Thin wavy hair, constant rats nest

Okay, so help this mama out.. please. My 4 year old has had thin wavy hair (guessing 2A?) since it started growing, but only a very little. Even now, with it half way down her back, there's hardly enough hair for decent pig tails. I can't braid it. However, unless I'm willing to brush it every 20 minutes, it immediately starts flipping around at the bottom and then she has a big puffy rats nest in the back of her head.

I'm not used to this thin of hair, mine isn't thick by any means, but it's medium. The only care I ever gave it growing up was Suave shampoo/conditioner and brushing it constantly. I loved brushing my hair, though, and my daughter hates it. I never used any kind of product on my hair, I can't stand my hair not to be smooth and natural. She dreads staying still long enough for me to put it in a ponytail, but it doesn't seem to grow thick enough for a good ponytail and it just comes lose and messy anyways. She wants it long, but right now I'm feeling a short hair cut is the answer.

I'm at a loss. I'm so tired of having her hair look ill-kept and neglected. I've tried many different good shampoo and conditioners, even. Some for curls, some for tangles, some just good quality. Nothing seems to help.

I'll attach a few pictures, to help show what I mean (even one I took the one time we had it cut pixie style)- all it takes is 20 minutes and this is how it looks.

I've been reading about since yesterday, after finally reaching my breaking point- and realized I was doing several things wrong... I lather conditioner in her hair like I do mine, hoping it will make it silky. I now understand that might be a problem for thin hair? Long hair isn't recommended for thin hair either...not to blow dry it, to use detanglers (never used any) and to wash the hair daily to prevent any build up on it that could 'weigh it down'.

So, please, give me more tips- and tell me whether the tips above are correct. Tell this mama how to take care of hair. I suck at it, my daughter deserves to have her hair look better!

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My daughter's hair tangled like that when it was damaged. Some basics....A good hair cut and moisturizing will help. Make sure to only comb (wide tooth comb or pick) when wet with conditioner for the least amount of damage. Be very gentle when cleansing and dont pile hair on top of her head or rough it up.
My hair is tangled once it dries too... Just part of having curls. My hair is not hair you can run your fingers thru neither is my daughter's.
I used Tresemme Naturals conditioner to cleanse and condition for my daughter... Occasionally adding a good protein treatment. You'll just have to experiment to see what her hair wants. I use heavier products on my 3a/b hair while my daughter needs lighter products on her 3a hair.
Put up at night so it doesnt tangle. Give her a silk pillowcase. Only comb when wet with a wide tooth comb or pick. Just experiment with other ways to hold her hair back. Moisture and/or protein are the key to keeping curls healthy.

Hth
Thanks for the reply back. I'll check out shampoo/conditioner that has those qualities and work on the pillow case and putting her hair back at night. Does her night sleeping effect her hair throughout the whole day, or just how she wakes up with a messy head?

What could be the cause of the damaged hair? Not taking care of it the right way? I'm thinking of having her get another pixie cut, so we can start short and try to 'control' it this time while it grows in more healthy.
My daughter's hair was exactly like that at that age. She also wanted it long, but she didn't want me to do anything to it, not even comb it, so I ended up getting it cut in a short bob. That helped a lot. I also had to spray detangler on it every day before combing.

She is eight now, and she is finally interested in having nice hair, so it's getting easier. It is still fairly short, but she is letting it grow out. It has gotten a little thicker, too. Recently I bought her a satin sleep bonnet, and that has helped. She used to wake up with this horrible rat's nest sticking straight out of the back of her head, but if she wears the bonnet all night she wakes up with her hair still looking pretty nice.

I have fine, thin, wavy hair, too, and we both just started trying out CG a few weeks ago. Up until recently I used very little conditioner on my hair and none on my daughter's, because everything I've read says not to use much on fine, thin hair. But since reading Curly Girl I have been experimenting with using more and more conditioner, and our hair is looking curlier and fuller than before. My hair at the nape of my neck was always so tangled, and in the book she says to put some conditioner there. I never would have put conditioner that close to my scalp, but I started doing it, and now I don't get tangled there.

What do you wash her hair with? With sulfate shampoos I had to wash at least every other day because my scalp was so oily, but that was too hard on the length of my hair, so it was dry. Since I switched to sulfate free, I'm finding that I can go 2-3 days between washes. So far co-washing hasn't worked for me; my hair feels clean but is really soft and limp. Fine, thin hair is tricky because if it's dirty it gets really limp, but washing too often can dry it out and make it flyaway and frizzy. I guess my point is that I don't know abpout washing every day. For me, anyway, even gentle shampoo every day would dry it out, but co-washing every day would make it a limp mess (I think, based on my three attempts).

I don't know if I've been helpful at all. I feel your pain! I have threatened more than once to shave my daughter's head!
Brushing curly hair can often make it frizzy, fluffy, and unkempt looking. I remember when I was younger my mom's family would tell me to brush my hair, then they wouldn't believe that I had because It would make my hair worse and more tangled looking. I think your daughter probably has curlier than 2a hair. You're just brushing her pattern out. Most curly haired people don't brush their hair when it's dry. I don't brush my hair in the mornings. I only detangle it when it has water and conditioner in it in the shower. You could trying getting her a satin pillow case to prevent tangles at night, then dampen the hair with water in the mornings to get any night weirdness to calm down.

I wouldn't agree with advice to shampoo her hair every day. That can be super stripping and drying, which would make it tangle more. I would only wash it once or twice a week, then condition it every time you bath her. I have fine hair, and I don't wash daily. If you want to detangle it later on, you can try putting water and conditioner in a spray bottle, then spray that on a knot and gently pulling the knot apart. Also, use her regular conditioner as a leave in. Just, take a squirt of it and run it through her hair after a shower. That will help prevent tangles. Most curly hair needs conditioner, so don't try cutting that out. I know you mention that you don't want it to be weighed down, but a little weight will actually help it be easier to manage and make it calmer looking. You have to realize, though, that her hair is curly. Brushing it won't make it straight, and might just be counterproductive because it's messing up what her hair naturally wants to do. Straight hair just wants to flow down, like a brush stroke. Curly hair wants to groove around, and make a pattern.

ETA: Sometimes curly hair looks better when it's longer, so when she's older and able to grown it out more then curl pattern will show up better (instead of being one flip, it will be three distinct waves that go up and down).
Fine Texture, Normal Porosity, Normal Elasticity. Dyed to brown a few months ago.
Lowpoo:
Trader Joe's TTT Shampoo
Rinse Out:
Yes to Carrots, AOHR, Aubrey Organics Rosemary Peppermint
LI: Yes to Carrots
Stylers: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, LA Looks Sports, Suave Professionals Captivating Curls Whipped Mousse

Last edited by rainboe; 01-27-2013 at 02:23 PM.
It might be a good idea to check the 'trying a shampoo free method' forum. Not using shampoo at all, or only low-poo is actually much better for dry wavy or curly hair. I would also suggest that you use a moisturizing conditioner after you washed the hair, and comb only when her hair is wet with conditioner in it. After the combing you can rinse and dry the hair with a cotton t-shirt or a microfibre towel. Good luck!
highlighted 3a hair. Fine strands, medium to high density. Probably high porosity. Growing uit bad layering and aiming for waist lenght!

Pre-poo: coconut oil
wash: CJ Daily fix or SheaMoisture Coconut&Hibiscus
RO + LI: different every time
Styler: CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB

dislikes: glycerin in low dews, scissor happy stylists, magnesium sulfate

(modified) CG since june 25, 2012
Hiarfinity + extra MSM since March 5., 2014

SL - APL - BSBL- BSL - MBL - WL (stretched)

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