Help! My daughter has curly hair and I have NO clue {the update}

About a month ago I wrote this post asking for help on dealing with Daisy’s curls (the comments are where the action IS). You see up to this point I have been trying to tame the curls, work against the curls, pretend the curls could get brushed away and it ended in tears for both her and I. Every time. The brushing would cause dreadlocks would cause tears would cause tantrums and round we went.

But I decided that enough was enough and asked for help in that post. The comments have literally been life savers for me, and since we implemented the changes almost a month ago, her hair is completely different, SO much manageable and the tears have been almost non existent. I think the fact that she is getting older has made a difference – she is willing and open to different products and is happy to comb them in and of course is loving herself sick with her new, county curls! Her hair is still a little straight at the front, but with the new regime, I can see that it won’t be long before she has curls all round.

So what were the main things I was doing wrong?

  • Brushing her hair when dry
  • Washing it too often
  • Drying it off too much after she had washed it
  • Treating it like straight hair

There were a whole heap of various places/tools that people pointed me in the direction of and some of them might be helpful:

And some of the main tips that I have?

1. Use a wide tooth comb

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People had been telling me this forever and while I all like “Oh right, OK” the possibility of getting it through the matted (brushed) hair was impossible. Conditioner or not. But now we have been able to do it the first time, and because we haven’t been brushing it since, it’s totally doable. We use the brush to comb through conditioner, we use the comb to brush through any knots once it’s all been rinsed and she is out of the bath/shower, we use it to style her hair into a ponytail for school (if it has been wet down again that is).

2. Use LOTS of conditioner

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When it comes to curls and conditioner, more is MORE. Those curls appear to be thirsty ALL THE TIME so you use twice or three times the amount you would use on fine or straight hair. And the thing I have noticed is that if you don’t get it all out when rinsing it’s not the end of the world. What you would expect to make the hair greasy and limp seems to work with curls. It dies down the frizz and makes the curls more pronounced.

3. Comb through the conditioner


I cannot tell you how satisfying this is. After years of tears and brushing, seeing the hair just glide through a comb is a true delight to behold. Of course the quicker I can teach her to do this herself, the better.

4. Don’t dry the hair too much after washing/rinsing


I used to get that towel on the head and give it a huge shake off/dry off and then I would wrap the towel around the wet hair trying to remove as much moisture as possible. This is NO GOOD. The wetter the hair, the better. I give it a quick squeeze out of excess water and that’s about it. Then I use the comb to brush through the very wet hair removing any soaking drips with the towel.

5. Use a mousse for curls


I have no idea why this works, I just did as I was told and it seems to make the curls all curl together before the natural drying process starts.

6. Let the hair dry naturally


I always wondered why on summer holidays when Daise was swimming in the pool all day every day and her would just dry naturally without me brushing it why it looked so happy and bouncy. THIS is why. No hair drying, no anything other than just letting it dry. Sometimes Daise will go to bed with damp hair (which is probably not the best) and you do get some frizz that way, but if you just leave it, the magic curl will happen.

This is how it looks the morning after:


7. Don’t ever brush the hair when dry. Ever. EVER!


If you need to brush, wet the hair again. You can use a spray bottle (even with some conditioner mixed in with it) to re-wet, then brush.

Some other tips that people gave me:

  • Don’t over wash the hair (that was easy with me as we used to fight so much we were lucky to get it done once a week)
  • Moroccan oil or other oils work well for others too

So that’s it, all my expertise (OK one month of trying REALLY hard) on the matter on curls. Honestly, it has made a huge difference to our morning routine, and we are working together on it, rather than fighting each other on it. Huh. Funny that. But I’d love to hear from you!

How are we going?
What did I miss?
Got any new tips for me or areas of improvement?
Is there a best in show for curls at the local show coming up I wonder?


  1. Lisa mckenzie says

    Glad to see all the tips are working for you Beth and I use Moroccan oil too x

  2. I have even shorter hair than you and I always use a mousse otherwise it has dries before I can pick up my hair dryer, in the most ridiculous style. Mousse is a great tamer.

  3. You’ve nailed it! Daisy’s hair looks gorgeous. It’s straight to the top of the curly haired class for you x

  4. As a woman with thick curly hair you’ve outlined my exact hair routine.

    (I use Argan oil on mine before I get out of the shower and I often go to bed with wet/damp hair which gives me massive curls.)

