Curly hair on kids is adorable, but as you know, those lovely ringlets require the right maintenance and care. Finding a shampoo that cleans without drying out those curls can be just as challenging as trying to get kids into the bath (or shower) — but not if you know what to look for. Scary Mommy reached out to dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield, M.D., to better understand ingredients and what to look for when seeking the best kids’ shampoos for curly hair.
Dr. Nava Greenfield is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a mom of four young children. Dr. Greenfield’s work has been published in several medical journals, including The Journal of Dermatological Treatment.
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Kids’ Shampoo For Curly Hair?
Because curly hair is prone to drying out, which can lead to unwanted frizz, Dr. Greenfield advises looking for ingredients that are intensely hydrating. “Mango and shea butters, jojoba, and primrose oil are some of the ingredients that can make a product work well and stay hydrated,” Dr. Greenfield says. She also recommends using gentle products that are naturally sourced and have few preservatives. That means trying to avoid sulfates, parabens, and other harsh ingredients that can be drying.
Toddler Vs. Big Kid Hair
If you’re shopping for a younger kiddo, know that toddler hair differs from older kids’ hair, so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re shopping for shampoos. “Toddler scalps are more sensitive and their hair has not fully grown in,” Dr. Greenfield says. “I stick with recommending products that have minimal fragrance and have more hydrating versus soapy ingredients [for this age group].”
And because getting your kid in the bath in the first place — and to later sit for detangling hair — can feel like enough of a victory, it might be worth seeking out a gentle shampoo that keeps bath a no-tears zone.
“Most shampoos labeled for children contain a chemical that minimizes the burning sensation if the suds run into the eyes. [...] Not all adult shampoos contain this ingredient, so they might cause a bit more stinging if they get into children’s eyes,” according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, in an interview with our sister site, Fatherly. For your convenience, we’ve noted below which picks are formulated to be tear-free.
With all that in mind, it’s time to find the kids’ shampoos that will keep your little one’s curls as bouncy and full of life as they are.