Operation Hair Detangling

detanglers_goody1.bmpDetangling Laurel’s hair can be one of the most challenging parts of our morning routine; she has very fine hair that’s prone to bird nesting in the back overnight, and chopping off length (short of a buzz cut...) doesn’t solve the problem. So I set out on a mission to identify effective natural and organic kids hair detanglers. Read on for my report, which also includes some discount shopping codes and a Goody giveaway!

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A few preliminary notes:

1. You'll likely find several kids hair detanglers on the shelves at your local drugstore, but after trying some of these brands – and fretting over the chemical content – I tossed those products and began the hunt for natural and organic detanglers that stood up to the non-organics.

2. I was looking for two solutions:

  • A detangling conditioner; ideally a leave-in conditioner that makes bath time one step easier.

  • A daytime (i.e., non-bath) detangler for dry hair. These detangling sprays help tame aforementioned bird's nests in the morning.

    3. There are some great natural product outlets in the UK, but the shipping can be cost prohibitive. I thus restricted my testing to products that can be purchased in North America.

    Now, on to the findings...

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    Earth Baby Forget Me Knot Hair Detangler

    detanglers_earthbaby.bmpThe first detangling conditioner I tested was from Earth Baby and I found it to be a gentle yet effective solution. This rinse-out conditioner squeezes out from a bottle and the creamy composition has a pleasantly gentle vanilla smell. Combing out was easy both in the bath and the next morning, and Laurel’s hair was super soft and tangle-free. One day removed from the bath, her hair was still soft, shiny, and easy to comb out, save the aforementioned trouble spot on the back of the head.

    6 ounces for $15.

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    I Dream Natural Handmade Conditioner and Detangler
    (from Kate’s Caring Gifts)

    detanglers_katescaringgifts.jpgThis product was my favorite for scent; if you dig citrus tones, you’ll love I Dream. The citrus scent is subtle coming out of the pump dispenser, then blooms (in a delicious, not overwhelming way) when you work it through the hair. It truly is like a wonderful bit of bath time aromatherapy. This conditioner and detangler technically is rinse-out, but the instructions indicate partial leave-in. I followed these instructions - doing the full conditioning and rinse-out routine, and then I applied a small amount of conditioner to the ends of Laurel’s hair for detangling. This product was very effective. Comb outs the next two mornings were very easy.

    6 ounces for $13.95. Use the code "GOMAMA" to enjoy a 20% discount at Kate’s Caring Gifts.

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    Nature’s Baby Leave-in or Rinse-out Conditioner & Detangler

    detanglers_naturesbaby.jpgThe Nature’s Baby detangling conditioner is listed as leave-in or rinse-out but the instructions indicate to rinse out thoroughly. I subsequently followed the same drill as with the I Dream product, rinsing out fully then applying a little conditioner to the ends of the hair. On another night I worked in the conditioner and rinsed, but not completely (so, trying partial leave-in over the entire head) and this strategy worked well. This product comes in two sizes, and also two scent options (vanilla-tangerine and lavender-chamomile); I tried the vanilla-tangerine, which is more on the vanilla than citrus side. Comb out was nice and easy the next day, and even so after a night where Jon hadn’t combed out Laurel’s hair right after the bath.

    8 ounces for $10.95 (squeeze bottle); 16 ounces for $17.95 (pump bottle). Use the code “Mommies” to enjoy a 15% discount at Nature’s Baby.

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    Oopsy Daisy Cutie Pie Curlz-Leave In Conditioner/Detangler
    (from Organically Hatched)

    detanglers_oopsydaisy.bmpI’ve written up Oopsy Daisy’s mysteriously magical no-rinse shampoo before, and this product is similar in the sense that it’s designed for versatile use on dry or wet hair. And while technically the product does work on dry hair, due to the creamy composition and the squeeze (not pump) bottle format, I would recommend the Oopsy Daisy as a leave-in conditioner during bath time. Otherwise, it just seemed a bit messy for me for morning use. However, used as a leave-in bath time conditioner, this product worked great. The scent is mild, I loved not having to worry about rinse out, and the product conditions and detangles effectively.

    8.25 ounces for $19.99. Use the code "BOSTONMAMA" to enjoy a 10% discount at Organically Hatched (minimum order of $25; expires 4/30/09).

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    Baby Conditioning Detangler by GAIA Skin Naturals
    (from Organically Hatched)

    detanglers_gaia.bmpAs it turned out, the GAIA was the one natural kids pump spray detangler I sampled, but that was just as well. This product works well for morning detangling, and the capped spray pump makes it easy to use and also is great for travel. I simply spray this detangler on the trouble spots on Laurel’s dry hair and comb it out. The scent is subtle.

    8.4 ounces for $14.99. Use the code "BOSTONMAMA" to enjoy a 10% discount at Organically Hatched (minimum order of $25; expires 4/30/09).

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    detanglers_goodycombs.bmpFinally, here's a tool I came across during my detangling research. Goody offers a series of detangling combs designed with flexible, wide teeth to help work through snags gently. I use these combs on Laurel's wet or dry hair, and she's always far less annoyed with me than when I use a comb or brush with tighter teeth or bristles.

    Combs start at approximately $2.99 and up; click here for retailers.

    And, want to win Goody goodies? One lucky winner will receive the Goody Start Ceramic-Ionic Detangling Comb, Start Ouchless Shower Comb, and Start Ceramic-Ionic Straightening Brush. Simply email contests@bostonmamas.com (with ‘Goody' in the subject) by noon EST Thursday, March 26, and include your mailing address. (Note: Addresses are collected for the sole purpose of expediting the giveaway; otherwise, your information is kept private!)

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    Bottom line: If your child has fine hair that is prone to snags and snarls, I highly recommend both a detangling conditioner for bath time and a detangling spray for morning. Goody's wide toothed combs also are helpful in reducing aggravation. I am thrilled that the conditioners and sprays featured here did the job just as well as their non-organic counterparts. And while natural and organic products tend to cost more than non-organic, mainstream drugstore brands, in my opinion the few dollars difference is well worth the peace of mind in using chemical-free products.

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    Congrats to winner Aida!
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