These are some of the tips and tricks I've picked up along the way.
Hopefully they'll help!
The biggest tip is to ALWAYS wet down your daughters hair before styling. It will dry in place and hold MUCH better. Make sure that you dry any areas that you will be curling or straightening because it’s not healthy for the hair to apply high temperatures to it while it’s still wet.
Sitting Still – Start as young as possible with your girls and they will learn to sit more patiently and cooperate better.
-You can usually get them to sit still by playing a game with them (I.E. “I Spy”) or letting them watch TV, play with a toy, eat cereal, play on the computer or read a book while you do their hair. Also let them be helpful by handing you the items you need if they are old enough. Keep them interested by letting them pick their own hairdo’s too.
-When my daughter was little, I used to do her hair while she was in her highchair. I’d also let her suck on the spray bottle and that seemed to entertain her well.
Products – If your daughter has fine or hard to manage hair, think products! They help to add texture and also hold those stray hairs in place. Hairspray is the easy go-to product but also try gels, mousse, or pomades. I personally like the Garnier Fructis products because they’re not too expensive, they work well and they smell great. For super hold try “Got2b”, “Spiking Styling Gel” or “Blasting Freeze Spray”. Your hair WILL NOT MOVE! If you’re scrunching your daughters hair and she doesn’t have much natural curl, try adding two whipped egg whites to the hair along with the gel. This holds the curl really well but be sure to wash it out when the day is through! Also, we have very little humidity in our desert air so try to treat the hair with some type of leave-in conditioner on days you don’t wash it. Keeping the hair moisturized prevents breakage.
Shampoo and Conditioner - The brand does not really matter, it’s all just personal preference and what works best on your daughter. Change it up every once and a while because the hair adapts to certain products. The hair will react better if it’s not constantly being treated with the same shampoo and conditioner. You really only need to do this a couple times a year. Try not to wash the hair more than every other day unless it’s needed. Too much washing will dry out the scalp and hair.
Combs and Brushes – The Rat-Tail comb is the best and can usually only be found at beauty supply stores. It tends to make a better part and is great in wet hair. We use ours every day since most hairstyles call for it. The best brush is one that has a cushion on the interior that is made of plastic and not rubber. It glides through the hair with a lot more ease. Also, make sure that the bristles have round tips so it won’t agitate the scalp. Refrain from any brushes that have rubber handles because the hair can easily get pulled if it gets stuck to the rubber. (I know from experience!)
Hair Types – Thick hair tends to hold the styles best but thin or fine hair can still hold a style well as long as you use product to create texture and hold. You can also improvise with each hairdo for different hairstyles. (i.e. if you have short hair or bangs.)
Upkeep – Make sure you get the ends of your hair trimmed whenever they start looking raggedy, split, dry or get hard to comb through. There really is no time frame since everyone’s hair is different. It’s important to keep your hair trimmed up so it stays healthy.
Drying – You can either air dry or blow dry the hair and both ways work great.
-Air drying as often as possible will promote a nice healthy shine in your daughters hair. After washing, make sure you blot the hair with the towel instead of rubbing. Rubbing causes damaged cuticles and split ends. Apply detangler to prevent tearing while you brush. It also promotes healthy cuticles and shine. In the morning you just spritz it with the spray bottle and you’re ready to do your hairstyle.
-When blow drying, blot out as much water from the hair as possible. If not, you’ll be drying for a much longer time and the extended period of heat can damage the hair. Keep hair dryer at least 6 inches from her hair. Start at the roots and work your way out. Dry until damp because some moisture helps with the hairstyle. If you are doing a style that requires a heating tool, make sure you dry the hair completely. If you choose to blow dry, be sure to finish off with a cool blast of air as it closes the cuticles and provides a healthy shine. Find what works best for you and go with it.
Parts – It doesn’t matter which side of the head you choose to part the hair on. Parts work best with rat-tail comb. Your parts can be zig-zag, curved, straight or any other design you come up with. The more interesting the part, the more unique the hairstyle will be.
Sunscreen in Parts – There are 3 options and you just need to find what you like best:
-Spray-On Sunblock applied to the parts. (can tend to make the hair look greasy but is fast.)
-Sunblock applied with a Q-Tip. (Effective but you always need Q-tips when you’re out.)
-Use a 50 spf sunblock stick. (My personal favorite.) It’s nice and portable and easy to apply. Hold the stick at an angle and run it along the part. Run your finger along the part to press it into the scalp and also remove and residue that may be left on the hair.
Sharks – Sharks are the tiny bumps that sometimes stick out of your otherwise perfect braid. They are completely annoying but are easy to fix. Grab a bobby pin and place it directly over the shark. Insert the bobby pin into the braid so it’s hidden and the shark will disappear right along with it.
Bands/Elastics - *Cut out small elastics to avoid tearing the hair or causing discomfort for your daughter*
(I like to use a seam ripper from my sewing kit.)
You can also double up on rubber bands in one hairstyle for extra hold if needed.
Types: (I find that “Goody” seems to be a great brand)
Ouchless Thick Bands – for single ponytail or holding bunches of hair together or buns
Ouchless Thin Bands – for smaller braids and ponies
Ouchless Clear Plastic Bands – for tiny braids, pull-throughs or ponies
Ouchless Colored Bands – for smocking or decorative hair weaving
*AVOID any type of rubber band because they pull out the hair and ALWAYS need to be cut out instead of just removed.
Organization – Keep Clips, elastics and pins separated in clear craft/tackle boxes. This way you can see what is in your boxes and everything stays neat and tidy. One way to have access to your ribbons is to place your spools on a dowel and then hang that dowel by two hooks on your bathroom wall. Another great tip is to use hanging door organizers. They give you more storage and they’re out of the way. Keep brushes, combs, your spray bottle and other often used tools readily accessible. We have ours in a small caddy on the bathroom counter.
Bow Holders – There are several ways to display your daughter’s flowers and bows.
-Hang your bows on pieces of ribbon attached to the wall. I attach the ribbon to a plastic craft “O” and then hang that on a 3M Easy Release wall sticky. (I don’t know what their official name is.) The flowers and bows easily clip to the ribbon and they become nicely organized and easy to see.
-My favorite is the magnet board with flowers stuck to circle magnets. Not much storage but totally darling!
-A decorative organizer is a vase with tall/skinny wooden skewers painted green in it. The flowers are clipped to the top of the skewers. It looks like a vase full of flowers in your room but it’s actually hair bows!
-A simple solution is a flat painted board with different ribbons attached down it. The flowers then clip to the ribbons.
-The “no work needed” solution is an over-the-door shoe organizer that you just put all of your bows into.
Getting Your Bows to Stay In – Simply wrap a small elastic around the back of the clip and through the front prongs. This will help the bow to stay in place and not slide around on the hair. It’s also helpful to line the inside of your clips with a small piece of shelf liner rubber. The liner helps the clips to hold to the hair and not move as much as without the liner. I do both because I’m sick of losing bows and flowers all the time.
Frayed Ribbons – Treat your frayed ribbons with a lighter or wood burning tool to singe/seal the edges and prevent any further fraying. (Important: do not attempt to do this if the ribbon is already in the hair!)
Cleaning Your Irons – Don’t you just hate that residue that builds up from hairspray on your irons? Start with rubbing alcohol as this will clean most problems. If you have a deeper residue problems you can try ammonia, a cotton ball with nail polish remover on it, or a bit of over cleaner. There is also a product at Jo Ann's called "Hot Iron Cleaner" and it works great. Any of these will work and will help keep your irons in top condition.