Seeking Help to Manage Curly Hair on a Toddler.

Updated on September 11, 2010
T.I. asks from Butler, NJ
34 answers

My daughter is almost 2 and has the most beautiful curly hair. I wash it each night with J&J Curly hair shampoo & conditioner combo, followed by a leave-in J&J detangler which is so easy to comb and dry. Since my daughter sleeps on her stomach, I don't know how her hair gets so tangled during the night. The battle starts in the morning and she reminds me how "it hurts" to comb through her hair. We use a J&J spray detangler and comb. It hurts because she keeps moving as most active toddlers. I recently bought a leave-in product from Sephora, Frederic Fekkai's Luscious Curls Cream, but not sure if she's too young to use this product or if I should move away from J&J and use product from the rest of this line. I'm also not sure if I should be using a comb or brush or if there's an orgranic product which is better? What do you think? Any suggestions?

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M.G.

answers from New York on

My son was actually the same and my hair is very very thick and long. I would recommend not washing it that frequently - try more like every 3rd day and go ahead and try the leave in product, I would use a separate conditioner and maybe just not rinse it all out. I use a wide tooth comb when it is wet, and usually a brush when it is dry.

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D.H.

answers from New York on

I know this might be a little work, but you should put her hair in braids at night a few braids or plaits with ever one you may call them, and in the morning when you go to come her hair out it won't be so hard....

D.

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K.B.

answers from New York on

Having been a curly headed toddler (half a century ago!) and a curly head now, I can feel your daughter's pain...literally! One thing is you should not shampoo her hair nightly. Condition nightly yes, but shampoo sparingly, since curly hair is actually very dry and needs more conditioning than cleaning. I use a product called Ouidad. You can get it on line and they have a children's line...website is www.ouidad.com. It is excellent and they give you lots of hints for curly heads. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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T.F.

answers from New York on

I am a hairstylist for 15 years, my daughter is 3 and has really curly hair too, what works for me is Paul Mitchell baby dont cry shampoo and paul mitchell detangler, My daughter wakes up the same way, I put in a spray bottle about 1/2 cup of detangler and the rest water (warm) shake the bottle and then spray that on her hair and then massage it a little to get to the ends, then I use a boars hair brush to comb it and once most of it is untangled I use a wide tooth comb, I have been using this on my daughter since she was 18 months and her hair is more manageable for me I don't beleive the product will hurt her but maybe you should ask her doc before you use anything on her. hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

D.H.

answers from New York on

I live in Westchester. Some months back there was an article in the local paper about a single father of girls who invented a special hairbrush called the Orbitbrush. It is designed to roll over tangles, preventing the brush from getting stuck and hurting the person whose hair is being groomed. The design sounds like it would work. Go to www.orbitbrush.com to check out the product. I get nothing from this referral. Maybe you like it, maybe not. Best to you and your daughter.

1 mom found this helpful
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P.R.

answers from New York on

Hi ,
I totaly agree with Marian's response , I have curly hair and so does my 1yr old baby girl. I wash my hair in the morning , same for my girl . I massage my hair(& baby too) with warm oil before I wash my hair and wash it baby shampoo , it comes out pretty good with no tangles at all when dry. Also i comb only when my hairs are dry.

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R.C.

answers from New York on

Stick with the J&J shampoo/conditioner and spray detangler. Use a large tooth comb or hair pick....do not use a brush on her hair.
After shampooing, pat her hair dry...don't mush it around in the towel. Leave the hair as wet as possible without it dripping. Start combing at the nape (((neck))) first and work your way up to her crown in small sections.... picking up a small section of hair at a time. So it hurts less...hold the small section of hair up and away from the head...holding it firmly with one hand, with the other hand comb from the ends out slowly working your way up to the scalp with each small section. When done with the back of the head, do the same with each side leaving the top for last.
When you are using the spay detangler in the mornings, use the same process..but try using a hair pick instead of the comb...starting at the nape working your way up to the crown, then the sides and the top last...spraying each section as you go.

To keep her still during the process, it might be best to sit on the floor with her between your legs. Or move her high chair in a position so you can freely walk around it... confine her in it and give her a sm.toy to hold and to keep her busy with..

It will also be helpful if you keep her hair short...

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M.J.

answers from New York on

My daughter has biracial hair with very tight curls.

First, I never brush it and I only comb it when wet (sometimes with detangler, sometimes with water, it doesn't matter so much as long as it's wet).

