Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Caring for kids' curls

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Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children's personal care choices.

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Mikko, my firstborn son, had the most spectacularly curly hair for the first few years of his life. It's gotten much thicker and coarser since then, so the curls have turned more to waves in the past year or so. The pictures in this post are all ringlet p0rn from when he was two, hee hee.

I find that a lot of parents of curly-haired kids are surprised by being presented with a hair type they're unfamiliar with. I also see a lot of wavy-haired kids who I'm just sure secretly have curly hair, or kids with "unmanageable" straight hair, where I'm certain it's secretly wavy. I'd love to give all those parents a hug and some tips for dealing with textured hair, given how frustrating it can be if you feel unprepared. The hug maybe doesn't translate through the internet, but I hope these tips help!

I adapted these steps from my own haircare routine, which, incidentally, revealed to me that my own hair was wavy, not straight! I believe the washing ideas are a good, basic starting point for any hair type or age, because it's gentle on hair and uses minimal, natural products.

You might need to modify the process to find what works best for your kids. I fully acknowledge that I don't have a wide range of expertise caring for all different types of hair, so I'd welcome your own experiences and tips in the comments! If we all share, we can all learn from each other. For instance, Mikko's new thick hair? Completely foreign to me!

Anyway, here's what's worked for us to keep the frizzies and tangles to a minimum. It's a great routine for baby and toddler hair, which often is finer, and a decent routine for babies and toddlers in general, considering they don't like too much washing or need too much soap.

Conditioner washing

For little kids' hair, I use just conditioner, no shampoo. Well, let me restate that: For a baby with very little hair (like Alrik), I actually use just water. But for Mikko, who was born with a full head of hair, and whose locks quickly became moisture-needy, I used just conditioner.

In Curly Girl terms, this is known as co-washing, and I explain it a bit further on my post detailing my wavy-hair routine.

Now that Mikko's hair is more wavy, and now that his scalp sometimes needs more deep cleansing (those thick strands like to trap dirt and flakes in there), I do occasionally use a gentle shampoo (once every other month or so). If your kids need shampoo, look for one without sulfates or parabens. It shouldn't lather much, and that's ok. Just squirt it in the palm first before applying to the scalp only. The ends of hair will get clean from the conditioner. I'd recommend skipping the shampoo for awhile, though, just to see what happens.

Either way, you want a good conditioner. I really dig Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner, but any natural conditioner without silicones (look for any ingredient ending in -cone) should do. The Giovanni smells really nice — not perfumey, but fresh and natural. It doesn't weigh the hair down, but it moisturizes really well. If your kids' hair seems limp, try a lighter conditioner. (I hesitate to suggest using less conditioner, because I suspect that most people don't use enough.) If it seems dry, frizzy, tangled, or undefined (most curly hair is dry), find a conditioner that has more moisturizing ingredients to it, like avocado oil, coconut oil, or shea butter, and use more of it.

Mikko gets his hair washed about once a week, sometimes more often if he's in a bathing mood. If he goes longer, I notice more scalp flakies. I know it's considered normal in Western culture to bathe daily, but I promise it is not necessary unless your kid plays in mud constantly. Even then, some spot cleaning might get you through. I have nothing against frequent baths if you and your kid like them; I'm just saying, it's rarely a necessity.

I get his hair wet, sometimes using a wet washcloth that I squeeze onto each part a bit at a time, sometimes using a cup if I can get him to look up. This is probably the hardest part of any bath: wet head, oh, noes! Why can I not convince him (now at 4.75 years old) to look up so the water doesn't get into his eyes? We may never know… Ah, well, onward:

I scrub his scalp with my fingertips and the conditioner. I pull the conditioner through all his hair and let it soak in for awhile while he plays in the bath.

Then I have a super wide-tooth comb (here's one for instance, but you can pick them up at any drugstore) to massage his scalp and comb through his curls. That's the ONLY time I ever comb his hair, or I brush when wet using only this Denman detangling brush. Dry combing/brushing + curls = major frizz.

I'm serious about the scalp massaging I've mentioned twice now. You can wash hair with conditioner, or with just water, but gentle yet persistent friction will help get those dead skin cells off, as well as any built up oil or other grime.

I do a light rinsing of his scalp but leave the conditioner on the ends. If necessary, I reapply to make sure. That way, you don't need a separate leave-in conditioner. You also don't need to go all-out with the rinsing, which makes water-fearing kids very happy!


