Top hair care tips for anti-washing warriors

Hair washing time doesn't have to be a drag
Hair washing time doesn't have to be a drag

If you're lucky enough to have children who love hair-washing days, then you probably don't know just how lucky you are. Because hair-washing day can be the most dreadful thing for children and parents alike.

Many children kick up an absolute fuss when getting their hair washed and as a result, parents either stop washing their children's hair as often or it becomes one big fiasco. And who has the time or energy for that? 

Bath time is the best time

Mbali Mncwabe, founder of Kiddies Korner Hair Salon, says, "In my years experience of owning a children's salon, I have witnessed and learned that children under 3 hate washing hair. It petrifies them to sit up facing the ceiling (in a coffin-like position). I am yet to discover why it frightens them so much! We always advise mommy to wash the hair at home during bathtime, which is more fun." 

Here are a few tips for making hair washing easy:

1. Prepare them for it 

Mbali suggests that parents always mentally prepare their little ones when it comes to doing the things they don't enjoy doing, like washing hair. "Let them know in advance that they will be washing hair, or alternatively have a routine where on Mondays, for instance, we wash hair."

This helps your child so they don't feel thrown into the situation. Hopefully this won't result in any tantrums. 

2. Pre-pour rinsing water in a separate bucket

Have a big bucket with clean water on standby so that the wash can go quicker and you won't spend a lot of time refilling the jug. It also helps to not overuse water. 

3. Make a game of it

To distract your child from the fact that their hair is being washed, make a fun little game out of it. Play pretend, use stories. Do whatever it takes, sergeant. This is war. I wish you luck out there.

4. No-tear shampoo

A big reason children despise hair-washing so much is because they hate getting shampoo in their eyes (don't we all!). Be sure to use baby shampoo or one with a special formula that won't sting your child's eyes. Either way, avoid shampoo in the eyes at all costs.

5. Check shampoo ingredients

Mbali Mncwabe says, "My number one tip I could give to parents is to always check the ingredients in the products they use. Avoid using any with sulphates and parabens, which strip the hair of its natural oils and dry it out."

6. Bath hats or visors 

You could buy special bath hats and visors to keep soap and water out of your child's eyes when rinsing their hair. This is particularly helpful for children who absolutely hate having water poured onto their face. (The same children who love getting drenched in the swimming pool.) 

These shower caps can be found on Takealot  and 4akid.

7. Bath sensory activities or toys

Having toys or dolls tag along for bathtime would be a great benefit! Your child can play with the toys or wash their dolls' hair at the same time so it officially becomes Hair Washing Day, a fun routine they could get used to.

8. Rinse slowly

I know rinsing seems like something you want to get over with soonest, but don't rush and make a mess and scare your child even further by throwing the water on their head. Pour the water slowly and be gentle, massaging their scalp while at it. It is calming and promotes hair growth at the same time.

9. Talk through it

Your child might be kicking up a fuss and as frustrating as it may be, don't shout or react, simply talk through it. Keep the tone warm and optimistic. Try not to talk about it being a negative thing, else they might end up resenting it even more next time.

10. Use a hooded towel or hair wrap towel

To avoid a damp and groggy child with water dripping down their spine, get a hair towel that wraps all their hair up and prevents drippage. 

11. Large rinsing cup

If you are using a rinsing cup (as opposed to a hand shower or an absorbent sponge), make sure the jug or cup is large enough so that you cut down on the amount of pours, meaning the wash goes faster. 

12. Large absorbent bath sponge

If your child isn't too fond of the jug, a more gentle option would be to use an absorbent bath sponge that could easily be put on your baby's head without any harm or fuss. It creates more of a bonding experience too than just a hair rinse (or maybe I've just seen too many movies).

13. Hold your child so that they feel balanced 

If you have a younger child who doesn't feel too confident with leaning back to have their hair rinsed and you don't have a hair rinsing visor, try providing back support so they feel more comfortable.  

14. Play music and have fun with it 

If playing games don't seem to be working out for you, whip out the tunes and get a little bath party going. Bring that good energy!

15. Don't offer rewards 

Sometimes a quick and easy solution to the tears and tantrums is to offer little rewards for cooperation. Whatever you do in this situation, do not offer rewards. It would be like applauding a fish for swimming, plus they're always going to expect some sort of reward then. 

16. Comb from the bottom up or hold the roots when combing 

The biggest reason I hated having my hair combed as a child was the pain and having my hair yanked. Be gentle when combing your child's hair. Don't simply tug on the roots, keep your child's head still and hold onto the roots at the top while you comb through a knot further down to make combing smoother. 

Do you have any other hair care tips you could give parents? What hair care tips have worked for you? Let us know by emailing us at and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.

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