Kids Detangler Cheat Sheet

Do you have children with long or curly hair? Then you’ll know just how much of a nightmare washing and brushing knotty hair can be! Detanglers are the answer, but where do you find safer kids detanglers? We’ve rounded them up and investigated them all for you.

Detanglers are a kind of hair conditioner that you can spray on to smooth and de-frizz hair. They’re supposed to keep hair tangle free until the next wash.

You’ll often find silicones in detanglers, as they coat the hair shaft and make it smoother. The problem with silicones, though, is that they don’t allow anything to penetrate the hair. So all those lovely moisturising oils aren’t actually getting in, and your hair ends up dryer than ever.  Which means – guess what – that you end up with more knots and have to apply more product next time!

Although you can leave in a little conditioner after a hair wash to help detangle, many detanglers are sprays. While it’s handy, this means that it’s easy to breathe in whatever chemicals are in the formula, especially when you’re using these products on children. Using a spray makes it super important that the ingredients in the product are good.

Here’s our top picks for natural detanglers:

Safer Kids Detanglers – The Full Rundown

Name: AfroShe® Detangler Cleanser Conditioner with Coconut & Avocado OilAfroShe® Detangler Cleanser Conditioner with Coconut & Avocado Oil
Ingredients: Purified water, Conditioning Emulsifier, Emusifying Wax, Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol, Avocado oil, Coconut oil, Vitamin E, Xanthan Gum, Planta-Cleanse, Lamesoft, Hydrolyzed oats, Optiphen Plus, Sweet Orange Oil
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 330ml for $18.00
Comments: We found this product on etsy. It looks okay, but because the ingredients aren’t listed properly according to INCI standards, it’s hard to know exactly what these things are. If you don’t know what the ingredients really are, you can’t find out whether they’re safe or not. Even though it’s handmade, if you’re selling it, you need to use the correct ingredients names. Unfortunately, I’d avoid it based on the fact that you really don’t know what the ingredients are.


Name: Amway Mini Monsters Spray-On DetanglerAmway Mini Monsters Spray-On Detangler
Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Cetrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Polysorbate-20, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Parfum(Fragrance), Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Red 33 (C.I. 17200).
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 200ml for $12.05
Comments: Not a great list of ingredients. The cetrimonium chloride prevents static and frizz, but it can be an irritant and allergen. It ranks a 3 on EWG, so it’s not terrible, but it’s one to watch. The amodimethicone is a silicone, if you’re trying to avoid them. Perfume should be avoided in children’s products, and the synthetic colour is just unnecessary. Methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone are allergens, and although they’re mostly used in rinse off products, you can still get contact dermatitis from them. All in all, a product to avoid.


Name: Boofheads Detangler Boofheads Detangler
Ingredients: Purified Water (aqua), Amodimethicone, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-12, Hydrolised Wheat Protein, Vetiver Oil, Tangerine Oil, Geranium Oil, Patchouli Oil, Lavender Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Chloroacetimide, Citric Acid
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 300ml for $16.95
Comments: There are silicones in this one (amodimethicone), as well as cetrimonium chloride. There’s also chloroacetimide, which has been banned in cosmetics in France. While this isn’t a cosmetic, it is a spray on product and will potentially be breathed in by children. Another product to avoid.


Name: Eco.kid Daily Tonic Leave In Conditioner Eco.kid Daily Tonic Leave In Conditioner
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis, Aqua, Glycerin, Carya Ovata, Lactic Acid, Passiflora Edulis, D’Limonene, Mauritia Flexuosa, Mentha Piperita, Eucalyptus Globulus, Backhousia Citriodora, Chitosan, Melaleuca Quinquenervia, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Farnesol, Eugenol, Nerolina
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 500ml for $24.95
Comments: All the ingredients are natural, they’re organic and they’re certified by EcoCert. While this isn’t a detangler as such, it’s a leave in conditioner that helps remove knots and tangles. And the organic oils are chosen to repel head lice. That’s a win-win!


Name: EverEscents Conditioning Detangler EverEscents Conditioning Detangler
Ingredients: Aqua (Water)***, Lexfeel Natural® (Heptyl Undecylenate castor oil emollient)*, Emulgade® SE-PF (Ceteareth emollient), Glycerin (moisturiser)* Natural Strawberry Flavour***, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Sage Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract*, Tilia Cordata (Linden) Flower Extract*, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract*, Betula Alba (Birch) Extract*, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract*, Mel (Honey) Extract*, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract*, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Seed Protein (strengthens & repairs hair)***, Kerarice® Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract (UV protector)***, Brassicyl Isoleucinate Esylate (vegetable derived anti static agent)*, Brassica Alcohol (vegetable derived anti humidity agent)*, Panthenol Provitamin B5***, Arginine (amino acid promotes healthy hair follicles)***, Phytic Acid (antioxidant derived from Rice Bran)***, Geogard® natural preservative (Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Sorbic Acid)**
*Certified Organic, **Ecocert approved, ***Naturally derived ingredient
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 150ml for $26.90
Comments: There’s nothing nasty in this one, either. It’s organic, certified by EcoCert, and looks great. My only issue with this one is that it’s a salon only product, so it’s hard to get hold of.


