how to reduce tangles so my daughter doesn't have to go short?

My daughter has 3b (maybe also 3c?) hair which is superfine, and has been growing it "long" (which means wet it is halfway down her back, dry it just barely hits her shoulders). We don't shampoo, and do leave-in conditioner several days a week, but are still having lots of problems with tangles -- which pretty much instantly turn into little knots, which (if caught soon enough are merely really painful to comb-out (widetooth comb + wet + conditioner) or have to be cut off. There is a new set of tangles in the back of her head *every morning* and often a few new ones by the end of the school day. Detangler + water are often not enough for the daily maintenance.

The last time we did a full combout she cried so much she started talking about cutting it off -- which I think she would actually be really unhappy with as well (she's super-girly, and also her hair is just barely long enough dry now to get into the ponytail she needs for dance class.)

I know I must be missing something. I have attached pictures: the one outside is a couple hours after a full conditioned combout, the inside is what it looks like in the morning when she wakes up.

Is her hair long enough for two french braids? Try braiding it wet, and see how it works. When you put her hair up for dance class, is it wet or dry? If it is long enough to put in a high ponytail, try having her sleep with it pulled up in a scrunchie.

Last edited by crwritt; 10-14-2009 at 04:39 PM. Reason: spelling
I can think of two reasons for the tangles. It looks dry, so more moisture. The products you're using may not be moisturizing enough for her. Although you're letting it grow, it still needs frequent trims to help with the tangling. My hair only tangles if I use castor or mineral oils or if I go too long without a haircut.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity

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Are you using satin pillowcase or sheets?? That does help for bedhead which helps in overall tangles. I agree I would watch for ingredients that don't do well in hair. Try the website I learned a lot from this site as far as ingredients go.
We're going to try putting hair up tonight, and I'm going to go looking for a conditioner *without* mineral oil in it tomorrow -- we've been using the Pink brand's kids line stuff, and I also just noticed that the detangler Daddy got at the store has dimethicone in it -- since I only told him no silicone.
I have 3b curls just like your daughter - but I'm 30 years older! The best conditioner that I've used for my hair is the Biolage Conditioning Balm. My mother used to buy it for my hair when I was younger and now I buy the generic from Sally's - Generic Value Products Conditioning Balm. You can get 16oz for $5.99 - or for $5.49 with the Sally's card. My hair is prone to tangles, even when well-moisturized. This conditioner just melts the tangles away and at a good price. It is cone-free and many curlies here love it. Walgreens also has a generic of this conditioner but the Sally's is a better deal.

I've been able to increase the moisture in my hair by using a creamy leave-in every time I co-wash - which is usually every day. Before I found this site, I was using spray liquid leave-ins but they just aren't as moisturizing for me as the creamy ones. The GVP Balm can be used as a leave-in, although I haven't used it that way. I often use Giovanni Direct Leave-in, Abba Gentle or KBB Nectar. Good luck!
3b, fine texture, low to normal porosity
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