My daughter’s curly hair is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, it is stunningly gorgeous and seems to naturally fall into these incredible locks that I know straight-haired people pay a lot of money to emulate!
On the other hand, her hair causes her (and us) a lot of anguish, pain, and tears when it gets knotted up and tangled.
There are a lot of great ways to prevent this and make it easier to fix without pain (I’ll get to that below), but one of the best ways is to use a really good detangler.
My favorite and the best detangler for toddler’s with curly hair is the Honest Company Conditioning Detangler spray (Amazon link).
Below, I’ll get into why it really works well for us plus a few other good tips for getting tangles out of your kid’s hair without pain.
Why I like the Honest Conditioning Detangler (Pros)
This is a super common problem for us, especially when my daughter hasn’t had a bath in a day or two.
(And a quick note: It might be a good thing to cut back on the daily bath and shoot for a few times per week, instead, according to the Washington Post.)
She’ll wake up and/or come home from school with an utter rat’s nest on top of her head. Not only does it look like a mess, but it causes her a lot of pain when it’s time to comb those knots out and style her hair again.
Her thin curls just seem to intertwine and lock together like crazy, way more than kids with straight hair seem to experience.
So often the quickest and easiest way to detangle her curls is with a couple of really good spritzes of this conditioning spray before running a comb through.
Here’s what I really like about this stuff:
It smells amazing:
Dang, this stuff smells delicious, like orange sherbet. The official flavor is sweet orange vanilla (at least that’s the most commonly available variety) and it’s almost enough to make you want to guzzle the bottle… (Obviously, don’t do that). But it sure does smell great and the pleasant odor helps it not be a bother to kid. It’s a far cry from the stinky hair sprays and products you might be used to.
It’s made from plant-derived ingredients:
You can totally catch on from the smell of this spray that it’s not full of nasty chemicals. The orange and vanilla scents are from real natural extracts. The rest of the spray is made with argan oil, shea butter, jojoba protein, and quinoa extract; all really high quality stuff that’s easy on hair and skin. There are no dyes or heavy, scary-sounding chemicals in this spray, which is a plus. (I’m not an alarmist or someone who uses all-organic, all the time, but it is a nice touch when you can find a product that works without a lot of artificial ingredients).
No greasy film:
The ingredients here aren’t harsh on the hair at all and don’t leave behind an unnatural and greasy film. Instead it leaves my daughter’s hair smelling great, feeling soft, and being easy to work with. When it dries, her curls spring into full action and look incredible.
Works great for detangling:
Probably the biggest reason I own this product is that it works really well for getting tangles out. Sometimes you’ll have trouble with really persistent knots at the very end of hair strands, so don’t expect this to grease up the hair and turn it into a bunch of oily noodles that come right apart! But it works excellently for everyday tangles and considering it’s natural-approach, the results are surprisingly good.
If that all sounds good, you can grab a bottle of Honest Company Conditioning Detangler for a great price from Amazon.
Honest Conditioning Detangler Cons
I really like this detangler and use it for my daughter all the time, but it’s not a perfect product by any means.
Here are a few drawbacks:
Small bottle goes fast:
The bottles of this spray are only 4.0 ounces and if you use them every day, or almost every day like we do, you’ll probably go through it relatively quickly. It also gets a little bit tough to spray when it gets down toward the end of the bottle, but that’s because it’s a natural pump and spritz vs an aerosol product.
Not super high-powered:
If you don’t mind some harsher chemicals and/or a bit of a film on the hair, you can probably find something that’s a little stronger and will really get those super tough tangles out a little better.
Smell might not be for you:
I personally love the orange vanilla (sherbet, mmm) smell of this detangler, but a few reviewers on Amazon found it wasn’t their cup of tea. So be warned.
Tips to keep your toddler’s hair tangle-free (without pain)
Having a good spray like this one on hand comes in handy big-time, and can eliminate a lot of the fuss and tears that come with getting tangles out of your kid’s curly hair.
But it also really pays to learn some good preventative tactics and some other techniques you can use to help the process along. Hacks, if you will!
Put in a ponytail at night:
Bed head is one of the primary culprits of rats nest syndrome in my daughter’s hair, aka completely unmanageable knots. This is just the price people with curly hair have to pay for those gorgeous locks. If you want to avoid a fight in the morning, put in a ponytail or some other kind of hair restraint to keep it in place and prevent those curls from intertwining too much. You may have to brush out some weird lines or indents from the ponytail, but that is a FAR easier task than getting out really bad tangles. And the Honest Conditioning Spray is great for that, too.
Condition during bath time:
Bath time makes all the tangles go away! In the morning you’re trying to avoid making a huge mess and creating an unmanageable hair situation, but in the bath you can feel free to pour on the product. I actually use this spray’s sister product, the Honest Company Gentle Conditioner (Amazon link) during bath time and those tangles just fall out like wet spaghetti, it’s glorious. If you like the smell and the feel of the spray, you can pair it with the conditioner for an awesome 1-2 punch that’ll send tangles to the mat.
Use your fingers to get out stubborn knots:
OK, this is one of my all-time favorite dad hacks.
I find that using a comb or brush is sometimes too intense for really tough tangles, and what I really like to do is gently run my fingers through my daughter’s hair until I come to a knot. Then instead of just forcing your way through it (like you would with a comb or brush), you can softly separate the knotted strands with your fingers and very gently pull them apart without putting pressure on the base of the strand or on the scalp. It REALLY makes a big difference getting at least some of the bigger knots out this way.
It’ll cause way fewer tears, and then when you’ve got the big ones out, you can spritz and use a comb to give her hair that finishing touch. (I’ve since learned this is basically called finger-combing)
Use leave-in spray:
The Honest spray I recommend above is also great for this purpose. Give your kid a few spritzes all over and just leave it in. It’ll soak into the hair to condition and loosen tangles naturally. So you can do this at night, in the morning, or whenever without actually going in and actively attacking each tangle.
Pick the right comb or brush:
Sometimes kid’s combs have teeth that are way too tiny and close together for curly haired toddlers with tangle problems. If you can find a good, wider tooth comb, you’ll find it’s a lot gentler (sort of like finger-combing). Use the Honest spray and work your way up from the bottom (you can grab the hair somewhere in the middle while you’re working on the ends to keep from tugging on the scalp too much).
Tangle time usually equals tears, but it really doesn’t have to! Sometimes, your kid is just going to get brutal knots in their hair, and it’s going to suck to get them out. That part may be unavoidable (like changing poopy diapers — it’s part of parent life!)
But if you combine everything in this article (a good detangler spray, proper prevention, and solid technique), you can make your life a lot easier – and make your toddler dread hair-time a little bit less.
You can admit it if you’ve settled with sending your daughter to school in a simple bow because you didn’t want to start World War III trying to do something more ambitious — I certainly have!
In any case, I really think the Honest Conditioning Spray is a great buy for parents with toddlers who have curly or tangle-prone hair. It smells great and works really well for a natural plant-based product.
Pick up some Honest Conditioning Spray (Amazon link) and read reviews from other parents on Amazon.
Good luck, parents!