As I was at the pool the other day for my son’s swim lessons, I noticed a young girl trying to detangle her incredibly long hair, and she was tugging so hard at those locks with her comb, that part of me wanted to scream out: ‘stop you’re breaking your hair!’. It made me realize that as a child, we are never taught how to take care of our hair. In fact hair is the least of our priorities until problems emerge. Here are 8 hair tips that you can use or teach your child to preserve the health of their hair.
Hair maintenance tips for your kids
1. Make sure they shampoo at least once a week
Kids sweat a lot and handle their hair with their gritty little hands subconsciously. It is important to keep their scalp clean to avoid problems such as dandruff or other types of irritations. However shampooing too often (everyday) is not advisable especially if they have dry hair. Also make sure to use mild kid-friendly shampoos.
2. Condition before detangling
Sometimes, if we are using the 2 in 1 gentle body/shampoo wash we forget to condition the hair. Conditioner keeps the hair smooth and in control of statics and flyaways. It is important to at least condition the hair before attempting any detangling. Otherwise, the hair can get damaged (breakage) from the friction and tugging action of the comb/brush.
3. Use the right comb or brush
Following advice #2, do not detangle with narrow toothed combs. It will only make matters worse. Large toothed combs work great specially on damp hair. Remember that hair is at its weakest when wet because it stretches more, resulting in easier breakage. On dry hair use a boar-bristle or paddle brush. They are gentler.
4. Be gentle when lathering
The damage that occurs during lathering (during shampooing) is something that most people don’t pay attention to. It is good practice to be gentle during the lathering process. The rubbing action (friction) between the hair fibers can cause cuticle damage and eventually problems like dryness, breakage, flyaways etc.
5. Use the right technique to towel dry hair
Towel drying of hair needs to be a gentle process as well. Rubbing the hair in all directions can only contribute to damage. Additionally, while it is common practice to wrap the hair in towels when it’s wet, the twisting of the hair can also contribute to hair damage.
6. Avoid direct heat drying if you can
Heat drying should only be done if you really need to. Otherwise, try using the cool air feature or rough drying the hair without direct contact with the fibers.
7. Protect hair at the pool
Using a swim cap is best at the pool since it seals the hair from the pool water. Alternatively, coating the hair with a thick hair cream (such as shea butter based) or pre-wetting the hair prior to entering the pool can also help. Do not forget to use a swimmers’ shampoo afterwards which can remove the chlorine or copper salts more effectively (avoiding the ‘green hair effect’) than regular shampoos.
8. Use a detangling spray if needed
Sometimes, just conditioner is not enough to detangle the hair. Use a kid-friendly detangling spray to help the comb slide through and prevent breakage/damage.