Conditioners are crucial to any child’s hair care because they are meant to restore moisture back into the hair, after shampooing. They are also formulated to condition the hair, repair the hair shaft, and strengthen the hair so that it continues to grow healthy.
If you’ve ever struggled with dry hair, breakage, and manageability with your child’s hair, you will find a lot of value in this post. This is the reason why I have written this article to provide a list of the best natural hair conditioners for kids’ hair. You can also use these conditioners on toddlers and mixed or biracial children’s hair.
Before we get into recommending the best conditioners and deep conditioners for your child’s hair, I’d first like to answer some frequently asked questions about the role of conditioners on children’s hair in this quick guide.
What is a deep conditioner and what are the benefits of deep conditioning childrens’ hair?
A deep conditioner is a type of conditioner that is often thicker in consistency and is formulated to penetrate deeply into the hair shaft.
Deep conditioners are applied to the hair after shampooing, and it’s recommended to let it sit in your hair for about 20minutes or longer. You can also use heat such as a heat cap for better absorption and a more thorough deep condition.
A deep conditioner is beneficial to a child’s hair as it restores moisture, softens hair, strengthens, and prevents breakage, and minimizes ends.
What is the difference between a conditioner and a deep conditioner?
The differences between a conditioner and a deep conditioner or treatment masque are the consistency, potency, and ingredients in each product. Regular conditioners are meant to lightly condition the hair, soften your hair, and make it more combable so that you can easily detangle your hair.
Whereas, deep conditioners usually come in a tub because they are thicker in consistency so that you can scoop the product with your hands.
Deep conditioners usually have a larger quantity of conditioning agents in the ingredients than regular conditioners. For example, a protein deep conditioner will have a larger portion of proteins in the product, than a regular protein conditioner from the same product line.
Also, a regular conditioner can be used every day while a deep conditioner is only used about once a week or so.
Another distinction between these two types of products is that regular conditioners can be washed out after 3 minutes or so. Whereas, deep conditioners are meant to stay in the hair for about 30 minutes for deeper penetration.
You can also use a regular conditioner to pre-poo, co-wash, and detangle your hair. Whereas, a deep conditioner is best for deep conditioning and treating your hair.
You can say that a regular conditioner is like having a quick shower, while a deep conditioner is like having a full bath.
A final distinction I’d like to make is that deep conditioners are often more expensive than regular conditioners. This is mainly because deep conditioners aren’t used as often as regular conditioners.
Can you deep condition your child’s hair with a regular conditioner?
From the several distinctions that I outlined above, I wouldn’t recommend deep conditioning a child’s hair with a regular conditioner. The reason is that both products are formulated for two distinct functions.
You can however turn a regular conditioner into a deep conditioner by adding conditioning agents such as avocado, shea butter, honey, mayonnaise, and greek yogurt. You can also add natural oils like coconut oil, olive oil, or castor oil.
Can I use homemade deep conditioners on my child’s hair?
Yes, you can use a homemade deep conditioner like mayo, avocado, or raw eggs in your child’s hair if you find it to be more effective and economical than store-bought products.
I steer clear from homemade DIY hair products because they are messy, and I am too lazy to make them. Also as someone with a science degree, I understand that I cannot make a homemade product that will be as effective as what a team of hair professionals and chemists created in a lab.
And so for that reason, I usually recommend store-bought hair products that were formulated by teams of professionals.
However, I understand that hair products can be a luxury item for a lot of women, so I often suggest that they can use whatever works for their hair and budget.
Can regular deep conditioning grow my child’s hair?
Regular deep conditioning will grow your child’s hair if done frequently and effectively. Hair that is thoroughly deep conditioned will stay healthy and continue to grow. However, hair that is excessively dry, weak, and breaks easily will not grow long.
So while deep conditioners are meant to condition and moisturize the hair, they can also help with length retention and hair growth, if done properly.
Should you deep condition babies’ and toddlers’ hair?
You don’t need to deep condition babies’ hair since their hair is at its healthiest state. Because the thing is that most parents do not manipulate babies’ hair like they do with older kids. This means that babies hair will be in a healthier state than an older child’s hair.
This is why it’s not recommended to deep condition babies’ and toddlers’ hair. But if your baby or toddler struggles with dry hair and breakage, you can incorporate bi-weekly or monthly deep conditioning treatments.
At what age can you start deep conditioning children’s hair?
You can start deep conditioning your child’s hair from the age of two. The reason is that they will have grown a few inches of hair which will need to be cared for on a regular basis. Remember that the end goal of deep conditioning is to repair and restore the hair.
Meaning that any child younger than two years old should not need her hair to be repaired, because babies do not change up their hair as often as adults and older kids do, so their hair should already be in a healthy state.
Babies who struggle with dry hair and breakage will need regular conditioning, which can be achieved with a leave-in conditioner. You can also look into your child’s diet, if she struggles with dry hair, at such a young age.
How do you deep condition a child’s hair?
