I have straight, fine, almost-black hair. As a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to wake up one morning with a head of Cindy-Brady-like blond sausage curls. This dream never came true, of course, but 30 years later, I did give birth to a beautiful little girl with a head full of dark blond ringlets. As much as I’ve lived vicariously through her precious locks—oh, how those springy curls went “boing!” when they were in tiny toddler pigtails—her dream hair brought with it more than I thought I’d bargained for. Namely: tangles.
Straight hair gets messy and matted, too, but it’s nothing an extra-large serving of conditioner won’t fix. When curly hair gets messy, oh what a tangled web it weaves. (And unfortunately, Carol Brady wasn’t around to offer me tips on how she got her little girl’s perfect curls so…well, perfect!)
But you’re in luck. After much trial and error, and more “Mommy! Ouch!” drama than I’d care to admit, here’s what I found works best for our curly-headed beauties.
1. Never, ever skip conditioner.
2. Comb it out while it’s still wet.
Long day? Exhausted? Tempted to just put your daughter to bed after her bath and collapse on the couch? That’s fine, but make sure you use a wide-toothed comb while her hair is still wet and smooth from the conditioner.
3. Argan oil—it’s not just for you, Mom.
Argan oil is the hot new buzz word in the beauty world, and we women are happily applying it to crow’s feet and fine lines as part of our anti-aging regimens. But a friend with a curly-haired daughter of her own recommended using a few drops prior to brushing, and it’s amazing what this stuff does to curls! They become shiny and manageable without any greasiness. My 7-year-old and I now each have our own little brown bottle.
4. Detangler spray: stock up.
I’m not sure what you’ll find more of in my daughter’s room: bottles of hair detangler, or Barbie dolls. We’ve tried them all, and the best kid product out there is California Baby Calming Hair De-Tangler. It’s all-natural and leaves hair feeling clean. Another really awesome product—great for girls and their moms alike—is Aubrey Organics NuStyle Detangler and Shine Booster, which contains organic quinoa protein. Not only does it detangle, but it also adds shine and protects individual strands from heat and damage, so it’s a great protectant if you ever do want to flat-iron out those amazing curls! And this is something my little girl, with her gorgeous Cindy Brady ‘do, asks me to do all the time. (I usually say no.) For some strange reason, she doesn’t want perfect ringlets—she wants straight, fine hair just like her mom. Go figure!
Jorie Mark is the Creative Director of Vitacost.com and mom to three children, ages 2 to 10.