Just like adults, children can have hair problems. Many kids have very coarse or dry hair, especially if the hair is curly. Heat styling and chemical treatments such as perms also dry out hair. Children can use kids' versions of many of the products adults use to tame frizzy hair, such as moisturizing shampoos and leave-in conditioners.
Use a gentle shampoo formulated for dry, rather than oily, hair. Avoid drying ingredients such as alcohol. If your child has very dry hair, she may not need to wash it every day. Tear-free shampoos are a good choice as well, since their ingredients tend to be less harsh than those of other shampoos. Look for products that are pH balanced, and avoid those with sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh cleansing agent found in many shampoos.
Use a Conditioner
Children with dry hair should use conditioner or cream rinse every time they shampoo. After shampooing, you or your child should work a small amount of conditioner into her hair; leave it on for one minute and rinse out. Many companies make tear-free children's conditioners that are sold in conjunction with a corresponding shampoo. Look for natural moisturizing ingredients such as olive oil, avocado and shea butter.
Conditioner Throughout the Day
Leave-in conditioners are designed to be applied to the hair after showering or bathing and then left in to moisturize hair and protect it from heat styling. Children with very dry hair can use leave-in conditioners as well. Leave-in conditioner is available in both spray and cream formats; younger children may need help applying a spray.
Ethnic Hair Care
Children of certain ethnicities, particularly African, tend to have dry and coarse hair. The Connecticut Department of Children and Families recommends using hair care products specifically designed for your child's ethnicity. You can find product lines for thick ethnic hair, at drugstores and specialty beauty-supply stores.