Styling products in a little kid's hair? Hey, why not? Sometimes when I would mention to people that my two-year-old boy had gel in his hair, I'd get recoiled looks of shock as if I'd said I'd just allowed him to get a "MOM" tattoo on his bicep. I really don't think it's against the rules to help your kids' hair look cute (no one would balk at putting a barrette in a baby girl's hair, for instance), as long as you follow guidelines that work for you, such as using natural products and making sure both you and your kids are enjoying the styling process.

I like Jessicurl products to style kids' hair. They're made of mostly natural ingredients, and the non-natural ones are fully explained on their site and I'm fine with what I've read. They have non-scented versions that are a good choice for kids, although the natural scent Citrus Lavender is also really lovely. I wrote Jessicurl, and they agreed to a giveaway (yea!) of the Light and Luminous trial collection, which is absolutely perfect for little kids' curls. I'm so excited about that, so stay tuned for that review and giveaway!

For Mikko's hair, I like a little Rockin' Ringlets (mostly flax seeds and aloe) or Gelebration Spray (same ingredients, lighter formulation) followed by a dab of Confident Coils.

For products you can find at the drugstore, I like simple gels like Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Gel (thin, clear, with no stinky additives), Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel, and Kiss My Face Upper Management Natural Styling Gel, or look for another natural gel that's free of silicones and drying alcohols (anything ending in -cone and SD alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or denatured alcohol). I go with maximum or extra hold and experiment with how much provides definition vs. making hair look wet all day or flaky.


Little kids don't need much in the way of fancy drying methods. If you're really trying to make sure the curls look nice, I recommend picking up a soft microfiber cloth (check for microfiber detailing towels in the auto section — I found some really soft ones there) and gently scrunching the excess moisture from the hair. Rubbing the hair with terry cloth can produce frizz and disrupt the curl pattern.

Usually, I just use a thin baby towel anyway to get the extra moisture out. I make sure the hair looks like it will dry in a nice pattern and then leave it alone to air dry. Don't try to style it or brush it or do anything to it while it's drying.

As long as I don't use too much styling product, it doesn't look crunchy, but if it does, you can just scrunch away the crunch with your fingers once it's dry.

Apply the styling product when hair is sopping wet, and then gently scrunch out the extra moisture with a microfiber towel.

Second-day hair

For second-morning hair (or third-morning, fourth-, etc.), I wet it down from the sink or a spray bottle (purified water + a couple drops of lavender essential oil is lovely), fluff it into place, and let it air dry. That's it.

For more definition and control when a bath isn't in the works, I might reapply a small amount of product or something light like aloe vera gel or a spray gel.

For longer hair, days when your little one's locks need washing and detangling but you can't get to it are perfect for pulling hair back or up!

Tangle control

Apply a ton of conditioner, let it sit during bath play or other washing, and then gently pull a wide-tooth comb through the length to detangle.

If you have kids who are traumatized by hair brushing, I highly recommend trying this method. Slather on the conditioner, let it sit, and then comb, with a wide-tooth comb or gentle detangling brush. If your kids have long, tangle-prone hair, you might need to do this daily to prevent knots and nests. But the beauty of this is, you don't pull at their scalp, so there should be no fear of the comb (assuming they haven't already associated that fear too well).

With longer hair, comb in sections, starting from the bottom up. This doesn't mean combing against the hair grain but doing a bit at a time, ends first, then mid-length to ends, then roots to ends. If your child does have knots, hold the section of hair you're working on firmly at the roots, away from the head, to prevent any tugging at the scalp.

I also recommend, for long hair, sleeping in a loose braid or a topknot. Think Laura Ingalls and, really, any heroine from a time where hair was worn long and daily baths were too big a luxury. Curly hair of a medium length can also go into a topknot well. Older kids might also enjoy a nightly set (occasionally or regularly), where curls are tweaked by rolling up into rags to coax out soft ringlets or put into two French braids to create softer waves.

Another thing that works well for me for tangle management, but might seem odd to do for your kids, is satin or silk sheets. I use just one satin pillowcase, but this somewhat depends on whether your kids use pillows or not. Mikko's allowed to now, but he still doesn't have the hang of it. (I laughingly swear this is true. It cracks me up how poorly he knows how to use a pillow.) In that case, a silk bottom sheet might be better, or a silk scarf or satin sleep cap. This might all seem like overkill, particularly for very young kids, but it's worth keeping in mind for older kids who are more invested in having their hair look good.

