How can I keep my 5yr olds hair from falling out so much and developing single strand knots?

Ok this is a long explanation of what's going on so I apologize in advance. my daughter and I have almost exactly the same 3b texture, the differences being: her hair is less dense than mine, my hair is just below shoulders with about the bottom 6" straight due to over-relaxing and heat damage I believe, her hair has never been chemically altered and is probably about the same length. We have been "natural" for the last 3 months (shampooing once per week with Shea moisture's moisture retention shampoo, deep condition with l'oreal sulfate free 10 minutes, rinse, absorb excess water with t-shirt not towel, part into sections and add lots of organic unrefined coconut oil. Then I spray lightly with a homemade leave-in/detangler made with some regular l'oreal repairing conditioner, argan oil, olive oil, a capful of Apple cider vinegar, all diluted with about 2cups water in a sprayer, then I detangle GENTLY with fingers and wide tooth comb-this is the part where my daughter loses a lot of hair- then set with twists or braids. I wear protective styles, mostly buns, more than she does, I let her wear her hair out about 2 days a week. I have trimmed  her hair twice since going natural, once trimming curl by curl and again a month later using the search and destroy method, both times finding her ends full of single strand knots. Honestly so far her ends seem to be in worse condition now then they were before we took on this routine, so discouraging! And especially because my hair is thriving under the same routine, I do understand that our hair even though looking so similar can actually be very different, but considering that as a busy working mom this is a routine that is simple enough for me to stick to, what can I add or subtract to what I'm already doing to help her ends become healthier?

2 Answers

I think it may be the apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is meant to be a clarifying agent and when used to often it tends to dry out hair and cause breakage and shedding. This should not be used as an everyday leave in. To stop the shedding use a protein conditioner once a month (coconut oil works well) moisturize using the same spray that your using just omit the apple cider vinegar. Also be aware that since you set your daughter's hair in braids or twist, when you take them out its gonna seem like you have a lot of breakage when really it is normal. Your hair sheds a lot  everyday without you noticing but when you braid your hair, the daily shed hair gets stuck in the braid. Then when your take down the braids it seems like a thousand shed hair just came out of your head. Don't worry about single strand knots either, her hair will grow just fine with them and be healthy too.
What I do for my ten-year-old daughter who also has 3b hair: Wash w/condish a couple times a week, comb condish through hair and rinse leaving a little in the hair. I then apply mixed chicks leave-in condish and (loosely) braid her hair. Braiding is the key, especially if her hair is on the longer side. I only use shampoo on her hair 1x per month. I will also oil her scalp using pure argan oil or Lisa's Hair Elixir (carol's daughter) a few times a month, making sure to really massage it in (til scalp looks pink-ish from blood flow) and not rinse out.