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I definitely second the not brushing it when dry, I'm in my thirties and only ever brush my hair, with a wide toothed comb, when wet, and then leave to dry. An exceptionally small amount of serum rubbed into your hands and just run through the top will help the curl return. When I tie my hair up, I just gently run my finger through it, but try not to separate it too much, that's what causes the frizz!!
Wash, use your fingers to run through it while it's still damp. Maybe use a curl defining cream, then either leave to air dry, or do the following;
Take a very fine towel - almost threadbare. Put it on the floor. Get your dd to knee in front of it, then lower he hair onto it. Take the two side corners, 2 in each hand to fold the towel in 1/2 lengthways, then twist each side a couple of times, then tie round the head like a turban. You may need to google the curly girl method. Leave for about 1/2 hr, and the heat from her head should dry it.
To put in a pony tail etc, just use your fingers to pull the hair back gently, then pop a band around it.