I did not like the smell of many of the products for her hair type until I discovered a line of products at Sally Beauty Supply called Silken Child. They work very well and smell much better.

I don't wash her hair more than once a week (I've heard others with curly hair say the same thing so it's not just a 'black' thing).

When combing out her hair I hold the hair section that I'm working on to reduce the amount of pulling. I also let her watch TV while I'm fixing her hair to distract her from the occasional pull/tug. Hope this helps.

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M.S.

answers from Syracuse on

You've gotten a lot of responses and I've read through many. I have extremely curly hair and so does my son. I find it's best to never go to bed with wet hair, and I have to wash my hair in the morning. I just have my son get into the shower with me and I wet his head. I use Suave shampoo/conditioner combo on his hair (it's speedy), and it's great. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of having curly long hair is that it's going to hurt when it's brushed. You just get used to it. Only comb when wet, and only brush when dry, is what my hairstylist said to me. Curly hair in invariably dry - so yes, washing less helps too (natural oils aid in detangling, too). I go to bed with my hair pulled back, but I know some specialists actually recommend against it because it damages the hair (curly hair breaks easily). Good luck.

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K.R.

answers from New York on

Hi! I have the same issues with my little girl. She too has extremely curly, easily tangled hair. I have done a lot of research regarding how to manage her hair type. The best ideas that I have gotten and incorporated into our routine are:
-Don't wash hair every day. Constant washing dries out curls which makes it even harder to manage. Not to mention going to sleep on wet hair leads to tangles no matter what kind of hair you have. So 2-3 times a week at most for shampoos.
-On the nights that I do shampoo, I use a leave in conditioner and braid her hair into two braids before she goes to sleep. This, I have to say has helped the most. In the morning I undo the braids and her hair is as soft and manageable as before she went to sleep. A quick refresher with detangler, a couple of strokes with the comb and she's ready to go!
-You should only use a wide tooth comb on curly hair to detangle. To smooth hair into a style(pony tails, pig tails)you should use a boar bristle brush because it causes less breakage.
Good Luck. Hope this helps!
-

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K.W.

answers from New York on

was every other or even third day
dont comb her curld
use a light conditioning or hair dress such as vo5 after washing it and then leave curls alone
in the am finger through or dampen slightly and dress curls again if her hair is dry
combing and curls dont go together
let the natural curl pattern work
just use your fingers and vo5

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S.P.

answers from New York on

HI T.,
I have to agree with one simple idea: braid her hair before she goes to bed. I've been doing that for years with my own messy, unmanageable curly hair and it works like a charm. It also makes it more manageable in general, and it's non-chemical, and free!
Who can beat that??
Cheers
S.

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A.H.

answers from Albany on

I have curly hair and the only way I can find to tame it in the morning is to wash it in the AM and style it. Try a spray bottle with some warm water to dampen the hair then add some detangler.
Good Luck

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B.C.

answers from New York on

Hi T. my daughter has curly hair also and I had the same problem. At one year old her hair was to the middle of her back so you know it was a task especially when you do not want to see your child in pain, but my hair stylist advised of hair moisturizers for children so go to any hair supply store or even CVS or Rite Aid and you would find different brands of hair moisturizers choose which ever one you like. It works for me and I hope it works for you. I normally use the organic brands. Use a detangler comb and brush also.

Good luck to you and your daughter
Ann

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A.T.

answers from Syracuse on

It would help to braid it in one large braid to the side so no matter how she sleeps it won't hurt her head or be in her way and when she wakes up in the morning it won't be tangled when you take it out.
This is assuming her hair is long enough to braid.

M.H.

answers from New York on

I had the same problem, I would keep it very short for now. I know you must love the curls, but its not worth the pain they go threw. I would not wash it everyday, especially in the winter. I kept my daughter hair short until she was four and now I have it long layered to help with the weight and the curls. She is 6 1/2 now, much easier for me that she is older. She is still going to look adorable with the short curls trust me. :)

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K.F.

answers from New York on

no need to wash her hair daily since curly hair tends to be dry. i would recommend skipping a day but you can always put a dab of conditioner while in the bath or just the detangler. only brush when wet and in the morning, you can spritz just a little plain water in a spray bottle to get the spring back in the curls and put a tiny dab of conditioner or lotion to help hold the curls (no painful brushing required!). i would delay products as much as possible as the chemicals dry out the hair. good luck!

