All doodle parents know that grooming comes with the territory. It's annoying and time consuming, but totally necessary to keep those cute curls and luscious waves healthy and mat-free.
Mara is not a huge fan of being brushed. Now that she is almost three at the time of writing this, she understands the routine but will still run away the first chance she gets.
There are three tools that you absolutely need if you have a curly and wavy Goldendoodle. Those three are as follows:
Top 3 Grooming Tools for curly and wavy hair
Clicking on one of the three items below will directly link you to that section of this post.
Because she is an F1B curly Goldendoodle, her hair becomes quite unmanageable at around an inch long. Despite using detanglers, conditioners, and even trying to add coconut and fish oil to her food to make her hair silkier, when it gets this long her coat requires brushing and de-matting almost every other day.
EVERY. OTHER. DAY.
While I do my best to keep her hair as long as possible for as long as possible, I typically throw in the towel and make a grooming appointment at around 12 to 13 weeks (or when her hair is just out of control) ...and then cry a little inside because her shaggy hair is so stinkin' cute.
Although I am probably not the best client in the world because I am so particular about Mara's cut, I respect groomers TREMENDOUSLY and truly listen to their advice when it comes to her hair care.
I even had our first groomer teach me how to properly brush and care for Mara's coat in between grooms and asked him to share with me the tools he used and that I am going to share with you: a brush, a de-matting comb (not from the groomer), and a comb... in this order of use.
Even though Mara is really curly, these tools will work great for most all doodles unless they take on more wiry or course traits from the "golden", "berna", or "labra" aspects of their genetics.
Let's get into it!
1. The Slicker Brush
The slicker brush turns Mara's raggedy and tangled curls into puffy, voluminous tresses. The rounded, extra long, soft pins get down close to the skin where a lot of matting occurs and quickly detangles without causing damage to the hair shaft.
When I brush her, I try to use the natural arched shape of the brush to create a sort of "rocking" or petting motion rather than just scraping the hair down. I also brush in multiple directions to be sure that I am getting as many of the little knots out as possible. When her hair is shorter, this method is incredible for managing her coat.
I don't like when she looks puffy, but it is easy to brush her out and then just wet your hands or the slicker to help the waves and curls come back to life!
Our groomer recommended me to and I now swear by the Show Tech Transgroom Tuffer Than Tangles Slicker Brush.
One of my girlfriends is extra bougie and she bought the Chris Christensen Big G - which in my opinion is like the Louis Vuitton of doodle brushes. The Big G is also a slicker and looks very similar to the Show Tech Transgroom, but has a coated handle for more grip if you are using it around water and has 30% more pins so you don't have to work as hard for as long. I personally think it is too expensive, especially with my budget, but if you are into getting the best of the best, that brush might be right up your alley.
2. The de-matting comb
When I first explored the world of de-matting combs I was kind of freaked out. They all looked really scary and sharp... and didn't exactly come with instructions. I ended up going with a comb that looked like the one below based solely on reviews, but after getting it and trying to use it I quickly determined that it was not the comb for me (or Mara).
It's difficult to put into words why I didn't like it. There was no fluidity to it... you would literally put the rake next the matted area and pull down to essentially cut the dead and/or matted hair. It doesn't "detangle" at all, it cuts the knots in half so you can attempt to re-brush through them with the slicker or a comb.
I feel like you would have to hold the hair and then use the rake almost like you would tease or back comb your hair to cut it...
Does that even make sense? Probably not. Let's move on to what actually works.
I came across the Poodle Pet Dematting Fur Rake Comb Brush Tool on Amazon one day and saw it was ranked #1 in de-matting poodles (which also means F1b doodles). It had great reviews, was relatively inexpensive, and was worth a shot when groomers were closed during COVID.
Talk about a lifesaver. It was really intimidating at first because it is bulky and has these sharp-looking fingers on it, but because it naturally feels like a comb, it is much easier to get into the feeling of using it. When I use it, I hold it right-handed toward the top of the grip and use my thumb as leverage on that metal piece when making little cutting motions in a downward direction.
While it also just cuts through the knots and mats like the one I disliked above, the tapered fingers slice through the knots rather than trying to punch through them.
It works. Trust me.
3. the metal comb
This was actually the first grooming tool that was recommended to me when Mara was a baby and had silky puppy hair that didn't mat. Now that she is older and adult hair is naturally more course, I have found that I need to use the slicker brush, de-mat any areas that need it, and then comb through the coat and finish with a metal wide-tooth comb.
I also don't like using a brush on her face, so the comb comes in handy for her cheeks and chin.
Do dogs have cheeks?
The Pettom Pet Steel Grooming Comb is great for getting those last little tangles out and making sure that there are no knots manifesting themselves down close to the skin.
I hope you find these products helpful! They have saved me a lot of money by allowing me to manage Mara's coat from home for longer periods of time in between grooming sessions and have saved Mara from having to be shaved... which no one wants. One more bad haircut and I think my boyfriend might give her away, but that's a post for another day.
I would love to hear how these tools work for you!