With the proper care, kids can learn to love their curls.

'Curly is beautiful, and children need to be proud of who they are and how they look.' —John Sturgill, KMS

Curly Kids

Most curlyheads grew up fighting their hair as children. Often, a parent is no help.

"If a parent doesn't have curly hair, they have no idea what to do with it," says Irene Meikle, international creative director for Graham Webb.

"But with the proper care, kids can learn to love their curls," Miekle said.

"Curly hair is great hair," she said. "It's so much easier than straight hair if it's looked after correctly." Products should be kept to a minimum. Since curly, frizzy hair tends to be drier, a good moisturizing shampoo is essential. An anti-frizz serum also can be helpful because it controls the hair without a lot of goop or crunch. A parent can form ringlets as the hair dries to give it more control. For coarser hair, a forming gel can be helpful because it adds weight and controls the texture. Stay away from spray gels, which can get into their eyes.

Curly hair does not need to be washed every day. If it's clean, leave it alone. If the child takes a bath, put her hair up.

Any length is suitable, as long as you control the texture. Some parents let their children's hair grow longer because the weight pulls out some of the curl. But barrettes, bobby pins and scrunchies can help keep the hair out of their face.

John Sturgill, a spokesman for KMS, recommends cutting the hair in a style that works with the curl.

"Being a child should be about easy beauty regimens," Sturgill said. "Don't expect your child to want to spend time straightening with a blow dryer."

For African-American hair, which tends to have a tighter curl, braiding can be a good way to control the hair, Meikle said. She doesn't promote using strong relaxers on children's hair. Instead, parents who wish to straighten their children's hair can use a hot comb and anti-frizz gels like Making Waves by Graham Webb. Whatever strategy you use to work with your child's curls, let them know how lucky they are to be blessed with them.

"Teach children about the value of diversity," Sturgill said. "If a child learns an appreciation for all types of beauty, they are less likely to fell self conscious about their appearance."

"Curly is beautiful, and children need to be proud of who they are and how they look," he said.