If your child isn't two years old yet I wouldn't worry about poor growth. There's a lot going on in that little body and hair growth isn't a priority. Most of the rules of maintaining a child's hair are the same as those for adults as outlined in the free ebook.
When should you detangle?
Ideally before you start washing the hair, as with adults. Soften the hair with water and a detangler to make it easier.
In the first 24 months shampoo is not even necessary unless your child was rolling around in mud. You can wash with water and as the hair grows out and becomes thicker you can start using a light, instant conditioner to keep the hair soft and more manageable.
Be careful about purchasing "no tears" shampoos too! They may be easy on the eyes but some will dry out your baby's hair. Many of these shampoos are no good for black or mixed hair. After 24 months you can introduce a shampoo. Look for a "no tears" shampoo that doesn't use sulfates as a surfactant.
For a baby/toddler you should look for shampoo that is:
What's the best shampoo schedule for your child?
- Normally, when I bath a baby/toddler I rinse the hair with water every time I give them a bath, i.e. daily. No shampoo needed.
- As the child gets older I wouldn't be too prescriptive. Until the age of about 4 I would wash the hair when it is dirty and co-wash the rest of the time.
- And for older kids once a week should normally be enough with a mid-week co-wash if necessary.
Something light and creamy usually provides the best hydration. All-natural shea butters and coconut based moisturizers tend to be the best in my experience.
How should you moisturize?
Depending on what works better on your child's hair use either:
1. Liquid only if the hair is very fine and naturally quite soft.
Use a very light leave-in conditioner or a light buttery/creamy moisturizer.
"Liquid" includes any light water based leave-in conditioner, detangler or spray moisturizer.
2. Liquid then oil.
If '1' doesn't keep the hair hydrated follow with an oil to lock in the moisture. I recommend coconut oil or jojoba for this function or The Junior Edition of our Hair Growth Stimulator.
3. For thicker hair or hair that dries out easily use either the LOC method or the LCO method.
Some hair types respond to one better than the other.
- Relaxer: my personal view is to wait until they're adults, i.e. 13+
- Heat: perhaps after the age of 6 you can use heat for special events such as weddings
- Colour: similar to relaxer; I would only allow it if your child demands it after the age of 13, maybe even 15+!
- Weaves: see the advice on colour.
Which products should you use?
Based on reviews I have added a "Children's" category to the Neno Natural Amazon store. I will change the products included there as I learn more about kids' products. I would opt for the cheaper products to see if they work before trying the more pricey stuff. Dilute to make it spread further! Yes, I am cheap. Always have been, always will be, I was brought up that way :)
As with all textures some experimentation is needed before you find the "magic formula"!
Get your FREE ebook on How To Grow Long, Healthy Natural Kinky or Curly Hair.