Brittle hair isn’t always the product of harsh chemicals and combing, or even vigorous towel-drying; it can result from health conditions that one may not even be aware of. Let’s find out what the causes are of this problem, including some helpful hair care tips for children suffering from this.
Brittle hair looks unattractive, lacks moisture, shine, and strength. Usually the causes― when it comes to adults―include the effects brought on by heat-styling tools, harsh coloring agents, health problems, and excessive shampooing. Health problems like monilethrix or pili torti, can result in hair turning brittle. This can also be caused by ringworm and other health conditions like Basan syndrome, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism, or through hereditary means.
Malnutrition is also a leading cause. While the aforementioned cases may not be behind your child’s brittle hair problems, it may be because of other factors that lead up to such a condition.
Remedies for Brittle Hair
Much-Needed Hydration: The most essential thing for dry, brittle hair, is moisturizing it regularly. Keeping a child’s hair well-moisturized will help strengthen it in due time. Use a conditioner specially formulated for a child or apply coconut or pure almond oil for a super-hydrating solution. Oil your child’s hair and leave it on overnight, so that it has an entire 8-9 hours to saturate itself with the oil’s restorative properties; wash it off the next morning. As part of your child’s diet, include moisture-rich foods like watermelon and cucumber, and encourage him to drink plenty of water during the day, especially while playing outdoors. Eggs, lean meat, and fruits, in general, are great for the hair.
Crucial Sun Protection: The sun is a good and bad source of nourishment, where a couple of minutes in the sun may be good to help the body soak up some vitamin D, but not for extended periods of time. Hair is especially sensitive to the sun, just like our skin. Overexposure means that hair is left dry and brittle. Therefore, it is important to spray either an SPF-rich hairspray on your child’s hair, or encourage him to wear a baseball cap before stepping outside. Girls can sport a scarf or wide-brimmed hat while in the sun.
Gentle Shampooing: Brittle hair is already in a fragile state; wash hair twice a week using a shampoo that comes replete with moisturizing agents like coconut, shea butter, essential oils, cream-based ingredients, and the like. Avoid using adult-appropriate shampoos and opt for soothing, child-centric shampoos and conditioning products. Lather hair, using gentle circular strokes on your child’s scalp, with the pad of your fingers and not the fingernails.
Careful Brush Strokes: Brushing hair vigorously can result in frizzy, unmanageable hair that is a tangled-mess on the verge of giving up completely. Hair will not only turn brittle, but will eventually succumb to split ends and hair fall. For afro or extremely curly hair, run your fingers through the tight web of curls (ideally, this sort of hair shouldn’t be combed) using a leave-in serum that will help detangle messy hair. Hair oils from brands like Garnier and Moroccanoil, work well for stubborn knots.
Hair Mask Rescue: Mash one banana with a large egg, two dollops of mayo, and a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply this mix to a child’s hair and conceal it entirely in a shower cap. Leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing the hair with a clarifying shampoo. Apply the hair mask thrice a week.
Trimming: Hair should ideally be trimmed every two to three months to keep split ends at bay. While healthy hair pushes itself from the roots, the ends can get frayed and damaged over time, from the constant brushing and styling. Snipping an inch off the ends can help a child’s hair look healthy and fuller, making it less problematic to take care of.