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Looking for tips for dealing with dd's extremely long hair

(32 Posts)
CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 12:25:31

My dd is 11 and has extremely long hair - it reaches to just above her bum. She refuses to get it cut to a more manageable length. As a child, I had a bowl cut and have never progressed to hair that reaches below my shoulders, so I have always struggled with dd's hair a bit. It is now getting to the stage where she really needs to be managing her hair herself; she has a school trip coming up and she will be away for a week. On the trip there will be lots of activities where she will get wet and dirty and she will need to wash her hair. I have tried to coach her through what I do to it, but she really struggles.

At the moment I wash dd's hair once a week (would do it more, but it is quite a struggle). I wash it twice with shampoo, and then comb conditioner through. It is this stage that I struggle with as it is very difficult to get it knot free - dd finds it impossible. Then I blow dry it as I find this helps with the knots. I don't expect her to be blow drying her hair when she goes away, but she needs to be able to handle washing it and getting it knot free.

I am looking for advice and foolproof tips for haircare dummies like myself. Anyone got any tips?

womblingalong Fri 15-May-15 12:30:58

I would invest in some spray on leave in conditioner for this, so your DD can shampoo and condition, and then use the spray in to help her get it knot free.

You also might want to try some hair oil. Many Indian women with very long hair use a small amount of hair oil on clean dry hair, to keep it smooth and tangle free. This is perfect if the hair is then plaited or put up in some way. I know this sounds a bit alien, and different, but it can work well, if it is used sparingly.

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 12:45:05

Thanks Womblingalong. I bought some Argan Oil leave in conditioner a while back, but we both hated the smell so much I stopped using it. Do you recommend a particular brand? The oil sounds good too, although I am picturing my dd getting it everywhere when she goes away!

I would love to send her off on this trip knowing she can handle her hair and won't come back with dreadlocks!

SurlyCue Fri 15-May-15 12:56:36

She needs to ponytail then plait the ponytail all the way down and possibly bun it then every morning. Brush it through well before she does it and brush it through well when she takes it out to wash. She can ponytail and plait it wet afyer washing. Loads of conditioner combed through and argan oil after rinsing and towel squeezing. No rubbing with the towel, just squezze the water iut and apply argan oil and brush through.

kermar4 Fri 15-May-15 12:58:11

My DD has very long naturally curly hair, was a nightmare to brush until we discovered Tangle Teezer. Now takes seconds to brush wet or dry, made life so much easier, def recommend investing in one. Also recently discovered Alberto Balsam apple shampoo & conditioner after a post on here, bargainous £1 a bottle and made her hair even less knotty/super soft

SurlyCue Fri 15-May-15 12:59:44

When washing tell her not to pile the hair on top of her head. Tell her just to wet all the hair really well and just massge shampoo to the scalp. The lengths dont need shampooed, it will go trough them as it is rinsed.

SurlyCue Fri 15-May-15 13:00:43

Alberto balsam is brilliant. I use the coconut one.

CaurnieBred Fri 15-May-15 13:03:22

I am presuming your DD is NT. If so, you need to bite the bullet. DD(10)'s is also bum length and thick and she has been working on dealing with it herself since she was 7. It started with her just brushing it herself - which is something she had to learn and practice with as I told her that if she couldn't do it herself then it would be cut to a length that she could manage. There were tantrums at first but I held firm. (My justification was that she was old enough to go to boarding school and if she was there she would have to deal with it herself - just like a friend's daughter had to.)

So, 3 years on she is able to do a side plait for bed and we are now working on drying it herself with the hairdryer. (It helps to comb through the conditioner when you apply it onto the wet hair: the tangle teaser just flows through the hair then and ensures an even coverage of the conditioner. It is easier to comb through after rinsing as well.) DD also had to learn to wash it herself as she swims ~3 times a week.

When you are drying it, split it into an upper section and an underneath section. Dry the underneath section first and then move onto the top section as trying to do the whole lot at once can also lead to tangles.

If you are really worried, I would try to find a local afro/carribean hairdresser and get them to put it into plaits for whilst she is away. Or send her away with a shower cap so she won't have to wash it at all (which is what I did with DD when she went away in Y2).

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 13:06:40

Thanks for the tips everyone. Will definitely check out the Tangle Teezer and the Alberto Balsam. Will also tell her not to pile her hair on top of her head when washing - that hadn't occurred to me.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 15-May-15 13:11:53

A weeks outdoor residential (assuming Mon-Fri) she wont need to wash it. Just french plait it tight the morning she goes and it will come back in a similar state but probably just a bit smelly.

Seriously. Kids dont wash on residentials. They wear the sane outfit most days too.

YY to a Tangle Teaser for home.

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 13:17:40

Thanks CaurnieBred. I should have been tougher about this, and now the trip has crept up on us! I am going to buy a Tangle Teezer and get her to try that with loads of conditioner. I think this, combined with not piling her hair on top of her head when washing may help.

