Does your kiddo freak completely out every time they see you coming with a hairbrush? There’s nothing like telling a pint-sized human, “it’s time to brush your hair,” to make them hide under the dining table, the bed, or otherwise just split, especially if they’ve got the kind of mane that knots and tangles easily. Making matters worse is that kids are messy in general, and throughout those early years at least (if not longer), very few of them care enough about what they look like to spend any time grooming. That’s, of course, where you come in — and where the eardrum-blasting squealing begins.
Whether you wait until bath time to take on detangling your child’s locks or you tackle their hair jungle every day, twice a day, or anytime they let you at it, having the right detangling brush for kids can make the entire experience much smoother for everyone, including you! A recent survey found that getting kids out the door in the morning is like an extra day of work each week for parents ([email protected]), so shaving precious time with one of these detangling brushes is the very definition of #winning.
Before you start detangling, use a deep conditioner in the bath or shower to loosen any knots. Some experts suggest combing their hair while the conditioner is still in it, before rinsing it out. This gives tangles an extra nudge, so they split apart more easily. It’s also a good idea to check out the best-selling hair products for any that might seem tailor-made for your child’s locks.
Before you know it, they may even start brushing themselves — instead of running for the hills every time they see the brush. Taming your child’s unruly hair with fewer tears is totally doable. Here’s a look at some of the best detangling brushes for kids so you never have to hear them whine again.
Whether your little one’s hair is smooth and straight, wild and curly, or something in between, the Tangle Teezer is one of the highest rated detangling brushes for kids out there. It smoothes hair gently with no snags or pulls, whether strands are sloppy wet or bone dry. This means you don’t have to wait until your kiddo washes their hair next to get the kinks out. You can detangle their mane anytime, without the whining that comes with too many tugs. This detangling brush combs through smoothly, even through hair extensions AND clip-ons. It comes in snazzy pink and classy black and fits right into most purses and pocketbooks, so you can detangle on the go if you need to. One Amazon mom said, “I use this one on my two-year-old (with a gentle hand), she hates getting her hair done no matter what, but I see how her breakage is minimal with this brush versus the regular paddle I was using earlier.” Forget the paddle mama, the Tangle Teezer seems to do the trick!
Shaped like a little cloud, you sort of hold the Knot Genie with your whole hand, as if you’re holding a sponge. It’s so beloved by parents whose kids used to scream bloody murder every time their hair was combed, it prompted one Amazon dad reviewer to say, “This is the best thing since slice bread. With few strokes, I can untangle my kids hair without any screams of pain.” It works on wet and dry manes, too. One mom of a multiracial daughter with “extremely tight curly hair” said it glides through her hair, removing knots like “magic.” In fact the Knot Genie has earned so many rave reviews online, we’re tempted to give it the title of MVP!
Specially made for small hands (because eventually kids need to learn how to brush their own hair, people), the Michael Mercier detangler has soft bristles in varying heights, which translates to less pressure on your child’s head, making it a thousand times easier to undo even the most stubborn knots. It comes in several bright, happy colors and it’s got a soft curve to the design that’s perfect for even a preschooler’s hands. One reviewer said, “I’ve started using this brush on my two little girls, and they don’t complain or cry anymore. Seems good for different hair types because one daughter has fine wavy hair and the other has thick curly hair. Tangles come out more quickly too!”
If you’ve ever used a boar bristle hairbrush you know how gently it works through tangles. This particular paddle brush is ergonomic, so if your kiddo has long locks, you can probably go a few extra strokes before your hands start to feel strained. It’s also got these little nylon bristles on the tips of the bristles that have a soothing massage effect, so you barely notice the moment when the tangles start to come loose. After trying out a few different kinds of hairbrushes, one Amazon mom of two young daughters and two teenage sons said, “This is the only one that my entire family loves.” Parents also love it because it works on all hair types, so if you have one short, curly-haired kid and one with smooth, long locks, it’ll still do the trick. It comes with a black comb that’s perfect for keeping the hairbrush clean, too.
If your child’s hair is extra coarse, curly, or if it’s got coil-like corkscrews, this is the detangling brush for you. It’s particularly great for anyone with 3c to 4a African-American hair, gently smoothing out hair as it removes knots. It also works just fine if someone wears a wig or extensions, so it’s the kind of brush the whole family can use. The coolest thing about the Bestool Detangling Hairbrush is that it has eight rows of flexy bristles and you can adjust the distance between them with an easy-to-use bracket (included with each purchase). The back of the brush also has a ventilated space that helps provide uniform heat if you tend to brush your kiddo’s hair while blow drying it at the same time. Translation: Less blow dry time with a squirmy little one and less hair damage, too. We also love that it’s got a non-slip, comfy grip, so the brush won’t go flying out of your hands every time you encounter a tough tangle.
This brush works completely different from other detangling brushes: Instead of separating hair from top to bottom, the cone-shaped plastic bristles of this Crave detangling brush separates hair sideways, gently removing even the toughest, most stubborn tangles. It fits right in your palm, too, and it’s totally fine to use it when hair is wet or dry. It even has soft bristles that massage the scalp and increase circulation, a major bonus if you’ve got a kiddo whose hair growth needs a boost. Since this one doesn’t dig into their scalp, it makes getting ready to go to school or just about anywhere infinitely easier. (No more crying fits!) In fact your kiddo may come to like having their hair brushed once they see what it’s like with the Crave. And given its scalp massage potential, you might, too!
The look of this hairbrush alone might get your kid to stop whining about having their hair brushed. That’s because nothing says Princess like brushing your long locks just like Frozen‘s Ana and Elsa. Setting aside the sweet design of it for a sec, if you tend to detangle your kids’ knots and tangles during bath time, there’s probably no better brush that the Wet Brush. It’s literally designed to be used when hair is wet as that’s when it forms the most tangles (heavy shampooing can create a bit of a bird’s nest effect that makes messy manes even worse). The originals come in solid colors, but they’ve got an enchanting Princess Collection (see how we did that there?) that’s perfect if your little one prefers to be called “her royal highness” from time to time (and who doesn’t?). It’s not just Frozen princesses, either. From Mulan to The Little Mermaid, there are hairbrushes with many colorful design choices.
Ok, we can’t talk about detangling hairbrushes without talking about volume. Anyone with a whole lot of hair can tell you it’s not easy making your way through voluminous locks with a simple hairbrush. There’s. Just. So. Much. Hair. For these hair types, Conair Tangle PRO brings sweet relief from cringy hairbrush sessions. It’s got 30 percent more bristles than the average hairbrush, and they’re nestled into a soft cushion base, so it’ll glide through even the most voluminous tresses without snagging or pulling. One reviewer said it’s better than any metal bristle brush her fam has ever owned, and several others say it’s the only one that does the trick for thick, curly hair.
Want to see even more of our fave products for kids? Check out our top picks for kids’ gear!