The Trouble With Tangles - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 03-14-2013, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking to talk about this issue is general, especially to hear from you who how found out-of-the-box solutions for your particular situation.

 

Here is mine:

 

My younger daughter, 6.5yo, has a thick mane of hair that likes to tangle (even braided!  Even after just a day!)  Hair bands, even scrunchies kept in for half a day get caught up in tangles so badly, we cut them out.  Her hair is quite long now, and I can cut it back about 4 inches, but more is out of my league.  

 

The last time I cut her hair to her shoulder area, the bottom puffed out about 2 inches wide and took 2 weeks to even up enough with follow-up clipping sessions.  I swear, it was so bad it looked like she chopped it off herself.  Even keeping her bangs trimmed gives me the jitters because they are thick, too and her hair looks pretty goofy for a couple of weeks after I cut it.

 

We've been brushing everyday, not so much to detangle it completely, but to cut down on the tangles and make her scalp less sensitive by a bit so combing and brushing is not such a trauma.  Her weekly "conditioner combing" in the bath was easy today, but can often result in tears.  

 

I've offered to stop by the salon to get her a "cute, short" hair cut, but she likes her long hair, despite all the trouble with all the tangles.

 

I'm not a real stickler about hair, I just want to get her hair combed thoroughly once a week and not have it be such an ordeal for either of us.  I don't have any higher expectations than this.  Unfortunately with her hair the way it is, meeting those expectations have meant really pushing to have her hair brushed twice a day.  Her sister gets by on her own-- her hair is thinner, finer, shorter.

 

We've talked about dreadlocks--their gym teacher has dreads she swoops up on top of her head.  I don't think dd2 would like the way they feel-- she would even like not wearing her hairband in her hair at night, so I don't think dreads would be comfortable.

 

But what about you?  Have you met with a simialr situation and found an out-of-the-box solution?  Did dreadlocks work for your children, if it came to that?  (If you dare, I would love to see some pictures!)

 

We are working this out fairly well, but I'm at the point that I wonder, who else out there has dealt with this?  What am I missing?  What can I do better?  


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#2 of 26 Old 03-14-2013, 08:54 PM
 
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My daughter's hair is not thick, but it snarls and tangles like crazy, in a matter of just hours of her just doing her normal thing - and especially since we've been swimming regularly, the chlorine is doing a number on it too - it used to be an emotionally exhausting battle for me to comb her hair out a couple times a week, wet, with conditioner...doing it dry?  UGH.   And her hair is only just past her shoulders. I suggested cutting it back to her chin, many times, like it was when she was younger, but she likes it longer now, so.....

 

This is going to sound crazy, but it's what has ben working for us, lately - actually combing it *more*, and really taking your time on it - I do it in the morning, after lunch, and at bedtime (and remember, my girl's hair isn't thick).  She gets a book, or a video, and I have 2 clips - I clip up the crown area, and spray the crap out of the under layer with detangler and brush it out, section by section...she says that a combination bristle and plastic tine brush is the least ouchie for her.  We've been through probably 6-8 different kinds of brushes and combs in the last year, until we found this one.  I can get a picture of it for you if you want, I think I remember it said it was good for thick hair (but we bought it anyway to try it out).

 

So we've been doing this for a little over a week now - after the first 2 days, things got markedly better.  I still take my time and do sections, but it's so much better now that she doesn't run away from me when I mention brushing.  I plan for 10 minutes each time, but lately it's been less than 5.  What a relief.  It sounds ridiculous that someone would dread hair combing this much, but she is a feisty, quick tempered, LOUD girl and it was...well, something to be dreaded.  lol. 

As far as the cut, I would probably find a good stylist in the area if she wants to go shorter and have them undercut the bottm part so that it doesn't triangle out at the bottom.  

 

I guess at this point I'd tell her she has 2 choices:  Sit to have her hair brushed thoroughly 3 times a day for a week to see if it helps, or get it trimmed...cause what's going on now isn't working for either of you. 

 

Hope some of this helps!!

FWIW Mine won't keep anything in her hair, either.  I keep mine almost constantly with a hairband and/or ponytail, but she won't have any of it.  

 

PS:  She is 6.5, too.


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#3 of 26 Old 03-14-2013, 09:36 PM
 
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I had similar issues with my Dd's hair and then decided to use these brushes exclusively for her hair and that really helped (I grew up using these to get my tangles out and still do).  

http://www.amazon.com/Scalpmaster-Shampoo-Brush/dp/B000NJG82W/ref=pd_sim_bt_5

 

They are apparently for scalp massaging during shampooing and conditioning but I have never used it for that.  I was my daughter's hair once a week and we condition and comb it with this brush.  The rest of the week, I use a little bit of this product to comb it and get any developing tangles every other day.  This product gives her hair enough slip that it doesn't hurt. Her hair is in a good shape if I keep up the routine.  No tears, no tangles.   