I used to have knotted hair that I had to thoroughly brush and comb every morning. Now I have hair that has barely a tangle, just from switching to these gentler methods of caring for it. It's very rare for me to get a knot in it anymore, even when it's long. When sharing these tips, I've been told by a couple people that I'm hopelessly naive and their kids' hair would still tangle, and I fully admit I don't know everybody's hair type and needs. But I figure it's worth a shot, right? Give it a try, and see what works for your kids.

Deep conditioning

This isn't in any way required, but I keep an oil blend on hand that I sometimes put on Mikko's curls at night and then washed out the next day. Pretty much any oil can work, but coconut, jojoba, and avocado are good oils to try.

I also find that putting oil on the scalp when there are flakies or scaly patches like cradle cap helps loosen them up overnight, and then they can be gently sloughed away at the next bath time.


Cutting curly hair is an artform. If you can, try to find a child's hair stylist who knows how to cut curly or wavy hair to enhance the natural shape (rather than form it into an unappealing triangle), and will do it (preferably) when dry, so it's possible to see exactly how it will hang and sproing in its usual state.

If you're the resident haircutter in your family (as I am), you'll have to experiment. I've found that ringlets don't respond well to the blunt cuts that work for straight hair. On the plus side, I've found that riotous curls are very forgiving of inconsistencies in cutting abilities!

I did some reading about how renowned curl hairstylists cut curly hair (like Ouidad's Carve & Slice method) and liked the idea of tailoring the cut to the individual curls rather than meeting some goal of getting it all "even" as you might be able to do with straighter hair. It took a bit more time and creativity, though, so I understand if you need to get in there, chop, and get out. (Cutting a four-year-old's hair now is like that!) I used to allow our hair cutting time to extend over a few days, snipping here and there as I saw what shape needed to be molded. And I did some of it while Mikko was asleep — whatever side was up! I also like texturizing the ends a little by snipping into them, so that it's not a blunt line straight across and doesn't look so obviously just-cut.

I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking it…

What to leave out if you can't do it all

I'm trying to give you a wealth of ideas to consider as you care for you kids' curls and waves. But if it seems overwhelming, you can skip any steps that don't work for you and your family. For instance, have a water-averse kiddo? Bathing and rinsing less are always options. Kid resistant to hair cuts? Growing curls out can be lovely and, depending on the curl pattern, might even make managing them simpler.

Mikko's firmly in the phase (I say phase, but it's been a couple years now) where he wants nothing to do with having second-day hair styled. Well, I should say, he wants nothing to do with having his hair touched, ever, but he consents grudgingly to letting me wash it, and putting in some product at that time is pretty painless once we've gone through the torment of water in the eyes (see above re: will not look up). So, most days? He goes around town with hair that's half-frizzy, half-limp, and mostly sticking up. Meh, he's four. No one really cares. People give a lot of leeway to how kids' hair looks, because — hey, they're cute. They live in a bubble. As long as you can let go of your own expectations and fears (that people will think you're a Bad Parent), you can let kids set their own tolerance level for how much they'll let you play beauty salon. (Some kids will eat it up — I did!)

If I had to boil down the essentials and give you just a few things to concentrate on, here it is (though even these are negotiable):
  1. Find a natural conditioner you like. Slather it on your kid's hair, and use your finger pads to clean the scalp.
  2. Buy a wide-tooth comb. Comb hair only when coated in conditioner and allowed to soften.
  3. Leave hair alone while it air dries to set the curl pattern and reduce frizz.

That's it. The rest is gravy.

Pin this post to remember the tips!

