How To Style A Curly-Haired Toddler's Hair In Three Minutes and with No Products!

It has taken me 28 months to conquer this art.

Okay, maybe not that long. After all, she didn’t enough hair to curl up or spazz out until about 12 months.

So it has taken me 16 months.

But I believe that I have FINALLY discovered how to “fix” Ali’s hair.

No longer will she have stringy haired days!

No longer will her hair look like a staticy mess!

No longer will the decency of her curls depend on how much she sweated during the night!

No longer will I cross my fingers for a humid day to tame her hair from a mega-fro to a Shirley Temple!

AND there will be no more Easter Pictures that look like she stuck her finger in an electrical outlet!

I have finally discovered how to take this first-thing-in-the-morning look:

And turn it into this:
in 5 easy steps!

AND it is with no “product”, no bath, and finished in under three minutes (which is the highly recognized standard toddler grooming patience threshold, or STGPT).

(and YES, those pictures WERE taken on the same day!!)

So I know you’re on the edge of your seats now. Without further ado, the 5 miraculous steps:

Step 1: Wait until toddler is awake enough to be minimally jovial about being groomed. This may take a substantial amount of “Read books in Mommy and Daddy’s bed” time:
Sometime during this mood-waiting-period, go ahead and change her out of jammies for minimum hair-messing-uppage.

Step 2: Brush toddler’s hair,

Until it resembles a mangy stray dog (or their stuffed friend DoggieBear. Same difference.):(that step took me a while to figure out. I was afraid that I would only worsen it to brush it, but in reality it helps with the eventual softness of the curls)

Step 3: Using a spray bottle on the finest mist setting, spritz toddler’s whole head:

Despite the appearance, pictured toddler DOES typically enjoy this activity.

Step 4: Using fingers, quickly yet gently twist toddler’s hair in a spiral motion. (Scrunching doesn’t work, since there isn’t enough length to scrunch.)

Step 5: Be sure to let toddler play with water bottle, therefore soaking the rest of herself, during the above twisting step. Distraction is key in order to attain maximum stillness from said toddler.
(Maximum stillness, of course, equals the approximate stillness that a baby monkey has when hopped up on caffeine.)

(Be sure and remember that you let said toddler play with water bottle, so you don’t have a wet-toddler-mystery to solve later in the morning.)

After the steps are done and before hair is dry, it will resemble this:

And then it dries into these nice, soft, demure curls:

And voila!! The untamest of toddler hair is tamed!!

Move over, Nick Arrojo!! Here I come!!!

29 thoughts on “The Study of Styling the Curly Haired Toddler by a Straight Haired Mom.

  1. Hey, I recognize Nick Arrojo’s name. He’s from “What Not To Wear”, right? I’m so smart! He’s got nothin’ on you!

    She is absolutely adorable first thing in the morning. Her hair is growing out beautifully. I love the 5 quick and easy steps you’ve developed to give her the lovely look in the end.

    My oldest daughter, Braaten, has straight, thick hair and Melanie has that good ole’ fine, limp hair that I have. Great! So I need a new set of 5 steps to work with her hair.

    BTW, yes, I love texting. I can’t believe you and Chris have been doing that for like the past 9 years and we have only for like the past 9 days. That bit of knowledge made me feel really behind the times.

  2. I actual could use those instructions on my own hair. My curls are not very pretty most days because I don’t want to take the time to use “product” or anything else.

  3. Congrats!! I understand just how huge this is in helping you to keep your sanity.
    Princess has some fairly tight ringlets and after 3 years of curly hair care we’re still trying to find just the right combination.

  4. How adorable! Wish I had to worry about fixing girly hair in the morning…right now it’s nothing but smoothing down the cowlicks!

  5. I'm very impressed that all you had to use was a brush and some water! Her curls are precious! Since Luke has baby curls, but not curly hair, I have to wet it & put mousse in it to get them to stay…I never thought I'd have to "fix" my son's hair :)

  6. At least her curls actually curl on humid days! Mine turn into a big ball of frizz.

    She’s so cute and I wish my curls could look that pretty!