 

http://www.amazon.com/Granier-Fructis-Sleek-Shine-Leave-in/dp/B005GQ6HUK/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1363321692&sr=1-1&keywords=garnier+sleek+and+shine+leave+in

 

I hope this helps.  Dreds are a pain to take care of and I think it will be worse than your current situation.

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#4 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 12:36 AM
 
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My dd has hair that tangles easily and a sensitive scalp.

 

It took awhile for us to find a hair brush that she could stand but we did. Brushing at least once per day with that brush. Putting her hair in a pony tail or braid. Conditioner whenever her hair is washed (every other day). Detangling spray. We used olive oil to comb through tangles once- it worked but was messy. Still got a huge tangled mess every so often.

 

Dd had chin length hair for awhile which was blissfully tangle free and easy to maintain but then she wanted to grow it out long to the middle of her back. Finally I just had to say to her after many teary sessions of combing and cutting through huge tangled masses that she really needed to go shorter with her type of hair because this level of maintenance was not working for us. We cut it back to just above her shoulders and that helped a lot.

Her hair is cute shorter. She can still use hair accessories but she can also leave it loose. It is easier for her to brush. We spend a lot less time on hair that we can do on other things.

 

 

I would push the positives of a shorter hair cut from a professional. Make getting it cut a fun event.


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#5 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 05:07 AM
 
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I have horribly tangle-y hair and unfortunately, my daughter does, too. I remember how much I hated getting the knots combed out as a kid. 

 

For DD, now that she wants longer hair, we switched from a no shampoo system to a shampoo bar and traditional conditioner. We wash it at least 3 times a week, use the conditioner, comb through her hair before bed and pile it on top of her head in a bun. In the morning, the tangles are easily removed with a Tangle Tamer. A friend recommended it and it's awesome. I don't think we would have made it through swimming last summer without it. http://www.amazon.com/Remington-Tangle-Tamer-Wet-Dry/dp/B000JI9JYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1363349138&sr=1-1&keywords=tangle+tamer


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#6 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 05:44 AM
 
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sweetsilver there are two things going on here. 

 

poofiness 

 

and tangling

 

my dd has tangling issues - not poofiness. her issue was exacerbated by a really sensitive scalp which she has had since a baby. thankfully dd now loves short hair so she wears it as short as halle berry. however it doesnt have to be so drastic. even at midlength between chin and shoulder dd's hair would not tangle. however in our case dd got bored with long hair. she didnt cut it due to tangles. 

 

we combed dd's hair EVERYDAY. at least everyday. otherwise it would be a nightmare. 

 

i have used coconut oil with wet hair and s l o w l y brushed her hair (we kinda miss it since it was a time to connect). dd sat on a chair and put her hair over the chair back and i sat behind her and gently started from bottom up. starting at the top was too painful for her. i'd spritz with water and coconut oil mix and then comb. 

 

but i never found any easier way. 

 

now with braids. i prefered braids coz it was less tangly than leaving it open. and if i doused my dd's hair with coconut oil (about one tablespoon for hair till middle of her back) and then braided it (but not wet) and then twisted the bottom of her non braided at end of braid hair - it stayed decent. still got tangles but not quite so bad as without braids 

 

but omg - leaving it for a week would be a nightmare. max would be a day or two. when her hair is so tangly a bath or shower just further matts her hair. 

 

so really i dont have a solution for you. whenever i asked hair dressers they suggested products which i didnt want to use on dd. but i did give in and get detanglers for those nightmare days which STILL didnt completely take the pain out of hair brushing. 

 

i think for a start brushing it at least every other day is key. the second is products if you want to take care of the tangles. 

 

i have a friend with your dd's issues and she swears by products. she tried the coconut oil but it didnt work for her. for her wildness and tangles she needed products to tame her hair to look decent for work. 


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#7 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think a new kind of brush would be a good idea.  I used to have a Mason-Pearson brush with and combination of boar and nylon bristles, but that is long gone and they are expensive, but I wonder if there is a knock-off?  I also like the idea of detangler, if I could find one that is kid-friendly.  I think that our occasional swimming is doing a number on her hair, and I've been having her do an extra shower rinse on her hair after we are done because I think the conditioner is getting waxy or something and encouraging tangles.  This is what is happening with the braids.  I can't get the braid apart after a day of having it in.  Something seems to be making the problem worse in the last 6 weeks.  

