My daughter was born with this full head of curly dark hair, just like her dad’s. One of the first thoughts I had when I first saw her in that operating rooms was, “what am I going to do with a curly haired daughter?” My hair is straight. Thick, straight, and mousy brown. Seriously, the only curl that is ever on my head is when the right side curls out in directions I don’t want (which is about 75% of the time). But with a curly-haired daughter, I am now fighting the Battle of the Hair.
As my daughter got older, her hair lightened and got even more curly. Right around a year old, she had these ringlets that I liked to wrap around my finger just because I could. It was adorable. As her hair continued to grow, it started to straighten out but there were always curls at the bottom.
I love her hair. It’s not too thick and it still has some waviness to it. The ringlets have disappeared and it’s grown past her shoulders. She’s trying to grow it as long as Elsa’s from Frozen. That’s another thing – long hair doesn’t work on me. My daughter is rocking it, though. Well, mostly.
We have so many fights over her hair. Ever since she started taking baths in the big bath tub, we’ve been struggling to get a comb through her hair. The longer it grows, the harder it is to comb. The more independent, stubborn, and smart she gets, the harder it is to get her to let me brush it. She just won’t sit still for it. She fights, squirms, cries, screams, and flails her arms around while I try to brush her hair. The worst part is that she hates having it in ponytails, headbands, or pulled back out of her face by clips. I can’t even just grab it and pull it into a ponytail without crying and screaming. If she doesn’t let me put it up, then it just gets more knotted throughout the day.
I’ve tried a lot of things to manage this mop of curls and tangles. A special thank you to the local mom’s group that first suggested #1 and to my long-time super-curly-haired friend, Julie for her advice. Also to my sister Kelly, from whom I learned to threaten my daughter with hair cuts if she didn’t let me brush her hair (so far, it has always worked).
Use children’s conditioner.
First, start using this early. We could have probably started using this earlier, but conditioner makes a huge difference in brushing the hair both when it’s wet and later after it has dried. It took us a little while to find one that seemed to work for my daughter’s hair.
The Wet Brush.
For as long as I can remember, I thought you weren’t supposed to brush wet hair. I feel like that’s something I learned growing up. This brush is made for brushing wet hair. When I started using this on my daughter’s hair we thought it was magic. It just went right through my daughter’s hair and she didn’t cry at all.
There are many kinds of detanglers out there. The best one I’ve found so far is one that the lady who cut my daughter’s hair recommended. It is called Original Sprout, Miracle Detangler.
More children’s conditioner.
Is there such a thing as too much conditioner? Make sure you cover every speck of hair.
Knot Genie brush.
The same hair dresser who recommended a good detangler also showed us how easy the Knot Genie brush is on dry hair. Every since we bought it, this is the only brush my daughter allows us to use on her dry hair. It’s good if your child’s hair isn’t too thick. As my daughter’s hair gets thicker, I’m finding this brush does a great job for the top layer, but in order to get the lower layer of hair, I need to start splitting it up into sections. Also, the bristles are very fine, so really tough knots need some extra attention
Tell your child that you will cut your hair if they don’t let you brush it.
My daughter wants long Elsa hair. However, if she doesn’t let us brush it occasionally, she’s going to get very short chin-length hair. I know her hair is going to get messed up and tangled throughout the day, but there has to be at least one battle in the life of a toddler that I can win sometimes.
Braid her hair at night.
I’ve started braiding my daughter’s hair at night when it’s wet. Then in the morning, it’s easy for my husband and daughter to take it down and brush it (or run their fingers through it if it’s a rough morning). My husband gets our daughter ready in the morning and I knew what a fight brushing her hair was so I asked for suggestions from the hair dresser. I receive regular compliments from my husband and daughter on how easy it is to take down a french braid and finger comb my daughter’s hair now. We all regret it when I don’t do this. It’s also good practice french braiding her hair so on the rare occasion she lets me do her hair, I have some practice with braids.
Do it while she’s watching tv.
I don’t know about your child, but my child sits and stares at the tv like she’s in another world. We waited a long time before we introduced our daughter to television and then it took me an even longer time to realize just how much stuff I can do to her while she watches tv (brush and braid her hair, cut her finger and toe nails, etc). I am always able to brush and put up her hair when she is watching tv. She even sat still while I took a comb to her hair the other day!
Have I mentioned to use children’s conditioner?
And lots of it.
These are the things I’ve tried over the years for how to help to make brushing my daughter’s hair a little bit easier. I’m always looking for new ideas for the next time she throws a fit, what do you do?