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 13:19:10

ThinkIveBeenHacked - there are lake activities - I am thinking mud and pond weed!

WeAreEternal Fri 15-May-15 13:33:07

I agree with Think, tightly French braid it with a lot of product to secure it and let her leave it in all week.
She can rinse the braid in the shower to clean off any mud and then just pat dry.

I would maybe even do it in two braids.

Mitzimaybe Fri 15-May-15 13:58:46

1. Use little shampoo, lots of conditioner.
2. Do not rub with towel - squeeze only
3. Allow to dry naturally before combing, if time allows
4. Split into sections (with fingers) to comb. Use a spray/leave in conditioner if it's difficult to comb.

When I was a similar age to your daughter and first started looking after it myself, I tried to comb it all by reaching behind me or by pulling it all to one side. I ended up with a matted section at the back of my neck which the comb never penetrated. The key thing is to part it down the back of the head and pull each side to the front for combing, and to separate it into sections with the fingers and comb each section separately.

Also, I never (even now) comb my hair wet, if I can avoid it, as it tangles more. I shampoo just the scalp, not the length of it (as someone else said). Rinse, then apply shed loads of conditioner, (I get through one bottle of shampoo to four or more bottles of conditioner) and leave for several minutes. Rinse off, running my fingers through to detangle it.

Squeeze water out working down from roots to ends. Wrap in a towel and squeeze some more but DO NOT RUB! Rubbing puts in tangles. Wrap in another towel. If time allows, allow hair to dry naturally before attempting to run a comb through. (Having read this thread, I'm going to get a Tangle Teezer.)

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 14:11:00

Mitzibaybe - thanks for the help. We usually run into difficulties when we try and comb conditioner through her wet hair, I think we will try leaving the combing til later as you have suggested and just try running fingers through while the conditioner is in.

Pagwatch Fri 15-May-15 14:13:50

You give her the choice don't you?
Get to grips with washing her hair or we get it cut.

I would be pretty uncomfortable about allowing my DD to have a hairstyle she can't wash herself at the age of 11.

dontlikechocolateorcake Fri 15-May-15 14:29:40

Has she not got a friend who can plait? We all used to do each others at school.

My dd has my crazy hair and we do plaits for bed so its not crazy in the morning (shes too young and impatient to be blow dried)

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 14:35:03

dontlikechocolateorcake - yes, she has friends who can help her with a plait. Determined she will master this or it will indeed, get the chop.

18yearstooold Fri 15-May-15 14:35:18

Dd went on her residential with 2 French plaits and came home with it the same

BillyBigchin Fri 15-May-15 19:03:18

I remember going to PGL at the age of about 10 and having to do orienteering in the pouring rain and getting covered in mud, canoeing and getting covered in mud, end of week disco....you get the point.

I agree with Pagwatch. She's 11. She either needs to learn to look after her own hair or she has it cut until she can.

It's just hair. It'll grow back.

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 20:40:33

God, I did PGL too. Shivering at the top of an abseiling tower, getting chucked in the lake by the instructors (raft building). Happy days. Hope things have moved on since then!

We'll see how she gets on over the next week or two. She'll be very upset if she has to cut her hair. She's very independant in most other ways and I don't really feel the need for a big show-down over it.

Alanna1 Fri 15-May-15 20:43:20

You could also tell her she can cut if off if she wantswhilst she is there?!

OldRoan Fri 15-May-15 20:52:12

It's really important to brush it properly before washing it, otherwise the hair that gets brushed out (the 'loose' hair) just knots around the other hair. When brushing/combing, work up in small sections - take the bottom few inches and comb out, move up a few inches and go all the way down to the bottom. If you don't, you run the risk that any knots nearer the scalp just get pushed tighter, rather than being detangled.

Get her a decent wide toothed comb. I'm a grown up and I have 3 stages of combing to keep my hair clean and nit free (work with small children). Every night I brush before shower, wash hair (scalp only for shampoo), conditioner on ends, wide tooth comb through and leave for a few mins whilst soaping etc. Thin comb through and follow with nit comb. My hair isn't as long as your DD's, but it used to be.

I would also point out to her that if she chooses not to get it cut, goes away with it and it gets tangled/matted, she risks basically forcing herself into cutting it off because it is too tangled to sort out. So she can have it cut on her terms before she goes, or she can gamble on it being possible to rescue it after her trip.

LL0015 Fri 15-May-15 20:53:01

Get Aussie shampoo and conditioner for LONG hair. Best stuff ever.

And some hair serum, get this

Wash, roots only, rinse. Condition all ends only. Rinse. Rub about four squirts of serum into ends and work up shafts, not roots. Even is she then left to dry naturally, it won't be knotty. The serum keeps the knots away.

But DD had straight hair. If it is curly, it may be different.

CheesyDibbles Fri 15-May-15 21:35:16

OldRoan, that's a really good idea to give her the incentive to keep it knot-free.

lL015 - will try that serum, it looks good, thanks.

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