Something you may not have considered; herbs do not have to be used strictly for your health. They can also be used for your sanity.
Like I did as a child (and still do), my 2 year old toddler has rather unruly hair. If ignored for more than a day, especially if she has gotten it wet, it turns into a hazy honey-colored halo of what are supposed to be curls. Also like me as a child, she HATES to get her hair combed. I tried to escape the inevitable torture by telling my mom that I did not want to brush it because my hair had feelings. It didn’t work which, with hair long enough to sit on, was a good thing (thanks, Mom!)
When my daughter’s hair finally started growing and needing to be brushed, I determined to help her enjoy it so it wouldn’t have to be a battle every morning.
Thus I am proud to introduce . . . our Magic Spray!
The magic ingredient . . . Psychology. I filled a little spray bottle with water, added some lavender infusion, and tada, we were ready to tackle those tangles! She loves starting off our brushing session with a few yummy smelling sprays of lavender and mini head massage while I disperse it evenly through her curls. She will even sit relatively patiently while I work through her couple snarls and “style” the front by brushing it out of her eyes. Even better, if Daddy is home then she has the added enjoyment of hearing from him how pretty she looks and how sweet she smells!
While Magic Spray works by letting your child think it is doing something & giving you enough time to work through their tangles, most actual detanglers work by either coating the hair strands to make them slippery or smoothing the individual hair cuticles. Unfortunately store-bought sprays are often made up of chemicals. The kind of chemicals I am trying to get OUT of my house, not blindly spray on my children’s heads. I found some recipes online for detangler that include heavier ingredients like conditioner or aloe vera gel. While these may help for my coarse, horse hair texture, I did not see them being a good thing for my 2 year old’s baby fine hair. I also chose to avoid any type of oil. We used coconut oil to work the cradle cap off her scalp a few weeks ago and my goodness, that was an experience I hope I never have to repeat with a toddler. Between the screaming during the event and the multiple baths it took to get the oil out, it was quite a production. Thus, I’m not going to risk making her hair too oily and will be sticking with herbs until her hair gets thicker and she needs more intensive ingredients.
I chose lavender because 1. I like it, 2. I had it on hand, and 3. I thought that it might make the whole experience more calming for everyone involved. Lavender, as well as chamomile, is apparently extra good for dry hair because it stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce oil. If you are dealing with dry hair this could be a benefit.
Another herb to consider adding (which makes total sense, seeing as you use it for soothing throats & making them slippery) is marshmallow root! Simply simmer an 2 Tbsp of marshmallow root in a small pot of water for up to 30 minutes, strain it, let it cool, and add it to your Magic Spray! I am going to try this on my own hair and report back.
Actually, though I started this post as a fun story about getting my daughter to let me brush her hair, with the additional research I have done, I am now realizing that I may benefit from a natural detangler even more than my daughter! I have incredibly thick, coarse, wavy black hair, thanks to my Dad’s Cuban genetics. It is also incredibly long; I just cut it from my hips up to my waist because my husband kept rolling on it & pinning me down by accident in his sleep! Not a good thing when you have a crying baby to feed. It also can take up to 35 or 40 minutes to comb, which leads to me not combing it, which makes it even worse. It is a vicious cycle. I will be experimenting with aloe vera, marshmallow root, maybe a bit of olive oil, and a few other things over the course of a few weeks.
If you would like to learn more about DIY detangler right now, check out this post on Mommypotamus.
In summary, my only caution (aside from making sure your child isn’t allergic to whichever herb you decide to use) is to choose a scent that you like A LOT because you will be smelling it everywhere. If your toddler is anything like mine, she will need to use it while brushing her stuffed animals, on the dog, on your hair if you are taking too long to brush it, on the baby if you are not cautious, on the little fluffy ducks in the bathtub, etc. Let’s just say it is popular around here. And it has saved us both a lot of tears.