Well parents, it’s that time of year again—we send our little darlings off to camp and they come back older, wiser, and…often with bright green hair! A summer of swimming, sun, and less than daily detangling can leave your child’s hair dry, frizzy, and discolored. To insure that your child’s hair stays healthy throughout the summer, I have put together a Summer Camp Hair Care Guide:
Washing, Rinsing, and Conditioning
Your child should use a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and focus on lathering at the roots- it’s the oil-producing scalp that you’re washing when you wash hair. Massage the scalp gently with your fingertips. Just work the suds down, no need to scrub the ends of the hair. Rinse all shampoo out. No need to repeat unless you are working with super oily hair.
Conditioning comes next. In contrast to shampooing, now your child will now focus on the hair strands rather than the scalp- it’s the hair that needs the moisture. I recommend applying a healthy dollop of conditioner and running the fingers through the hair to remove snags and snarls (as if your fingers are a comb). My secret tip- leave a little bit of conditioner in at the ends for an extra moisturizing boost.
Let your child know that if there’s no time to shower after swimming, she should at least rinse the hair with cool water to remove some of the chemicals and salt.
Combing and Brushing
Keep in mind that even the most attentive counselors can’t be responsible for detangling every head in the cabin, so it’s best to get your child in the habit of thoroughly brushing her own hair before she leaves for camp. Here are some tips about tangles that make the brushing experience is as painless as possible:
- Detangling In the Shower: Have your child bring her wide-toothed comb into the shower. After shampooing, have her apply conditioner and then comb it through the hair. Good trick: start combing from the bottom of the hair strand and hold each section securely with the other hand to prevent tugging on the scalp. Tangles will come out easily and the hair will feel soft and silky.
- Detangling After The Shower: She can stop tangles in their tracks by brushing the hair while it’s still wet. To detangle without painful tugging, she should gently grab a section of hair above where she’s going to comb. Then, using a wide-toothed comb, start at the bottom of each strand and work its way up slowly and gently, one inch at a time.
- Prevent Tangles During Sleep: For girls (or boys) with long tresses, I always recommend putting the hair in a loose ponytail or braid before bed. This really works to reduce tangles and makes for less brushing during the morning rush.
What to Pack
Make sure the following items are on your Summer Camp packing checklist:
- Swimmer’s Shampoo: Clarifying shampoo is the only way to remove all the chlorine and salt from hair, and to prevent hair from drying out and discoloring.
- Leave-in Conditioner: Leave-in conditioner is like sunscreen for hair. The sun’s heat dries hair’s natural oils, causing frizz, flyaways, and split ends. A leave-in conditioner is the ideal solution for protecting hair against summer heat, especially So Cozy Cool Coconut Protective Conditioning Mist, which is enriched with Sunscreen to protect hair and scalp.
- A Hat: The only thing more painful than tangles is a scalp sunburn. A hat is the only complete coverage from the sun. There are all kinds of cute hats in the stores, from baseball caps to straw hats with flowers or printed bands. Let your child pick the style that she likes the best (and maybe she’ll actually wear it!)
- Styling essentials: Depending on the length and style of your child’s hair, make sure you pack elastics, a brush, wide-toothed comb, and inexpensive barrettes and clips (they will get lost). Each camp has it’s own rules about blow dryers and curling/flat irons, so I recommend checking camp policy prior to packing. Obviously, the shorter the styling process, the easier it will be for your child at camp.
A big concern among parents of summer campers is lice. All it takes is one infested child, and before you know it the entire camp is in trouble. You can’t control everything, but you can educate your child about how to avoid lice:
My 3 Golden Rules of Lice Prevention:
- No sharing brushes, hats, or other hair accessories
- No head-to-head contact
- No using other kid’s beds, pillows, or stuffed animals
If you’re concerned about your child actually following the 3 Golden Rules, add a lice preventing shampoo to the list of things to pack. I recommend So Cozy Boo! Lice Preventing Shampoo, but any shampoo containing tea tree oil should do the trick. Oh, and your child will be happily follow this last lice rule: Don’t wash your hair every day (lice like clean hair!).
Make sure to help your daughter prepare to style her own hair while at camp. Start with a basic ponytail, and if she’s older, try teaching her to do some easy braids. The Double Twist is one of my favorite 5 minute hairstyles and works great for keeping hair out of her eyes. All she’ll need is a brush and a couple of barrettes.
1. Using a fine-tooth comb, part dry or damp hair—in the middle or on either side works.
2. Gather a small section of hair from one side of the part towards the front of the head. Tightly twist the hair upward toward the part. Keep the twist close to the head, and carefully add in more hair as you twist further towards the crown of the head. Secure with a hair clip or barrette.
3. Repeat twist on the other side of the head, and remember to twist upward towards the part.
For more 5 minute styling ideas and directions, check out Cozy’s Complete Guide To Girls’ Hair
I welcome your questions or comments!
I’m Cozy Friedman, the Founder & President of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids in New York City and I’m also the author of the book Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girl’s Hair ,where this information and much more can be found! To get my Expert Advice right in your inbox, please consider subscribing. Thank you for visiting! -Cozy