17 answers

My 4 Year Old Has Baby Fine Tangly Hair and a Very Tender Head. HELP!

I have been trying everything to get a brush/comb through Emma's hair. I have tried the detangler sprays, I have tried water, conditioner, anti-frizz creme's. I can not get a comb through her hair without her freaking out. She stands and screams EVERY time I brush her hair. I feel horrible! I start at the bottom, holding the rest of her hair in a pony with my hand to take some of the "pull" off of her head, and try combing from the bottom, working my way up a little higher. NOTHING works. Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

have you tried this stuff by aussie called Knot Forgotten? I have a child with a sensitive head & if you put it in after you wash her hair & leave it in for 2 mins it works wonders..my child loves it & it makes her hair smell really good & feel really soft...just a suggestion.

Hello K., My 4 year old daughter had the same problem so we cut her hair in a bob style just above her neck, slightly layered in the back and it made all the difference in the world. It made her hair a lot thicker too. I was really nervous about it at first, but it looks so cute! Good luck, S.

More Answers

I have very fine hair too and so does my daughter. I use Johnson and Johnson shampoo detangle formula for her hair in the bath. After I wash it, I comb it through to get out all the tangles while the shampoo is still in her hair. For myself, I use a detangle shampoo and condition, semi-expensive from Trade Secret in the mall. Any salon would have them too but I find Trade Secret to be less expensive (especially if you go to the discount area...there is always something there) I also comb or pick through my hair with the conditioner on it in the shower. Sometimes I use the really good stuff on her hair too. Finally try braiding her hair before she does to bed. It will keep it from tangling as much while she sleeps. Everything else you are doing right and it might be a control issue. Mom's get tested all the time.



You could start by using a wide tooth comb and combing her hair after shampooing with the comditioner in it. Then rinse it carefully so as not to tangle it, then braid it while it's wet.

John Frieda's Frizz-Ease is the best anti frizz product because it has dimethicone. Most of them don't and they just gum up your hair.

If your daughter has a sensitive scalp, then why don't you just bite the bullet and cut it for now? Poor baby will have the rest of her adult life to suffer in pain for beauty's sake! :)

I have naturally curly hair and I've learned after years of experimenting that brushing my hair ONLY when it's wet keeps it from getting too bad. Also, have you tried to use a dab of conditioner or even a leave in conditioner? I know I have problems w/ my hair tangling if I don't condition, so that was my first thought. I totally disagree with another lady's suggestion to tell your daughter to "toughen up". My sister has always had a tender scalp and it hasn't changed over the years. Some children are more sensative then others, you just have to be patient and understand that. Perhaps if your daughter has longer hair, you may try a shorter cut. This helps me keep my hair manageable and it doesn't tangle nearly as much as it used to when I had long hair. I don't know how you feel about this, but it's only a suggestion, so take it or leave it. I also find that starting out with a wide toothed comb and finishing w/ a brush that has the plastic teeth (goodies for thick hair I think)it makes it easier until you can get her hair trained. I hope some of this helps and feel free to e~mail me anytime if you need any kind of advice about this or anything else. :)

~{@ J.

Hello K., My 4 year old daughter had the same problem so we cut her hair in a bob style just above her neck, slightly layered in the back and it made all the difference in the world. It made her hair a lot thicker too. I was really nervous about it at first, but it looks so cute! Good luck, S.

K. H.
As a Cosmetologist here is my advice.

1. BEFORE you get the Hair wet for shampooing Brush it very well. Then DO NOT pile the hair on top of head to shampoo.
Get fingers into the hair and cleanse the scalp then work down to the the ends. By taking the hair in your hand and rubbing together to cause FRICTION, that and the soap clean the hair.
Rinse and Repeat even if you do not think you need to shampoo twice you really do. The first takes the dirt and grime off the surface the next one actually cleanses.
a GOOD SHAMPOO you should only need the size of a dime of shampoo. (First week using a good product--size of a nickle to quarter---this eats the wax that is in most cheap shampoos, work to reduce to size of a pea to a dime of shampoo)

2. NEXT use the conditioner, start at the Bottom of the hair shaft and work upward. Most of it is needed on the ends not the scalp. WHILE STILL IN THE TUB--Then take a detangler comb or a Large wide tooth comb and start while the conditioner is still in the hair and she is in the tub! THEN RINSE BY HAVING HER SIT UP AND PUT HER HEAD BACK. Use a wash cloth for eyes.
Next use a detangle spray if the privious was not enough to stop the real bad pain.
Take SMALL sections of hair and comb from the bottom up.

