Toddler’s Hair Regimen for Loose Curls

toddlers curly hair care

So recently I found myself putting my little curly haired monster (my niece Jannat) to bed. As I was running my fingers through her hair listening to her babble away in her own language I came to realize how different her bedtime hair routine was to mine at her age. She’s just shy of two years old and has beautiful big hair. This got me thinking about the difference in my nightmare childhood hair and Jannat’s beautiful Asian afro. Why was my hair at that age a hot mess whilst Jannat’s is so soft and well behaved? And thus the idea behind this article was born.

Let us rewind back twenty years ago to when I myself was a curly haired monster at the age of three. Back in those days there weren’t any products around for curly hair and my mum didn’t know how to manage my mop of curls. So my bedtime routine consisted of my mum sticking my head under the tap, combing it out and drenching my hair in mustard oil (I know all you Asians out there know exactly what I’m talking about! And for the non-Asians let me clear it up for you guys. Coconut oil, almond oil and mustard oil were our mother’s favorite potions for healthy shiny hair. Every Pakistani out there reading this is nodding their head and can relate).

Even though I love my mum to death, and bless her heart, she tried, her way most definitely DID NOT work. She tortured me with all that combing, brushing and pinning my hair back! So let’s have a look at what DOES work for little, tiny loose curls.

Let’s Start With The Basics

MOISTURE! Moisture, moisture, moisture (I honestly can’t stress this enough) – This means using water-based leave-in conditioners or good ol’ plain water (make sure the water is distilled).
Don’t use a comb or a brush – Please step away from all the combs that you’ve accumulated, your fingers are far more gentle and can actually feel knots and tangles. Combs just rip through them.
Your child doesn’t need shampoo, all its going to do is strip and dry the hair out – Just wash the hair with plain water and use conditioner on alternate days. If you must wash use a mild sulphate shampoo once a week.
All those clips and hairbands need to come out at night – It’s uncomfortable for little ones to sleep with them in and it causes breakage too.

Now that we have the bare basics out of the way let’s get into the right way of doing things.

Step 1.

Massage coconut or your favorite oil into your toddlers scalp at least half an hour before you give them a bath. Judge how much to use according to YOUR child’s hair. If the hair/scalp is dry use more but we tend to use a 10 pence piece sized dollop to massage from scalp to the tips of the hair. This goes back to the “moisture, moisture, moisture” thing I mentioned before. Coconut oil is one of the few oils that actually penetrates the hair shaft, it is a sealant and reconstructs hair protein. You can rinse it at the end of their bath.

Step 2.

As I mentioned earlier your little one doesn’t need shampoo on a regular basis. Maybe once a week but other than that I would suggest washing it with water (distilled if possible and practical) and to use a good brand of baby conditioner on alternate days. I try to use lukewarm/tepid water rather than hot. Not only does hot water not dehydrates our hair it also opens up the pores and the cuticle of your hair shaft resulting in unnecessary hair loss. This is also where we bring out the trusty wide tooth comb to detangle the hair – alternatively you could finger detangle it works just as well and as kinder to your toddlers hair.

Step 3.

At this point we usually spritz some leave in conditioner throughout the hair and finger comb it. We let Jannat’s hair air dry, she has really defined curls and doesn’t need extra help but if the hair starts to dry a little lopsided I usually wrap her hair around my finger and coil it to give it added definition.

Trust Your Instincts

Now obviously Jannat’s night hair routine works well for Jannat, and might not necessarily work for you and your child. Parents come with this built in radar about what works best for their child. So feel your child’s hair, pay attention to it and play around with it. You’ll figure out what works for their texture, length and hair type.

Trust your gut and follow your instinct. If the hair is looking a little dry hydrate it, spritz some water and conditioner throughout the hair or if the hair is on the greasy side, skip the coconut oil for a day or two. If the hair is fine and there is a lot of breakage happening, give the hair styles a break and don’t use hairbands/hair ties for a while. It’s an ever evolving journey!

Over and out from this Curlista x

Adorable Jannat
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