Tween Hair Care for Beginners
Let’s talk about tween hair. Yes, I have tweens. That’s so hard for me to believe, but here they are, and they’re starting to care what their hair looks like!
My daughters are changing right before my very eyes. It seems that every day I notice something else about them that is a little more grown-up than yesterday. Pooh, my eleven-year-old, is as tall as I am, and wears a size bigger shoe than I do already. Tigger, my eight-year-old-going-on-forty, is learning all kinds of new things at her new school that I just wasn’t ready for. Everyone said that time would fly once the girls started school, and everyone was right.
I know that makeup, hairstyling, shaving and preening are in the imminent future for the girls, especially Pooh. She’s in junior-high now, and I give her one more year until she is begging and pleading for more grown-up grooming habits. I have given this a lot of consideration, and I know that I need to prepare myself for these changes. Even though I’m not ready for Pooh to wear makeup and flat-iron her hair, she will be ready all too soon, and it’s my job to ensure that she does these rituals in a way that is age-appropriate and that won’t cause any damage to her skin, eyes, or hair.
Hair Care for Beginners
For any pre-teen beginning a hair-care routine of her own, the basics that I have covered in previous posts still stand true. Tween hair care begins with a good haircut. My girls probably don’t get their hair cut as often as they should, but we try to keep the dead, dry ends trimmed off as needed. I have told my girls that until they are ready to take the time and effort it requires to style their own hair, they will just have basic, one-length haircuts. I’m not a dictator about the length, and I have layered Pooh’s hair in the past, but it’s much easier for them to care for when it’s all one length. Neither of them wear bangs, and that’s my rule. I know I don’t have time for every-two-week bang trims, and I am not of fan of seeing little girls with hair in their eyes. Neither of the girls is great about rinsing her hair well, and I won’t allow self-use of a flat-iron until they are mature enough to change that.
This is a key point that needs to be made: Not rinsing the shampoo, and then conditioner, from the hair really well is very damaging to your hair. Tween hair is in the pre-pubescent stages and needs thorough rinsing, as it’s spongy and confused (just like tweens). Pooh especially, with her thick mane, has ended up with some extremely dry and brittle ends from not rinsing well. Over time, the ends of the hair begin to break down and the cuticle loosens on the ends (imagine your fingernail cuticles and how they look when ignored), allowing the hair to soak up that shampoo. When tween hair isn’t rinsed well, that builds up and causes some pretty crunchy ends that tangle more easily. Good rinsing is key to maintain a healthy, shiny, smooth head of hair. I would do it for her, but I can’t reach her anymore when she’s in the shower, and at eleven she really needs to be doing it herself anyway.
Pooh has really thick, wavy hair, just like me. She normally bathes at night, sleeps on damp hair, and brushes it in the morning. This routine leaves her hair pretty puffy, which she isn’t fond of. I’m not ready for her to start taking morning showers, because we have to get up early enough as it is. Some mornings we have the 10-15 extra minutes it takes for me to flat-iron her hair for her, but not very often. We did some experimentation, and found a few products that help her style her thick mane without a flat-iron, and without having to wet it completely to tame her waves.
awesome tween hair products
I have compiled a short list of our favorite hair products, and included what we like about each one and what we didn’t like. Of course, each of these products are salon-exclusive, professional products. If you want a list of drugstore hair care products, you’ll have to find a blog that is not run by a hairstylist.
1. Curly Sexy Hair, Curl Re-activator. This is a great product for curly or wavy tween hair. No heat required! Spray it on dry hair and scrunch. It does a great job of holding down frizz, it smells really nice, and it doesn’t leave the hair crunchy or stiff. It will be damp at first, but it dries quickly. The downside? It will make everything in a five-foot radius damp, and then sticky (how it doesn’t make the hair sticky is beyond me, because we’re talking dried -sweet-tea-sticky). I usually get Pooh to hang her head over the tub before I spray, and I place a towel around her shoulders to keep it off of her clothes. The results are pretty amazing, though, and I have a before and after…the top two are Pooh’s hair after brushing. The bottom left is when it is still damp with the product, and the bottom right is five minutes later, right as she was walking out the door for school.
I love it when Pooh rocks her beautiful waves!
2. Matrix Design Pulse Mix In Shine Serum. A little goes a long way with this product, and if the user has oily hair, only apply to the ends. Pooh isn’t really oily yet until day two after a shampoo, but I still don’t use it near the scalp. Tween hair can be oily, especially if the tween is beginning to hit puberty a little early. This product also smells good, and it eliminates frizz while conditioning her hair, and makes that tween hair shine. Pooh can brush her hair after using a little drop of this throughout and it won’t puff out on her.
Another alternative is a new product we love at the salon, Biolage Exquisite Oil, Tamanu Oil Blend by Matrix.It’s a luxurious oil treatment that strengthens the hair, and would be perfect for chronic flat-ironers. It’s a little pricier than the Mix In Shine, so may not work for every day use, but would be a great Christmas gift idea for your tween!
The downside to these oil products really only occurs if you over-use it…literally, a drop will do. Emulsify the product by rubbing your hands together and work it through the mid-shaft to ends only.
3. Redken All-Soft shampoo and conditioner. If Pooh uses this, even when shampooing at night, her hair isn’t near as full and frizzy the next morning. The way (my) kids waste, I don’t let her keep it in her shower, so it’s an occasional treat for her until she can learn to shampoo without wasting. She loves the way her hair feels and smells after using All Soft. I can’t think of a thing I don’t like about it. It’s affordable, smells great, and lathers well.
Of course, all of these tips are for Pooh’s hair type. If your daughter’s hair is naturally straight and fine, these products may not be what your pre-teen needs. Is she looking for volume? Try Biolage Volumatherapie volumizing shampoo and conditioner.
It won’t weigh the hair down, but will make it shiny and manageable. These salon quality shampoos and conditioners make another great Christmas gift idea for your tween, although neither of them is too terribly expensive.
Is static electricity a problem? Believe it or not, lightly dusting over the hair with a dryer sheet (eg. Bounce, Snuggle, Downy) will calm the fly-aways. Another great product for this is Straight Sexy Hair’s Smooth &Seal. It’s an aerosol spray that will add shine and tame fly-aways without making the hair oily. Smooth & Seal is also a great product to use on the hair before flat-ironing to give it some heat protection. I love the smell, and how shiny it makes the hair. This is a great tool of mine for adding shine to bridal styles, because it won’t weigh the hair down. The nozzle clogs a little, but nothing hot water won’t fix.
the flat iron and beginners
Flat-iron use for beginners is an important enough topic to deserve its own post, and I’m going to share some tips, tricks, and brands I love next Wednesday. I love this versatile tool so much, but it’s one of the most incorrectly used appliances out there. If I can help one, just one, preteen to senior avoid cooking their hair into something that resembles an unplugged fiber-optic Christmas tree, I will feel a great sense of accomplishment. Tune in for that, and the following Wednesday I will share some makeup advice for newbies, some good skin-care options for young girls, and beginner eyebrow grooming tips.
Thank you for reading, and I love it when you share your thoughts! Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or share some of your own advice for moms of pre-teens embarking on a beauty journey of their very own. It’s a scary change, but one that is inevitable, and helping the changes occur as gracefully as possible is an important job!
Have a great hair day!