Baby hair is in a constant state of change. While this includes color, curl, and texture, it can also include tangles.
The curlier, longer, or thicker your baby’s hair is, the higher the likelihood that you’ll find tangles. Before you give up and take out the cutting shears, consider the ways you can help untangle your baby’s locks and even prevent future tangles from occurring.
Comb their hair every day
Combing your baby’s hair is the first step to detangling. Regular combing sessions can even prevent tangles altogether. A wide-tooth comb should do the trick, especially if your baby’s hair is thick or curly.
No matter which type of comb you choose, gently swipe it through your baby’s locks, doing so slowly in case you come across any knots. Tangles usually form at the end of strands, but sometimes they can happen in the middle. If you do find a tangle, hold the area of hair slightly away from your baby’s scalp and gently work it out with the teeth of the comb.
You’ll also want to comb your baby’s hair other times it gets wet, like after swimming. This will help prevent the hair from tangling together as it dries. Braiding your baby’s hair before bedtime can also help prevent overnight tangles.
Tangles are often perceived as a side effect of dirty hair. As a result, you might have the impulse to lather up your baby’s locks right away. But when it comes to young children, tangles aren’t necessarily a sign of unhealthy or dirty hair. Since little ones lack the motor skills (and desire) to keep their locks free, tangles are bound to happen.
Therefore, you don’t need to shampoo your baby’s hair for every tangle that you find. In fact, overdoing it can actually dry out their scalp and hair shaft, making hair more brittle and prone to tangles.
Also, while you might wash your hair every day, your baby doesn’t need daily shampooing sessions. In fact, babies with super dry scalps and dry locks may only need their hair washed once or twice a week.
You can increase shampoo sessions as your baby gets older and you notice an oilier scalp, or if your baby starts to fling food in their hair — whichever comes first!
For sensitive skin, try this gentle shampoo from Aquaphor.
Use a baby hair conditioner
Hair conditioners are primarily used to help seal in hydration after cleansing hair with a shampoo. So it makes sense that if you shampoo just a few times a week, then you would use conditioner just as sparingly. After shampooing your baby’s hair, apply the conditioner, paying extra attention to the ends. This is also the area that tends to tangle the most.
For younger babies, a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner can be helpful. If your baby’s hair is dry, follow up with a leave-in conditioning spray. Leave-in conditioners shouldn’t be used if your baby has fine hair or an oily scalp, as these tend to weight down the hair and make it look greasy.
Consider a detangling spray
A detangling spray can be used with or without a conditioner. These work by softening tangles and knots in your baby’s hair so that you don’t have to comb as hard. Not only does this create less work, but it also makes for a more comfortable experience for your little one.
You don’t necessarily need a detangling spray if you find an occasional hair knot. However, if your baby is particularly prone to tangles, then such products might be worthwhile. These can also be used in between washes.
To use, simply spray on the tangled area of hair, taking care not to get the product in your baby’s eyes. Wait for a few seconds for the product to soak in, then gently comb the tangles out. You don’t need to apply detangling spray to the entire hair shaft if your baby only has a few tangles.
You might also consider investing in a dual action detangling spray that works on dry and wet hair, such as this tear-free formula from Johnson’s.
Go easy on hair accessories
Hair accessories are all the rage. From headbands and scrunchies to clips and ties, hair accessories can accentuate an outfit and garner some “aw’s” from family and friends.
But if your baby has long, thick, or curly hair that tangles easily, it may be worth reconsidering these fun accessories. While you might not have to forego them completely, don’t put items in your baby’s hair on a daily basis.
Aside from more tangles, hair accessories can pose choking hazards if they fall out of your baby’s locks. In some cases, constant pulling from ponytails and other hairdos can lead to hair loss.
When to worry about your baby’s locks
Aside from hair accessories, there are other potential causes of hair loss that can happen in conjunction with tangles.
Hair loss isn’t necessarily something to be concerned about, especially if your baby is under 6 months old. In fact, many newborns lose their hair within the first months of life. After this, your baby will grow new locks. Sometimes this can occur in stages, where you’ll see bald patches. Other babies shed all of their newborn hair at once.
Tangles and hair loss aren’t usually a cause for concern. However, if your baby’s hair continuously falls out, you might need to address this with your pediatrician.