3. Let your daughter know that she NEEDS to toughen up her head some and this will help her later in life. (I still have baby fine thin hair but I have done this as well as toughened up my own head to make it work!) Remember the quote mom used to tell "We must endure the Pain to be beautiful!"

Finally, make sure you are using a good shampoo, talk to your stylist for her recommendations. Every Salon has a few lines to choose from and all price ranges. A good Salon formula will last longer and be LESS EXPENSIVE in the long run.
The salon product as stated above--takes about a week-to two weeks to remove the waxy build up from the hair thus taking a size of a nickle. After that a PEA to a DIME size is all you should NEED!

After a baby is a year old they no longer should be using baby shampoo. This is why so many kids have cradle cap at 7-9 years old. It is for BABIES, before the glands start to develop. Always, brush the scalp BEFORE shampooing the help remove the dirt and grime from the scalp and hair shaft.
If you have a problem with this use a TEA TREE shampoo to help heal the scalp and hair.

ALWAYS SMELL YOUR CHILDS HEAD, to see if they are clean enough after shampooing. THIS WILL TELL YOU IF YOUR PRODUCT IS WORKING! If they still smell dirty-- THEY ARE---CHANGE PRODUCTS. What works for one in the house does NOT always work for everyone.
I hope this helps, I have added the other tips as well to help you with the older child too.
Best of luck

I have a 3-yr-old with super curly hair that can cause the same problem in the opposite way. She still gets the tangles and snags and I have found Suave Conditioner plus detangler for kids. It's tearfree and my daughter loves the fact that she gets to smell like a big bunch of grapes before she goes to bed. It's pretty cheap and I found it at Walmart. The other thing that I do because I don't want to put all the excess chemicals in her hair is I spray her head down with water right before I brush it and use what's called a 'Detangling Brush' I too have found this at Walmart so it's not expensive, but you may have to ask them to order it for you. (They had one for me) It looks like a comb with a handle. The difference is that the comb bristles are almost spread apart like a "pick" from us women in the 1980's. Mine is made by Goody. If I were you, I would go in there with no picture in mind and just read the labels. Now the only thing she throws a fit about is if I shoot her in the face with the water bottle! Good Luck!

Boy do I know how you feel My daughter has curley hair and if I dont get it brushed before it dries it will be a mess! She hated when i used to brush her hair but one day I was digging in her toy box and came up on her old baby brush that I let her have for her dolls. So I told her Why dont you let mommy brush your hair with this baby doll brush and I let her have the old brush for her baby dolls so I would use the soft baby brush while she used the big brush on her doll kept her occupied plus kept her from screaming that "IT HURTS!" lol
good luck! Also if you find a good shampoo/ cond let me know!

My 4 yr old has very curly hair like me and can't brush it out of the bath. I use Arbonne baby shampoo and then Arbonne Conditioner while the cond. is still in the hair I brush then wash out some. It still hurts some but SO much less. Then when she gets out I brush it again.. no trouble usually with that because of brushing it in the bath. I have to do the same with mine. I also use a conditioning spray from arbonne if I really have to.
Good luck,

My daughter is the same way. She has naturally curly hair like I do I have to wash it with shampoo and conditioner (not the 2 in 1 that doesn't work) Then I put in the leave in conditoner I let her help me do it sometimes and it seems to make it so much easier to brush threw sometimes she screams.. but it's been a lot easier. Hope it helps

have you tried this stuff by aussie called Knot Forgotten? I have a child with a sensitive head & if you put it in after you wash her hair & leave it in for 2 mins it works wonders..my child loves it & it makes her hair smell really good & feel really soft...just a suggestion.

