Help! Tangles and Rat's Nests in My Dd's Hair!

Updated on August 15, 2011
S.Y. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
19 answers

Now, before I get people making comments, I don't mean a "rat's nest" *literally* lol!

My almost 4 year old has long straight hair that has become so tangled that I am worried we will have to cut it out! I have the detangler spray, wide-tooth comb etc, but this may be way beyond that.

Any suggestions? She is "tender-scalped", btw...I heard of the "Tangle Teezer" and "Hair Bean" but can I get them in stores? I need to go asap before it gets any worse..


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answers from Honolulu on

Use this brush everyday.
My daughter has it.
It is GOOD and worth the price.

Keep her hair regularly trimmed to get rid of split-ends. Split-ends makes the hair tangle more.

Use a leave in hair conditioner. The brand "Garnier Fructis." My daughter also uses this. It is good. They have various types. Does not leave the hair greasy. It is very light.

Apply the conditioner, THEN, brush her hair, gently. It will take time to get all the tangles out.

ALWAYS brush her hair before going to bed. Put it in a pony tail. That is what my daughter does and she then does not wake up to tangles.

My daughter has long straight hair too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter was about that age when I finally got tired of her not letting me touch her head (tender scalped too) and gave her a cute little pixie cut. She's now 12y and is back and forth with her hair being long and yet not wanting to fuss with the length so it stays around shoulder length.

If you're wanting to try to keep it long, ditto the suggestion about using conditioner in the bath and gently comb it out and then rinse. With drying, try to not rub since rubbing it will just tangle it again. If you can find a conditioner that you can just leave in might be helpful too. My daughter's hair is super fine so we couldn't leave anything in it or it would look dirty, hence the reason we eventually just gave up and cut it short.
Best of luck!

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Phoenix on

Wet hair thoroughly.

When really tangled, work a quarter sized amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today into her hair while dripping wet. Comb out with wide tooth comb starting at bottom or work through with fingers.

You can buy it at Whole Foods and it is sorta expensive, but once you start using it after every shower, your hair gets less tangly with smaller amounts and it lasts me about 4 months a bottle- I have almost waist length hair. It smells great while wet too, like lightly scented peppermint and sugar or something.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have very long [below the waist] fine textured hair and this is a problem I have dealt with a lot.

Always comb/brush her hair from the tips first. Use a wide toothed comb. Start at the bottom and ease the tangles out from there. Starting at the top tangles it worse and tightens the knots. Never wash her hair without brushing all the tangles out first. You can be very gentle if you are slow and patient.

Herbal Essence makes a new conditioner called Hello Hydration that works really well on keeping hair tangle free. Over-condition her hair, put in too much! Rinse well and comb from the bottom.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

My daughter had very long curly hair at this age. It was beautiful and I didn't want to cut it.
So, she had a bath every night and I used a wide tooth comb to get the tangles out, then a fine tooth comb to make sure her hair was smooth. I put her hair in a braid at night for her to sleep in. In the morning, I took the braid out, brushed through to straighten and there wasn't a single tangle. I put her hair back in a braid. Or two. I left her hair unbraided for special occasions, but always at night, she slept in a braid. You would be amazed at how it can control tangles.
My daughter actually liked it when I parted her hair on the side on top, down the middle in back and braided each side. Then, I pulled each braid up and criss crossed at the top of her head and secured with bobby pins. I tucked little satin rosettes here and there. It looked so cute. She felt like she had a tiara.

With long hair, always start at the BOTTOM when trying to get the tangles out and work your way up in sections. Braiding her hair can be a real time and tangle saver.
Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Utica on

I suggest you use a good conditioner in the bath and let it sit for a few minutes before you tackle it very slowly and gently with a comb while the conditioner is in her hair. When the hair is wet it is much more prone to damage and if the tangles are really bad then it will obviously hurt some trying to get them out so you have to be very patient. Also if you locate the exact area of the knot before just diving in that helps. With the conditioner in her hair you may even be able to use your fingers at first to help loosen the knots
Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Daytona Beach on

my daughter is the same way, and she refuses some ways to brush her hair. she's 7. i find that her hair is better if i use actual conditioner the night before. also i got her a satin pillow case and that works to keep the tangles down.



answers from Chicago on

One of the things my hairdresser told me about my daughters hair was that when it gets in a knot start from the bottom and work up. Hold a bunch of hair in your hand like a pony tail and work the tangles out from the bottom. use as much detangler as it takes to get them out this time. then before bed brush her hair out really good and put a loose braid in it. that will keep the tangles from happening during sleep. Does she like it this long? If not you might want to consider cutting it. Not short but maybe just long enough to pull back. something she will be able to take care of.



