Ouch! Toddler Hair Tangles

Julie Ryan Evans

tangled hairToddlers with curls are adorable.

Perfect, springy ringlets that bounce and elicit ooos and awws wherever one goes are picture perfect.

But as cute as curly hair is, it can also be the source of much dread (sometimes approaching dread-lock status) and daily battles as it can quickly become a tangly, snarly mess that leaves parents wanting to reach for the scissors.

Even toddlers with fine, thin hair aren't immune from the knots, and parents everywhere face the not-so-fun business of undoing them.

Short of chopping it short (a viable option), here's a list of five of the best techniques to detangle toddler hair:

The right tools

You may have to try a few to figure out what works well for your child's hair. Wide-tooth combs and brushes with soft, but firm bristles are a good place to start. When you get to a big knot, start at the bottom of it and brush down, then work your way up. Sometimes it's easier to do when hair is wet.


While toddlers' hair typically isn't damaged from styling products and color treatments (or shouldn't be!), conditioner can still come in handy and make brushing easier. Leave-in conditioners can be especially effective.


Spray-in detangling conditioners are effective if used right after hair is washed. There are an array of kid-friendly ones out there. I like California Baby's Calming Detangler.

You can also make your own by mixing a little bit of conditioner with warm water in a spray bottle. You'll have to play around with the right ratio for your child's hair, but the solution can be used on wet or dry hair. 

Make It fun

No matter what your approach, try not to display your dread for the task at hand. Pretend to play beauty or barber shop, or come up with a fun song to sing as you do the dirty work (comb, comb, comb your hair ... to the tune of "row, row, row your boat" works well).

Let them try

The earlier they start learning to do their own hair, the sooner you won't have to. Give them a brush or comb to do one side while you do the other.

Do you battle your child's hair? What works best for you?

Image via Elizabeth/Table4Five/Flickr

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