Children tend to get dirty while playing with their friends, resulting in messy and unruly hair. Therefore, children need a bath at least once or twice a week and more when they play in the mud (1). Here’s our list of the best hair conditioners for kids that can come to your rescue. Managing your kid’s hair can be challenging since hair washing is no easy feat, especially with an active child.
Liz L. Sowers, a state-licensed professional cosmetologist and special event hair stylist, says, “As your child grows and spends more time outdoors, their hair becomes prone to dirt and grime. Therefore, they need special hair care. Using a quality conditioner on your child’s hair is essential to tackle the tangles, knots, frizz, and flyaways and make your child’s hair manageable, soft, shiny, and healthy.”
When washing your child’s hair, it’s essential to keep it healthy and nourished with tried-and-tested hair conditioners. Washing the hair tends to strip off the natural oils that keep it soft and smooth. Hence, dermatologists advise using hair conditioners for children, especially those with dry and curly hair (2). Pick one from this list.
15 Best Hair Conditioners For Kids
1. Best Mineral Oil-Free: Cantu Care For Kids Conditioning Detangler
Made of 100% pure shea butter, honey, and coconut oil, this gentle formula helps condition textured hair. The solution can nourish and nurture weak curls and softens the strands for easy combing. This detangling conditioner has a pleasant coconut fragrance. You may check out this video for an in-depth review of the product.
- Mineral oil-free
- Sulfate- and paraben-free
- Silicone-and phthalate-free
- Gluten- and paraffin-free
- PABA- and DEA-free
- May make hair greasy
2. Best Propylene Glycol-Free: SoCozy Curl Spray Leave-In Conditioner For Kids
The curl spray leave-in conditioner by SoCozy helps detangle hair and gives shape to the curls. This advanced formula from a trusted brand contains the goodness of olive oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin B5. The curl-enhancing conditioner infuses the curls with moisture and repairs damages. It helps curb frizz and gives the curls a soft and glossy bounce. The conditioner has over 17,000 reviews on Amazon, and a majority of the buyers have mentioned about how it minimizes frizz and hydrates the hair.
- No synthetic colors or dyes
- Propylene glycol-free
- May have a strong smell
3. Best Nut-Free: Fairy Tales Tangle Tamer Super Charge – Detangling Conditioner For Kids
Fairy Tales smoothing solution is infused with vitamin B and keratin that help strengthen the hair and make it soft and silky. It moisturizes the locks with vitamin E and panthenol, easing out the static and frizz. The formula contains nourishing ingredients, such as jojoba and aloe vera, that hydrate and protect the damaged hair. It has over 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, and most reviewers have highlighted how it has helped them reduce frizzy hair.
- Smoothing conditioner
- May offer an unpleasant smell
4. Best For Textured Hair: Cantu Care For Kids Nourishing Conditioner
Trusted by moms and dads, Cantu Care’s nourishing conditioner, made after thorough testing for effectiveness, is enriched with the goodness of coconut oil, honey, and shea butter. It hydrates the hair and provides moisture to help eliminate dryness and frizz, making your child’s hair manageable and soft. This scalp-soothing conditioner has received positive and detailed reviews from over 5,000 users on Amazon.
- Mineral oil-free
- Silicone-free conditioner
- May not detangle well
5. Best Paraben-Free: TotLogic Kids Detangler Spray and Leave-In Conditioner
Infused with essential oils, such as bergamot, jojoba, chamomile, and lavender, the natural fragrances make this leave-in conditioner beautifully perfumed. It is specially formulated for curly, wavy, frizzy, and coily hair and has rich nourishing botanicals and antioxidants. This lightweight conditioner helps remove frizz, flyaways, split ends, and static and provides nourishment and protection to the tresses throughout the day.
- Sulfate- and paraben-free
- Formaldehyde- and phthalate-free
- SLS- and SLES-free
- MEA-, DEA- and TEA-free
- No petroleum-derived ingredients
- No methylisothiazolinone (MI)
- No artificial dyes or colorants
- May make hair sticky
6. Best Hypoallergenic: Johnson’s Strengthening Tear-Free Kids’ Conditioner
Johnson’s Strengthening kids’ conditioner is infused with vitamin E and wheat bran that help reduce breakage with gentle moisturization. This clinically-proven intensive conditioner helps nourish the locks, leaving them strong and healthy, and has been tested tear-free by experts and ophthalmologists, making it a safe and effective option for kids.
