Electric toothbrush distracts kids from hair combing

Cathy’s curly hair tip:

My 2 ½ year old daughter has very curly hair which gets unbelievably snarled when she’s in bed at night. Before I discovered this hack, we did the tug-n-cry every morning in front of the mirror. One morning, I discovered that if I let her brush her own teeth with her vibrating, battery-powered fire truck toothbrush, she is so preoccupied she doesn’t even notice I’m combing her hair. We get her hair straightened out and her teeth brushed at the same time with no screaming.

My daughter has curly hair, too. I find that misting her hair with water and then spraying with a light leave-in conditioner works wonders for the tangles. The children’s detanglers do nothing for her.

Related: Make detangling more fun (less unfun?) by turning it into a game


  1. says

    I’m definitely with you on the general uselessness of children’s detanglers. My 8 year old has extremely thick hair with some wave to it. I tried the detanglers for years with no luck.

    I finally asked my stylist about it, and she suggested a detangling/conditioning product meant for adults. It works great. I don’t usually buy products from the salon because of the crazy prices, but this is totally worth it – no more struggles to get her hair brushed.

  2. CHRIS says

    We do the same thing, but with 1 1/2 year old. Not old enough to need the novelty of electric toothbrush, but I sit her on the counter with feet int he sink. She goes to town on her teeth (the toothpaste tastes good) and I can do what I need to on her hair. It’s the wild crazy curly hair that tangles up easily.

  3. Amy says

    My little sister had really curly hair. We found that she gets much less tangled up over night if she sleeps on a satin pillowcase rather than a cotton one.

    Those kid’s detanglers only work on fine, straight hair. Even so, they leave hair feeling much greasier than adult conditioner.

  4. says

    A related tip… when I brush my 2 ½ year old daughter’s teeth, I noticed she fusses less when I have her stand up. I guess having to keep her balance–while also lifting her head up for the teeth brushing–must take some of the fight out of her! :)

  5. Sandy says

    I swear by Great Clips’ Kids Solutions Afraid Not Detangler. I know, you guys all have tried the kids detanglers and they don’t work. But this one DOES! It’s as good as an adult detangler, but it’s made for kids. It doesn’t weigh the hair down at all, and it doesn’t build up. We have 3 bottles of it – 1 in the bathroom, one by the back door, and one in my bag of essentials for when going out with kids.

  6. says

    My 5yo is pretty good about brushing her own hair now but if I want to do something fancy to it I usually distract her infront of the TV. Amazing how the idiot box can make all the pain of mummy brushing my hair disappear.

    Sensory processing disorder comes along with the autism package and so brushing our 3yos hair is tricky. We sit her on a vibrating pillow to give her an alternate / stronger sensory input that is calming. We take the pillow along for haircuts as well. Although haircuts are far less stressful now we go to Hair 4 Kids – they have cars, horses for the kids to sit on and DVDs to watch or computer games to play to distract, is fantastic.

  7. cindy says

    I recommend braiding the hair before letting girls go to sleep. This helps tame the hair a little.

  8. Ali says

    I’m a curly girl and the mother of a curly girl. The satin pillowcase is a good tip. We also use a homemade leave in conditioner – distilled water and conditioner mixed up in a spray bottle – and a comb with very widely-spaced teeth. (Although my husband prefers t use his fingers to work out DD’s snarls). It really isn’t a lot of work, once you get your method down pat.

    I recommend the book Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey – it will change your whole outlook on curls, and make for a happier daughter!! I also recommend the website naturallycurly.com.

  9. Judie Sedrick says

    My daughter has straight hair but for some reason it gets incredibly tangled too! I make up a home made solution of water and a squeeze of conditioner in a reusable spray bottle. Shake it up and voila! I’ve got a cheap detangler! You might need more conditioner for the curly haired crowd:)

  10. Curly head baby mama says

    I do the same thing as Judie! I put water in a reusable spray bottle (like from old hair spray) and add a squirt of conditioner to it and shake. Voila! Spray on that curly mop and finger through to wetten the hair and let the curls re-coil.

  11. Candy Apple says

    We use adult conditioner on my daughter. Garnier Fructis fortifying deep conditioner (in a tub) works the best by far. I don’t even need leave-in conditioners or detanglers if we use it.