Shampoo (and Conditioner) Wars

Shampoo & conditioner.  It seems like a life-long quest to find our favorites and how much to use, how often to wash, etc.

Then we had kids.  And not just kids, girls.  THREE GIRLS!

I was all set and ready to use the old reliable Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo that I grew up with when our pediatrician said that the best way to go was Dove sensitive skin bar soap.  Woo hoo!  Just one product for hair & body.  Love it!

That worked well until little AJ’s hair got longer so we switched to a shampoo/conditioner for kids.

She still had tangles and it was so difficult to brush her hair out afterwards.  I FINALLY figured out that I needed to brush her hair out before washing (that was a real “duh” moment).  I guess her hair had been so easy for so long that I didn’t notice the tangles gradually set in.  Oops!

Little EJ then came along with thicker, darker hair and not as many tangles.

She did have a case of cradle cap (or as her pediatrician called it, “cradle crap”).  The doctor recommended using castor oil on her scalp.  Blech!  WAY too thick & nasty.  Regular cooking oil worked really well followed by a VERY careful shampooing with Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree oil shampoo.

The tea tree oil is really strong and will make sting little (and big) eyes badly so take care.  I swear that stuff will get the product & oil out of anyone’s hair (yes!).  After the cradle crap cap was gone, the kid shampoo/conditioner combo was still working well for everyone.

Then along came our blonde little BJ.

Her sweet little head of fluffy hair was very easy to wash and brush but she seemed to have a “gamey” smell to her hair.  How could my sweet baby smell gamey even after her bath with the shampoo/conditioner which has served us well for so long?  Well, I was at the grocery store one day and saw this great stuff – L’OREAL Kids Swim & Sport shampoo with a “Splash of Sunny Orange” scent.

The “For Active Kids” tagline caught my eye so I grabbed it up post haste.  I washed up my BJ with it and she smelled sweet as can be!  She just needed a little citrusy goodness!  It’s also formulated to take the chlorine smell out of hair so we kept using it for all of the girls long after the baby gaminess went away!

As AJ began to hit puberty my stylist let me know that at this stage, “tweens” normally have a thicker oil that starts to emerge at the scalp thus the growing number of greasy heads at the middle school level (wink!).  Regular shampoo doesn’t cut it so she suggested using a “clarifying shampoo” once a week.  I found Neutrogena’s “anti-residue shampoo” at the grocery store and we gave it a try.

please note that this comes in a box, not as a stand alone bottle as many shampoos do.

Good stuff Maynard!  The box states that it “instantly removes over 90% of dulling residue” and it certainly seems to!  Better yet, we found that it is AMAZING for a good post-swim hair wash.  It seems to strip all of the chemicals away and leave our hair lovely and soft.  Be aware though, you will smell like a bar of Neutrogena glycerin soap afterward (oh how I’d love to see it in a fragrance free formula!).

As we have proceeded on with our hair washing journey, it has been AJ who had the most difficult time with her hair.  She has long hair with a touch of wave but sadly got my frizzies.  Blech!  I had her start using “grown-up” conditioner a few years back which seemed to help somewhat.  The real drag was brushing her hair before bath time.  The poor little gal not only got my frizzies but also my tender head.  I remember hating it when my mom would brush my hair.

Well…a couple of months ago I was at Costco where I usually buy mongo-huge bottles of Fructis conditioner for our girls.  As I walked through the aisle I saw a huge pump bottle of “Dove Damage Therapy” conditioner and, I have to admit, was initially drawn to the pump.  I mean really…what mom wouldn’t be?

I had never used any Dove hair products before (outside of the bar of soap we used for each tiny gal) and wondered if this was a good way to go.  “Well”, I thought, “if it’s comparable to the stuff we have been using it should be okay, I mean, it DOES have a pump after all!”.  I have to tell you, this stuff is INFINITELY BETTER!

After years of painstakingly brushing little girl hair before bath time, those days are no more.  They can get into the tub/shower, shampoo up, use this glorious conditioner and guess what, it takes ALL OF THE TANGLES OUT!!!  Like magic even!  Ah, true mama bliss…sigh!  They leave the conditioner in while they get washed up but at rinse out time all they have to do is get the water going on their hair, comb through with their fingers and the tangles disappear (even on long frizz prone hair!).  And so we come full circle from a bar of Dove soap back around to good ol’ Dove conditioner.  Sniff!  It’s truly a beautiful thing with so many little girly heads of hair in the house!

Now if I can just get them all to brush their hair before leaving the house…(hee hee!)

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