- Sulfate- and phthalate-free
- May not stop hair fall
7. Best With Natural Ingredients: Shea Moisture Kids Extra-Nourishing Conditioner
The extra-nourishing conditioner by Shea Moisture is formulated with carrot oil and mango butter. It contains organic shea butter that provides intense moisture to the hair and repairs dry, brittle curls, making them smooth and soft, making it an ideal mom’s choice. Carrot oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that help protect the locks from external pollutants, making it an ideal addition to your must-buy list.
The hydrating natural ingredients can make the hair manageable, while mango butter provides nourishment to dull curls. This hydrating conditioner rejuvenates the scalp and makes the hair bouncy and naturally shiny. Watch this review video to learn more about this well-recommended product.
- Paraben-free conditioner
- Natural ingredients
- Safe for daily use
- May have a thick consistency
8. Best Petrolatum-Free: CurlyKids Curly Deep Hair Conditioner
CurlyKids brings you a deep hair conditioner that makes the hair visibly healthier and softer. It helps infuse moisture into the hair shafts while providing vital nutrients. This formula is specially crafted for frizzy and curly hair types. Take a look at this video to know more details about the anti-frizz conditioner.
- Mineral oil-free
- Sulfate-free conditioner
- May not be as moisturizing as it claims
9. Best Hypoallergenic: Fresh Monster Coconut Hair Conditioner
Safe for your child’s sensitive skin, this conditioner has the goodness of coconut and shea butter to provide extra moisture to the hair. This revitalizing conditioner leaves the hair silky smooth and soft, making it healthy with every use.
- Paraben- and phthalates-free
- Plant-based cleansers
- Dye- and BPA-free
- No synthetic fragrance
- Never tested on animals
- May not be tear-free
10. Best Phthalate-Free: Little Green Kids Detangler Spray
Little Green Kids’ leave-in conditioner helps relieve knots from curly hair and makes them soft and manageable. The formula is infused with vitamin B5 and aloe vera, which help hydrate the hair follicles and repair damages. It is a nourishing conditioner with a light, fruity natural fragrance.
- Paraben- and sulfate-free
- Gluten- and phthalate-free
- May offer an unpleasant smell
11. Best Cruelty-Free: The Mane Choice Fresh Lemon Fruit Medley Kids Conditioner
The conditioner contains biotin, vitamin E, and lemon extract that help provide nourishment and moisture to each hair strand. Its gentle formula penetrates the hair shafts, locking in moisture and repairing from within. As a result, hair becomes healthier, stronger, and shinier. This volumizing conditioner helps reduce split ends and breakage, fortifying the strands and supporting the natural growth of soft, fresh, revitalized hair.
- Suitable for all hair types
- Includes aloe vera
- Some might feel the strong lemon smell to be unpleasant
12. Best For All Hair Types: The Mane Choice Green Apple Fruit Medley Detangling Kids Leave-In Conditioner
The green apple-infused formula helps moisturize and hydrate the hair strands, while removing tangles and knots. It penetrates the hair and locks in moisture. Your child’s hair can become stronger and healthier with regular use. Green apple provides nourishment and fortifies each strand against split ends and breakage. The conditioner is safe for daily use.
- Suitable for all hair types
- Enriched with biotin and aloe vera
- May leave the scalp itchy and flaky
13. Best Allergen-Free: Snip-Its No Yellin’ Melon Natural Kids Conditioner
The 100% cruelty-free formula helps restore hair health and nourish the strands. It smoothens and detangles locks and has been specially formulated to soften swimmers’ hair. The conditioner provides moisture and strength to their tresses, adding some shine. This restorative conditioner is ideal for straight, curly, thin, or thick hair types.
- No harsh chemicals
- Made of renewable resources
- Might require more quantity
14. Best Organic: Triswim Kids Scented Conditioner
If you are looking for a scented conditioner for your swimmer kid’s hair, Triswim conditioner could be a good choice. It is infused with healthy proteins that help strengthen each hair follicle, reducing and repairing the damage. The premium glossing conditioner helps add moisture to the tresses, keeping them soft and detangled. This innovative formula helps hydrates and condition dry hair, removing heavy build-up and bad smell.
