SUMMER CAMP HAIR CARE- From curly hair tangles to lice, be prepared!

As the final countdown to camp approaches, surely you have a long to-do list.  I’ve always been a big believer in keeping things as simple as possible, but I’ve learned over the years that an ounce of prevention saves you a pound of problems.  Your child’s summer hair care is no exception.

The biggest issue we hear about (and see first-hand) in our salons when the kids return from camp is tangles.  Although curly or wavy hair is more prone to knots, all hair types can suffer.  For practical purposes, we will address tangles from 2 points: Prevention and Treatment.

Tangle Prevention

As you already know, I’m a big fan of prevention.  Here are 3 tips:

  1. Simple Style: Whether you have straight hair or curly hair, we recommend wearing hair up as much as possible. Swimming, sports and even sleeping are the biggest tangle creators. Prepare your child with simple hair styles. Any age child can learn to do a simple 3 strand braid, pony or even top knot.  Not only does this help prevent tangles, but it keeps hair off the face (better for skin as well) and is more comfortable in the hot weather.
  2. Smart Accessories: Use pony holders like scrunchies or soft materials. Avoid rubber bands, tight elastics and metals that often get stuck in the hair.
  3. Key Products: The basics- A great, creamy conditioner and a spray in detangler go a long, long way to preventing tangles (and of course removing them, too). Our secret tip with Conditioner is to use liberally and not rinse out all the way on the ends.  This helps keep hair nice and hydrated which is half the battle with tangles.  Using detangler before swimming or outdoor activities gives hair a great hydration coating and will really help.  General rule of thumb- use suntan lotion and detangler at the same time whenever possible.


Tangle Removal – Tricky, but not impossible!

Tools: The best place to remove tangles is in the shower or tub.  Teach your child to use their fingers as a comb, along with that great creamy conditioner we spoke about above.  It’s that simple.  Use a liberal amount of conditioner and then start from underneath by the nape of the neck.  Run your fingers through the hair to gently remove the tangles. Work in small sections systematically throughout the whole head until hair is untangled.  It literally takes 2 minutes and if done daily, will prevent knot buildup.  As for brushes and combs, we don’t think they are necessary for detangling if you follow the above method, but if you do want to use, for curly hair we recommend either a very wide tooth comb or a Wet Brush. For straight/fine hair, a Wet Brush also works well, and the coated bristles are gentler on the scalp.

To detangle hair when dry or not in the tub, see my previous detangling post here for the details.  This technique works well, but better when you are detangling your child’s hair.  It’s a little more challenging to do on your own hair, but definitely doable.

Damaged “Summer” Hair

If your child is going to do a lot of swimming, be sure to pack them swimmer’s shampoo and conditioner. Swim shampoo is created to remove impurities from hair found in pools and lakes and helps prevent hair from turning green.  The swim conditioner is needed to add moisture and hydration to prevent dry, straw-like broken hair.  Once again, a little prevention goes a long way!


Hate to keep preaching prevention but….. It’s way easier to prevent your child from getting lice than it is to get rid of it once they have it.  Simply use a lice prevention shampoo and conditioner that relies on essential oils that repel lice.  No dangerous chemicals needed.  We recommend that you incorporate a Lice repel Leave-In Conditioner Spray into your child’s haircare routine.  That way, you can still use the swimmer’s products but then finish off with the lice repel spray.  That way, you are taking care of all their needs!


Kids should have a great time in camp and the last thing they should worry about is their hair.  A little planning will go a long way!

Cozy Friedman