How To Detangle Toddler Hair (Best Tips For Tear-Free Brushing & Preventing Knots)

As a mom of three, I know how challenging it can be to manage toddler hair. But my little ones wavy hair has proven to be quite a handful! I’ve had to learn a few strategies to keep their matted hair under control. In this article, I will share the best tips and tricks on how to detangle your toddler’s hair without the tears.

How To Detangle Toddler Hair

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

If you have a toddler, you probably already know that your little one’s hair can become tangled quickly. It’s not unusual for toddler hair to get knotted, especially if they are active and running around. Your little one’s hair can also get easily tangled during the night.

Matted hair can be really difficult to untangle, and trying to comb or brush it can also be painful.

Keep on reading for my tried-and-true tips for detangling toddler hair.

12 Tips For Detangling Toddler’s Hair & Preventing Knots

Here you will find my tips for getting those matted knots out of your baby’s tangled hair – these methods are suitable also for toddlers and preschoolers!

I’m also gonna share with you my tips for preventing your little one’s hair from getting tangled in the first place.

Bear in mind that whether this methods are effective for your child or not, will depend on their hair texture.

Is your child’s hair matted? Here’s how to get tangles out of hair without pain and tears:

1. Choose The Right Detangling Brush (Or Comb)

This is one of the most important things because with the wrong brush or comb your child will feel like you’re pulling their hair and it may be really painful for them.

And their hair will only get more frizzy and bushy.

Lots of parents recommend using a wide-tooth comb as the best way to gently detangle toddler’s hair. This type of comb is specifically designed to gently separate strands of hair and minimize breakage.

Speaking from my own experience, after trying tons of different brushes, I find Tangle Teezer to be the best detangler.

There are different types of this brush, but the general advantage is that it has multiple length teeth that can easily get through curly hair without any pain (and pulling tons of hair out).

The best thing about detangling brushes is that they are more gentle and effective than brushes with metal or wooden teeth, and can help reduce breakage and damage.

2. Brush Your Toddler Hair Frequently

You don’t need to wait until bath time to brush your little one’s hair. Brushing your child’s hair regularly between baths will help you to prevent the hair from getting badly tangled or matted.

3. Brush Toddler Hair Before Bath

Washing tangled hair and trying to untangled then later when they are wet actually makes the brushing process even harder. Moreover brushing wet hair can be really damaging for their structure!

It’s best to brush the hair carefully before washing it – use a detangling brush and spray to get the knots out. It’s way easier to get dry hair brushed.

How do you untangle matted hair on a toddler

4. Start With The Tips

When detangling, first try to gently run your fingers through your toddler’s hair to break up and loosen up the knots.

Then start brushing at the bottom and work your way up. This will help to reduce the amount of tugging and pulling that can occur when starting at the roots. And there’s less chance the brush or comb gets stuck.

5. Use Tear-Free 2in1 Shampoo And Conditioner

Instead of using body and hair wash (which is great for fine and short hair), use a 2in1 shampoo and conditioner for kids. It’s more suitable for matted and curly hair.

Conditioner helps to soften the hair and make it easier to comb through. This means less knots and smoother hair. Use a light, moisture-rich conditioner when detangling toddler’s hair.

For older kids you may also want to try leave-in conditioner that will help loosen tangles before combing.

6. Use A Detangling Spray

To make brushing easier use detangling spray – it will help to make the hair more manageable and easier to comb through.

7. Brush & Detangle In Sections

Detangling in sections will help to minimize tangles and make it easier to handle the hair. Separate the hair into several sections and work through each section one at a time. 8. Be gentle

When detangling toddler’s hair, it’s important to be gentle. Use light, slow strokes when combing and avoid tugging or pulling on the hair.

8. Don’t Rub Wet Hair With Towel

I know this may be tempting to just rub baby’s wet hair with a towel to remove the excess moisture and make them dry quicker. But if your kid’s hair mats and tangles easily, this will only make it more tangled and knotted!

If you want to remove the water from toddler’s hair, it’s best to take small section and squeeze the moisture out of it. You can also gently pat toddler’s head with towel, but never rub their hair, otherwise the hair will get even more matted. This especially applies to fine hair.

9. Style Your Kiddo’s Hair

If your daughter is running around with her hair down, it may easily get tangled. I recommend you to style your girl’s hair before the knots have the chance to form. Braiding is one of the best options.

You can also braid your daughter long hair before bedtime, especially if her hair gets tangles a lot during sleep. This was the best solution for keeping my daughter’s long hair from tangling at night.

How to keep my daughter's hair from tangling at night

10. Tie Up Long Hair During Meal Time

Make sure to always tie up her hair during meal time. If food gets into hair, it may get sticky and those tangled knots will be even more messy!

11. Use Satin Pillowcase For Curly Hair

If your little one has wild curly hair, satin or silk pillowcase is the best option, because it won’t pull the hair as the child wiggles at night. Satin will prevent matted and knotted hair.

12. Use Oil

Natural oils like coconut, olive, and jojoba can help to soften the hair and make it easier to detangle. This solution is good for older kiddos.

Why Are My Child’s Hair Matted And Tangled?

It’s common for children’s hair to get tangled, especially if it’s long and naturally curly or waved.

Here are more reasons why your toddler’s hair may be matted and knotted:

  • The buildup of dirt, oil, and product residue – If you don’t regularly wash your child’s hair, it can become greasy and matted.
  • Not using conditioner – Conditioner is essential for keeping your child’s hair free of tangles.
  • Not brushing hair regularly – Frequent brushing is essential for maintaining healthy hair and avoiding tangles.
  • Wearing tight hairstyles – Tying the hair too tightly can cause it to become tangled and matted.
  • Not using the right brush – Use a wide-toothed comb or a brush specifically designed for detangling to avoid baby’s hair getting tangled.

Final Thoughts

My biggest advice for tangle-free hair would be: brush frequently and don’t putt off dealing with those knots and tangles. It will only get worse (and brushing process will be full of tears and screams)!

Establish everyday routine – use a detangling spray and brush (or wide tooth comb) before your child’s hair gets really tangled and full of knots.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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