2a hair won't stop matting

Hi! I'm a lurker. I don't think I ever posted, and when I do, it's not even about me. This isn't exactly CG or no 'poo or curly relevant, but if anyone could help, I figured it'd be some of you guys. So don't shoot me for being too horribly off topic. :/

I'm a live in nanny for a couple of friends, and one of their daughters is 12. She has what I suspect wants to be loose wavy hair, 2a. Individual strands are extremely, extremely thin, but there's a lot of them. It frizzes. It's a mess in general, and seriously, it mats. I'm a veterinary technician. It gets worse after a day than many mats I've seen in cat and dog coats.

Her mom purchased a Just For Me! conditioner for her, somewhere, which she's been using periodically. Primarily as a means to facilitate combing out knots without bursting into tears. Any conditioner, she claims, makes the problem worse.

My hair is similar, 2c or so. Very, very coarse. I used to be no 'poo due to having incredibly hard water which destroyed my hair, but moving back into soft water means that I can use it again. I use Trader Joe's Nourish stuff on my hair 1-2 times a week, only shampoo my scalp, use conditioner to detangle with my fingers in the shower, and a leave-in conditioner on top of that. Granted, that's when I'm leaving my hair up all the time. If it's staying down, it's more 2-4 times a week. I never, ever touch it with a brush or a comb. I'm not sure the same routine would work for her, because she tends to wear it down.

I'm in the middle of a marathon brushing session, trying to get all her hair untangled, which prompted me to come here. I feel more like a whiner, so I guess my main question is more a plea for help, any kind of help. Does anyone have any ideas about what's going on (too much moisture? not enough? bad rinsing?), what could make things easier, how to avoid the matting? I desperately want to break her of the sleeping on it when it's wet habit. And what would you use to brush or comb? Her mom thinks a paddle brush is Win, and that kind of makes me cry.

Thanks for any ideas or help at all.

Last edited by acerbic; 09-02-2009 at 05:10 PM. Reason: extra info.
Hello acerbic,


This sounds so awful.

My hair is fine and dense, but I am a 4a. The only time I have had extreme matting was when I used a harsh sulfate shampoo or a really waxy cone-y conditioner.

Where exactly is her hair matting? Is it at the root, some inches away from the scalp, or just all over?


For her, sleeping on wet loose hair would be a no-no. I would suggest twisting or french braiding her hair before bed. Nothing complicated, just parting her hair down the middle and making two twists on each side as if you were making two ponytails if her hair is long enough. Or a big french braid in the back.


I would also suggest a wide tooth comb on soaking wet hair with conditioner before detangling with a brush. Starting at the ends and working to the roots. Also the brush you use is a paddle brush - what kind is it? I would stay away from boar and the ones with the tips on the ends. Make sure it has widely spaced firm plastic/nylon bristles. Again going from ends to roots.


The mom not wanting to try different products is interesting to get around. It could be that the products have too much sls or that the conditioners and stylers have too much alcohol bc my first suggestion would be to look for something that has a lot of slip for her.


I hope this helps and that others can chime in with suggestions as well.
Have:
4a Tailbone

http://members.fotki.com/Prettycurls/about/ pw:curlspretty


Thank you so, so much, for one.

Where exactly is her hair matting? Is it at the root, some inches away from the scalp, or just all over?
Originally Posted by Prettycurls
Mostly in the back. She has no bangs, and her hair is about halfway down her back. The hair in the sections in front of her ears is usually alright, but once you get behind them, it easily turns into her hair past her neck looking like it's half as long as it is because it's one big ... piece.

Also the brush you use is a paddle brush - what kind is it? I would stay away from boar and the ones with the tips on the ends. Make sure it has widely spaced firm plastic/nylon bristles. Again going from ends to roots.
Originally Posted by Prettycurls
I try to actually use a wooden bristled brush most of the time -- the bigger version of the two here. The paddle brushes we have are these. The wooden ones are a little more solid feeling and the bristles aren't as flimsy.

I noticed tonight when I was finishing with her knots (and snipping out a couple that were so impossible to get around) that her hair actually feels very residuey, almost like glue. She claims that she washes it every time she's in the shower, which is every other day or so, and then conditions it. She said she uses the same shampoo I do, so I know that's SLS and pretty cone-free. The conditioner is kind of loaded with cones and alcohol, though, so maybe I'll try to get her to switch over to the TJ's conditioner, too. After I talk her into doing a vinegar rinse or something to kill some of that buildup. Ew.
Thank you so, so much, for one.

Where exactly is her hair matting? Is it at the root, some inches away from the scalp, or just all over?
Originally Posted by Prettycurls
Mostly in the back. She has no bangs, and her hair is about halfway down her back. The hair in the sections in front of her ears is usually alright, but once you get behind them, it easily turns into her hair past her neck looking like it's half as long as it is because it's one big ... piece.

Also the brush you use is a paddle brush - what kind is it? I would stay away from boar and the ones with the tips on the ends. Make sure it has widely spaced firm plastic/nylon bristles. Again going from ends to roots.
Originally Posted by Prettycurls
I try to actually use a wooden bristled brush most of the time -- the bigger version of the two here. The paddle brushes we have are these. The wooden ones are a little more solid feeling and the bristles aren't as flimsy.

I noticed tonight when I was finishing with her knots (and snipping out a couple that were so impossible to get around) that her hair actually feels very residuey, almost like glue. She claims that she washes it every time she's in the shower, which is every other day or so, and then conditions it. She said she uses the same shampoo I do, so I know that's SLS and pretty cone-free. The conditioner is kind of loaded with cones and alcohol, though, so maybe I'll try to get her to switch over to the TJ's conditioner, too. After I talk her into doing a vinegar rinse or something to kill some of that buildup. Ew.
Originally Posted by acerbic

You are welcome. No problem.

Wow that is different - the one big piece. I would not allow her to sleep with her hair loose.

The brushes look fine, but it sounds like there is something else going on. I think a vinegar rinse would be good and perhaps the conditioner doesn't agree with her.

Do you think she is really washing her hair or washing it well? Maybe you could ask her what she does when she washes her hair and if she could show you what she does.

Hope this helps.
Have:
4a Tailbone

http://members.fotki.com/Prettycurls/about/ pw:curlspretty


OK this really sounds like improper rinsing to me.

One thing I know about thick hair. Or long hair.
You cannot rinse the underneath by standing under the shower.

She needs to, when washing the hair, split it horizontally and lean her head down and rinse the underneath hair first.
Then split it farther up and again bend down her head and rinse the underneath.
And so on, I do about four sections and my hair isn't even super thick.

It's probably not been rinsed well underneath, and has buildup of dirt and shampoo and conditioner.

So once you get it untangled, I'd tell her (she's 12, she can take care of her hair!) to remember after washing to rinse the underneath hair first, separately, in sections, before rinsing the top. And then condition and comb the conditioner through. Then again, split the hair and rinse the underneath.

She should FEEL the water hitting her scalp underneath the hair, not just the top of her head.

This would be easier to demonstrate than to write down, I hope it's clear...
2c / C / iii (FIA)
Med-Coarse, LowPorosity, NormalElast (LCLF)

Shoulder-Length now.

Wash: DevaCare Low Poo
Detangle & Rinseout: Walgreens or Sally's Conditioning Balm (always)
Leave-in: DevaCare OneC (budget choice is GFTN)
Style: ReCoil & DevaCare Arc Angel (budget choices are HESMU or Got2BSpikedUp)

Henna!

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