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Looking for an easy and effective wash day routine?

This routine will work for all foster parents, adoptive parents, guardians, and biological parents of our beautiful curly and coily-haired children.

Many parents were not taught to care for natural hair growing up. Yet, hair care of any texture is so important, as it is part of a child’s identity and plays a huge part in their confidence and appearance.

In this article, we will tell you exactly how to wash, condition, and prep your child’s hair.  Remember that hair does not need to be washed often, and that once a week is plenty, especially when kept in a protective style.  

Here are FOUR steps to take on wash day:

  1. Step One

The first thing you want to do is soak your child’s hair with warm water. It is much easier to work with the hair when it’s fully saturated with water. Next is a proper shampoo. Some shampoos are listed at the bottom of this article.  Our Ultimate Guide has hundreds of products to choose from.

The best shampoos for kids are super slick and not drying. Whatever shampoo you use, be sure to replace the cap with an applicator tip if it does not come with one.  The tip makes it super easy to apply the shampoo in sections all over the scalp.  

Use your fingers to gently massage the scalp all over or use a soft silicone scalp brush. After about 4-5 minutes, rinse the shampoo out completely. Use plenty of water to get all the shampoo out.

  1. Step Two

After shampooing, the next step is a conditioner.  It is very important to use a conditioner with a lot of slip.  Some are listed below. The best conditioners will allow you to run your fingers through the hair easily and finger detangle. Detangling is very important to avoid knots and breakage. 

If your child’s hair is high density (i.e., thick), section the hair and then finger detangle hair soaked in conditioner.

The hair should feel like seaweed when properly conditioned.  If it does not, spritz on more water.  The hair should be fully saturated with conditioner. After finger detangling, go through with a wide tooth comb. Going through with the wide tooth comb gets even more tangles out, but it’s really important to start at the ends and work your way up when detangling. This avoids breakage.

If you must, at this point you can use a wet brush or Tangle Teezer to make sure that everything is perfectly detangled.

TIP: For older kids who are able to sit still and do not mind a longer wash day, apply a deep conditioner – apply away from the scalp to the ends, paying particular attention to the dry ends. Put a cap over the hair and let it sit for 15-20 minutes to make sure that all of the strands are penetrated with the deep conditioner. Rinse out thoroughly.

For coily hair textures, hair conditioning and moisture is key to the hair routine.


Next up is a good leave-in conditioner or cream (or both). Work it in and go through the hair with a gentle brush to make sure that the product is distributed well. To lock in the moisture, follow up with a cream or oil, or a little bit of a soft hold gel. 


Use a protective style for the hair such as big twists, two-strand twists, finger twirls, or regular braids. Let the hair air dry completely or lightly diffuse. 

Also, read this article for Trouble-Free Hair Care for Little Curlies.


Baja Baby Shampoo and Body Wash Lavender
all natural, good scent

SoCozy 3-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner + Body Wash for Kids

Fairy Tales Curly-q Daily Hydrating Shampoo for Kids – Shampoo For Curly Hair
A clarifying yet moisturizing shampoo for when the scalp is itchy
SheaMoisture, Kids Extra-Moisturizing Detangler, Coconut & Hibiscus

CurlyKids Mixed HairCare Leave-in Conditioner

For the Ultimate Guide to the 200+ best Kids’ hair products go to the SHOP

Useful Hair Blogs for Families:

absolutely everything curly logo
Absolutely Everything Curly

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