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter, 6, has always had tangled hair. It's wavy on top and curly on the bottom, very long. Detangler has worked well enough for her. I use conditioner also and leave it while she cleans her body. It sounds like her hair is very fine. As she gets older it will thicken up as my daughter's did. But I have seen many moms who cut their daughter's hair, even a few inches, to help with the tangles until their hair gets thicker. I know I cuz my daughter's hair shoulder length when she was 3 or 4 and she looked cute. As she gets older it'll be easier to care for. If all else fails, go to a salon and see what a pro would suggest for care and if all else fails then you may have to do a cute bob.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets


answers from Kansas City on

my son has longer curls, past his ears. i find that when it gets harder to comb through, that's when he needs a trim. maybe consider cutting a bit off? not a lot, although if she has split ends cutting up past them would be best. just a thought.


answers from Dallas on

When my young niece would visit, I would have the same problem.
After washing her hair, I put lots of conditioner on then combed it out from the bottom up before rinsing the conditioner out.



answers from Joplin on

Aussie brand ( in the purple bottle) makes a leave in conditioner called hair insurance that has been a life saver for me, my daughter is 10 and tender headed and her hair gets in the worst tangles imaginable...I use this after I have washed her hair and sometimes wet it down so I can use it in the like a charm.



answers from Nashville on

put your conditioner in her hair after washing. My daughter gets tangles easy so I use kid's shampoo on her so it doesn't get in her eyes then I use my conditioner. Adult conditioner works really well. Cream rinse works well too, leave it on awhile. Leave it on while she plays in the tub and work the really bad knots between your fingers to work the knots out. I also put her hair up during the day sometimes to keep it from getting more tangled. Especially when she eats, she ALWAYS gets food in her hair which makes even more tangles so I put her hair up in a pony tail everytime she eats.



answers from Chicago on

My 6 year old has thick hair that is always very tangled, so my hairdresser told me to stop using kids shampoo. I bought the Dove moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a leave-in conditioner made by Garnier Fructise. Big Improvement! Plus, I try to pull her hair into a pony tail when she plays outside, and that keep it from getting so tangled. With long hair you can do braids, pig tails, etc. But try a leave-in conditioner, it helped us a lot.



answers from Washington DC on

Take a pretty good conditioner, like Dove Intense Moisturizing. Wash her hair and then put the conditioner on it. Let it sit for a minute and then slowly and carefully ease out the tangles. My DD has curls and inevitably she gets a frizzy mess if it's been a couple of days since we did this. We sing songs, we joke about how her hair is snarling at me, etc. Usually I just use my fingers and work through it and then let it air dry. With her sister, we would comb and tightly braid it each night to prevent the tangles in the AM and kept her hair contained as much as possible. When she was older and refused to take care of it and refused our help, we said, "Okay, but then you can't have long hair" and it was short for a while.



answers from Milwaukee on

My dd has curly hair that gets tangled (and dry) and is really hard to comb. We have found that "The Detangler" conditioner by Paul Mitchell works great! (Yes, it's more expensive than other brands, but it works great.) We wash her hair when she takes a bath, so we do one other thing that really helps: we comb her hair (with a "detangling comb") while the conditioner is in her hair. That technique also makes it a lot easier to get through the tangles/knots. Good luck to you! :)



answers from Boston on

A good leave-in detangler (Biolage)used to make a good one... Expensive but worth it) after shampooing with detangling shampoo and conditioner. When you are combing - use a comb until mostly tangle free ( it's counter intuitive, but it works better) - start with small sections working from the bottom up. Don't try to comb more than an inch (length) at a time, less if that section is severely tangled. It will take some time to get through it, but you can. After that, it's so much easier if you detangle every day. Always working from the bottom up.



answers from Houston on

Both myself and my daughter have waist length curls, so I know what it's like from both aspects - we are both tender headed too.
You have to use Aussie 3 minute miracle, it's the only conditioner to use - every time, it's not very expensive, maybe $3 a bottle.
Put the conditioner on in the shower, then when it is time to rinse, that is when you brush, with a paddle brush, when the water is running over it, bottom to top. The water running pulls out the tangles while you are brushing, and it is over in minutes.

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