Name: Fairy Tales Static Free Leave-in Detangling Spray Fairy Tales Static Free Leave-in Detangling Spray
Ingredients: Water/Eau/Aqua, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Dicetyldimonium, Chloride, Methyl Gluceth-10, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Fragrance(Parfum), Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Citric Acid
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 355ml for $53.39
Comments: Behentrimonium chloride is an allergen, and cyclopentasiloxane may be harmful to waterways. There’s perfume in this, and phenoxyethanol as the preservative. I’m not loving it, and there’s better choices out there.


Name: Gaia Skin Naturals Conditioning Detangler Gaia Skin Naturals Conditioning Detangler
Ingredients: Purified Water, Cetrimonium Chloride, Vegetable Glycerin, Hydrolised Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Organic Chamomile Extract, Organic Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Oat Kernel Extract, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxy Methyl Glycinate, Phenoxyethanol and The Essential Oils of Pure Organic Lavendar, Organic Sweet Orange and Organic Chamomile (Limenene and Linalool – Naturally Occurring Components of Essential Oils)
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 3 Moderate Hazard
Cost: 200ml for $10.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: There are a couple of issues with this one. Centrimonium chloride, as mentioned earlier, can be an irritant. The phenoxyethanol is not my favourite preservative, and sodium hydroxy methyl glycinate can be an irritant as well as having contamination concerns. It’s not an awful product, though, and there are certainly worse out there. 


Name: iSHiKi SKiN Kids Detangling Conditioning Spray iSHiKi SKiN Kids Detangling Conditioning Spray
Ingredients: *Orange Hydrosol, *Purified Water, Behentrimonium Methosulphate (canola plant wax), Avocado Oil, Jojoba Oil, *Grapeseed Oil, Vitamin B5 Panthenol, **Argan Oil, Wheat Proteins, Vitamin E, Extracts of **Chamomile, **Cucumber, **Marshmallow & Grapefruit Seed, Essential Oils, Cosmocil CQ®, Leucidal, Rosemary Leaf Extract *Organic, **Certified Organic
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 125ml for $14.50
Comments: This looks good, nothing scary in this one.


Name: Jason Kids Only Daily Detangling Conditioner Jason Kids Only Daily Detangling Conditioner 
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice * , Cetearyl Alcohol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil *, Glyceryl Stearate, Barosma Betulina Leaf Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil *, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Ferula Galbaniflua (Galbanum) Resin Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil *, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Citric Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene (* organic)
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 236ml for $12.49
Comments: It’s not a spray on detangler, it’s a detangling conditioner, but that’s close enough! It looks pretty good, too. Nothing to get worked up about here.


Name: Johnson’s No More Tangles Spray Johnsons No More Tangles Spray 
Ingredients: Water, Behentrimonium Menthosulfate, Sodium Benzoate, Dimethicone, Polysorbate- 20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Trisiloxane, Hydroxyethyl Behenamidopropyl Dimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Ceteth- 10, Laureth- 4. [10571- 041]
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 295ml for $5.95
Comments: There’s silicones (dimethicone), and a few ingredients with contamination concerns (ceteth-10, laureth-4, polysorbate-20). They’re not terrible or super toxic, but they’re still not ingredients I’d choose to use. And of course, there’s the perfume, which should be avoided.


Name: Little Green Kids Conditioning Hair Detangler Little Green Kids Conditioning Hair Detangler
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydrolyzed Silk, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phytantriol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Panthenol, Amodimethicone, Trideceth-12, Centrimonium Chloride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Benzophenone-4, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Parfum/Fragrance.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 240ml for $19.95
Comments: So this one’s from Little Green Kids, a name which makes you think it’s going to be great, and it’s a perfect example of why you need to read ingredients. There’s amodimethicone, which is a silicone; there’s centrimonium chloride (discussed earlier in the Amway and Gaia products); cyclopentasiloxane which may be harmful to waterways; benzophone-4 which is an irritant; phenoxyethanol, and perfume. Too many problematic ingredients for me. I’d avoid.