How do you care for your kids' hair? Are you satisfied with your routine and results, or are there problem areas you want to tackle?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Holistic Care of your Toddler's Teeth — Erica at ChildOrganics tells a tale of her children's teeth issues and how she uses homeopathy and good nutrition to keep cavities at bay.
  • Bath Time Bliss : Fuss-Free Bath Time for Toddlers — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares how she has made bath time completely fuss free for both her and her toddler.
  • Homemade Natural ToothpasteCity Kids Homeschooling hosts a guest post on a homemade natural toothpaste recipe that kids will love!
  • Bathing Strike StrategiesCrunchy Con Mommy offers her best tips for keeping your little ones clean when they refuse to bathe.
  • Bodily Autonomy and Personal Hygeine — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses the importance of supporting a child's bodily autonomy in the prevention of abuse.
  • A Tub Full of Kiddos! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment has kiddos who love the water, so bathtime is a favorite evening activity!
  • The Trials of Tidying My Toddler — Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares the difficulties she has with getting her on-the-go son to be still enough to get clean.
  • Wiped Clean — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen shares her recipe for homemade diaper wipe solution to clean those sweet little cloth diapered bottoms in her home!
  • Snug in a Towel: Embracing Personal Grooming — Personal care is time consuming,especially with more than one child; but the mama at Our Muddy Boots is learning to embrace this fleeting and needful time.
  • EC: All or Nothing? — Elimination Communication. Even the title sounds complicated and time consuming. It doesn't have to, if you adapt it to meet your family's needs, says Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Routine Battles — In a guest post at Anktangle, Jorje of Momma Jorje outlines a simple incentive to help inspire your little one to follow a routine.
  • Redefining Beauty For My Daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger relays her struggle to define her own femininity and how her preschooler unexpectedly taught her a lesson in true beauty.
  • Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Three Girls In The Tub — Chrystal at Happy Mothering shares how she turns bath time into a few minutes of peace and quiet.
  • Montessori-Inspired Activities for Care of Self — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has a roundup of Montessori-inspired activities for care of self and ideas for home environments that encourage independence.
  • 10 Gentle Tips for Little Ones Who Hate the Bath — Kim at life-is-learning gives 10 tips to get your little one into the bath and maybe even enjoying it.
  • The Boy With The Long Hair — Liam at In The Now discusses his son's grooming choices.
  • Personal Care in a Montessori Home — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares a summary of the ways she has organized her family's home to make for easy, Montessori-inspired toddler personal care.
  • Styling Kids — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is letting her kids decide what to look like.
  • Clean Kids: Laundry and Bath Tips — Kimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia shares tips on how to get your children helping with laundry plus recipes for laundry and liquid soap.
  • How to Clean Your Children Naturally: A Tutorial — Erika at Cinco de Mommy shows you how to clean your children.
  • Cleaniliness is next to... dirt — The lapse-prone eco-mom (Kenna at Million Tiny Things) sometimes forgets to bathe the kids. Except in the mud pit.


mudpiemama said...

yay for curly haired cuties! we follow many of the same steps here. i will have to try the microfiber towel tip!

ps for looking up we hand a plastic place mat that has pictures on it high on the wall, works like a charm, kids search or describe something from the poster and soon enough rinsing is all done!

melissa said...

This is fantastic! I have very fine, straight hair that never tangles. In high school, I used to take great pleasure out of telling people who complimented me on my silky locks that I didn't even *own* a hairbrush. I didn't need to do anything to it!

I hadn't realized how completely clueless I was about caring for curly hair until now. It's pathetic, really. I'm sure your tips will help, and Annabelle's curls will thank you.

Oh, and our hair rinsing trick? We have a handle on the side of our tub, lucky us, and Annabelle holds onto it while arching her back and dipping her hair backward into the water herself. If there's something on or in your tub that would give Mikko leverage, maybe he could do the same? Mudpiemama's tip may be your best bet, but there you go! :)

Robin said...

I work at a salon and we sell these wet brushes like crazy! They are perfect for kids who have sensitive scalps and great for moms and dads too!


Unknown said...

thanks fo this. My 2 year old has dreads that other people are always trying to comb out or telling me to cut. I dont mind them, in fact I think they are cute, but they developed because I didn't know how to stop them! My daughter hates having her face or head fussed with, and I didn't want a daily fight for hair on top of the ones about washing her face, so I let it go.

desfenton said...

This is wonderful! I have always had super curly hair. As a child, my mother didn't know what to di, so she cut it very short. And combed it dry. And forbade me using conditioner. You may well imagine, my school days are deeply repressed. ;)
I married another curly head, though he cuts it all off (the parts that haven't fallen out) so everyone of my kids have super curls. The two the are teens and in the spirit of angsty conformity, shave them down to stubble. I love your tips, I'm excited to try a few things that are sure to help us out over here!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Kieran had beautiful curls until his first hair cut (which will always be a tragedy for me, since the stylist cut too much off). Now his hair does get wavy...maybe I could still coax some curls out!!

Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

This was great! I love love LOVE it when kids have curls. My little dude is still as bald as a cueball, but I'm gonna tuck these tips away for if he ever (please, God) grows some hair. :)

Inder-ific said...

Awesome, thanks! We do the conditioner wash and comb most of the time, but occasionally use an anti-dandruff shampoo (which is like, the polar opposite of gentle and natural) because Joe gets bad eczema and it really seems to help to use that stuff once a week or so (it even helps the eczema he gets on his face - better living through chemicals!).

It's funny, I have tried all kinds of leave in conditioners and detanglers on him, but I've never done just a basic gel. I may have to try that.

paganista said...

