Lots of snarls, help!

My daughter is nearly 5 years old. I think her hair is a 3B. I don't have curly hair, so I really have no experience in caring for curly hair.

Her hair is getting tons of snarls in it, mostly in the back, at the ends. Sometimes I end up having to cut them out they are so bad. BTW, she's never had a haircut. To make matters more complicated, I have a horrible time washing her hair. She just HATES it! We don't have a handheld sprayer (I can't find one to fit on our tub faucet), so it can be hard to rinse her hair.

I just don't know what to do with it. Should I get it cut? What products should I be using? How can I prevent the snarls?

Here's a picture of her, so you can get an idea of what her hair looks like.
When I was younger my hair would get like that. Have you tired a leave in condish? My mom would always braid my hair at night it would help with morning hair care, since most knots are made while sleeping.
its pronounced: eh-meh-ho-tah
CG since July 20,2010
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I have used California Baby conditioner as a leave-in. Maybe I'm not using enough? I'll try braiding it at night, hadn't thought of that.
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 156
First of all, patience!

Second, view each snarl/knot as an individual thing. The hairs will be knotted at some point and you need to identify such point. From there, you have to softly pinch the knot and start pulling hairs away. Many will pass through the knot easily, others will resist. Those which resist are best left last. Once you are done with the easy passers, it is time to review how many you have left and what is the best decision.

Sometimes it is best to just cut the remaining hairs because pulling strongly wil probably just break the hairs. This is the best measure if you have very few hairs stranded left and if the knot is very close to the end of the hair length. If not, I have found that applying coconut oil will soften the knot and allow for the harder stuck hairs to slide through.

it is imperative to de-strand/de-mat with your FINGERS and when dry. Never use a comb as you will break all the hairs. No matter how difficult the snarl may look, you can save up to 90% of the hairs. I had an extremely hard knot about 3 weeks ago and by being patient and following these guidelines, I saved most of the hair although I had to ultimately cut the few hairs left because the knot was extremely bonded. It also took me a few session spaced through 4 days (I have very curly hair). I am passionate about my hair and cutting knots makes me sad, ha!

De-knotting should be a daily task because knots form daily in curly hairs. It doesn't take very long, just pass the fingers through your daughter's hair when you are both together and static (e.g watching TV). You will become an expert at de-tangling and the routine will take as little as 5 mins and might even become a vice!

You should also be using some conditioner as it prevents knotting. I use pure coconut oil and recommend it.

Let me know how it goes and remember, CUTTING is always the last option.

Take care.

Thank you very much for the tips! I did go ahead and get my daughter's hair trimmed. The damaged ends were trimmed off, her hair was conditioned thoroughly, and now it looks so much healthier. I have a good base to start with, and I think I'll begin with doing conditioner washes, and I just bought her a satin pillowcase to help with the night time snarls. Hoping this will help her hair be less of a constant mess!
My tip - try to avoid letting your daughter think her hair is a 'problem'. I am sure my feelings about my hair came from my mother complaining about it.
As a curly mom to 2, this is what I've learned:

1. You really really need to comb it out wet with conditioner in it. It makes it so much easier to get all the tangles out.

2. You need a really rich conditioner. I LURVE California Baby, use their products almost exclusively for my kids. However, their conditioner is very light. For your daughter's hair type you need to co-wash with a lighter conditioner (like CaliBaby if you want) and then use a heavier conditioner afterwards (I like Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition for me and my girls). Rinse that out, then put a little more in as a leave-in.

3. Don't ever have her wear her hair completely down. Hair down in a little girl = major knots and tangles. Put it in pigtails, ar at least the top half up, something like that. I put my girls' hair up every morning. If I don't we all regret it seriously at the end of the day.

Good luck!

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