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Nurture and Care

Styling, Maintaining, and Caring for Your Baby’s Curly Hair

Baby with curly hair smiling at the park

There’s a lot of misinformation and judgment surrounding curly hair. This applies not just to babies, but their parents too! It’s a common misconception that curly hair is unmanageable, difficult, and always looks messy. Often, people of color start to experience judgment surrounding their hair at a young age.

Aveeno® is dedicated to providing parents from any background, race, and ethnicity with the confidence, knowledge, and tools to properly care for their child’s curly hair. Knowing how to care for your baby’s curly hair will make daily routines easier and set them up for a lifetime of success loving their luscious locks!

Baby with curly hair taking a bath


Develop a Washing Schedule for Your Baby’s Curly Hair

Over washing curly hair is one of the most common mistakes parents make. This occurs when curly hair is washed too often, stripping the hair of its natural oils. Choose 1 day a week to wash your baby’s curly hair. Creating a schedule will make it easy to avoid over washing. Curls look the best when they have plenty of moisture and natural oils! Each washing session should be followed up with a leave-in conditioning treatment that restores moisture to their curls. Coconut and shea oils are great baby-safe options that won’t irritate the skin on their scalp. When your child is older, deep conditioning treatments can be used between washes to restore moisture without removing natural oils.

Keep Your Baby’s Curly Hair Maintenance Simple

Maintaining curly baby or toddler hair doesn’t have to be complicated. You might be wondering what you can use on your baby or toddler’s curly hair. First, you need gentle products that will encourage your child’s natural curl pattern. Newborns with curly hair can benefit from a shampoo and body wash combination. Plus, it’s convenient to use one product for both their hair and body! As your baby’s curly hair gets longer, a conditioner becomes essential to avoiding frizzy or dry hair.

As your baby turns into a toddler and their hair continues to grow, using a shampoo and leave-in conditioner is the perfect way to keep their hair clean. Towel dry their hair before gently combing through their curls with your fingers while you apply the leave-in conditioner. Follow up with a comb or wide bristled detangling brush as needed. The detangling process should never be painful for your baby or toddler. If there’s a difficult tangle, hold their hair above the tangle before you begin brushing. This will limit the amount of pulling your child feels while you work through the knot.

Using a silk pillowcase or bonnet will help reduce frizz and maintain healthy looking curls. Children under 12 months of age should not sleep with a pillow or bonnet. These items increase the risk of accidental suffocation while your child is sleeping. A silk bonnet can still be used when your child is awake to limit the amount of frizz that happens while playing or rolling around.

How to Style Your Kid’s Curly Hair for Success

In the past, people of color have been shamed for using tools or products that promote their natural curl pattern instead of heat-styling it to look straight. With all of these curl-friendly hair products available for babies and young children that celebrate the beauty of naturally curly hair, your child will never have to feel ashamed of their hair!

As a parent, maintaining your baby or toddler’s curly hair can be quite challenging. Using the right products and developing a good wash and shampoo routine makes it easier but styling their hair in ways that are easy to maintain after will make it almost effortless! Styling is pretty minimal when it comes to babies and young toddlers. As your child’s hair gets longer, styling becomes more of an ordeal. One of the best things you can do as a parent is take your child to a hair stylist that specializes in curly hair. Hair salons and barber shops have been an integral part of BIPOC culture for centuries! Visiting a curly hair specializing stylist is so much more than just caring for your baby’s hair curls; it’s introducing them to the culture behind those curls.

From simple trims to protective styling, there are so many styling options for your child. Speak with the hair stylist and your child to determine what hair style will be the best fit for your lifestyle in terms of maintenance. Shorter hair cuts tend to lead to less tangles and less time spent styling the curls each day. Protective styles, such as cornrows or twists, will stay in for weeks at a time before needing to be redone. Protective styles take longer to do initially though. Until your child is old enough to sit for a long period of time, a simple shorter hair cut is the best option. Curl-friendly hairstyles should still be paired with hydrating and conditioning products to avoid dryness, frizz, or breakage.

Caring for Your Baby’s Curly Hair? You Got This!

If you’re looking at your baby’s curly hair feeling overwhelmed about the years of care and styling to come – you got this! Taking the time to research curly hair care and styling proves just how much you care about your child having hair that looks and feels great. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, try new products, and alternate new styling methods until you find something that works for your child. Even if caring for curly hair comes with a bit of a learning curve, you’re still doing a great job.

Curly hair is so beautiful and unique! The best way to encourage your child to embrace their curly hair is to lead by example. Rather that means loving your own curls too or just speaking highly about your child’s natural hair – the power of positivity can’t be overstated!

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