Curls were a mystery to me.
My hair is thick and wavy.
My first child’s hair is thin and pin straight.
When my second child starting growing out curly little ringlets, I was at a total loss for what to do with them. In the beginning, I treated her hair just like her sisters, but it started to frizz and knot together. It was then I decided to do a little research. Her curls were beautiful, unruly, and here to stay – so I needed to learn how to take care of them.
The world of curly hair maintenance
Have you ever heard the expression of ‘going down the rabbit hole’? Curly hair maintenance is definitely one of those topics that have seemingly endless amounts of information. One topic leads right to another and another and the next thing you know, you’ve spent hours on the internet without realizing. I read all about special techniques, tools, and products that can help curly haired people keep their hair looking it’s best.
During my travels through the internet, I never found an article specifically on toddler/kids curls, which I found odd. I took away a lot of great information, but many of the methods were definitely not going to be do-able for a wiggly toddler. So, I did a little picking and choosing according to the what I thought would work best for my little one and we started experimenting.
We spent a couple of weeks trying out a few different methods. I think we now have a good routine in place that is not too time-consuming or messy. Overall they have made a huge difference in the look and feel of my daughter’s hair.
Products We Use:
You can probably swap out some of these items for brands you prefer. I am listing them simply because these are what we have experience with and I have found them to be non-building. We can use these products on my toddler’s hair for several days in a row, and it still feels soft and clean. It does not get heavy or sticky with hair product.
- California Baby Conditioner
- California Baby De-tangler Spray
- Baby Sprout Curl Calmer
- Wet Brush
- Fine mist spray bottle
- Distilled Water
Here are the three actions we take to wash and maintain curls:
#1: Hair Wash
In order to provide as much moisture as possible to her hair, we skip the shampoo. I wash her hair with conditioner only. Obviously, conditioner doesn’t provide any suds, so I make sure to scrub the scalp well with my fingers. I will only use shampoo in her hair if she has gotten hard to remove things stuck in it like food, clay, or dried mud (you gotta love those messy toddlers *sigh*).
After washing her hair, it gets lightly towel dried and then a dime-sized dollop of the Baby Sprout Curl Calmer. This stuff is amazing. Not only does it smell incredible, but it prevents curls from frizzing as they dry. I quickly work that through her hair and brush it with the Wet Brush. Once all the knots are out, I use my fingers to twist small sections of her hair in whatever direction it naturally curls. This sounds tedious, but as long as you do it while the hair is still damp, it really only takes 5 minutes.
#2: Morning Maintenance
So ideally, curly hair shouldn’t be slept on. It flattens the curls, creates frizz, and can be drying on the hair. Often women tie up their hair on top of their head at night to protect their curls while they sleep. Depending on what article you read, this can either be called “pineapple” or “plopping” your hair. This really isn’t an option for my daughter, as she is a crazy wild sleeper. So I just let her do her thing and sleep with her hair down.
In the morning, I use the California Baby detangler spray on her hair. This product is not the perfect choice because it contains some alcohol, which can be drying. I have not found another I like as well yet, so we are just going with it. I brush out the tangles with the Wet Brush and repeat the after the bath process: a dime-sized amount of Baby Sprout Curl Calmer then finger curl small sections in the direction her hair naturally curls.
#3: Additional Maintenance
There are other times throughout the day that I have to fix my daughter’s hair. After naptime, after playing outside, before the family goes out to dinner… stuff like that. When we need to do a little cleanup, I have a super easy homemade conditioner spray that I use on her hair.
DIY Conditioner Spray
- 1 8 oz fine mist spray bottle
- 1 Tbs of California Baby Conditioner
- 7 oz Distilled water
Shake the bottle well before each use.
I spray this all over her hair, finger comb, and re-twist any sections that need it. The added moisture will help to calm the hair back down and stay in its curly place.
My daughter’s hair has literally transformed after implementing these habits. Her hair is no longer dry, frizzy, and unruly. It looks shiny and healthy. Her curls hold into place well now, aside from sleep and rough outdoor play. These actions only take a few minutes each day, and they have been 100% worth the effort.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a child with curly hair? How do you tame their mane into place? Did you try any of the methods I’m using? I’d love to hear more suggestions on what works for your kiddos.
Until next time,