- Certified organic
- Strengthening conditioner
- May not remove the green color from blonde hair
15. Best Sulfate-Free: Noah Conditioner Detangler For Kids
Enriched with vitamin E, milk, and sugar, this gentle conditioner helps cleanse and condition your child’s unmanageable, frizzy hair. The proteins in this formula provide good health to the scalp and hair strands, while vitamin E offers natural nourishment and strength to brittle, damaged hair. It helps reduce breakage and offers static control without weighing down the hair.
- Silicone- and sulfate-free
- Paraben- and paraffin-free
- Mineral oil-free
- DEA- and SLS-free
- Ecocert-certified ingredients
- May offer strong smell
How To Choose The Right Hair Conditioner For Kids?
Here are some points you should keep in mind when buying a safe and effective hair conditioner for your child.
- Hair type: Pick a conditioner that suits your child’s hair type for best results. For example, if your kid has curly, frizzy hair, buy a frizz-free, smoothing conditioner.
- Allergies: Choose a conditioner that is hypoallergenic and devoid of harmful chemicals. An organic product is usually safe. Avoid products with allergens or irritants such as dairy, soy, gluten, and artificial fragrances. Look for lab-tested and safety-tested conditioners for a safer experience.
- Age: A tear-free conditioner is recommended for toddlers. Age-appropriate products consider the child’s delicate skin and hair and include none or a minimum of harsh chemicals.
- Swimming: As the study says, swimming pools contain some harsh chemicals, which if not washed properly, can cause hair damage (2). Hence, if your child is a swimmer or goes to the beach frequently, pick a conditioner that helps remove salt, chlorine, and other build-ups from the hair.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Our skin and hair care product reviewer and writer, Poulami Nag, brings you a list of the best hair conditioners for kids made of natural ingredients. Poulami has gathered this list after analyzing numerous unbiased reviews on various websites. Also, she has concisely described each product’s specifications with its pros and cons for easy understanding. In the end, she has offered a buying guide to help you make an informed choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. At what age should kids use conditioners?
Children can start using the conditioners at three years of age. If your toddler has very little hair, wait till their hair volume increases to start using a conditioner. But at this age, their hair follicles will be delicate, so you should pick conditioners that are safe, free of nasty chemicals, pediatrician-recommended, and clinically-tested.
2. Do kids need special conditioners?
Yes, they do need special conditioners. It is best to not use regular conditioner for such delicate hair. Ensure that the conditioner you invest in maintains good hair texture. It should also be safe, non-toxic, and dermatologist-tested or doctor-approved.
3. How often should children’s hair be washed?
It is safe to wash your child’s hair once or twice a week (3). Otherwise, you can also consult a dermatologist to check the scalp health of your child and wash the hair.
4. How should little girls take care of their hair?
Teach your child how to wash their hair without leaving behind any residue. Caregivers or parents should braid or make loose ponytails to prevent hair damage. Avoid using heat-styling hair techniques (2).
5. How can I make my kid’s hair soft and silky?
Following the right washing procedure and applying the desired amount of conditioner to your child’s hair are good measures. Massage their hair with warm oil to nourish the hair and always keep their hair and scalp healthy.
6. Will a conditioner spoil my kid’s hair?
No, conditioners do not spoil the hair when you use the right formulation. Instead, they can help keep the hair healthy, nourished, soft, and frizz-free. They also help to eliminate tangles.
Conditioning your child’s delicate hair is essential, as it’s prone to dirt and grime. To protect against dryness, dullness, dandruff, and other hair-related concerns, invest in the best hair conditioners for kids. The options listed here are free of harmful chemicals and gentle on the scalp, nourishing hair follicles. Our top three recommendations are the Cantu Care For Kids Conditioning Detangler, which promotes strong and manageable curls; the SoCozy Curl Spray Leave-In Conditioner For Kids, which defines curls, keeping the hair strands hydrated; and the Fairy Tales Tangle Tamer Super Charge – Detangling Conditioner For Kids, which minimizes frizz, strengthening damaged hair. However, when choosing the right conditioner for your child, ensure you examine the ingredient list to avoid toxins and allergens.
Infographic: Is A Hair Conditioner Mandatory For Children?
Hair conditioners can be applied to children’s hair once they turn two years old. These hair products help protect the hair from dryness and damage while providing it with nutrient-rich conditioning. Read on to know the signs that indicate your little one’s hair might need a conditioner.
- How Often Do Children Need To Take A Bath?
- Teaching Your Child Healthy Hair Care Habits
- How Often Do Children Need To Wash Their Hair?
- Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias; (2015); Hair Cosmetics: An Overview