Help her keep her curls healthy and tangle-free

while she’s out on the field.

Whether it be sprinting down a soccer field, swimming laps or twirling in a tutu, physical activity is one of the healthiest things for kids. The right haircut, styling techniques and products can keep your curly kid on the go looking good as they run, jump and cartwheel their way through their many activities.

For girls, longer hair can actually be easier when it comes to sports because it can be pulled back away from the face.

“For active kids, it’s important to keep the hair tied back or braided,” says Ilona Reece, a specialist in children’s haircare and creator of the Taria Curlz line of products. “This helps prevent the hair from tangling up and getting in their way.”

Stacy Hershkowitz of Kids Cutz R us Salon in Greenacres, Fla. likes to twist hair away from the face, leaving the back long. Parents may want to invest in a product like a Topsytail Junior, a hair styling loop that easily and stylishly pulls even the curliest hair back.

“Anything you can find that’s original, kids will love,” says Sabra Dupree, owner of Kids Kuts Slon in Marietta, Ga.

Other practical and low-maintenance styles include pulling the hair back into two braided ponytails, twists or cornrows. The hair can be washed with braids.

Long layers can help give their hair shape and can make their curls look their best.

“One length doesn’t really work,” says Dana Grandy, a stylist at Snippets Mini Cuts in Chicago, Ill. “Layers help distribute the curls evenly and help the hair look its best. It gives it some body and shape.”

For boys, short or long can work well. If kept short, it can be slicked back with little bit of gel to slick it back or accentuate the curls. Longer hair can be pulled back in a ponytail – a la Troy Palamu of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Swimming provides its own set of challenges because chlorine can be especially drying for curly hair. Before getting into the pool, the hair should be wet with regular water and a leave-in conditioner. This will act as a barrier to the chlorine.

“When you get in the water, the hair will be full of conditioner so there won’t be any room for chlorine,” Dupree says.

After getting out of the pool, use a shampoo especially for swimmers to remove any chlorine from the hair and condition again.

“If you can smell chlorine, you did not rinse it out well enough,” says Dupree.

The right products are essential. Shampoos should be gentle and moisturizing, and the hair should be shampooed no more than three times a week. On other days, try a lavender mist spray like Devacurl’s Mist-er Right.

Condition often. Every week or two, comb a deeper conditioner through the hair with a wide-toothed comb and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes.

“If curly hair isn’t hydrated, it gets dry, fuzzy and frizzy,” Dupree says. “I can’t stress enough how important hydrating is.”

To keep the hair pulled back for activities like gymnastics or ballet, use a soft-bristle flat brush and a little hairspray or mousse to comb back the sides.

“It helps to smooth out the frizzy hairs that tend to stick up,” Reece says.

If the child can’t shower, keep a spray bottle of water around and some gel or mousse in their backpack or gym bag, says Jennifer Senffner at Cookie Cutters in Napierville, Ill.

After they have finished their activity, they can quickly go to the washroom, dampen their hair and then reapply some of the products and restyle it, whether pulling it back again or leaving it down and curly.

“Doing this will eliminate the frizzies and will make the hair look neat and cute,” Reece says.

Product suggestions for active curly kids


Fairy Tales Lifeguard Clarifying Shampoo

Devacurl No-Poo

Circle of Friends Ana Banana Shampoo

Ouidad KRLY No Time For Tears Shampoo

Jason’s Swimmer’s and Sports Rejuvenating Shampoo

California Baby Swimmer’s Defense Shampoo and Bodywash

L’Oreal Kids Swim Shampoo


Fairy Tales Detangling Conditioner

Fairy Tales Energizing Leave-in Conditioner

Fairy Tales Lemon-Aid Conditioner

Circle of Friends Abedi’s Safari Detangler

Circle of Friends Maya Papaya Leave-In Conditioner

Circle of Friends Dragon Dance Conditioner

Curlisto Kids Detangle Rinse

Curlsto Kids Leave-In Conditioner

Curly Hair Solutions Slip Detangler

Ouidad KRLY No More Knots Conditioner

Jason’s Swimmer’s and Sports Revitalizing Conditioner

Styling Products

Fairy Tales Curly Q Natural Curl Maker Gel

Circle of Friends Erik’s Shaping Hair Gel

Circle of Friends Janaina’s Mango Mousse Foam

Circle of Friends Luc’s Lemon Lime Shine Hair Slicker

Circle of Friends Valerie’s Vanilla Freeze Hair Spray

Curlisto Kids Spray Mousse

Blended Cutie Soft Curls and Swirls Cream

Blended Cutie Butter Me Up!

Jessicurl Awe Inspiraling Spray

CurlFriends Rejuvenate Texturizing Mist

Ouidad KRLY Pump & Go Spray Gel

Michelle Breyer

As co-founder of, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.

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