Simple Hair Detangler, Styling Cream & More

I have many, many fond memories of my grandmother but I do have one not-so-happy recollection…the day she had my hair cut short, and not only short, but cut like a boy’s!

HelpersI was around 4 years old and my younger brother and I were staying at her house for a few weeks one summer. I had nice long, natural curls but each morning it was quite the chore having them brushed out…it was a mass of tangles and knots and I ran a few laps each day trying to escape the brush my grandmother was wielding.

One day she had enough of my tears so she trotted me over to the *barber* to cut it short (with my parents permission of course). Lots of tears were shed but I have to admit, the mornings were never so painful again ;).

I remember all-too-well how awful it is to sit still for what seems like hours, getting all those troublesome tangles brushed out as a child. The scalp is tender and feels every painful tug.

Here’s a quick homemade mix to help make things easier, I wish we had it on hand all those years ago!

*Based on information I found in the book Free Stuff for Baby! by Sue M. Hannah

  • In a spray bottle, mix between 8 and 10 parts water with 1 part of a favorite conditioner. Shake it up and spray directly onto hair then comb out.
  • Ingredients can be adjusted as needed if the mixture leaves behind greasy residue (using more water/less conditioner) or knots are still stubborn (requiring additional conditioner/less water).

More to try:

  • 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar to a 16 ounce spray bottle filled with warm water. Shake before using, apply to wet hair then rinse out before combing.
  • Herbal Mix: From, this is made with marshmallow root, horsetail, oatstraw, aloe vera juice and essential oil (optional).

If I’ve saved one little girl from getting a boy’s cut by the local barber, I consider this post a job well done! 😉

Homemade Hairspray: (*First published February 20, 2009 and moved to this page for better organization)

Here’s a tip sent in by Mildred. This is phenomenal–it’s very frugal, organic and skips those harsh perfume & chemical clouds.

I found this in a library book awhile ago and thought I would try it. My hair is thick and this still held well. I thought all the tipnuts would like to know about it, it is a very cheap to try and easy to make too.

2 cups water
2 fresh lemons
1 tablespoon of vodka or rubbing alcohol

  • Peel the lemons and chop them into thick wedges or chunks. Bring the water to a boil, boil for one minute, then reduce heat to simmering. Add the lemons and simmer until the lemons are soft and the liquid has reduced to about halfway.
  • Remove from heat, cool and then strain out the lemon bits. Pour into a spray bottle and then add the vodka. Shake well and then shake each time before using.
  • If it gets a little too sticky, just add a bit of water.
  • The vodka or rubbing alcohol is important to include since it will help keep things from going rancid, but this will only keep for 2 to 3 weeks so don’t make too much at one time. Also boiling the water first before adding the lemons will help keep the mixture from going bad because it sterilizes it first.
  • If the lemons are organic you can slice them into wedges with the peels on and boil, this is because there are no pesticides on the peel to worry about.

Thanks for sharing this Mildred! I did some searching online and it seems this is quite a common (and popular) mixture. Oranges will also work. If there are any commercial bottles on hand, wash them out well and save them to use for this. If still using aerosol, here’s an excuse to dump those nasty cans!

Styling Cream: Here’s a recipe from Sweet Sassafras:

I really love this stuff. I have very thick, healthy, strong hair that tends toward the coarse side. Sort of like a horse. It’s got a little bit of wave to it. A little of this cream really helps to give it some moisture, shininess, and control the flyaway bits.

Control stray bits and add a bit of shine with this “pomade” that uses wholesome, natural ingredients with oils (such as amla, coconut, olive, castor, almond, rosemary and aloe vera) and shea butter. The jar will last for quite awhile (use sparingly–that’s a lot of oil), and skip those commercial products with the hefty price tags (loaded with who-knows-what for chemicals).

Tips to Fight Static

*First published December 29, 2006 and moved to this page for better organization

When wearing toques, hats and scarves in winter, things tend to get a tad out of control! Here are a few tips to help:

  • Try rubbing a new dryer sheet around the inside of winter head gear to help fight fashion trauma. Can also fight static cling in clothes by keeping a dryer sheet on hand (such as Bounce). Simply wipe it directly on the area that has an issue (wipe in one direction).
  • If you have allergies or work in a scent free workplace, keep fragrance free sheets on hand–the perfume can be pretty strong in the scented varieties. Cut the sheet in strips and keep in a plastic bag, you can get several uses from one sheet that way.
  • Try Static Guard–first spray on a brush or comb.
  • If you have a small mist bottle that caps, fill it with water and a splash of vinegar, cap and store in a bag. When static hits–mist lightly (lightly!) then brush or comb. Vinegar smell goes away quickly.

==> Used dryer sheets are great for wiping down computer monitors and tv screens as well ;).