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A.H.

answers from New York on

pull hair back at night.. so it won't get so knotty. put in leave in conditioner in the a.m. and wet hair a little.. use a pick to pick out curls.. don't brush.. good luck..

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J.H.

answers from New York on

My 3-yr old daughter has curly hair, too. I also use the J&J detangler leave-in conditioner. Every morning I wet her hair a bit and use some of the conditioner. It seems to work really well, and we don't have those fights (as much). If you have the children's hair salon, Jack & Jill, by you, I've heard that they have a good children's product for curly hair.

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K.M.

answers from Syracuse on

My 3 yr old son had the most beautiful curly hair! I only just cut it shorter right before Christmas, right after he turned 3. When it was long I only washed it about every third day unless he was playing in sand or something got in his hair. If he had something get in one spot, I would only wash that one spot if the rest didn't need it. I would comb or brush it while it was wet. If we were going somewhere and he looked like a total frizz head I would use detangling spray. Other then that it never got combed. We didn't seem to have a problem with knots. I washed his hair with J&J baby wash, and still do. Since you have a girl maybe she will sit still for you to braid her hair before bed. That will keep the tangles out. I couldn't do that with my boy...since he's a boy. :) I braid my 9 yr old daughter's hair every night because she gets rat nests in her hair and refuses to brush them out. Good luck getting your daughter to sit still for you, and remember, they don't have to be tight braids. Just enough to keep the hair together. And since it's bedtime it doesn't have to be perfect.

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F.A.

answers from New York on

I really wouldn't wash her hair so often. Small children don't need their hair washed as often as adults and you may find it is more manageable if you allow the natural oils to come through a bit more. All that washing may be drying it out which will make it harder to comb etc. My oldest had very curly hair as a small child and we only washed it once or twice a week (obviously more often if she had got food, paint or whatever in it!!) Now she is older it is much straighter, just thick with a wave in it.

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W.K.

answers from Albany on

Hi T.,

My five year old daughter has a head of insane curls and it has taken me a really long time to find the right products for her, so I am happy to share what has worked for us. The very best shampoo that I have found is "NoPoo" by Devachan. Devachan is a salon that specializes in curly hair but you can buy their products on line. You only need to wash her hair about once a week. I know that sometimes toddlers get food in their hair and there is the tendency to want to clean it as much as possible, but curly hair tends to be really dry, and less is more. This shampoo doesn't "foam" up like regular ones, but feels like a conditioner on the hair. However, it cleans the hair beautifully and leaves it silky and soft. If you feel after trying this, you need a little more "cleaning power" they also have a "low poo" version. I would first try the Nopoo.

I use Jason conditioner every night and leave it in my daughters hair and comb it through with a wide tooth tortoise comb to get the knots out. Invest in a good quality comb. The cheap plastic combs can break the hair. Never, ever brush her hair! If you can get away with "finger combing", even better, but only use a comb on wet hair–never dry. The Devachan conditioners are amazing,too, but my daughter has a lot of hair and it tends to get expensive, so the Jason brand conditioners (found at health food stores and maybe specialty drug stores) have been a good alternative. To help avoid the frizzies, wet the hair every morning or night when you bathe her and apply the conditioner. Gently squeeze the water out of the hair. Be careful not to twist or rub with a towel.

Finally, for night, I found a satin pillowcase which I have her sleep on. The hair "slides" on it and won't knot as much. I know that this all sounds crazy and very "princess-like", but as she gets older and her hair grows in thicker, you will be grateful to have a "system" in place. Also, neither my husband nor I have curly hair, so this has all been a learning experience for us, trying every product on the market to see what works, plus a LOT of advice.

Good luck to you. I hope this helps!

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Z.C.

answers from New York on

Unless she is getting food or actual dirt in her hair, I'd scale back to washing it twice a week. That may help. But using a silk or satin pillowcase will make a HUGE difference. good luck!

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L.D.

answers from New York on

It might help to not wash her hair so often. Toddlers and young children benefit from ther own oils - washing too often can promote rashes, dry skin and hair etc. I learned this with my 1st of 4 and have backed off tremendously on the shampooing with very good results. Unless she gets stuff in her hair, one wash or maybe two a week might be fine. I have used Caligornia Baby detangler and it works very well and is all natural, essential oils. About $12 bottle and it smells really nice.