Thanks for the great tips and ideas! My daughter is 3 1/2 now, and has lots of curls/ringlets, but major frizz/tangle problems. I haven't ever used conditioner on her, and *very* rarely(like, maybe every few months) a tiny bit of natural shampoo. I also always brush it when dry. So I'm thinking I need to invest in a wide tooth comb and some natural conditioner!My hair is only a bit wavy, so I've never dealt with crazy wild curls before!

Also, I'm totally with you on kids not needing to bathe daily. My littles get a shower or bath once or sometimes twice a week, with spot washes in between.

kadiera said...

It took me until I was well into my 20's to learn to really care for my curls, and that's even with a family full of curly heads (they all hated their hair).

Acorn's hair is not as curly as mine, but I still cannot get people to stop trying to brush it out straight, or to make it do things when it's dry - yesterday it was his sister's nurses, trying to put it up in a ponytail, and getting a frizzy pompodour instead. ugh.

Unknown said...

Boys with curls must be the cutest little things ever :)

I love all your tips, we do a few of them already, we mainly just use water, and very occasionally a mild natural shampoo, but I never use conditioner. Thankfully Jesse's hair doesn't seem to tangle much, so we get away with it.

I really should follow your tips for myself, Im sure my life would be a lot easier. I have thick and curly hair, but alas, I want straight hair and so I blow dry it and iron it straight, which is literally killing it :/

Thanks for all the info, Im going to re-read and try and wrap my head around it :)

Kerry McDonald, M.Ed. said...

I really love these tips. I am sometimes frustrated by my daughter's wavy, and often unruly, hair and this post gives me lots of ideas and motivation for "maximizing its potential!" Thanks!

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, those curls! Too cute! My husband and I both have straight hair, so we'll see what our girls end up with. I was totally traumatized by hairbrushing when I was younger, so I'm going to try your method once their hair comes in!

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liam said...

My girls both have wavy/curly hair. Not to the astounding levels of your boy, but not straight like mine was back in the days before the male-pattern baldness and the razor. The hairdresser gave my wife some tips on how to care for their hair and the difference has been noticeable. A lot of the advice had to do with just leaving the hair alone and not brushing it too much, like you said. Good post and an adorable curly-haired baby!

Momma Jorje said...

On the topic of looking up... With Tyler, we somehow managed to decide that there were imaginary characters on the ceiling. I'd ASK her what was up there. She'd look up and see Ronald McDonald, Barney, etc. This has NOT worked with Sasha.

For Sasha, at least in the shower, I am... a little tricky / not nice. I put my chin against her forehead and lean US into the water, using my chin to hold her head where I want it. After reading some of the carnival posts today... I'm just going to stop washing it so often! She gets it rinsed just "playing in the rain."

Lauren Wayne said...

@mudpiemama:Your place mat tip is brilliant! I will try that pronto.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Julia: Other people try to comb her hair? I'm agog at people's presumption.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Destany Fenton: Aw, I can see them in your profile! Beautiful. I bet you have some horrifying school pictures to hide. :)

Lauren Wayne said...

@Dionna @ Code Name: Mama: Oh, sad! It's definitely worth a try. I keep thinking I should have saved a whole, long ringlet from Mikko's head — but it always felt weird to cut that big of one off. I did save a couple snippets from haircuts, though.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet: Ha ha, sounds like Alrik! He's finally growing some in — looks straight so far, so we'll see.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Inder-ific: Sam refuses to try any of my no-shampoo weirdness because of his dandruff. I've heard of natural remedies for dandruff but haven't tested them (see above, re: Sam's unwillingness, ha ha). I bought him some tea tree oil conditioner, but he ignored it…. But, you know, if Joe's happy (and I imagine helping fight the eczema makes him happy!), then you use what you need to. I use acne medication that's not what I'd call natural, because the natural stuff doesn't work on me, and skin problems are just the worst.

Lauren Wayne said...

@kadiera: Seriously, it's so weird to me that people don't have boundaries with other kids' hair. (Not that I mind some beauty salon playing when it's invited.) Oh, well, maybe that taught them a lesson about styling curly hair. :)

Lauren Wayne said...

@Christine Powell: Well, I've often thought so about your little boy! :)

You know, your comment made me realize that people could probably experiment with even more natural conditioning options, like coconut oil or the like, instead of a conditioner product. If you wanted to, I mean!