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    • Bettina

    another key to detangling, even short hair…is to NOT START AT THE SCALP!!! start away from the scalp, at the ends of the hair… a former stylist, i cannot tell you how often i heard a parent sarcastically say to their child, “how come you aren’t screaming when SHE combs your hair?” & of course, the innocent child would reply, “it doesn’t hurt” I would then proceed to explain to the all knowing parent that unlike their method of combing wet hair (starting at the scalp & crunching all the knots into a tight ball) I was starting from the bottom, using a wide toothed comb plus I was holding the hair midway between the scalp & the ends. the child couldn’t feel a thing since I was gradually detangling FROM THE BOTTOM UP……

    • Paula

    I liked watching American Bandstand. ( I’m now 53) One of the “hair spray” commercials demonstrated how to “tease” your hair and then use their hairspray. I went in the bathroom and “teased” my long, baby fine hair !!! It was a nightmare to have my Mom brush/comb out my hair for school the next day. Cream rinse was not available yet.

    • stacy jean

    Well, you can use fabric softner, liquid as a cream rinse. Works really good, you want to get it all out or the hair will be oily. Works wonders for me to this day. The stores did away with “cream rinse” years ago, now it is conditioner. I like liquid fabric softner better!

    • Nicholle

    Fabric softener is toxic…would never put that in my kids hair….

    Twice a day we have to get the tangles out – first thing in the morning and in the evening after her bath, and it’s always such a time-consuming chore. I’m tired of paying for store-bought detangler, so hoping the water/conditioner method will work.

    • donna

    detangling comb, i have a granddaughter who’s hair tangles really bad, i have her to wash her hair, i use conditioner only on the ends of her hair. then have her to comb it with a wide tooth detangling comb. no more crying.

    • Jenndelaney

    I had to braid my daughters hair on her way to bed, naps and at night to handle the tangles that would turn into dreadlocks overnight. I also used a hair smoothing/anti friz product on her hair after it was washed and conditioned.

    • shirley

    Best idea use a detangling comb start from the ends work toward the scalp. First spray with “Its a 10” detangler solution worth its weight in gold. (I’m a Cosmetologist)

    • Yogeeta

    I use a little coconut oil for my little girl she has the most beautiful tangle free curls…Coconut oil is very good for the hair and will also help with the tangles…a little oil massage will make the hair look less dry and will also make it healthier…google the benefits of coconut oil

    • Makia

    Moroccan oil works great. It’s expensive but on a toddler it goes far and smells great. We Use moroccan Oil Light as its not as oily. Its about 30 a bottle but my daughter is Almost 2 and i have about a quarter bottle left. It’s also great if you child has a natural curl as it instantly detangles when you rub it throw with you fingers. It really brings out a nice baby curl.

    • donna k

    I have butt long thick wavy hair and I sometimes get those nasty “rats nest” tangle mess.. not only do I use a very good conditioner (i switch up every week) even use the packets in hair coloring..Pantene and L’oreal Vive Pro least expensive ..for me..

    as far as combing it? do not comb it through as you would a brush.. you need to not only start at the bottom but also..”skip” through the hair a bit at a time, like the top layer then the next layer etc. you’ll get it as you try it..

    if you pull through all the hair at once you will never get that knot out lol
    also I will sometimes go outside to do this since hair breakage will happen and I also will do it over the sink sometimes.. otherwise you will find that hair everywhere!

    • melissa

    I have long, thick, coarse hair that tends to frizz. I always brush my hair thoroughly before showering; reduces tangles once my hair is wet. I also like to use a wide tooth or detangling comb in the shower. Shampoo and very gently detangle before rinsing; apply conditioner and again very gently detangle. You could also just use your fingers instead of a comb. This makes for hair with almost no tangles when I step out of the shower. The time it takes to style my hair is just few minutes these days as opposed to the hour it used to be.

    • Betsy

    I have very fine hair that tangles easily from natural curl. It’s also very thin (I have lupus) and can’t afford to lose any hair. I use pantene and I massage the conditioner from my scalp all the way down to the ends, let it sit in my hair for 5 min then I comb with my fingers BEFORE I rinse it out and with a comb AFTER I rinse it out. Tangles are very manageable.

    • Chelsea

    I am an African American woman, and I have recently stopped chemically straightening my hair. Every morning I have to comb out a big mess of tightly curled afro to get it looking decent. The conditioner detangler works wonders on my hair. I have a large pump bottle full of the mixture with some olive and tea tree and calendula oil in it. It is painful trying to get even a wide tooth comb through my hair without.

    • JF

    Try braiding your daughter’s hair before bed. When she wakes up, brush it out. If you don’t want the waves the braids made, simply use a spray bottle of water and gently mist.

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