The 6 Best Hair Detanglers For Kids, According To A Hair Pro

Get the knots out without all the tears.

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If you’re constantly struggling to get the knots out of your child’s hair — whether it’s because they’re prone to tangly hair, they don’t comb it enough, or they run in the opposite direction when they see you wielding a brush — know that the best hair detanglers for kids can make the process a little easier. And by easier, I mean less screaming, less tears, and less time spent brushing knots away one by one until they’re gone — or gone enough. Scary Mommy reached out to Lauren Fernald, the cofounder of the/salon in Newport Beach, California, to learn what to look for in a hair product to get those tangles out — and to get some pointers on how to do it properly.

The Expert

Lauren Fernald is the cofounder of the/salon and has been a hairdresser in Southern California for 22 years. She specializes in cutting, styling, and educating in hairdressing. She enjoys working with all hair textures and sharing her knowledge of hair with her clients so they can recreate the look themselves.

What’s The Best Detangling Product For Kids’ Hair?

For the uninitiated, a hair detangler is a type of leave-in conditioner that smoothes hair and makes strands less likely to stick together and cause tangles, making it easier for brushes and combs to glide through. Detanglers for kids often come as a spray bottle or a cream. For curly hair, Fernald says to stick with a cream, and a spray is best for fine hair that mats easily.

How To Detangle Your Kids Hair

“Detangler should be applied to the mid shaft and ends of wet or damp hair, either after wetting hair or after shampooing and conditioning,” Fernald says. You’ll want to follow that up with a wide tooth comb or wet brush “to actually get those tangles out,” adds Fernald.

How Do I Stop My Child's Hair From Tangling In The First Place?

As for how to prevent pesky knots to begin with, Fernald has some suggestions. “Tangles are going to happen, but I cannot emphasis preventative care enough,” she says. “First, don’t wash hair too often — overwashing can dry hair out and potentially make it tangle more. Second, if you can, use high quality products on your little people.” Fernald also recommends a detangling shampoo to prevent those tangles from forming in the first place.

Making hair care a part of regular bedtime routines can also help. Fernald advises, “For straight or wavy hair, brush often and certainly before bed. For curly hair, brush only when wet, and instead of brushing before bed, add one or two large braids to help it from tangling as your kiddo sleeps.”

With all that in mind, it’s time to find the best hair detangler for your kid’s messy mop. Smoother bedtimes await.

In a hurry? Here are the top picks for the best hair detanglers for kids:

  1. Best For Fine Hair: The Honest Company Conditioning Detangler
  2. Best For Curly Hair: SheaMoisture Kids Extra-Moisturizing Detangler
  3. Best For Natural Textured Hair: Aussie Kids Moist Detangler (3-Pack)


The Best Detangling Conditioner For Fine Hair (& An Editor Fave)

The Honest Company has become a household name for its reliable family care products, and this Conditioning Hair Detangler is no exception — just check out the 30,000+ five-star ratings on Amazon. Not only is it made with natural ingredients, it’s also tear-free, paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and never tested on animals. As one shopper raved, “Worked great on my 3 yr olds fine hair that knots up bad! Love this smell too.” Whether you go with the featured Citrus Vanilla Refresh scent, Almond Nourishing, or Lavender Calm scent, the fragrance is light and really pleasant.

Editor Praise: “I first started using this on a family beach vacation, for my own hair and for both of my daughters’. I love the smell and how light it feels on application — especially welcome for fine hair. Most importantly, it really works on getting even the most tangled knots out. I’m talking ‘full day on the beach and in the pool’ knots. This gets the job done.” —Kate Miller, Scary Mommy Senior Editor

Available Scents: 3


The Best Detangler For Curly Hair

If your child has curly hair, SheaMoisture’s Detangler is a must. Infused with slippery elm extract for easier brushing, coconut oil for hydration, and hibiscus flower extract for added shine, the sprayable cream helps tame the frizz and makes hair super smooth. You can use this product on wet or dry hair to give your kiddo’s curls some extra bounce. The cruelty-free formula is also free from sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

Helpful Review: “This works great for detangling my daughter’s big curls in her very thick hair. A little goes a long way. It helps with frizz and dryness too.”

Available Scents: 1


The Best For Natural Textured Hair

The moisture-rich Aussie Kids Moist Detangler can be used by all hair types and textures, and on wet or dry hair. This spray detangler works miracles on knotty or matted hair while being a safe, nontoxic option without any parabens, sulfates or dyes, as well as no testing on animals.

Helpful Review: “[...] This is a miracle serum from the gods. I swear y’all, I don’t know what secret Harry Potter magic is bottled up in this but I know it works. It saves time for you or your child getting ready in the morning. It saves sanity and curse words coming out of your mouth, traumatizing your child’s innocent ears.”

Available Scents: 1


Expert’s Choice: A High-Quality Detangling Primer You Can Also Use On Your Hair

This one is pricier than the other items on the list, but if it’s in your budget, the high quality ingredients in Oribe’s Run-Through Detangling Primer make it totally worth it. The spray is great for all hair types and for both grown ups and kids. It has a fantastic scent, it doesn’t weigh hair down, and its cuticle-sealing formula protects hair from damage caused by heat and from comb-resistant knots. The dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free formula is also free from parabens and sulfates.

Expert’s Note: “Oribe has incredible products, but the company isn’t necessarily marketed as a kids’ line. I recommend Oribe’s Run-Through Detangling Primer to my clients with tangle problems for themselves or their kids. The value is in the quality of the ingredients and how concentrated the product line is, which means you really don’t need a lot in order to be highly effective.”

Available Scents: 1


The Best Detangler With Keratin

If you’re looking for a leave-in detangler that feels like it could be magic, this is the one. SoCozy’s Leave-In Conditioner Spray makes it so much easier to brush through tangles without having to tug and pull. The nontoxic formula’s key ingredient is keratin for strengthening, so you’re smoothing and protecting strands all at once. The lightweight spray is also notably free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

Helpful Review: “My daughter has super thick hair, and a super low pain tolerance, so brushing her tangled hair out has often ended in dramatic tears. We tried so many different detanglers, and nothing was strong enough for her crazy knots. Someone recommended this kind to me and we’ve been using it for years now. It seriously works. For real. And it smells nice and fruity, but not overwhelming.”

Available Scents: 1


The Best Detangler For Lice Prevention

It’s impossible to know if and when there will be a lice outbreak in your child’s class, so you might as well offer some protection at home along with a detangler. This Rosemary Repel Conditioning Spray from Fairy Tales conditions the hair to help with tangles while helping to prevent head lice without the use of harmful ingredients. The paraben-free formula is natural and organic and includes rosemary, citronella, tea tree, and geranium oils, all of which are intended to prevent lice, while jojoba and chamomile are soothing and safe to use as a daily detangler.

Helpful Review: “It smells amazing and detangles well. I use it on my 7-year-old daughter for lice protection at school. It’s worked so far!”

Available Scents: 1


Lauren Fernald, cofounder of and hairstylist at the/salon

For even more detangling magic, check out the best detangling hair brushes for kids.