  7. Love it! We have the opposite problem at our house. I have curly hair & my daughter has straight hair. I hope her curls stay they're beautiful. Thanks for

  8. I can sympathize with Tina, mine usually frizzes in humidy too one of the things I hate about living in Florida. Plus I have yet to discover a so called anti frizz product that actually works or last for any amount of time.

  9. I like the first thing in the morning look, it is so precious, but I know girly-girl has to have her hair fixed and the box is a must. LYB

  10. I love her hair! Those curls are gorgeous! I will have to try your tips for fixing. I feel like Kariya’s hair is always stringy and messy. My problem is that her hair is super curly when wet, but as soon as it dries, it flattens out quite a bit, so we have half straight, half curly and all mess!

  11. careful. . .about the time you think you’ve got it, their hair texture/curliness will change! You do much better with the curly hair than I do!

  12. Now that you mention it, where did she get that curly hair? Certainly not from a Callahan. LYB

  13. Love her eyes!!!
    Btw, these are old pics.. did Ali’s eyes change color? (or something that sounds a bit less wierd to say).. but they look bit different here than her latest pics…
    Anyway.. love both the eye-colors :D

    1. They did – it seems like just this year they’ve changed quite a bit! I don’t even know what color her eyes are anymore – I can’t pin it down for the life of me.

  14. Thank you thank you thank you I have a 22 month old little girl with crazy curly hair that I could do nothing with but this works brilliantly finally she does not look like a scarecrow beside her friends with neat straight hair :-)

  15. Gosh I wish my wee girls hair was like this. Her curls are much MUCH tighter. She is 2 and when her hair is soaking wet it is a similar length to the above pictures but when dry it doesn’t even reach 1/2 way down her neck because it is so tightly curled! Xx

  16. Water fixes curl woes for adults too. A good wet-down and then twist the hair works wonders for my hair much of the time.

  17. Oh my goodness, totally cracking up right now, my toddler is exactly the same way, I distract her with a necklace she only gets to touch while getting her hair done, then there is the melt down after when the necklace gets put away. I have to try this, my daughter’s hair usually looks crazy and I get looks and comments from my mil and my husband everyday ( well from mil any time I see her like “what did you do to her hair?!” Or “have you ever brushed that mess?!” Seriously love her, but sometimes she just makes me want to scream) thanks for the post!

  18. I was searching Pinterest for help with my toddler’s curly hair and I happened upon this post. I didn’t recognize Ali with curly hair. I read the whole post and didn’t realize I was on your blog until I scrolled back up to the top. I’ve been following your blog for about 3 years, so I probably should have recognized it a little sooner. :)

  19. She is *adorable* & her hair issues are just like my daughter’s. We have pictures coming up Monday & I was frantically wondering how to keep her from looking like a drowned rat, lol, so thanks for this!!

  20. Hi, my toddlers hair looks just like this. I have straight hair and my husband has straight maybe wavy if he really grows it out. I don’t know anyone with naturally curly hair. So, I’m very curious if it will stay curly. Did your daughter’s hair stay curly? My daughter is almost 3 and never had a haircut because I don’t want the curls to disappear.

  21. I know this is an old post, but I had to comment. My daughter’s hair looks like the messy before photos! So looking forward to trying this over the weekend! Oh and I literally sat forward in my seat before you made a joke about it. Haha

  22. 10 years late to the post but thank you!!! I skipped step one and went for tackle toddler and brush hair. I used to think brushing would make it worse too but this method works great, first try in under 3 minutes. Thanks again, this is a game changer!

  23. My 18 month old has this exact hair type/length. When it’s humid, she has the sweetest curls, when the weather is nice her hair looks like mattes spaghetti. I’ll give this a try tomorrow and see if I can wrangle her locks

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