Help my 11-year-old with knotty, frizzy hair

IndigoDreamIndigoDream Posts: 2Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Neophyte

Hi! I've been trying to cram a hair education in the past few days. :) My daughter has long hair that I think is mostly 2c (?), but does get some corkscrew curls especially toward the bottom and around her temples. Low porosity, and I'm not sure about how to judge whether it's fine or medium texture. (I read that you're supposed to put a stand of hair in between your fingers and see if you can feel it... does that mean to roll it/stretch it between your fingers? Because if so, then I feel it, but if not, no.)

Anyway. It's always, always been very knotty and very difficult to brush, even when straight out of the shower. We use only the Wet Brush-type brushes, and even then it's not easy.

Along with puberty has come some extra ringlet curls around her temples and extra frizz and breakage on top. I'm trying hard to help her get it right, but none of the products we've used seem to make any difference at all.

We've tried multiple leave-in conditioners, styling creams, detanglers, etc., plus gel or mousse. We've normally used Tresemme's moisture-rich shampoo and conditioner every other day, and sprayed with water and sometimes detangler and attempted to brush through on alternating days. (Those alternating days are the bad ones!! Getting through the knots is tough, and then it's always frizzy after the brushing.) I've seen the videos about not brushing hair and just finger-combing, but I can't even imagine! My kid would have matted hair in days if I did that. She's a knot machine.

I normally loosely braid her hair when it's still damp and that's how she sleeps, so it's easy to deal with on school mornings. I recently tried the "pineapple" instead and it wasn't as good. Also bought a satin pillowcase, so we'll see if that makes any difference... but I know it's not just about sleeping. Her hair knots up during the day, too.

Anyway. I just feel like no matter what products we use, her hair looks and feels just the same (unless we use oil near the scalp, and then it looks greasy). I haven't bought any expensive products up to this point, but I'm ready to try whatever it takes. She's in junior high now and I just want her to feel good about herself. I'm not so concerned about the length of her hair, which has frizz on top but still looks nice overall, but mostly the front of her hair, which just never looks right. It doesn't have any real pattern to it... just cowlicks and no obvious place to part. If I diffuse it on top, it gets frizzy and it I braid when wet, it's flat and weird. No happy medium. I'd love any and all advice about products, styling, etc.! Top picture is air dried, bottom is diffused.

Best Answer

  • cnic216cnic216 Posts: 157 Curl Connoisseur
    Accepted Answer
    Agree with @Guide 65. It sounds like her hair is not getting the moisture it needs and that's what's causing the tangles/knots. The Tresemme shampoo has sulfates in it, which is  a very strong and harsh detergent that strips all of the natural oils and moisture from curly hair that help to keep it moisturized, less frizzy, and less tangled. The conditioner also  has silicones in it which basically block any other type of moisture you try to put into the hair. All of this is explained in the  Curly Girl book @Guide 65 mentioned. 

    In the meantime, try to find a sulfate free shampoo and a silicone free conditioner. Shea Moisture and Maui Moisture are both great brands to try out as they're relatively inexpensive and very easy to find. Hope this helps! 


  • Guide 65Guide 65 Posts: 1,984Registered Users, Moderators Curl Virtuoso
    Welcome!  I can't see your pictures.  I wish I would help a lot more.  Have you heard of the Curly Girl method?  Most of us here use this method.  Once her hair gets properly moisturized, it should reduce the tangles and knotting.  You can read about it online, but I think it's best to go straight to the source to get all the original info.  You can get the book from Amazon or maybe from your library.  Lorraine Massey is the author.
    Formerly known as Janiegirl
    2B/2C, fine hair, low density, mixed porosity, protein loving hair
    Current products:
    Changing up my shampoos because I can't find one I like
    Deva Curl One Condition (original formula)
    Innersense I Create Volume
    Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel
  • BrittanyMBrittanyM Posts: 1,217Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    Agree with curly girl method. For a leave in, I suggest kinky curly Knot Today. It’s great. You can get it at target or buy it online.
  • IndigoDreamIndigoDream Posts: 2Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Neophyte
    Thank you!
  • hmr1016hmr1016 Posts: 66Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Something I didn’t learn until age 22 was to detangle in the shower with conditioner in my hair. That alone made my hair much more manageable and will save a ton of time! Also make sure that she’s using hair accessories that won’t cause more breakage and knots—stick to scrunchies, Bobby pins, and cloth headbands instead of regular hair elastics, metal barettes, and harder headbands that pull on the hair. India Batson’s YouTube channel might also be a good place to look for style tutorials as well!
    Current 2B/2C Routine:
    Cleanse -  NYM Curl Talk Shampoo or NYM Clean Freak Cleansing Conditioner
    Condition - Elucence Moisure Balance Conditioner
    Treatments - Olaplex (step 3) or Elucence Moisture Repair Treatment
    Style -  Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave In + AG Re:Coil

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