From snarls to gum: hair-raising experiences

May 28, 2009 Bad hair days: Every family has them. Whether Timmy fell asleep with a wad of bubble gum in his mouth and woke up with it in his hair, Susan came home from the swimming pool with a snarled mop on her head, or Nancy decided to give herself a new haircut, it's usually up to Mom or Dad to cure their coifed conundrums.

But tackling these hairy problems doesn't have to be a trying experience filled with tears and screams. With a little elbow grease and solutions from our professional stylist getting the kids back in ship shape takes no time.

Dilemma #1: Gum in hair

Several types of solvents are known to help break a wad of gum's sticky grip from a child's hair. You might want to try peanut butter or olive oil, which are probably in your kitchen cupboard. If you'd prefer not to use a food product, anything silicone-based also will work, including Biolage smoothing serum and Sleek Look serum.

Whatever you use, apply it to the area where the gum is attached to the hair and saturate. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the oils to penetrate through the sticky surface. Working small sections at a time, comb through the gum. Little by little, the gum will release from the hair shaft.

Dilemma #2: Unforgiving snarls and rat's nests

It may be tempting to simply reach for the scissors, but a better solution is to reach for a quality leave-in conditioner that will let you tackle almost any snarl. Apply the conditioner to the snarl. Working from the bottom of the snarl, gently comb the hair to release the knots. The best options to keep handy include Solutions leave-in conditioner, Biolage Leave-in Tonic, Biolage Hydraseal Leave-in Crème or Matrix Essentials Instacure.

To prevent snarls from happening in the first place, invest in a leave-in conditioner to apply to your hair on a daily basis or every time the hair is shampooed. Daily conditioning and combing the hair immediately after conditioning will help to keep knots away.

The leave-in conditioner will help keep the hair tangle-free. Additionally, for young ladies, long hair can be braided in a simple three-strand plait at night to keep the hair from knotting.

If your child is a swimmer, use a Clarifying Shampoo to remove the chlorine buildup at least once a week or after swimming and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. This removes nasty chlorine molecules that can make the hair knot, keeps the hair from feeling or appearing dry, and prevents static in the hair as well.

Dilemma #3: Your child cut his/her own hair.

You may be raising a budding hair stylist, but these first results aren't exactly worthy of capturing in school pictures. Bring your child into a salon, where the pros can try to blend their hair into one of today's great cuts.

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