11 Curly Hair Dos and Don’ts for Kids

December 11, 2023

 by

Verna Meachum

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Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by Verna Meachum

Adult curls are already challenging enough to care for. Imagine adding kids with curly hair or wavy hair to the mix. Yip, I know. Having my own children with curly hair had me questioning everything about curls and kids, dos and don’ts included. After years of experience, I’ve compiled the ultimate list and shared that in this post.

DON’TDO
Shampoo dailyRinse without shampoo
Use products with harsh ingredientsUse gentle, kid-friendly curly products
Brush dry hairBrush damp hair with a detangler
Dry hair vigorouslyGently pat or plop dry
Use heatAllow hair to air dry
Skip out on moisturizationUse leave-in conditioner
Leave the hair looseTie or braid the hair
Skip deep treatmentsRegular deep treatments
Make curls feel like a burdenTeach them to embrace natural curls
Go in blindLearn about curly hair
Be rough on the curlsBrush or comb gently
Don’t use rough pillowcasesOpt for satin or silk pillowcases

The Dos and Don’ts for Kids Curly Hair

Below is a comprehensive list of everything you should avoid when caring for and styling children’s curly hair. You will also find alternative suggestions of what is better to do instead.

1.    Don’t Shampoo Kids Curly Hair Daily

Kids’ hair and scalps are still developing. Theirs are much more sensitive than adults, and being gentle with their little heads and hair is crucial, especially on wash day. Shampoo can be extremely drying when overused or if you overwash kids’ hair. Try to avoid shampooing daily.

Do Rinse without Shampoo

Try to shampoo your children’s curls only 1-3 times a week. Kids get pretty messy, so if needed, rinse their hair with plain water instead of stripping their oils with shampoo too often.

2.    Don’t Use Products with Harsh Ingredients 

As previously mentioned, children have more sensitive scalps and hair. It’s essential to avoid formulas that contain sulfates, phthalates, and other potentially irritating ingredients or harsh chemicals.

Additionally, be cautious with heavy ingredients such as mineral oil and silicones, as they may weigh down the curls and potentially lead to dryness. However, it’s crucial to note that the impact depends on the specific formulation of the product.

Do Use Gentle, Kid-Friendly Curly Products 

Finding the right products is crucial when it comes to caring for your curly-haired kids. Look for baby-friendly or kid-friendly products that are gentle on the hair and designed for curls.

3.    Don’t Brush Kids’ Curls when Dry

Dry brushing can cause breakage, damage the follicles if there is excessive tugging, and cause significant distress to the child. Curly hair, which is a lot different than straight hair, poses unique challenges as its natural oils have a hard time traveling down the bends and twists, necessitating a gentler approach. Avoid dry brushing or combing curly hair on kids.

Do Brush with a Detangler on Damp Hair

Always brush or comb your child’s curly hair when wet after a bath. You can also use a spray bottle with water to dampen it on non-wash days or when refreshing. Apply a tiny bit of detangler for kids or leave-in conditioner to make the tangles more manageable.

4.    Don’t Dry Kids’ Curls Vigorously

Using traditional terry towels on kids’ hair is a no-go. It can seriously damage the strands, cause frizzy and unruly curls, and even result in early hair loss and breakage. Vigorous hair wiping can also cause dryness.

Do Gently Plop the Hair Dry 

Use a microfiber towel for kids to gently pat or plop (for longer hair) the curls dry. These towels are much gentler, and the technique does not cause rubbing and tugging of the strands.

5.    Don’t Use Heat on Kids’ Curls

Heat can significantly damage the hair at a young age when healthy growth is extremely necessary. It can also cause dryness, breakage, early hair fall, and irritate the scalp. Heating tools should be avoided when dealing with curly hair in children.

Do Allow the Hair to Airdry

Allowing your child’s hair to airdry is the best option. If they have long hair and are slightly older kids, you can use a diffuser hair heat protectant when absolutely necessary. And if you must, use the cooler setting of a hairdryer.

6.    Don’t Skip Out on Moisturization 

Moisture is essential for curls. It’s like salt in food. Curls are naturally dry, so don’t skip on adding hair products that moisturize your child’s hair, fight humidity, and help define their curls.

Do Use Leave-In Conditioner 

You want to try skipping the conditioner in the shower for babies and toddlers. But products like leave-in conditioners help to restore moisture loss. Curl creams are also an excellent option. Remember to use only a teeny bit on children’s hair.

7.    Don’t Leave Kids’ Curly Hair Loose

This primarily applies to longer hair, but avoid leaving those beautiful locks loose. Kids are busybodies and rub their heads everywhere, not forgetting – touch their strands with food, paint, and other dirt. This can cause tangles and breakage, which require more shampooing, causing dryness.

Do Tie/Braid their Hair

Try to braid or tie your child’s hair, especially while asleep. This will protect their curls’ health, prevent drying, and reduce tangles and breakage. For coarser hair types, use protective styles in the best way possible. Just remember to be gentle and avoid extremely tight styles.

8.    Don’t Skip Deep Treatments

To deep condition curly hair kids hair may seem unnecessary; their hair also requires extra nourishment and conditioning. Don’t skip on this just as you wouldn’t skip doing it on your hair. 

Do Regular Deep Treatments 

Regular deep treatments feed the hair with the nutrients and moisture required for repairing, strengthening, softening, and defining curls. Use gentle deep conditioning products like coconut or olive oil. Gently massage it into the scalp and leave it for 30-60 minutes before shampooing.

9.    Don’t Make Curls Feel Like a Burden on Kids

One of the worst things you can do is make kids feel like their curls are a burden, an extra responsibility you dread, or lead them to believe natural curls are not beautiful. Avoid this to prevent breaking their confidence and love for natural hair textures.

Do Teach them to Embrace Natural Curls

Make hair wash and styling day a fun, exciting activity. Refer to it as bonding time. Be gentle and loving with their hair and remind them how stunning natural curly hair is.

10. Don’t Go in Blind

Adult haircare is different from kids’. You may also not have curly hair while your child does. Don’t go into kids’ curly haircare blind or treat it the same as adult hair. 

Do Learn about Curly Hair 

Do your research on kids’ curly hair. Talk to others with curly hair children. Seek professional advice. Read up on the topic online. Learn about curly hair types, styles, and products before attempting anything that might cause damage.

11. Don’t Be Rough with Kids Curls

As mentioned, avoid brushing your child’s curly hair dry, but don’t be rough even when doing it wet and with the product. Don’t tug on their strands or be hard on their scalp. And don’t use brushes and combs that could hurt them.

Do Brush/Comb Gently

Be extremely gentle when brushing your child’s curls. Start at the ends and make your way up to help remove tangles. Use a Tangle-Teezer, curly hairbrush, or a wide tooth comb. If your child’s hair is short or tangle-free, use your fingers instead.

12. Don’t Use Rough Pillowcases

Avoid pillowcases made of rough materials, as they can cause friction and lead to tangling and breakage, especially for kids with curly hair. Consider your child’s unique hair type when choosing bedding.

Do Opt for Satin or Silk Pillowcases

Choose a satin or silk pillowcase to minimize friction, reduce tangles, and maintain the integrity of your son’s and daughter’s hair. These materials are gentle on curls and can contribute to healthier hair in the long run. Tailor the choice to your child’s specific type of hair for optimal care.

Conclusion 

Caring for your children’s curly hair doesn’t have to feel like a calculus exam. It’s pretty simple once you understand what to do and what to avoid. I hope this post gives you the confidence to easily manage your little one’s curly hair.

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