Childrens haircare

As a mobile hairdresser I meet a lot of Mums so I thought it’s probably about time I released a little of my ‘know how’ to all the people out there with children.

Children's hair can be a whole new world to some us and it so important to take care of a child's hair from the start.

Now, this will depend on the type of hair that your child has and also the activities that they get up from day to day. It’s not as easy as 1,2,3 but it pretty easy with a little trial and error. Developing the right hair care routine early on will help with healthy hair habits along the way.

So, let’s start with the Shampoo & conditioners.

First off, think about what type of hair your child has. Is it curly, straight, fine, dry? Is your child still a baby or is he/she now a little older and attending preschool/school? The activities that your child has will determine how often you need to wash the hair. Not forgetting that the weather plays a part with their hair, as much as it does ours.

More frequent washing will be needed during windy, sunny or wet periods. Ideally, you want to wash their hair as little as possible. Usually once – twice a week for toddlers and just once a week for babies.

Alter your frequency if you notice that the hair and/or scalp seems oily. Add an additional shampoo per week until the oiliness is gone.

Try to prolong your shampoos as long as possible if you notice dullness, shedding or dryness.

If your child has very curly/afro or dry hair, It should be shampooed every 7 to 10 days. If they’ve been swimming or heavily sweating, rinse the hair with water (no shampoo) and condition the mid to ends of the hair.

Choosing a shampoo

Their hair really doesn’t need chemicals so organic is always my top recommendation. Adult shampoos contain chemicals called anionics this is what creates the lather when you wash but can be drying to childrens hair.

If your child has dry hair, you should look for a moisturizing shampoo.

If your child has fine or thin hair, try a lightweight shampoo that will not weigh the hair down.

If you think your child has a scalp condition such as psoriasis, dermatitis, or dandruff, consult a dermatologist about the best shampoo. Always check the label.

Shampooing the hair:

Make sure the hair is thoroughly wet before applying shampoo.

Use a 2p sized amount of shampoo (a little more for thick hair) and gently massage into your child's scalp.

Using the ball of your fingertips, massage the scalp gently.

If the child has tight curly tresses or very fine hair, do not gather the hair on top of the child's head. This will cause the hair to tangle and as we all know, that’s not much fun to get out and de-tangling can result in breakage to the hair.

Make sure you rinse well. An itchy or flaky scalp may be a sign that soap suds have been left present.

So, which conditioner?

Regular conditioners:

These are good for normal or oily hair as the conditioner is only on the hair for a short time before rinsing. This gives added softness and shine but does not enter the hairs follicles to add moisture.

Leave-in conditioners:

These are brilliant for dry, curly or Afro hair. They create a barrier on the hair which not only protects the hair from the elements but also keeps frizz at bay. Leave in conditioners are also fantastic for getting a comb through those tangles after washing. A life saver for kids with long, fine hair.

Deep conditioners:

These are great for very dry hair and can be used after every shampoo or once a month depending on how dry the hair is.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that the roots are never conditioned. Even if you think the scalp looks dry, conditioner is not the answer to moisturising the scalp. Apply enough to cover the mid to ends of the hair. You will need to adjust the quantity depending on the thickness of the hair.

Afro, curly hair, and dry hair should always be conditioned after washing and those that don’t need the conditioner usually, will still need this in the winter months.


Avoid tight hairstyles.

Your child’s hair is very delicate so pulling a ponytail too tight or plaiting too tight can cause the hairs to fall out.

Use heat sparingly.

Heat can be used on a child’s hair but make sure you use a heat protection spray and separate the hair into sections before blow drying. You do not want to cause heat damage.

I recommend choosing a childrens hairdryer for this as the heat settings are lower.

Avoid harsh chemicals.

Chemicals can be found in almost everything, do check the labels of your products first and only use styling products that are specially formulated for children.

Stay away from the straighteners.

These really are too harsh and too hot for children’s hair. A paddle brush and hairdryer will do the job nicely.

Taming the cowslick.

If your child has a cowslick, make sure this area of the head is always brushed downwards when wet. Make sure you always squeeze water out of the hair rather than rubbing with a towel and a tiny bit of leave in conditioner applied when dry will help control its direction.

A cowslick can be trained to go the other way over time. You can do this by sweeping the hairs in the opposite direction and placing a bobby pin here before bed. I do not recommend using hairsprays on childrens hair as this can cause breakage.

So, some handy tricks to know

Brushing without tears

If your childs hair tangles easily and is a nightmare to comb after washing, simply apply leave in conditioner to the ends and use a tangle teaser or a wide toothed comb and start from the bottom, working upwards towards the roots.

To remove chewing gum from hair

Soak in Coca Cola for 5 minutes and the gum will fall away. You can also use peanut butter or any vegetable oils. Simply soak the area for 5 minutes and brush through.

To remove glue from hair

You can use conditioner or vegetable oils.

Simply wet the hair and apply to the area. Leave for 20 minutes and comb through

Panic over!

As always, my advice is always free for my clients.

If you have any questions, ask away.

Mobile hairdresser - South London

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