Your child’s curly or kinky hair is naturally drier than children with straight hair. This means you must take a proactive or reactive approach to keeping their hair healthy and hydrated. The tips, tricks, and remedies below will help you manage their curls with ease.
#1 Determine If Their Hair Is Healthy Or Dry
If your child’s hair is healthy, you want to keep it that way. If your child’s hair is dry, your approach needs to be a bit more strategic.
Here’s how to determine if their hair is dry:
It’s rough or brittle—the next time their hair is clean and dry, touch it to determine if it feels brittle or rougher than usual. Different hair textures and hair types feel different, so focus on how your child’s hair feels when it’s healthy or how it feels now. Or focus on if the new growth closer to their scalp looks and feels healthier than the ends of their hair.
Increased breakage—curly hair sheds frequently when detangling or styling but pay attention to whether their hair is shedding more than usual. This might mean shedding on their bedding or hair that falls to the ground while detangling. Or you may notice more short hair strands and breakage when you style their hair or pull it back into a ponytail.
Excessive tangling—there’s no way around it, curly hair tangles. The more active your child is, the more their hair will tangle. However, dry and damaged hair tangles more frequently than healthy hair.
Split ends—you can start trimming their hair when they are between the ages of 8 months and 2 years old. Even if you are trying to grow your child’s hair out, don’t skip trips to the hair salon. Regular trims keep their hair healthy by removing the ends, which are more likely to dry out. Every 6 to 8 weeks is ideal, sooner if you see split ends. Be sure to select a salon or stylist who specializes in curly hair. Their stylist can tell you if their hair is healthy, provide child-specific tips, and can trim off their split ends.
Hair elasticity—perform a quick elasticity test by taking a single strand of hair and gently pulling it straight. If their hair returns to its full curl pattern it’s healthy. If it breaks or doesn’t return to its full curl pattern it’s dry or damaged.
#2 Shampooing Curly and Kinky Hair
If not done right, shampooing will strip curly hair of its natural moisture. Over time, this will dry out and damage your child’s curls.
These quick tips will help:
- Only use shampoo, conditioner, and hair care products designed for curly hair. Even products designed for kids have sulfates, parabens, alcohol, mineral oil, or other ingredients that will damage and dry their curls. Curly hair care lines don’t have these harsh ingredients.
- Massage and lather shampoo into their scalp, not their hair. Unless their hair is severely soiled, that will be enough to cleanse from root to tip.
- Even with curly hair shampoo, curly hair should only be shampooed every 7 to 10 days. Every 10 days if their hair is kinky, damaged, or dry.
- If you need to cleanse their hair or scalp before wash day, co-wash by cleansing with conditioner instead of shampoo.
#3 Condition Frequently
Always condition after you shampoo their hair. If your child is too wiggly or impatient after their hair has been shampooed, use a leave-in conditioner. Feel free to apply leave-in conditioner daily when you style their hair. This will make it easier to detangle and style, as well as keep it healthy and hydrated.
Depending on their hair texture, type, and whether their hair is healthy or dry—you may also need to use the LOC or LCO method. These methods are a proactive approach to keeping their hair from drying out. They are also a way to protect and repair dry and damaged hair.
If they’ll let you, deep condition their hair after you shampoo it. You can deep condition by leaving their curly hair conditioner on for 20 minutes before rinsing it out. To minimize dripping, clip their hair back while you deep condition or put a shower cap on their head.
#4 Styling Tips
How you style your child’s hair plays a vital role in the health of their hair. If you’re in need of some inspiration, head to YouTube where you will find countless instructional videos for new hairstyles. Be sure to search for hairstyles by their hair texture and type.
Also, utilize the tips below:
- Always use curly hair styling products, brushes, and combs.
- Detangle their hair in sections to minimize breakage.
- Only use no-tangle elastics and cut them out if their hair is too tangled.
- Never brush or comb their hair without wetting it. Spray in a leave-in conditioner if it helps.
- Repetitive hairstyles can increase breakage so mix things up.
- Select a protective style if their hair is dry or damaged.
- If their hair is severely damaged, consider cutting off several inches.
#5 Personalize Their Hair Care Routine
Another reason to identify a curly hairstylist is that they will help you create a personalized hair care routine for your child. The FroBabies Hair blog is packed full of blog posts that address the most common issues curly kids have. This includes tips to style and care for their hair by season.
Also, mix in the tips below:
- Have your child sleep with a silky pillowcase, sleep bonnet, or sleep cap.
- Use a microfiber towel or cap to dry their hair.
- If the air outside or in your home is dry, as it often is in the winter months, add a humidifier to their room at night.
- Keep the use of heated styling tools to a minimum and always apply a protective product before using a hairdryer, hot comb, curling iron, or straightener.
- Teach your child to love their natural hair from a young age so that they will feel less pressure to relax or straighten their hair.
- Instead of coloring their hair, turn to the fun range of clip-in extensions designed for kids.
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