.

My nine yr old uses Herbal Essences on her hair. Works wonders! Started using it myself and my hair is very thick. The herbal Essences line of products are wonderful and they make the hair smell great too. Suave also makes a good kids line of shampoos and condtioners.

I agree -- grown up stuff now. Trader Joe's has a good line of tea tree shampoo and conditioner. Smells good, tingles, and keeps the flakes to a minimum.

Before washing the hair I gently stratch the scalp to loosen dirt and dandruff then I run apple cider vinegar over my scalp to eliminate the dandruff before washing and conditioning as usual. I try not to get conditioner on my scalp. This seemes to work very well for me. The main caution would be to not allow the vinegar in ghe eyes because it burns like fire. If it does get in the eyes rinse with a ton of cool water.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.