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E.E.

answers from New York on

I would suggest putting it in a braid or a bun at night before she goes to bed. This should keep it from getting too tangled at night. I would also suggest not washing it every day- maybe every other day. Washing every day is too drying, even on straight hair. Curly hair gets dry much easier so you need to not wash it as much.

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C.S.

answers from New York on

Agreed with some of the other posters: wash LESS, use lots of conditioner. NEVER use a brush and never comb it once it's dry. Get the book Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey, it saved my life! I hated my curly hair until I was in my 30s, now I love it. My 9yo is a curly boy and he doesn't even own a comb, but his curls look great... good luck. Remember less is more!

G.F.

answers from New York on

HI! I am biracial and my mother never knew what to do with my hair. After years of cotton ball hair, I chemically relaxed my curls as a teenager, and only for the last maybe 5 years have I learned to manage and style my hair. The best product line I have found is from mixedchicks.net. It's moderately priced and is the best I have found and trust me I have tried them all! Read the testimonials. I think if you use "contact us" link on the site you can request a sample (ask for the leave-in conditioner). My other suggestions: Never BRUSH curly hair, use a wide tooth comb or and comb out tangles in the shower while hair has shampoo lathered in. Condition, rinse, and apply leave in conditioner and run fingers through the hair. Or comb again if you have to. Use your hands to section off sections of 1 sq in or more (while still wet with leave-in conditioner) and twist in one direction starting at the root to create a tight coil and twirls the ends around your finger. You should be left with a "shirley temple" effect. Let air dry. Avoid combing or brushing dry curls. This will cause breakage and frizz. I am not familiar with J&J. That's one I haven't tried. Best of luck!

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C.O.

answers from New York on

I have curly hair (my son's is as straight as a board) and I find that the less you do the better. I only wash my hair about twice a week and I only brush/ comb it when I wash it. I think product is fine--please keep in mind you are no massaging anything heavily onto her scalp, so there really aren't any chemicals that are getting absorbed by her body.
I would say wash less, and comb less. A leave in conditioner applied every morning with just your fingers and no comb (regardless of if you have washed it recently) would probably tame things without hurting her.
Also, if she is getting food into her hair during dinner like my son seems to always do, consider a headband or even baby shower cap to make life easier and less stressful.

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J.G.

answers from Albany on

I'm having the same problem w/ my 2 yr-old. I worry about the chemicals I put on her hair. Recently I found a product called Coconut Milk Serum by Organix, and it's doing well, but we still use detangler. Consider an adult conditioner or leave in at least once a week, and try to wash her hair less, as curly hair tends to dry out and tangle. Even if at bath time you just wet it and comb conditioner through. My sister used a freezing gel on my daughters hair and it looked beautiful all day, so I'm trying to decide on a styling product that will be okay for her. I hope this helps....

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L.A.

answers from New York on

Hi I am an Independent Arbonne Consultant and a grandmother to a beautiful 1 1/2 year old with lots of curly hair. We have a hair and body was that washes and conditions and my daughter swears by it. It is all natural as are all our products. I advertised my home based business on mamasource. If you are interested in finding out more my phone # is ###-###-####.

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J.R.

answers from New York on

This may help : I use Envia products....By Melaleuca....my whole family has curly hair with no complaints...The products are all natural....actually ALL our products are natural, no chemicals or toxins...safe for all family members even the pets...I even get PAID to shop for the products I use Every day... contact me to find out how to get them...and YOU can also get paid to shop...How cool is that... [email protected]____.com

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S.S.

answers from Binghamton on

I heard a wonderful article recently on the physics of curly hair and why it tagles so much more easily. You are not imagining things, it's true. As a very curly haired person myself, I don't ever brush or comb my hair except with a really wide-toothed comb. It takes all the curl out and really hurts. Curly hair tends to be really dry as well, so you might consider only washing her hair every second day. The natural oils are great detanglers too.

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S.L.

answers from Binghamton on

Get her a satin pillow case cover to sleep on. It's what our grandmothers would sleep on to keep their hair set.It will keep her hair from tangling so much. I got one for my daughter at satinserenity.com

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T.S.

answers from Portland on

Try Knotty Kid Pillows, they prevent bed head so you don't have to try to tame the curls in the morning! Your child can literally go to bed and wake up with the same hair style, minus the hassles in the morning..."buh-bye bed head!".

Knotty Kid Pillows are available at http://www.giannabelledesigns.com

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