    It took me 30 years to figure it out so Daisy is miles ahead!

  5. ex hairdresser here beth! … an extra tip because it is very thick, long and curly, … always start from the ends of the hair, and work your way up to the roots then comb down! … especially if it has become matted during the wash! then you won’t have tears at all!
    plaits are good! cheers! … love m:)X

  6. I wish. I was once asked what straightener I use to get my hair so straight. Umm none ! This is all natural

  7. Daisy’s hair looks beautiful!.:)

  8. Well done! Her hair looks gorgeous.
    I’ve always been told you should use a wide tooth comb on wet hair no matter the type or else you’ll break the hair. No idea if it’s true.

    It’s funny when we left Australia my number 2 girl had ringlets down her back. She cut them all off in her famous first day of school and they never grew back. I thought it was the cutting, but when we were back in Oz over Christmas they suddenly reappeared! A Christmas miracle!

    My boy has curly hair too but I cut it short. It’s funny having kids with curly when my hair is so straight.

  9. Yay! Fabulous work Beth! You are becoming a curl expert yourself x

  10. Thanks for these tips, my soon to be four year old has ‘unruly’ hair, I have given up combing it unless I’ve just washed it and aside from that, it’s bundled up out of her face and ends up matted and on the way to dreadlocks.

  11. Put some ‘Leave in’ Conditioner for inbetween wash combing!

  12. Right on!!

    But don’t forget to spray a bit of tea tree oil now and again – or add it to leave-in conditioner. You DO NOT want nits in thick curly hair.

  13. What do you do when you have Dianna Ross curls!!?? I’ve been straightening my hair for years cos I don’t know what to do with the curls.. might try this technique and see if my Ross curls tone down.

  14. Clear Henna Wax
    Buy at chemistwarehouse, approx $6 for 500g.
    Wash hair with conditioner, comb in shower, rinse, squeeze out moisture. When out of shower add the clear henna wax and let dry naturally. I sometimes twist it to get more curls. Can go up to a week without washing. Don’t brush at all.

  15. HOORAY!!

  16. The photo of Daisy’s hair when it is wet looks like it could be my daughters, it’s exactly the same. I have very thick curly hair too, so my daughter has been doing all these things since she was about 3, she is 10 now. Sometimes when she is tired she tries to skip a step, but it always ends in tears. I think she has finally worked out not to miss any steps. Good luck, it’s looking great.

  17. Look at you, the curl whisperer! Such a great job. I’ve had to stop using mousse in MissyG’s hair, it gave her terrible dermie. Maybe I was a little heavy handed. Although it was the first time I’d used anything other that natural shiz. The chemical shit storm was a little too much! Go you, so proud.

  18. Sounds like you pretty much have it nailed. I struggled for years with my daughters curly hair which was permenetly tangled. These days we comb it through with a wide tooth comb while it’s very wet and then work through a small amount Umberto Giannini flirty curls scrunching jelly, it doesn’t leave the hair feeling like it’s full of product. Then, every night I French plait it. I either do it from wet and let it dry like that or from dry just separating the hair with my fingers, not brushing it and then in the morning run your fingers through the curls and leave it. Banning the brush was a huge break through!

  19. You wonderful mother!! You learnt fast!!
    I had a mother who tried to brush my curls out. It caused so much grief and anger!
    It took me many years to finally accept my curls and let them live as they are meant to live! Free and curly and I have even learnt to love my frizzy days!
    Just beware though: if she gets head lice, ugh!! Those little nit combs stretch the curl and ruin it for a while. My head is looking very flattened these days after our most recent attack of hair bugs!

  20. I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been. I myself have little straight feathers for hair. And so does Grace. Tell Daisy I spend good money trying to make my hair look like hers and it doesn’t ever look half as good. She has the most DIVINE hair. So much body and life. Glad to hear you have it under control. Boys with short hair are easier to get off to school I suspect.

  21. Great job Beth, Lucy’s hair looks amazing. The curls look very similar to mine, and sometimes I get tired of having curls, so if she also wants some days with straighter hair (without the damage of irons) then tell her to wet her hair then pull it tight into a ponytail, then curl it into a bun, and sleep on it. It straightens out the curls and just leaves a gentle wave, and the great thing about curly hair is it stays in the style you want til you wash it! She has many years of curly hair joy ahead of her if she can learn to live with and love her curls!

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