from my personal experience, don't hold her hair in a ponytail while you brush it that can hurt more because you'll end up pulling individual strands and that really hurts! hold your hand flat against her back with her hair inbetween and do a few inches at a time that way youre brushing her hairbut it is not all in a big chunk, it worked for my hair growinmg up and my neice's.

try to wash it first then when u put the conditioner in leave it in and continue to brush while conditioner is in

well the life saver for me was cutting my daughters hair, i know not something most parents want to do and i was the same way she was finally my little girl and i wanted ehr to be a girl and be able to do ehr hair but i found that if i let it get past ehr shoulders i have to try to comb out knots all morning. also i use a two in one shampoo on her hair followed by a conditioner and a detangler spray and then blow dry her hair. no more knots in the moring. keep in mind to that if you scrunch up her hair when you wash it it can cause tangles. i smooth on all products and run them through with a wide tooth comb to cover all her hair and then rinse. good luck

My daughter has thick hair but it was down to her buttocks and everyday it was such a horrible struggle to brush it. It seemed the more conditioner I used the worse it got. I can only tell you that I finally got her hair cut short when she got such a bad snaggle and I had no choice. But it is still beautiful but no more screaming and crying. Thank goodness. Good luck.
Take her to a beauty parlor and see what suggestions they might have for her hair.

This is not a suggestion...you just brought back memories for me. I was the same way...with my mom. For some reason I didn't like my mom to comb my hair...I had knots galore and her and I would fight and fight...but I REFUSED to get my hair cut. My Dad loved my hair, he told me so every day and I just wouldn't stand for getting it cut. So, my mom gave up the job. My dad took over. My dad combed my hair after my bath every single night until I was old enough to do it myself. (Now for the not the suggestion part) He refused to let me think I had a tender head or anything like that, he said if I want long hair and I want it to be beautiful there is some pain with it. He would start at the bottom, get the big ones out that way and then he took a comb from top to bottom and listened to me scream almost every single night. (Because it's true, many men can listen to the screaming longer than women can.) Sure enough, I was the one that would grab the comb and walk right into my dad and say Your combing my hair, not Mommy.
As I got older and did it myself, I found that washing it with shampoo, putting the conditioner in and brushing it in the shower before I got out with the water on it helped with some of the knots. I don't know why, but personally I found it easier to brush in the shower. I still have long very fine hair...I brush my hair before I get into the shower and then again as soon as I get out. I use pantein pro-v shampoo and conditioner. I can't use much of anything else because it just doesn't work on the knots. I have tried the Sauve and Aussie and every other brand out there and Pantein is the best. I use either the one that is like icey clean or volumizing. I wish you the best of luck. I wouldn't cut her hair, I loved my hair, I would have hated my mom for cutting it. I ONLY cut my hair short once...for locks of love two years ago at school. I cried over it...only after my son cried over it and yelled at me for cutting my hair. I wish you luck, but hang in there!

Try Paul Mitchells, The Detangler, I have curly hair, add a little while its wet and dont wash it out, Will keep her hair super soft and easy to comb through. Hope this helps, Good luck!

A boar bristle brush will work wonders. You can get them at Sally's Beauty Supply for around $10. When using them, it takes a little longer to brush through the hair, but it does not pull and is a natural way to protect her hair while working out those tangles. My own hair is below my waist, ties itself in tiny little knots, gets bundles of "rats" and is generally difficult. My brush is the saving grace that allows me to continue having long hair without putting chemicals (that don't work) on my head. What makes this brush even better is that your daughter will be able to see first hand that this is a new kind of brush and will more easily believe you when you tell her it isn't going to hurt. You will brush with it the same way you have with the comb. The only difference is that she isn't going to end up in tears from the process.

My husband wanted me to let you know that it will feel like it isn't working at first, but with continual use, you'll find just how superior this old fashioned natural method is.

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