It’s very easy to deep condition children’s hair. It’s the same process as deep conditioning adults’ hair, except that you want to make sure that your child is in the mood and distracted with a toy or TV program.
This is how you go about it:
- The first step is to cleanse her hair with one of these kid-friendly shampoos.
- Section her hair and apply the deep conditioner to her hair one section at a time.
- Work the product through the strands of her hair, starting from the roots to the ends. Be sure to focus on the ends because this is the weakest part of the hair.
- Cover her hair using a shower cap, and add some heat, by using a thermal heating cap. The heat opens up the hair follicles to allow the conditioner to penetrate deeply so that you get an effective deep conditioning treatment. You can also wrap a towel on her head to trap some heat in, if you don’t have a heat cap.
- Let the product sit in her hair for about 30 minutes and rinse the product out.
- You can then proceed to styling, after applying one of these leave-in conditioners in her hair.
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Please watch this video by Naturally Crowned UK who details how to detangle children’s hair.
Can I deep condition my child’s hair overnight?
It’s not necessary nor recommended to leave your child’s hair deep conditioned overnight. Deep conditioners are designed to work effectively in the duration stated in the instructions. It’s also not safe to leave deep conditioners in children’s hair overnight, because they may end up ingesting some of the products in their sleep.
Please remember kids will always be kids, so it wouldn’t be fair to expect them to be as responsible as an adult would.
Should I shampoo after deep conditioning or deep condition after shampoo?
You should shampoo then deep condition. Ideally, the reason why you deep condition is to replace the moisture and nutrients lost during shampooing. You will also notice that the instruction on the deep conditioner is to use the product after shampoo.
Remember that your hair products were formulated by hair professionals and scientists who have expert knowledge in hair chemistry. So if they say to deep condition after shampoo for best results, you should do that.
Shampooing after deep conditioning will also be a waste of product and effort because you will be washing away conditioning agents that are meant to stay in your hair.
Do you deep condition or condition first?
Honestly, there is no need to condition your hair if you are still going to deep condition it. A deep conditioner does the same work a conditioner does, only better.
It penetrates deeper than a conditioner does. It’s pointless doing both at the same time not to mention a waste of product, money, and time. You can also prevent the deep conditioner from doing its job if you apply a conditioner first.
Deep conditioners work best on freshly washed hair, so if you will be layering another product on your hair prior to using a deep conditioner, the conditioning agent in your deep conditioner will not be able to penetrate into the hair.
Because it will be prevented by the elements in the conditioner that are covering the hair cuticles. The image below shows what a conditioner does which is to coat the hair cuticles so that they’re smoother and lays flat.
Should you rinse the deep conditioner out with cold water?
Yes, you should rinse the deep conditioner out with cold water to close the hair cuticles in order to lock in moisture. Using warm water will leave the cuticles open and some moisture will be lost, rendering the entire deep conditioning process pointless.
How often should I deep condition my child’s hair?
How often you choose to deep condition your child’s hair will be dependent on a few factors such as the following.
1) How old the child is. Toddlers will only need their hair deep conditioned about once a month or every six weeks. While babies do not need their hair deep conditioned.
2) The length of your child’s hair. Kids with short hair won’t need their hair deep conditioned as often as kids with longer hair.
3) The environment you’re in. If you live in a dry environment, you will need more deep conditioning sessions.
4) If your child has excessively dry hair, you will need to deep condition every two weeks.
5) Your daughter struggles with growth, you should look into deep conditioning every two weeks or once a month.
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What are the best conditioners and deep conditioners for children’s hair?
This post contains affiliate links which means that I make a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase with my link.
If you find a discontinued product on this list, please do let me know so I can keep this post updated. I’d also like to inform you that brands change their product packaging from time to time, which means that the product picture in this post might look a bit different from the retailer’s website at the time you decide to make a purchase.
Product Promise: Softens and smoothes children’s hair, making it easy to detangle and work out knots. Helps nourish and strengthen hair while protecting against breakage. Contains no silicones, no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no mineral oil or petrolatum.
Customer Review: “ Smells Amazing! My kids’ hair looks and feels healthier, they have different hair types and it has worked wonderfully.”
Product Promise: Leaves the hair soft, shiny, and manageable while eliminating tough tangles and helps parents glide through wash day faster! Infused with lemon extract, biotin, and vitamin E to nourish, strengthen, grow and hydrate the hair. Cuts wash days in half.
Customer Review: “ My daughter has soft 4a hair. It works very well for her hair. It leaves it smelling good and feeling soft. She loves the smell and it doesn’t tangle her hair”
Product Promise: Intense moisture treatment masque enriched with ginseng and mango butter. Hydrates and restores your hair’s natural moisture and elasticity while strengthening and sealing hair cuticles for stronger healthier looking hair. Ginseng extract works to stimulate your scalp, increase circulation and promote healthy hair growth.
Customer Review: “I truly love this conditioner. It leaves my baby’s hair soft and shiny.”
