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How often to wash? What shampoo to use? How to handle hair problems? Discover expert cleansing hair care for babies to tweens.

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Washing your baby's hair with care

You can wash your baby's hair once a day with specially formulated baby shampoo to remove excess oil. But for some babies, especially those with drier scalps, you don't want to strip away natural oils. If your baby's hair seems dry, cut back to shampooing with a mild baby shampoo twice weekly and see if this helps.

If your baby has cradle cap (neonatal seborrhoeic dermatitis) which, despite the appearance of flaky patches, is an oily skin condition, wash hair three or four times a week. But before washing, massage a little baby oil onto scalp to loosen flakes. On the other hand, if you see signs of a red, dry rash on the scalp, your baby may have sensitive skin. Look for fragrance-free, specially formulated baby shampoo. Apply a specially formulated baby oil or cream for babies with sensitive skin. 

Tip: Use tepid water for washing your baby's hair.

Toddlers without tears

A toddler's zest for enjoying life may mean mashed banana or other food may make its way onto baby's head! Daily cleansing of the hair with a mild baby shampoo is fine. If your child has drier hair, adjust the washing schedule and use smaller amounts of shampoo, rinsing well to remove any sticky messes from hair. Toddlers often do not like having their hair washed. This stems from having the shampoo running over their eyes, even if you are using a tearless baby shampoo. Provide your toddler with a "water shield", such as a washcloth. Make a game of them putting up their shield. You can use also use a sponge to rinse their hair. A large sponge holds plenty of water and has a softer flow than a shower hose.

Children's play is hard work, but their hair washing doesn't have to be.

After a day of play, dust, dirt and sweat can make a child's hair unclean. Washing children's hair daily with a gentle shampoo is often a necessity. Kids love to play in the bath and making funny hairstyles with shampoo is always a hit. You can hang a safe, plastic mirror at the end of the bath so they can see how funny they look. The more you make hair washing fun, the easier it will be. Shampoo hair at the end of the bath so your child is not sitting in the sudsy water too long, which could irritate a child's delicate skin. Always rinse well.

Careful care for Tweens

As a child approaches his or her tweens, the earliest signs of puberty set in. From ages 10 to 13, you may notice your tween's hair has become oilier. A good purifying shampoo and more frequent washing may be all that is needed. As always for tweens, explanation and understanding is key. Explain why their hair has become oilier. Tweens need positive reinforcement, so be sure to compliment them on how great their hair looks when it is properly cleansed and cared for.

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