Curly Kids: Detangling

From personal experience… you know, the kind where I tell you I was once a kid… having curly hair can be a pain in the behind. I don’t use the word pain lightly either because detangling my curly hair has got to be one of the worst memories of being a curly kid. So many knots, my poor mother didn’t know what to do with me. Tears were shed while she tore through my tangles. So yes, from personal experience, I know detangling curly hair can be painful. But it doesn’t have to be!

As an adult I have learned ways to care for my coils and I find that it’s extremely important to teach the younger generation to love and embrace their natural hair. One of the best ways is not only to “lead by example” and showing them how much we as adults love our curls but to also give them the tools to learn how to care for and love their own curls.

I’ve decided to start a series called “Curly Kids” as a guide to teaching your younger Curlfriends about techniques and tricks when it comes to caring for their hair. In today’s post, I share with you my experience in teaching my primita how to detangle her naturally curly hair.


Meet Maria! She has curls that range from the 3c to 4a with a bit of heat damage to the strands that frame her face. You read that right, heat damage at only 13. You can’t quite see her curls in the photos above because she generally wears her hair pulled back into tight ponytails and some sort of a braid or a twist to stretch her natural curl pattern. Her biggest complaint is detangling her hair and how frustrated she and her mother get when it comes time to brush her hair.

The first thing I’d like to suggest is to talk to your young one about what “frustrates” her about her hair. That way you can cover than area first, showing her a solution to bring down the frustration. In this case, like I mentioned, my cousin’s biggest frustration was detangling so I decided to show her the proper way to detangle her hair to make it easier for her to do it alone and less stressful for her mom.

A few things you will need to make detangling a little easier:

  • A spray bottle with water
  • clips to help separate the hair
  • Some sort of detangler with lots of slip

Depending on the curl pattern or curl type, you might want to use either a wide toothed comb, a Tangle Teezer or your fingers to detangle. In Maria’s case, a Tangle Teezer was the best option. Also, if you plan on styling her hair after detangling, a smooth curling cream is ideal to have around. Now, let’s get started!

Separate the hair in a way that will make it easiest to detangle. Maria has thicker hair than mine, much curlier and a lot dryer. She also has A LOT of hair so she separated it into 4 sections and secured each section with a big clip. For finer or low density hair, you may only need to separate it into two sections. Again, it’s all depending on your curl type and preference.


After separating each section, it’s time to wet the hair. I taught her about the importance of detangling on wet hair. Teach your young one that detangling or brushing dry hair can cause breakage and split ends. I also mentioned to Maria that if she brushes or detangles her curls while they are dry, she will look like Roseanne Roseannadanna, but she had no clue who I was talking about.

Once her hair was wet, she sprayed her curls with a moisturizing detangler. I bought her the Shea Moisture Kids Extra Moisturizing Detangler and taught her a little about the word “Slip”. Let your young one know that a product with slip will make it much easier to detangler their hair. You might even want to play around with other products (on her hands, maybe not the best idea to test them on her hair) so that she can feel the difference between something that’s soapy, creamy or super slippery. Maria said that his spray made her hair really soft and slippery and she especially loved how it made her hair smell.


Once she had sprayed a good amount of the detangler in her first section of hair, she began detangling using the Tangle Teezer. It is also very important to teach your young one that one of the best ways to detangle curly hair (or any hair for that matter) is to start from the bottom and work your way up. This is a trick that she loved because she normally tries to break through her hair starting at the crown. She gently detangled her curls, working at the ends first and gradually making her way to the top!

RELATED ARTICLE: Shedding Vs Breakage

Since the area near the roots would dry faster, I taught her that it’s okay to give her curls a few extra sprays of water or detangler to “wake them up”… again, reminding her that brushing dry hair is not a good idea. If your young one decides to use a wide toothed comb or their fingers instead, the concept is still the same. Always make sure that they are being gentle! Another great tip to help avoid tugging and pulling at the head is to hold onto the hair halfway while detangling the bottom half. You can see Maria holding onto her hair in the photo above.

Before she started detangling, her hair was extremely knotty and matted. She says that normally after she brushes, her brush has a lot of hair in it. This time, Maria was surprised to find very little hair left over in her Tangle Teezer. In total, it took about two hours to detangle. (YES! TWO WHOLE HOURS) but it should never take that long to detangle someone’s hair. I taught her that if she takes extra care of her hair, it won’t take that long next time she detangles. She is 13 right now, so teaching her how to care for her own hair is ideal at this age. However, if you have a young one that is at an age where sitting through a long detangling process is unrealistic, throw on a cartoon and keep them entertained while you gently go through the knots.

It is extremely important that you are patient in teaching your little one how to care for their curls. I know it can be difficult to teach them about their hair if your hair is different but that’s what the internet is for! You can find loads of tutorials on how to detangle, wash, or style ALL hair types! I’ve got a few videos on my YouTube channel that you can check out and I would be more than happy to refer you to other channels if you are seeking a particular hair type! Remember, it all starts with loving your curls first and then teaching them to love theirs! I hope this information was helpful! Let me know in a comment below if you have a young one with curls and if you have tried to teach them how to detangle their hair yet. If you have any extra tips or suggestions, please share! You might be able to help someone seeking more information!

Xoxo Un Besito,


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    1. I taught my daughter to detangle while in the shower with conditioner in her hair using a wet brush and. Ow she does her own hair she’s 9. But she always wants it brushed back and in a braid for school.