Name: Made 4 Kids Spray In Detangler & Conditioner Fragrance Free Made 4 Kids Spray In Detangler & Conditioner Fragrance Free
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (And) Cetyl Alcohol (And) Butylene Glycol, Simmondia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol (And) Ethylhexylglycerin (Preservative), Blend of Natural Essential Oils, Citral*, Citronellol*, Farnesol*, Geraniol*, Limonene*, Linalool*
*Components of Natural Essential Oils
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 250ml for $17.90
Comments: This one’s actually pretty good. I don’t like the phenoxyethanol, but otherwise this looks okay.


Name: Milk Skincare Baby Fairy Detangler Milk Skincare Baby Fairy Detangler 
Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Dimethicone, Polysorbate 60, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Pelargonium Roseum (Rose Geranium) Oil, Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxy-methylglycinate, Citric Acid
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 75ml for $10.95
Comments: Milk isn’t one of my favourite brands. They talk the talk, but they don’t really walk the walk. This detangler has silicones (dimethicone) and sodium hydroxy methyl glycinate, which is a formaldehyde releaser. Not the worst product, but not the best.  Note: I can’t see this on their website, so I’m not sure that it’s being made any more.


Name: Organic Care Berry Bliss Detangling Spray Organic Care Berry Bliss Detangling Spray
Ingredients: Water, Coco Glucoside, Bis (C13-15 Alkoxy) PG Amodimethicone, Lauryl lactyl lactate, Panthenol (B5), Hydrolysed wheat protein, Fragrance, Citric acid, Nettle extract, Aloe vera leaf juice, Chamomile flower extract, Ginseng root extract, Methylisothiazolinone, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 250ml for $3.99
Comments: I really dislike this brand. Organic Care implies something organic, and sure there are a couple of natural ingredients, but nothing organic. Plus there’s also silicones (the Bis C13-15 Alkoxy PG Amodimethicone; fragrance; and methylisothiazolinone which is a known toxicant and allergen. The last one scores a 7 on EWG, and should be avoided. I’d give this a big miss.


Name: Paul Mitchell Kids Taming Spray (Ouch-Free Detangler) Hair Care Paul Mitchell Kids Taming Spray (Ouch-Free Detangler) Hair Care
Ingredients: Glutamine, Tyrosine, Leucine, Cysteine, Glycine, Symphytum Officinale, Plantago Major, Triticum Vulgare Pro, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Fragrance, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 500ml for $30.00
Comments: Once again, silicones (PEG-12 dimethicone and cyclomethicone); fragrance; and this one’s got quaternium-15, which scores an 8 on the EWG Skindeep database. It’s a formaldehyde releaser and a skin allergen. Another product to avoid.


Name: Pineapple Heads Kids Detangler Pineapple Heads Kids Detangler
Ingredients: Aqua, TMS (Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol), Cosmowax D (Cetearyl alcohol and Ceteareth-20), Geoguard (Ecocert approved preservative), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Cetyl Alcohol, Rubus Ideas (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Warm Raspberry (Ecocert Approved Parfum), Citronellol*, D-Limonene*, Geraniol*, Linalool*, Matricaria Recutitata (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Extract, Angelica Archangelica Extract, Citric Acid.
*Component of Essential Oil
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 250ml for $17.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Although Pineapple Heads uses fragrance, it’s Ecocert approved, so that means no phthlates and no nasties. There’s nothing else in this that’s concerning, either, so this is another good one.


Name: Quit Nits Defence Detangling Spray Quit Nits Defence Detangling Spray
Ingredients: Water Purified, Polyquaternium 44, Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Simethicone, Cetrimonium Bromide, Santalum Spicatum Hearwood Oil Essential (Australian Sandalwood Oil), Fragrance, Lavender Oil, Geranium Oil, Eucalyptus Oil.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 150ml for $9.50
Comments: Silicones again (amodimethicone and simethicone); centrimonium bromide which can be an allergen; and fragrance again. It may help protect against headlice because of the essential oils, but you’d be better off using the EcoKid Lice Bomb.


Name: Tri Nature Little One Detangling Spray Tri Natura Little One Detangling Spray 
Ingredients: Water, Hydrolyzed Oats, Cetrimonium Chloride, D-Panthenol, Hydroxyproplytrimonium Honey, Fragrance, Polysorbate 20, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 236ml for $11.95
Comments: Centrimonium chloride again (see the Amway and Gaia products for discussion on this); fragrance; polysorbate-20 which has contamination concerns; and benzyl alchol which the EU considers toxic in products that are airborne, like this spray. Too many problematic ingredients – I’d leave this one, too.

If you’re looking for a safe, natural detangler, check out the range at Hello Charlie.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for another great cheat sheet. Some links to the products you have for sale would be helpful… (Or am I just not seeing them?)

    1. Hi Leah, you’re so welcome! We do have links to the detanglers that we sell, we just don’t have that many of them! Have a look at the Gaia and the Pineapple Heads products – they both have links 🙂 Hope that helps!

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