Product Promise: Utilizes a unique blend of milk protein and honey to leave hair ultra-soft, strong and manageable. This daily gentle formula hydrates each individual hair strand & binds in moisture to help maintain healthy and beautiful soft hair. Milk protein works to strengthen hair and help prevent breakage during combing.
Customer Review: “For my child’s hair this stuff is great! While using the shampoo, conditioner, and detangler, a little goes a long way.”
Product Promise: It instantly replenishes strands for super-soft, manageable, and tangle-free hair. It’s infused with honey and avocado to increase the feel, manageability, and strength of the hair. Can also be used as a deep conditioner.
Customer Review: “I’m thoroughly pleased with these products. Worked great on my children’s hair.”
Product Promise: Uses botanical extracts to help soften coarse, hard-to-manage tresses, improves manageability for easier combing, and strengthens hair for healthier growth.
Use as a regular rinse-out conditioner, co-wash, or deep conditioning treatment. Helps soften hard-to-manage hair and gently loosens tight, coarse textures. Replenishes moisture, while natural conditioners contribute to the strength and improved health of your hair.
Customer Review: “Love this product! Smells good and makes my 2-year-olds curls look good and feel so soft.”
Product Promise: Nourishes & strengthens hair by protecting against breakage. Hair is left feeling smooth, silky, & soft. Enriched with coconut milk to replenish moisture and naturally soften and detangle your natural hair.
Shea butter works to help deeply moisturize, strengthen and protect your natural hair. This natural ingredient also replenishes dry hair as well as aids in preventing breakage. Perfect for maintaining and detangling coily, kinky, curly textures.
Customer Review: “Love the smell and detangling effect. I use a lot of conditioners but this is so good. Even for natural textures.”
Product Promise: This kid-friendly, dual-use formula helps to soften and detangle curls with gentle, nourishing ingredients. Whether used as a daily conditioner or as a no-fuss leave-in treatment, curls will be soft, frizz-free, and more manageable-for curl confidence that starts young.
Customer Review: “Great product that I use daily for my daughter as a leave-in conditioner. It keeps her hair hydrated and her curls coiled!”
Product Promise: Softens, nourishes, and detangles curls! Like our kids shampoo, it’s only made with natural ingredients such as rosemary for thick healthy curls, and honey for moisture and shine.
Customer Review: “Works really well on my son’s hair. His hair was shiny and soft after the wash. Definitely helped to define his curls. I’m sticking with this product line.”
Product Promise: Packed with natural ingredients, and designed to meet the unique moisturized challenges that curly kids face. Created to ensure the maximum amount of moisture and manageability.
Includes hydrolyzed pea protein which protects and moisturizes hair like nothing else on the planet. Made of the finest ingredients available for multicultural hair
Customer Review: “This conditioner is delicious, the smell, the texture, and the way it hydrates my toddlers’ curls without being heavy, I will definitely purchase again.”
Product Promise: Gentle formula leaves hair smooth, soft & manageable, making hair care an easy and pleasant experience for both parent and child. Alleviates dry, brittle hair and dramatically reduces breakage when used regularly, thus enabling the growth of stronger longer hair. Great for parents of kids who don’t want fragrances and coloring that may aggravate or create allergies.
Customer Review: “Hands down the best kids hair product that I use on my daughter. Great slip, smells good, and a good bang for my buck.”
Product Promise: Provides maximum moisture and softness to your angel’s dry curly tresses. It is guaranteed to soften the kinkiest curl, moisturize the driest lock, and detangle the most unruly tresses. Great for all hair types, including coarse, dry, damaged, and chemically treated kinky, medium, or coarse curly hair
Customer Review: “This product smells like cookies and is the best conditioner I’ve used on my bi-racial daughters’ hair!”
Product Promise: Adds moisture and manageability to your curly kid’s mane. Crafted with a gentle formula that’s infused with pure shea butter, coconut oil, and honey. It nurtures all-natural hair types and curl patterns-including fragile coils, curls, and waves-while hydrating and quenching thirsty strands.
This gluten-free conditioner for kids contains no mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, paraffin, or propylene, and increases overall hair health for children.
Review: “I love this Cantu for kids, it makes my son’s hair smell so nice, it also makes it soft.”
Product Promise: This incredible deep conditioner infuses hair with fast-absorbing vital moisture and nutrients. Your child’s hair will be noticeably softer and healthier with each use. This product does not contain petrolatum, mineral oil, sulfates, or parabens!
Customer Review: “This stuff works great on my bi-racial sons’ hair. His hair is curly and slightly more on the softer side than the coarser side. Really moisturizes it and no tangles.”
Product Promise: Softens and restores dry thirsty hair. Guaranteed to seal the cuticle. Makes hair stronger and easier to detangle. This product is made with coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter.
Customer Review: “I love this stuff will be ordering more, it helps a lot because my daughter actually let me do her hair after using his product.”
Do you have any questions about conditioning your child’s hair? Have additional products you’d like to add to the list? Please send me a direct message on my Instagram page right HERE.