It's so funny how you can want your hair to be opposite, and I wanted mine to be opposite. It seems to happen that way a lot. I think treating your hair more gently despite the blow drying/ironing might help salvage it, and maybe you could try some gentler ways of straightening it. I've heard of hair wrapping, where you wrap the sections around your head to keep them straight as you sleep. And maybe you'd also be able to wash it less often, so the straight set would last longer. Anyway, some thoughts as you experiment!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Momma Jorje: It's funny how different kids can be. Mikko's so literal-minded that I can imagine he'd just say, "There's no one on the ceiling, Mama," in that flat, disappointed-in-me tone he sometimes adopts. ;) But I will give it a try, anyway! And I'll keep your chin-tipping technique in mind for showering with Alrik, because I think it would come in especially handy for a preverbal little one, to just move his head into position.

Deb Chitwood said...

No one in my family has curly hair, but it was fascinating to read how you care for Mikko's hair. His hair is awesome, and you've done a wonderful job of taking care of it and making it the most positive experience possible. :) Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

Anonymous said...

this post may completely change my life. i am a stick-straight-haired mommy to two curly-haired little ones. and i have no idea what to do with the ringlets. i recently learned about the sulfate-free shampoos, but the fact that i could just skip shampoo altogether - sweet! i've even been considering no-pooing, but to get baking soda and apple cider massaged into two toddlers just seemed beyond my capabilities. thank you for being so detailed. thank you. thank you. THANK YOU!

life-is-learning said...

He is so adorable with those curls! Our 3.5 year old just has baby hair still, I dont think I'd have a clue what to do with all that curly hair :) We also dont find daily bathing/hairwashing especially neccessary.

I wonder if you put a picture or poster on the ceiling or something for a focal point. We struggle with our little one looking up too, but having something specific to look at does seem to help.

Ursula Ciller said...

Great job with managing and caring for your little one's curls - it seems a very involved task! My little one's hair is as straight Egyptian as they get, but I will keep this post in mind for any one whose little ones have such amazing curls :)

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

Great tips! I have thick stick straight hair that couldn't hold a curl for more than a couple hours even if my life depended on it and have tried to research how to take care of my son's curly hair, but never found anything this thorough before :)
My son gets sooooo sweaty though. And starts smelling like my armpit from nursing/co-sleeping/snuggling in gengeral, so I have to wash his hair like once a week at least. Conditioner makes such a big difference to the texture. I also heard somewhere to make sure to cut curly hair when it is dry instead of wet like straight hair, because different sections will shrink up different amounts.

Oh, about your husband: I thought for YEARS that I had terrible dandruff, but discovered from a smart hair stylist that I actually have a dry scalp. Switching to a moisturizing tea tree shampoo solved all my problems that years of various dandruff shampoos couldn't.

Inder-ific said...

@Lauren @ Hobo Mama Yeah, exactly. I think of the dandruff shampoo (which works why promoting exfoliation, and studies are showing many that people with eczema do not exfoliate at the same rate as others - actually, that's a problem with acne sufferers too, wouldn't you know?) as a medicine. It's just too bad it dries his hair out a lot, which may be part of the reason I'm constantly battling the tangled rat's nest, even though I do the conditioner/leave-in conditioner thing with him religiously. I never would have come to this on my own, being more straight-wavy haired, but my very curly haired husband and friends schooled me. :-)

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Thanks for all the tips! My 10-month old has very curly hair, and I've been trying to figure out the best way to care for it. We do use Giovanni products and I usually only wash once a week, but I think I will start trying the once-a-week conditioner routine instead! And I definitely need to try the conditioner trick with the super-wide-toothed comb for my older daughter who has really long hair.

Clare said...


hi just wanted to chime in with my experience with dandruff shampoo and skin iritation. i thought i had dandruff and tried those harsh shampoos for years, also had some occasional skin irritations. finally went to the dermatologist, and got a little cream for the skin irritation (rarely need to use it, but it works like a charm) and the derm also (speaking of medicinal shampoo) perscribed a shampoo for seborratic dermatitis for my scalp. i use it infrequently, and it has worked wonders. no more itchy flaky scalp. might be worth it to make a trip to a dermatologist. I just had to mention this because it was such a relief to have a good solution for this irritating problem, and i wish i'd gone to the derm a long time ago.

Clare said...

Thanks for sharing your tried and true tips! I definitely practiced some of these, after some trial and error, as a curly haired young woman. Cut my own hair to avoid the triangle, infrequest full hair washes. letting it air (or pillow, I know, bad) dry. Good stuff! wish i'd had a guide like this!

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