No More Tears: A Solution to Little Girls’ Tangled Hair

If the sight of a brush sends your little girl into tears, you are not alone. Decades Centuries of little girls have fought their moms and dads in the dreaded daily routine of brushing their tangled hair.

It’s drama every.single.morning. And I hate the flood of tears that accompanies it. It breaks my heart. (And if you have the rare case of a girl who loves to brush her hair, I envy you…seriously.)

I’m a fairly patient person and yet I found my patience getting smaller and smaller with this morning battle. So I had to do something about it. I’ve come up with a few solutions that have helped with the tears each morning.

tangled hair

6 solutions to the tangled hair problem:

1. Use conditioner. Always.

But don’t use an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner for your little girl. When I use shampoo and conditioner separately for my daughter, her hair is much more manageable (and not to mention softer!) It’s also easier to brush after her bath/shower, as well as first thing in the morning. Would you skip out on using conditioner on your hair? I wouldn’t…so why skip it for your daughter?

2. Have detangler at the house.

Whenever those pesky tangles arise, using a detangler helps ease the brushing process. It may be more psychological than anything, but my daughter relaxes more when I spray her hair with detangler before brushing it. Getting the Suave version works well and keeps it inexpensive. (I’ve also made my own by mixing 2 tablespoons of conditioner and 1.5 cups of water together into a spray bottle.)

Tangled Hair

3. Keep brushes accessible.

Every morning, we would go on a massive search to find a brush.  I don’t know where they would go. Just like socks that disappear in the dryer, we had a mass exodus of brushes in our household.

I ended up going to the store and bought a brush for every room in the house (bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, playroom, etc). Having a brush in every room made it easier for me to quickly grab a brush (and not have to waste time trying to find one).

Also, a friend just told me about The Wet Brush, which has been deemed as the “miracle brush” when brushing through wet hair. I’m going to grab one and see if it lives up to its reputation!

4. Create a system.

After I bought all those brushes, they would still somehow wander from room to room. So I created a system that was easy enough for my 4-year-old to remember.

First, I organized the brushes by color: a pink one would be for my daughter’s room bathroom, purple for her bathroom, a blue one was for dad and mom’s bathroom,  etc.

Next, I capitalized on her Frozen obsession. For Christmas, her favorite gifts were her Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff dolls. So I decided to make labels using the different characters: Elsa was for my daughter’s room (since it was her favorite character); Anna for her bathroom (her next favorite character); Kristoff for Mom and Dad’s bathroom (“since Daddy’s a boy”); the whole cast for the kitchen (since everyone eats in the kitchen), etc.  So even though she can’t fully read yet, she recognizes where the brushes belong due to their color or character!

tangled hair

This has been a great system, because every room stays stocked with hair brushes and detangler. Everyone also knows what brush and detangler bottle stay in which room.

5. Stock Hair Rubber Bands.

My husband always remembers to pull our daughter’s hair back at meal times. I, on the other hand, get so distracted with food prep and the other members of the family that I don’t always remember. After realizing how many times food or drink end up in my daughter’s hair (thus creating more tangles), we started to ALWAYS pull her hair back. Now, we keep a stock pile of Ouchless hair rubber bands in each room, including the kitchen. Now it’s easy to keep her hair out of her face and also grab a hair rubber band quickly as we are getting ready to walk out the door.

6. Encourage Independence.

The final step to winning the battle against tangled hair is creating a space of independence. My four year old constantly wants to “do it myself”; however, her age keeps her from adequately getting all the tangles out or pulling back her hair into pony tails.

Whenever she says she would like to brush her hair, I tell her that she can do it for the “first round” and I will “finish it up” to make sure everything is set. This has been a great opportunity for her to learn self-sufficiency. It also provides a learning opportunity, as I show her what areas she missed or how she can make it easier on herself next time.


Hopefully some of these tips will help ease the stress of dealing with your little one’s tangled hair. It’s a small investment up front to stock up on all the “extras”, but it is worth it.

Let me know what else has worked for you as you fight tangled hair. We still don’t have a tear-free morning every time, so every tip helps!

  • baseballandtutus

    I love these tips. I agree with pulling the hair back at mealtimes! I finally got smart about that one not long ago. After trying to brush her hair after eating pancakes with syrup. It was awful. Thanks for the tips!! -Dana

    • Lindsey Bridges

      Oh yes…syrup in the hair is the worst! Hope some of these ideas work for your little lady.