Learning to care for your curly hair should start young.

sleeping child with curly hair

OneBlueLight — Getty Images

If your little ones are rocking natural curls, their hygiene and self-care routine may be a little bit more involved than their straight-haired classmates at school, and that’s okay! Curly-haired babies are beautiful and by making hair care part of their daily routine, keeping their curls beautiful and healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Mornings before daycare or school are hectic, so we like to do some of the heavy-lifting at bedtime instead. Here’s a bedtime routine your curly and coily little ones can implement with ease:

1. Have a set schedule

Just like with tooth-brushing, PJ time, and stories before bed, hair care should become second-nature to your children. If extra hair care steps are a surprise some nights, you might get pushback or catch your child in the wrong mood to sit and work through their curls patiently. Skip the fight and fuss by teaching your child that like baths and meals, this is just a normal part of the day. Let them know that your curls need to be cared for, too, and you can do some of these bedtime steps together.

2. Moisturize

We wash our bodies, and we must also moisturize them so that our skin is pliable, healthy, and resilient to the elements. It is important to teach your child that the same is true for our hair. While all types of hair should be conditioned, your child should understand that their special, gorgeous curly hair also needs some extra moisture to stay strong and happy. Choose natural leave-in conditioning products for your child to keep their scalp and hair healthy. Helping your little one understand that this is extra love and not extra work will keep this routine easy and pleasant.

sleeping child with red curly hair

Ulkas — Getty Images

3. Detangle as needed

We recommend to never detangle dry hair. As you probably know, trying to pull your fingers or a detangling comb through dry curls is painful, often too difficult, and always results in more damaged, messy results. With moisturizing product still in their little curls, occupy your child with a book, puzzle, or toy and work your comb or fingers through tangles to separate, define, and reduce strain on individual strands. Older children can handle this themselves, but it’s good to remind them to moisturize liberally beforehand and go slowly. Talk to your child as you detangle together and use this as a time to bond and celebrate your curly hair.

4. Seal strands with oil

The best way to seal and solidify your strands end to end and bolster wellness is applying an oil treatment to the ends of your hair. This step comes in after the leave-in conditioner and the detangling to lock-in moisture. We love heavy oils like this jojoba oil or this coconut oil because their dense formulas are enough to lay down the cuticle without weighing down your child’s curls.

curly kids with curly pineapple and silk pillowcases

Photo @naturallycurlykids

5. Wrap or pineapple hair

If you’ve been natural for a while, protecting your hair at night is just a typical part of your nighttime routine. While wrapping or pineappling hair before bed is second nature to many grown-up naturals, your little ones should be following in your footsteps to reap the same benefits. The earlier you start this routine, the more familiar it will be. Your child will need to learn how to make good choices for their hair over time so encourage them to help choose a satin bonnet or satin scrunchie in their favorite color or one of your old cotton t-shirts to use with the plopping method. Wrapping hair before bed helps to eliminate tangles, breakage and helps to lock in hydration throughout the night. Pineappling will help prevent extra friction from tossing and turning on a pillow. All of these benefits will help make the next morning easier for you and your kids.

If you like this content for curly kids, share it with your curl friends and remember to follow @NaturallyCurly on Instagram.



NaturallyCurly has been on a mission to educate, empower, entertain and inspire women to have healthy discussions about hair and beauty since 1998. We explore everything from self-acceptance to finding the best hair care products for all textures.

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