After trying to detangle a child’s hair, most parents are ready to pull out their own. By far, my most frequent question about children’s hair care is, “How do I comb the knots and tangles out?” The keys are TOOLS and TECHNIQUE. Once you learn this ouchless hair detangling method, nobody will be crying when the comb comes out, you or your kids!

First, the tools:

How to Detangle Hair:

Step 1
Make sure your child is distracted and comfortable; this is half the battle! Start by parting the hair (dry or wet) horizontally from ear to ear and clipping the upper section of hair onto the top of the head to keep it out of the way.

Step 2
Spray the lower (unclipped) section with a detangler or leave-in conditioner.

Step 3
Once you’ve sprayed the section, separate a chunk of hair (1 or 2 inches) and hold it firmly near the hair ends. The key is to start combing near the end of the hair, not at the root. Think of the tangles and knots like traffic congestion—you have to clear the jam from the front of the line, not the end of it. So start at the ends and work your way, little by little, to the root. Always hold the hair just above the snag you’re working on to prevent tugging at the scalp when you comb. (That’s what hurts!)

Step 4
Once you’ve finished the entire bottom section, unclip the rest of the hair and work the top section the same way until you’ve detangled around the whole head.


Now that you know how to tackle tangles, but you can also prevent them! Use these tips to keep otherwise knotty hair in line:

  • During bath time, apply a liberal amount of moisturizing conditioner and comb through hair using the same technique with a wide-toothed comb.
  • Girls with long hair should sleep with loose braids or a ponytail.
  • Always wear hair in a ponytail or braid during sports or physical activities.

Go forth and detangle!

Go forth and detangle!