Many of my client’s ask me if there is any difference between taking care of their child’s hair and taking care of their own hair. The answer is quite simply, yes, as your child’s hair has different needs than your own. The diameter, texture and color of your child’s hair is still forming until age 10 to 12 (and sometimes even into the teen years). Basically, your child’s hair is much more delicate than your own. Here are some tips you should consider when taking care of your child’s hair:
Do not wash your child’s hair every day- Of course I tell ALL of my client’s not to wash their hair every day but I know many of you do not apply this rule to your children. Here’s why you should. Shampooing every day is too aggressive for your child’s delicate hair and scalp. Children’s hair is dryer and less greasy than adult hair because sebaceous glands do not start producing significant amounts of oil until puberty. So your child’s hair really isn’t as “dirty” as you think it is and simple water will often do the trick. Even sweat can be dissolved with water alone. Shampooing two to three times a week should be sufficient. (Tip- if you are only washing hair twice a week, do two shampoos each time you wash). Of course, use judgment. If your child regularly goes to the beach, swim class or has a habit of getting ice cream in their hair, you should wash more frequently.
Use a gentle shampoo- Once your child is old enough to keep shampoo out of their eyes you can use an “adult” shampoo. Look for a shampoo with a pH of 5.0 to 5.5, no higher than 6. A higher pH will create drier hair. When choosing a shampoo, look for one that is ultra-gentle. You can try Oribe Ultra Gentle Shampoo, which is a sulfate-free shampoo that produces less lather and is less drying than other shampoos.
Use a de-tangling conditioner and daily detangling spray for long hair- The only reason to use conditioner on a child’s hair is for detangling, therefor I do not recommend it for short cuts. Since long hair tangles easily, use a detangling conditioner whenever you wash your child’s hair. Make sure you comb the conditioner through before rinsing so that it gets evenly distributed throughout the hair. NEVER put any type of conditioner directly on the scalp.
On days you do not wash your child’s hair, use a detangling spray or leave-in conditioner. Detangle curly hair when it is wet. (You can wet hair easily using a spray bottle). Start from the bottom and work your way up when detangling, using a wide toothed comb along with your fingers.
Detangle straight or wavy hair when it is dry or damp. I recommend using a detangling brush, such as the CP Creative Wet/Dry Detangling Brush. Make sure you are detangling the knots and not breaking the hair. Gently brush straight hair once or twice a day to prevent tangles from forming and to distribute sebum (the natural oil your hair produces) throughout the hair.
Make sure to get your child’s hair cut often- Since children’s hair is more prone to breakage, tangles, chlorine damage and dryness, it can be more difficult to style. This is why you shouldn’t wait more than eight weeks to get your child’s hair cut. Short styles will require cuts even more frequently. The frequent cuts will keep the hair healthier.
Don’t forget about style- Just because they’re young does not mean they don’t want to look fashionable! For short styles, styling products are fine. A paste or pomade will keep your child’s hairstyle in place throughout their daily activities. You don’t have to break the bank, just choose a styling product that fits your budget. For longer hair, ponytails, buns, braids and twists can help the hair from becoming tangled throughout the day. Use a ribbon hair tie (also mentioned in my post about maintaining your blow-out) to put your child’s hair up without leaving a dent or damaging the hair.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s hair tips! Post any questions you have or feel free to ask me in person at the salon. Also, please check out our updated menu of services to view our new rates for children’s cuts (available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays).