How to Care for Children's Hair

Children are more delicate than adults in every way, and their hair is no exception. Your child's hair strands are thinner than yours, which leads to more breakage and tighter tangles that seem almost impossible to remove without tears. Luckily, learning how to care for children's hair can reduce these issues and keep them smiling, even on their toughest hair days.

Keep it Clean

The first step in caring for children's hair is to learn when and how to wash it. Read the tips and suggestions below to learn how to keep your little one's hair clean.

When to Wash Your Child's Hair 

Though there are no rigid rules for how often you should wash your child's hair, we'll give you some general guidelines in this section.

  • Wash your baby's hair once or twice a week unless they deal with cradle cap or other oily skin issues. These conditions may require you to wash their hair more often. 

  • Toddlers need their hair washed about three times a week. The frequency depends on how messy they are at the kitchen table and whether they played around in dirt that day. 

  • Older kids. Wash your older child's hair every other day. 

IMPORTANT: If your child has very curly, kinky, or coily hair, we recommend washing their hair only once a week. Washing textured hair too often can lead to dryness and breakage. 

How to Wash Your Child's Hair

When washing a child's hair, stick with sulfate-free kid's shampoos. These shampoos have special formulas that are gentler on those delicate strands, washing off the dirt without stripping away those much-needed oils. 

Also, you don't need to put a lot of shampoo on their small heads. Gently massage a small amount into their scalp and then rinse away the suds. 

Don't Skip the Conditioner

Even if your child's hair looks as smooth as butter, it still needs conditioner. Without enough moisture, your child's hair can turn into a wiry mess of tangles. So, immediately after washing, be sure to condition their hair according to the instructions on the bottle. 

While the conditioner is still on the hair, use a paddle brush or a wide-tooth comb to detangle. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the roots. Add more conditioner for stubborn tangles. Once you've rinsed the conditioner out, add a moisturizing kid-friendly leave-in conditioner for lasting nourishment. 

Dry it Gently

To properly dry your child's hair, gently squeeze the water out before they leave the tub and then again with a t-shirt or microfiber towel to remove excess water. Be careful not to rub their head, as this could create tangles.

Let the hair dry naturally if possible. The high heat from a hairdryer is too much for your little one's sensitive scalp and soft hair. 

Styling Children's Hair

Though adding some curls or straightening your child's hair may look cute, their delicate strands can't handle much abuse, so limit heat styling as much as possible. Their hair also doesn't need sticky hair products and hair color. Use these too often, and you could be dealing with dry hair and split ends far sooner than you'd like.

Here are some quick styling tips for children's hair: 

  • Use cute accessories like clips, headbands, or bows. 

  • Never rip through their hair with combs or brushes - be gentle. 

  • When using rubber bands or elastics, be sure not to wrap them around too tightly. 

  • Go for simple styles, like two pigtails, a high ponytail, space buns, or a French braid. 

  • Avoid hair color, heat styling, and sticky products.

Caring for your child's hair may seem like a difficult task, especially if you're a new parent dealing with tangles and tears. It doesn't have to be this way, though. With the above tips and guidelines, you can keep those tears away and even have fun with your little one's hair. 

Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

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