 

I can't imagine how she is going to eventually take over caring for this hair without whacking it off for a while.  That is not something I have in mind for now, though.  I'm not trying to get her to do it herself-- though combing your own hair is less painful, in the same way that tickling yourself is impossible.  


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#8 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 07:55 AM
 
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Diluted apple cider vinegar works great with my hair, to make it soft and combable (like 50/50 with water).....and coconut oil works great too, but it was a nightmare on my girl's hair because hers is wicked fine and no matter how little of it I used, and how much I stayed away from her scalp, it still looked greasy.  She hates the smell of ACV and won't let me use it on her, so we're just using regular store kid spray detangler at this point, and I'm not allowing myself to think too much about it because that would drive me crazy.  

 

Now that her hair has been easier to brush through the past few days, she actually has done it herself a couple times and it's been pretty OK.  I still do a once over to be sure it's OK (like this morning), and it's been good for her too to take some ownership of it, as you said it's less painful to brush your own hair.


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#9 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 07:59 AM
 
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My oldest daughter's hair is like that. She could totally rock the dreads but hubby said no way. She has to brush it several times a day or it becomes totally unmanageable. I took her once and had it cut quite short just to get rid of the tangles. But she is taking better care of it now. We have to have her turn her head down so one of us can brush the underneath as well, not just from the top or it doesn't get all the way through.


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#10 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 08:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ALittleBitCrunchy View Post
 In the morning, the tangles are easily removed with a Tangle Tamer. A friend recommended it and it's awesome. I don't think we would have made it through swimming last summer without it. http://www.amazon.com/Remington-Tangle-Tamer-Wet-Dry/dp/B000JI9JYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1363349138&sr=1-1&keywords=tangle+tamer

 

This thing looks AWESOME.


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#11 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ALittleBitCrunchy View Post

I have horribly tangle-y hair and unfortunately, my daughter does, too. I remember how much I hated getting the knots combed out as a kid. 

 

For DD, now that she wants longer hair, we switched from a no shampoo system to a shampoo bar and traditional conditioner. We wash it at least 3 times a week, use the conditioner, comb through her hair before bed and pile it on top of her head in a bun. In the morning, the tangles are easily removed with a Tangle Tamer. A friend recommended it and it's awesome. I don't think we would have made it through swimming last summer without it. http://www.amazon.com/Remington-Tangle-Tamer-Wet-Dry/dp/B000JI9JYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1363349138&sr=1-1&keywords=tangle+tamer


OMG. We have tangle issues too with my daughter's fine, curly hair and this looks awesome. Ordered one, will report back.


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#12 of 26 Old 03-15-2013, 08:57 AM
 
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 We have to have her turn her head down so one of us can brush the underneath as well, not just from the top or it doesn't get all the way through.

I think this really is key - once I started sectioning DD's hair and paying attention to the underlayer, her hair has gotten less tangly.  Before when I was just raking through it as quickly as possible so she would stp screaming at me, I wasn't really getting *all* of her hair, and that tangled underlayer would just build up to the top again very quickly.  


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#13 of 26 Old 03-16-2013, 07:48 AM
 
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I would take her for a good cut, at a real salon.  They can thin her hair out, without losing length (if that's what she wants). I have a few Asian friends with crazy thick hair and they get a thinning haircut that makes their hair manageable.  My dd's hair is super fine, but there is just buckets of it.  I use a good conditioner on it and then an aragan or macadamia oil leave in product.  I pin each section, then round brush it and blow dry.  It comes out super smooth and it lasts for a full week.  Dove also makes a good leave in spray product that we love. 

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#14 of 26 Old 03-20-2013, 01:41 PM
 
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Definitely comb/brush more often and take your time. And yes, I second the suggestions to try different brushes/picks/etc. until you find what works best for her. I don't have really bad tangle problems, but my DD does at times, but we both have very sensitive scalps and certain kinds of brushes/picks work much better. I like a wide toothed pick for combing out our hair after showering/bathing while wet and then using a boar bristle brush for dry brushing, but YMMV for sure and the shape of the comb/brush can make a big difference too. Also, get her to help with some of the detangling/maintenance if possible. I know as a kid I was so much happier once I was combing/brushing my own hair as my Mom just did not get my sensitive scalp. She believed me, she just didn't understand how much even the slightest tugs HURT because it wasn't like that for her at all. And if your DD is doing more of the maintenance, then she may see the sense of getting a different/shorter cut.

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#15 of 26 Old 03-20-2013, 03:53 PM
 
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My DD has tons of hair and it's very long, and she gets tangles too. We wash and condition it every other day (with decent products -- the cheapy stuff just makes things harder) and brush it thoroughly (from the bottom up) at least once a day.

