Skin Care | Hair Care


Basic Guidelines for caring for all children’s skin, including sensitive or dry skin



To keep skin soft and hydrated, use natural and organic products on your child’s skin. Chemicals can irritate and dry skin out. Products containing the fewest number of ingredients and no fragrance are best; this is especially important for children with sensitive skin or eczema. Mild, natural soaps (such as cucumber) or glycerin-based soaps are less drying and leave no residue.


Try different products exclusively for one week at a time. Discontinue use immediately if your child develops a rash or other reaction.


More moisture, more often. Ashy, cracked, or bumpy skin is dry skin. Apply oil or cream immediately after bathing; if your child’s skin is very dry, apply oil at least once a day. More moisture will be needed in colder climates and during the winter.

Less Bathing

Many adults shower daily, but a child’s skin will dry out sitting in a bath every night. Use baths when a child needs to be cleaned, not just to play. Do not use bubble bath. Babies especially (only nursing or bottle-feeding) need a bath—at most—once a week. In-between full baths, give sponge baths and moisturize.


Add a little apricot kernel oil or jojoba oil to the bath when running the water to improve very dry skin or eczema. With oil in the bathwater, you may need to wash your child’s hair with fresh water from the tap, depending on their hair texture. (Fine, straight hair is most susceptible to looking oily if washed with oil-bath water.)

Skin Care Products & Web Resources
Buy organic oils, if possible, for body care (available at health food stores and co-ops)

Olive Oil

One of the best oils for skin care. Olive oil can be purchased at the grocery store.

Coconut Oil

All-purpose body moisturizer. Also can be used as a deep conditioner for hair. Coconut oil can be purchased at most supermarkets (it may be packaged as a food-oil). Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Before applying to skin, warm the oil by partially submerging the jar in a bowl or sink of hot water until the oil liquefies.

Apricot & Jojoba Oils

Add a bit of oil to bathwater to soothe eczema or improve dry skin. Also use directly as a skin moisturizer.

Un-Petroleum Jelly

Made with plant oils and natural waxes. Natural alternative to Vaseline.

Shea Butter

Great for extra-dry spots like lips, cheeks, elbows, knees, and baby’s bum.


Caring for a child’s hair can be daunting, especially if your child’s hair type or texture is unlike your own or if you have very short hair. However, hair care can be simple and fun once you have the right tools and develop a few new basic skills.


Your child was born with a genetically-designed, beautiful head of hair (or bald—but that hair will grow). Children’s hair should be kept in its natural form to protect the child’s changing hair texture and growing body from the chemicals in perms and straighteners.


If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again—never truer than with your child’s hair. Try new products (Resist the urge to use more than one new hair product at a time; whether it works well or not, you won’t know which product to blame or thank.) With hair styles, the more you practice, the neater the hair will look and the faster you will achieve your desired style.

Basic Styles

All parents can easily master three simple styling techniques: ponytails, two-stranded twists, and three-stranded braids. With these three skills, you can create an endless variety of hairstyles. For style ideas, look in children’s clothing catalogs, magazines, and books from the library or at the hairdresser.


Your child’s hair will need varying amounts of moisture and different hair styles depending on the weather, seasonal activities (swimming, sports), and how often they wear hats or helmets.


Trust yourself to learn the new skills needed to care for your child’s hair. Be honest with yourself—does your child’s hair look healthy and strong? If not, talk to a professional stylist, do some online research about your child’s hair-type and the care it needs, or get some books out of the library (most books are available through inter-library loan if your library does not have them—talk to your librarian).

All of these tools are available at most supermarkets and pharmacies. They also can be purchased online at

Boar Bristle Brush

Works well on all hair types, especially fine hair of any curl-level (straight to kinky). Essential for kinky hair. Available in assorted bristle densities for various hair textures and curl-levels.

Wood or Plastic Bristle Brush

With widely-spaced bristles for brushing straight to medium-curly hair.

Rat-Tail Comb

Essential for creating straight parts in all hair-types.

Wide-Tooth Comb

Essential for combing out all hair-types after bathing or swimming.


For very curly or kinky hair, for long hair of all types.

Cloth Hair Bands

Only buy the kind with no metal parts. Available in several sizes and any color.

Plastic Barrettes or Snaps

To hold hair in place or clip tight the ends of braids or twists. Snaps are available online at

A list of basic hair care products



Use after conditioner when bathing, rinse out

Leave-In Conditioner


Spray-on product to ease brushing wet or dry hair, and lessen breakage

Oil & Water in a Spray Bottle

For curly, kinky, dry, or coarse hair. Approximately 1 part oil to 7 parts water; experiment and find the right mix for your child’s hair. Almond, Jojoba, or Apricot Kernel Oil work well.

Water in a spray bottle

Save detangler and other small hair-product bottles for water or water and oil. Remember to label the bottles so you know what’s inside.

Where to find hair care products for your child, if they are not available locally

California Baby

Botanical Hair De-tangler
From straight to wavy to kinky, this works wonders on all hair textures.

Tea Tree & Lavender Shampoo & Bodywash
Great for baby’s hair and body.


Be Curly
Curl enhancing lotion: For wavy to curly hair.

Brilliant: Humectant Pomade
Works wonders in the winter, especially on kinky or frizzy hair.


Aubrey Organics

Sea Buckthorn Leave-In Conditioner and Curl Activator

4 pair of shampoos and conditioners specifically for dry or frizzy hair


Beauty without Cruelty

Leave-in conditioner
Perfect for wavy to curly hair right after the bath.


Kinki Kreations
By Jena Renee Williams

A parent’s guide to natural hair care and styles for children with kinky hair.

Purchase from Amazon

Happy to Be Nappy
Written by bell hooks
Illustrated by Chris Raschka

Very positive message about kinky-curly hair. Gorgeous illustrations of brown girls with all lengths of hair.

Purchase from Amazon

I Love My Hair
Written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis

An African American girl talks about the good and bad realities of Black hair care, including all the unique styles she can create with her kinky-curly hair.

Purchase from Amazon