20 Tips (and Photos) for the Parents of Curly Headed Children

So you ended up with a curly headed kid. Congratulations! and I’m sorry. The battles you will face with daily combing and “WHY CAN’T I HAVE STRAIGHT HAIR” are just beginning. Or maybe you’ve been in the trenches for awhile.

I have been in the trenches for 6 years.

I am better at caring for Addie’s hair than I am caring for my own.

I have curly hair care down to a science, I’ve read every book, tried every product, used every stylist and made Addie my guinea pig with new styles and techniques.

I’d like to say she’s spent everyday of her life with perfectly coiffed hair but that would be a lie. Curly hair has a mind of its own. It is at the whim of the weather, the humidity, cleanliness and lunar phases. After the jump are 20 tips I’ve learned over the last 6 years that I want you to bestow upon you.

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  • Curls From the Beginning. 1 of 20
    Curls From the Beginning.
    Addie's curls showed up at about one year. I was scared to death they'd disappear after her first haircut (at two) but they came back even better than before.
  • Find Someone Who Knows How to Cut Curly Hair. 2 of 20
    Find Someone Who Knows How to Cut Curly Hair.
    Call around and find a stylist who is comfortable cutting curly hair, preferably trained in the art. Not only will trims go faster, they will look better and last longer.
  • Trim. Trim. Trim. 3 of 20
    Trim. Trim. Trim.
    Trim and trim often. Curly hair is naturally drier than straight hair and the ends will get frizzy and break much faster and easier than straight hair. Trimming often is the absolute best thing you can do for curly hair.
  • Only Try New Products on Freshly Trimmed Hair. 4 of 20
    Only Try New Products on Freshly Trimmed Hair.
    Trying out a new product is like trying to disguise a messy house with an air freshener. Well, not really...but if you really want to see what a product can do it needs to be on healthy hair.
  • Use Products Meant for Kids. 5 of 20
    Use Products Meant for Kids.
    My favorite line is actually a line meant for ethnic hair, Curly Q's. Not only is it super moisturizing, it's also sulfate free and smells delicious.
  • Condition More Often than You Wash. 6 of 20
    Condition More Often than You Wash.
    Conditioner is far more important to curly hair than shampoo. Try swapping out just conditioner for every other shower or bath.
  • Don’t Wash Curly Hair Everyday. 7 of 20
    Don't Wash Curly Hair Everyday.
    Addie's hair gets shampooed once a week in the winter and conditioned 2-3 times, more often in summer. Washing it everyday dries it out even more.
  • Don’t Brush…Only Comb. 8 of 20
    Don't Brush...Only Comb.
    Repeat after me, "I will not use a brush on curly hair." That is unless you want a giant frizz ball. If you have to use something use a comb or your fingers.
  • Don’t Ruffle Drying Curls. 9 of 20
    Don't Ruffle Drying Curls.
    Curls have their own pattern. Messing with them will only result in frizz. Let curls air dry, or if you're in a hurry use a blow dryer with a diffuser. Feel free to gently fluff with your fingers at the roots once hair is dry.
  • Use a Satin Pillowcase if Possible. 10 of 20
    Use a Satin Pillowcase if Possible.
    If you can get your curly headed kid to snooze on a satin pillowcase it will lessen morning bedhead by a metric ton. Addie seems to slide off of hers, so good luck.
  • Morning Bed Head 11 of 20
    Morning Bed Head
    Curly hair generally looks like this in the morning. Spray with water, smooth a moisturizing cream through and finger style or comb and scrunch.
  • Learn to Finger Style. 12 of 20
    Learn to Finger Style.
    When wet, wrap curls around your finger, pull you finger out and allow hair to air dry. Works especially well in humid climates.
  • Summer Swim Hair 13 of 20
    Summer Swim Hair
    Keep a wide tooth comb with you all summer. Comb as soon as possible post water play to lessen tears later.
  • Dry Air…Sad hair. 14 of 20
    Dry Air...Sad hair.
    This is Addie's hair in the desert. Extra dry and limp. Times like this trims and conditioning are even more important.
  • Dry Winter Air is Hard to Contend With. 15 of 20
    Dry Winter Air is Hard to Contend With.
    I let Addie's hair grow out over the summer because in the winter it will turn into waves instead of ringlets. The drier the air, the harder curls are to care for.
  • Run with Humidity, You don’t Really Have a Choice 16 of 20
    Run with Humidity, You don't Really Have a Choice
    If you live in a humid area curls are going to have a much easier time being curly. Trim, finger style and don't mess with them and they should care for themselves.
  • Sometimes the Stars Align. 17 of 20
    Sometimes the Stars Align.
    Every once in awhile the weather and the conditions are perfect and you're left jealous of your kids perfect hair.
  • Straight is Possible, but Won’t Last. 18 of 20
    Straight is Possible, but Won't Last.
    Straightening Addie's hair takes about an hour. In humidity it lasts about an hour (which is why I don't do it when it's humid) and in winter it can last for two to three days. One bonus? Super volume from all those straightened curls.
  • Curly Hair Holds Updos Better. 19 of 20
    Curly Hair Holds Updos Better.
    One bobby pin can do wonders on curly hair. They texture and dryness lend well to staying up. Not to mention the little curly wisps that fall out are ADORABLE.
  • Help them Learn to Love Them. 20 of 20
    Help them Learn to Love Them.
    Addie flip flops between loving and hating her curly hair, in the end she loves it. Mostly because Taylor Swift has blonde curly hair too. Whatever it takes kid.

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