I also comb it with a wide-tooth comb in the bath while it's slathered with conditioner, then clip it up and let the conditioner sit on it for 5-10 minutes while she plays, so it really absorbs.

As others said, I have to section it to really get the underside, because her hair is so thick that the brush bristles aren't long enough to reach all the way through it.

ETA: One more thing, we never ever use shampoo or conditioner that's labeled "strengthening" or "fortifying," as they tend to be very drying and can make certain types of hair really unmanageable. We always go for ones labeled "moisturizing" or "conditioning."
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#16 of 26 Old 03-23-2013, 08:03 PM
 
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I haven't read through all of the responses, but it sounds to me like she needs some layers. That will cut down on the poofiness and allow her to keep it long. Also, take your time when combing through it, one inch sections, holding on to the hair above where you are brushing. Start at the bottom and work your way up. But a professional cut with layers would really help. My dd has to have layers for the very same reason. She gets a triangle look without them. LOL!

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#17 of 26 Old 03-24-2013, 04:16 AM
 
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We've had the tangle tamer appliance for almost a week now- can't praise it highly enough! You have to go slowly with it, but I'd say the total time for brushing is less because she stays calm. It doesn't hurt and she doesn't cry- miraculous! Thanks for suggesting it, PP!
 


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#18 of 26 Old 03-24-2013, 06:02 AM
 
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Wait, though--is her hair just thick, straight, and tangly, or are you getting lots of frizz? Is her hair curly?

 

If her hair is very curly, the combing through could be the problem. Finger combing curls and then leaving them alone is the best way to avoid tangles.

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#19 of 26 Old 03-24-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thankfully no curls or frizz yet.  That might change, as both dh and I had strange hair changes at puberty that cause our hair to go curly.  Thankfully that is years off!

 

We have been brushing through each day, but not necessarily hitting *all* the tangles-- mainly until she can't stand it anymore.  Once a week we do the conditioner combing and she is fussing less.  I used dh's shampoo and sudsed up twice, all the way down to the tips of her hair to see if I can't get out that waxiness that has caused extra trouble.  I need to find a different conditioner because I think this one is creating some of that waxiness.  

 

So, not resolved, but better.


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#20 of 26 Old 03-25-2013, 09:04 PM
 
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Are you only conditioning her hair once a week? My DD's hair would be very unmanageable if we conditioned it that infrequently. We usually wash and condition her hair every other day, and I've noticed if we skip 2 days in a row, it's really unruly and hard to comb on the third day.

So maybe washing more frequently (or at least wetting and conditioning, if you don't want to shampoo that often) would help.

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#21 of 26 Old 03-26-2013, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure it would help, but we only get in the bath once a week.  She has super sensitive skin, so more frequent bathing will have to wait until she's older.  I still hold out hope for a good detangler.  She is adamant that I use one particular brush, which is OK for tangles and doesn't pull badly.  That means I can't get all the tangles out, but if I can keep up on it, the once-a-week combing is not too bad.  I think the daily brushing is helping her scalp get a little desensitized and she is not complaining so much.


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#22 of 26 Old 03-26-2013, 10:02 AM
 
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You could always do the old "head over the tub" hair-only wash; I used to get very dry in the winter and we'd do my hair only every other day - I actually got a kick out of hanging over the edge of the tub with just my head in and everything else staying dry!  Especially if you have a shower wand, it would be easy peasy to do. 


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#23 of 26 Old 03-26-2013, 07:40 PM
 
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Bought one of those Tangle Tamers -- INCREDIBLE!
 

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#24 of 26 Old 03-27-2013, 07:10 AM
 
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Bought one of those Tangle Tamers -- INCREDIBLE!
 


Right? It's life-altering!


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#25 of 26 Old 03-27-2013, 07:27 AM
 
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Based on this thread, I bought one too-- and it really works!  Shocker.  Usually these things are  a scam. You do have to go through the hair really slowly, but it combs through hair like butter.  But dd hates getting her hair combed so much that she won't admit she likes it, but last night after her bath she asked me to use it instead of the regular brush.  (BTW: She has fine, wavy blonde hair, but tons of it, so a thick head of fine hair that tangles almost instantly at the nape of her neck if it's not in a pony tail or braid.)

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#26 of 26 Old 04-05-2013, 11:10 AM
 
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My daughter had a very short pixie haircut when she was 3-12 years. This was wonderful for her independence. She was able to wash her own hair, get herself ready for school without help, and greatly boosted her self-esteem. She was able to be her own person without societal constraints on gender roles. This has persisted into her adult years int terms of her willingness to see human value beyond gender.
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