In Minibury’s “Our Favorite Things” column, Faith Gong – Addison County resident, mother of four daughters, wife of one assistant professor, dog wrangler, writer of the “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent and The Pickle Patch blog – shares some of her family’s favorite things. The goal is to highlight items or activities that are simple, inexpensive, local, and promote creativity. Faith receives no kickbacks, compensation, or thanks for any items mentioned here!
My children’s heads are battlefields upon which I wage two simultaneous wars: an offensive against tangles, and a defense against head lice.
I cut my children’s hair myself. This is not because I am a skilled stylist: All winter, my youngest child has sported the slightly crooked pixie cut that resulted from her inability to sit still while I trimmed her hair. As her locks became increasingly uneven, I gave up and said, “Okay, let’s just take it all off!”
I cut my children’s hair because, as difficult as it is to get them to sit still, it’s easier and cheaper than taking all four of my daughters to a salon. Besides, with girls who want to keep their tresses as long as possible, grooming involves only a few minor trims a year (and my uneven cutting isn’t as obvious in long hair!)
Still, there was one time when I did have to take a child to a hair salon: when her hair became so tangled that it required professional attention.
The daughter in question was five at the time — the age at which, in our family, each of my daughters has gone through a “refusal to brush” stage. “Refusal to brush” involves screaming, wailing, flailing, and fleeing when I attempt to attack the tangled clumps radiating from their scalps like hairy octopi.
“Why bother chasing them?” you may ask. “Why not just let them take responsibility for their own grooming?” This approach cuts down on the screaming, but my daughters’ grooming attempts amount to a few gentle pats with the brush; the hairy octopi grow bigger daily.
By the time I brought my daughter and her impossibly tangled hair to a professional stylist in town, it was too late: The only option was to cut the tangles out. She slid out of the salon chair with a cute bob and tears in her eyes, and she’s been a vigilant brusher ever since. (This episode has served as a nifty cautionary tale for younger siblings passing through their own “refusal to brush” stages.)
Although the stylist couldn’t save my daughter’s hair, she did recommend a brush that she thought would help our tangle-prone family: the Tangle Teezer. I bought one of these rounded pieces of bristled plastic with the cheezy name out of desperation, and it’s become the only brush we use. Our original Tangle Teezer has tamed four heads of tresses for four years, and is still going strong. According to my daughters, it’s the most gentle, pain-free brush they’ve experienced.
The Tangle Teezer doesn’t work alone: It has help in the form of Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Conditioning Spray. Shortly after we bought the Tangle Teezer, my college roommate (who is a pediatrician in Indiana) happened to mention that she recommends this product for lice prevention. With four school-aged daughters, lice are one of my biggest fears, so I decided to try it out.
The Fairy Tales spray is loaded with natural ingredients like rosemary, citronella, tea tree oil, and jojoba. It smells great, helps to detangle the hair, and apparently works to repel lice. Speaking for our family alone, we’ve yet to have a case of head lice in nine years of parenting (although I’ve doomed us now by writing that in public!)
So, there you have it: Our family’s favorite child-friendly hair-care products, which have enabled us to declare an uneasy truce in the hair-care wars. Whether this truce will outlast my current five-year-old — who is not only in the “refusal to brush” stage, but who also insists on wearing her hair-tangling hooded unicorn Halloween costume daily — remains to be seen!