I have cursed (under my breath) on more than one occasion while combing my daughter’s hair. My 7 year old has a beautiful head of curls but it took a few years to figure out the right arsenal of tools to make it look adorable and keep tears out of the process. This is what works for us:
Ditch the Shampoo
I haven’t used shampoo on my own curly hair in several years. When I started employing this method on my daughter’s hair, it made a HUGE difference. She wets her hair, scrubs in some conditioner and rinses. She swims every day in the summer and we still only use conditioner.
If I only used one method, no-shampoo would be the one. Try it on your own curly haired kid, you might thank me.
I’ve tried several hair detanglers and I always go back to this detangler. No phthalates, parabens or yucky smells. It also holds the curl just enough that I don’t need to use any styling products.
Get a Genie
This is the only thing my daughter will let me run through her hair. I honestly can’t tell you what makes the Knot Genie Detangling Brush so special. It doesn’t have a handle so you hold it in the palm of your hand. I no longer comb from the bottom up, I stick it right at the top of her head and comb down. I’m still gentle, of course, but it doesn’t pull like a traditional comb or brush might. And it gets the knots out!
My daughter even combs her own hair with the Knot Genie and I’ll use it straight out of the shower myself. It goes with us every time we travel. Definitely worth the $9.
A few ideas for keeping hair manageable between conditioning. I often put my daughter’s hair right into ponytails or braids out of the shower. This mellows the curls a bit and allows me to easily style her hair in the morning until we condition again.
If she wears her hair down, I will braid it at night to keep her from tangling it up while she tosses and turns during sleep. Then I just take the braid(s) out, spritz it with water or detangler and lightly comb through the curls.
When the knots start becoming unmanageable or tears become the norm, I know it’s time for a haircut. That happens about every three months. And if you don’t have curly hair yourself, I’ll let you in on a secret: layers are curly hair’s best friend. Save your kid from having a mushroom on their head. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and I’m not going back!